New year’s resolutions have become a crap shoot in my life. I’ve chosen a few over the years, some fizzled within days and others I’ve kept up to this very moment. My greatest triumph came in 2010 when, with a determined approach, I stopped smoking by Jan 10. I haven’t picked up a cigarette since, nor do I feel the need.
I have a few changes I’m trying to make this year. Some involve writing, yet, the biggest just involves living. After all, first and foremost, that is why we were put on this planet, to live. Whether you believe in living for a higher power or suiting yourself, my resolution pertains to both.
I, like most human beings, fall for the trappings of our habitual nature. Sure, I may break it from time to time with something new, alas, if I find that new experience enjoyable it is repeated till that something new soon becomes a habit, go figure. Most of the time, that new thing I try is something I am ensured I will find agreeable.
This year, I want to change that. My primary resolution, keeping all that I have just mentioned in mind, is seeking out new endeavors that I would feel uneasy experiencing. As the trendy jargon goes these days, I’m going out of my ‘comfort zone’. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to break any laws or hurt anyone’s feelings for the sake of saying ‘Been there, done that’. I just want to experience new adventures, rather than the ‘same old same old.’
I know, if you have read any of my previous blogs, you might find my first attempt laughable. After all, museums seem to be a huge attraction for me. Yet, I feel warm and cozy, exhilarated and entertained and, last but definitely not least, educated and informed when visiting a history museum.
This time I chose a Museum of a totally different realm.
I noticed, after my holiday walk of downtown Appleton, a building outlined in funky neon lighting. Pressed for time and on a totally different mission that night, I decided that examining it would have to come another day, most likely that day would never come. After all, it proudly announced itself as the Trout Museum of Art above its glass doors.
I’m pretty much art illiterate. Well, I mean, I can open up a novel of 19th century literature or listen to Nirvana and appreciate and have an opinion on the work. However, show me a painting or sculpture, I’m practically lost. I guess I find photography interesting, as I’ve discovered many bloggers’ work cool and entertaining. Yet, like I said, when it comes to the tangible arts, I couldn’t tell you why one work of art is superior to that of another.
I have been to an art museum before, although the history pertaining to the art was really the lure. That place was the Art Institute of Chicago and the wide array of history that was on display left me feeling overwhelmed. I did enjoy the religious paintings, as there were many, and the Van Gogh’s and Monet’s left me feeling awed, being in the presence of work I knew was priceless. However, I really couldn’t tell you why Monet’s pieces are worth more than the print I bought from Hobby Lobby.
So, that being said, art, for the sake of being art, is really quite a mystery to me. Blogging about a place that holds such pieces seems a daunting task, like blogging about quantum physics or astronomy. I’m not really and expert.
But, of course, I don’t have to be an expert. All I need to write about is my experience and I’ve given this blog plenty of lead in, now the meat and potatoes.
I walk through the glass doors and am greeted by a pretty, young, courteous and professional woman behind a counter. She flatters me by asking if I’m a student and I laughingly ask “why?”
She explains enthusiastically “students and seniors are admitted for four dollars.” I inquire if Veterans receive a discount and, unlike many historical museums I’ve meandered about, I end up disappointed. I pay the six-dollar admission, as I reason with myself that it’s the same price as a value meal at McDonald’s, minus the gut rot.
I turn the corner into the exhibit area. Frankly, the place is lot smaller than I expected. Aside from that, I’m charmed by the contemporary class of this small Midwestern museum. In front of me lies a simple staircase, rising to a mezzanine bordered with decorative railings. Exhibits cased in glass are orderly flecked on the lower floor. The walls feature paintings and interesting hand crafted ravens, made from a type of paper I’m not familiar with, ornately bordering the lower floor.
All of the origami is the product of an American physicist by the name of Robert J. Lang. The paper he creates his one cut masterpieces with is known as Korean Hangi. The paper is made from the pulp derived from the inner bark of mulberry trees, found on the rocky hills on the Korean peninsula. I return to the receptionist and ask. “Is Robert J. Lang always on display here.”
She Politely laughs and flashes a courteous smile. “No, we rotate artists. He is the one we are featuring at the moment.”
I thank her, peruse the contents of the protective glass cases and then climb the stairs. There is more of the same here. Some of his art, believe it or not, could serve practical purposes. I marvel at Jars crafted with paper with a sense of intrigue.
However, that was all. I witnessed origami at its finest, as there were a ton of animals crafted from paper. It’s definitely Something I haven’t seen before, at least not since middle school art class. Of course, even I can definitely understand that this is far superior than any origami I’ve seen before.
I say good-bye to the receptionist and leave not quite sure how I feel. I’m not in awe,nor am I inspired. I guess today I’m moderately enlightened and six dollars is a small price to pay for a new experience.