Rick tried to comment on my blog about the Vietnam Wall, but I have anonymous commenting turned off, so he emailed me, instead. Here's what he had to say*:
I tried to make a comment on your blog after reading it, but I guess you have to be a member. Here's what I had to say. I made a cross country trip to D.C. a year ago and I saw the statues,painting, fountains and I knew they were pieces of"art". Like most people, some I liked and some made little or no impression on me. When I came to TheWall and I walked down into the valley of names it was no longer a monument or someone's work of art.
Something that moving to an old man like me can't be art. Art has never made me cry like a child. Art has never touched me like it did when I
reached out and ran my finger tips across my friend's name. So what is
it? Rebecca, if you can, find a word that describes this remarkable phenomenon.
And here's my reply:
Hey, Rick -- that's my brother's name, too. Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I did have to turn off anonymous commenting because I
want to be able to prevent idiots from posting nasty things I don't want my kids to see. It's sad that I have to be that protective, but that's
how it is.
Anyway, I'm an art teacher, so I've got to argue with you a little but if you say that art can't move people. Not all art, maybe -- I'll give you that. Or maybe it's a personal thing, and what moves me might be different from what moves you. The BEST art moves us to feel things we didn't expect to feel, or to think about things in a new way. Take Picasso's "Guernica." You can't look at that and not feel the chaos and terror of the people during the Spanish Civil War. Or, how could anybody not look at Mary Cassatt's "The Maternal Kiss" and not feel nostalgic about good childhood memories?
Maybe you just haven't experienced the right art, yet. :) Great art, like great music or great theater, great literature, or great poetry can be intimidating, and sometimes it's plain hard to find. But it's out there. And the Wall is definitely great art -- look, it brought both of us to tears. We
totally didn't see that one coming.
So, readers, what do you think? What is art to you? Has a work of art ever moved you to feel something you didn't expect? What is the most moving work of art you've ever seen? Has a work of art ever made you cry? Let me know -- I'm interested in getting a lot of different viewpoints, here.
*any weird typos came from copying and pasting from email into Blogger. I tried to fix what I could, but I think it made it worse, so I'm quitting while I'm ahead.
On an unrelated note...
I will soon be moving my blog to http://rebeccaburch.com . This blog is currently accessable there, but the new blog will be a Wordpress blog hosted on my website domain. So, take a moment to update your links to that address now so you won't miss anything during the move. Thanks!