Trying to be a stereotype


To be honest I am not a huge art guy. The art I do prefer is classic paintings that are similar to a puzzle in the sense that the artist hides symbols in it and the viewer has to pick them out to decipher the meaning. Abstract art is more about the experience rather than scanning a painting and analyzing its meaning.

Like everyone else I had previously experienced the Wonder exhibit through friend’s Instagrams and Snapchats. Ever since the exhibit premiered, it seems that social media has been blitzed by photos and hashtags of it. Because of this I had in essence already seen the exhibit numerous times. To many that may seem like a shallow way of appreciating art, but I see it as an advantage. I viewed this field trip as a challenge to myself to try and find the positions that are most used in people’s social media posts. I tried to turn the visit into a challenge where in each room I found the view that, to me, seemed to be the most shared view on social media. It seems easy but is actually harder than one would think. This challenge forced me to truly observe the art more than I normally would have because I was constantly moving around trying to find the most cliche Renwick pictures I could. I feel that in my efforts to take as many generic pictures as I could I actually managed to take a couple unique ones, proving to me that the Wonder exhibit is truly good art, as even this gallery which has clogged my social media pages for months, can still provide me with unique experiences and viewpoints.

As far as the issue of people merely going to such an exhibit just to take a quick picture to post and prove they were there, I have a fairly ambivalent opinion. While that is definitely the case for many of the visitors of the Renwick gallery, the attention and publicity has been nothing but good for the gallery and the art inside. In the first three months of the exhibit there have already been more visitors then all of last year. The social media exposure has pushed art from a relatively small D.C gallery on to the world stage, enticing people to travel and see it. Also, the Wonder exhibit creates an opportunity for anyone with a cellphone, to create some artistic expression. There are countless ways people can take pictures of these works, as opposed to the one way you can take a picture of, say the Mona Lisa. The art is not only seen and absorbed, but also recycled and turned into new artistic forms by everyday people. So while yes I can see how it is annoying to have people snapping away in front of you as you try and see the art, I also think that it does great things for the art itself.

Jared Martin


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