Hey, Mr. DJ…

This week I was asked to give a talk at work—well, for work, since I wasn’t going in, but I was broadcasting from my home work space, sort of like a video DJ, except I was mostly using PowerPoint to present a slideshow so, yeah, nothing like a video DJ. That’s probably just as well. I once helped out a friend at a radio station and stepped in to do an announcement for him when he ran to the bathroom. I did okay, reading from a script, but I got an inexplicably angry phone call from a woman who wanted to know if this was my first time on the air, and I did a funny voice and pretended to be someone else, but that’s another story.

Anyway I gave a short talk about the art at home challenge that I wrote about here last week, which is a way people are communicating with each other while in quarantine. And even though I didn’t have a lot of time that’s a message I wanted to get across: that all art is an act of communication. Creating art is a way of communicating and just looking at art can create communication. I know most art museums are quiet places where people stand around looking at paintings and sculptures in silence, or, if they talk, it’s in reverent whispers. And yet I’ve had conversations with complete strangers in museums. Once, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, I stopped to look at an exhibit being put together and started talking to a guy also looking at it. It turned out he was a member and a regular there, and he told me about some previous exhibits that had been in that same space. Another time, at the Cincinnati Art Museum, I was looking at a wall piece and I commented to the docent that it was so unlike the artist’s other works, which were bright, colorful, and jumbled.

“It’s amazing,” I said, “that the same artist would make a work that’s monochromatic, that’s so austere, almost utilitarian.”

And she said, “That’s a light switch.”

Anyway I took the picture of some messages written on a post several months ago and only found it again recently, as I was going through my pictures trying to find something, anything, I could say something about this week, and it reminded me that art can allow communication between people who will never meet, who will never know each other, but who will still connect in some way.

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11 Comments

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Well, it takes me to my Gmail account, but I’m not sure what I was suppossed to see. I probably waited too long. Thank you for whatever it was, though.

      Reply
      1. BarbaraM

        Maybe you can find it through it’s name: Quarantine Through Art – It’s on Quick Time Player. Weird – I clicked on the one I sent you and it took me right to it. I will never get the hang of technology!

        https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0?ui=2&ik=1219a06493&attid=0.1.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1664951343615776603&th=171b186cfc87175b&view=att&disp=safe

        Reply
  1. Ann Koplow

    All art is an act of communication, Chris, and all your communications are art.
    Ann Koplow recently posted…Day 2708: Incredibly profoundMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Comments are a form of art too, something I’m always reminded of when you drop by.

      Reply
  2. mydangblog

    “That’s a light switch”! Lol, I had the opposite experience once when we were at the National Gallery–we went into a room and it just had buckets scattered around the floor. I thought maybe the roof was leaking but it was actually an installation. Not sure what it was trying to communicate but it sure got people talking!
    mydangblog recently posted…Personal AchievementsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s funny but your experience sounds much more common than mine. There was a story a few years ago about a Damien Hirst installation that was a pile of garbage and the museum janitor came in and swept it up and threw it away after the museum closed, and it turned out something like that had happened several times in several different museums.

      Reply
  3. Allison

    When I was in HS I was at an exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta, and this guy had his 4 year old kid with him. She kept saying she wanted to go back to the part of the museum set up for kids (lots of hands on stuff, space to run around). Dad said, “We’re not here to have fun, Kelsey, we’re here to look at art.”

    I have never forgotten that.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Wow. Kelsey’s appreciation of art has been ruined for life. Well, hopefully she’ll overcome it. That reminds me of an English teacher I had who, when we got to William Carlos Williams and “The Red Wheelbarrow”, went on and on about how we were too uneducated and young to understand what the poem “really meant”. I think that turned a lot of people off of poetry.
      Also I love the High Museum. My wife took me there ten years ago for my birthday when they were doing a Dali exhibit.

      Reply
  4. Kristine Laco

    It is great you can work from home and impart your wisdom via zoom.
    BTW I really want to hear the on-air read you did! How could it be that bad to illicit a caller’s response? Nothing better to complain about on the day, I suppose. Wonder what she’d complain about today?
    Kristine Laco recently posted…Outside Looking InMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I don’t think my on-air reading at the radio station was bad, although I didn’t have a broadcasting license so technically I wasn’t supposed to be on the air. I think I just wasn’t who that woman was expecting to hear. It was a weird experience for me but my friends who worked at the radio station were getting weird phone calls all the time. That’s something I may write about later.

      Reply

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