When Art Becomes Personal

My trip to the Renwick Gallery was very enjoyable but also gave me a lot to think about. Maura Judkis’ article on the Renwick was certainly in the back of my mind as I went through the gallery looking for the best angle or the perfect photo. There is certainly something to what she said about how our efforts to take pictures really interferes with appreciating the art in the moment. However, after my trip I found myself interacting with the art again for both the second and first time as I looked through my photos. Looking at the photos was the second time id seen the art, but it was the first time I had a chance to really collect my thoughts and think about the art. As I examined the photos I realized they were somewhat lacking compared to the real thing. However, they did provide a permanent record and something that I could always look back to in order to reexamine and reinterpret the art. From this I began to think of the photos I would be looking at for my own project. They may not be able to fully convey what someone could see in real life, but they still provide a permanent visual record which can be examined.

My visit became unexpectedly personal when I saw the statue called the Greek Slave. The statue is of a Greek women who was taken as a slave by the Turks during the Greek War of Independence. My family is originally from Greece and many of the older generations pasted down horror stories of living under Turkish rule. I immediately thought of the war photographs I would be examining in my own paper and how the men pictured were real people. Just like the Greek Slave these men represent a shared history of suffering. Did their families pass down their stories? What would those photographs mean to people who had a personal connection to them? Looking at the Greek Slave really made me reexamine how i would interpret the photos I will cover in my paper.


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