As a fairly new mum, I don't get a lot of opportunities to enjoy high or low art and the self-reflection that can stimulate. Especially the cinematic kind. I've only watched a handful of films since Peanut was born and as a longtime movie buff I miss them a lot. I never have (make?) time for more than an hour of television/film watching on any given day, which means I devote it to television. Over the past while I've been enjoying Girls, Bunheads, Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, Treme, and Parenthood. I'm sad to realize how predominantly white these shows are -- I wish they included more p.o.c.
Luckily good television can approach the power of good films for the cathartic way they can mirror bits and pieces of your life back at you. Though there's something about the shorter format of movies -- more like a novel than a series -- that makes them special and somehow tending more toward profoundness.
I miss contemporary visual art for the same reason. I stumbled upon the greatest show the other day when I took some family members to see Michelangelo's David at the Accademia Gallery: Arte torna arte (Art returns to art). The central concept is the reflexive way art can dialogue with other art. Some of the pieces are displayed in a side area devoted to temporary exhibitions while others are interspersed among the (much older) works on permanent exhibit. I suppose it's rather banal to say it, but it's been so long since I've been out to see great new art that I almost forgot the way it can make you look at life from a different angle, how it can challenge and amuse you and feed your soul.
My favourite piece was by one of my favourite artists, Rineke Dijsktra. For the entire length of the film Ruth Drawing Picasso (Tate Liverpool, 2009) we watch this adorable schoolgirl intently and utterly unselfconsciously (perhaps that's what thrilled me most) sketching in front of a painting by Picasso (located behind the camera). The sound of her pencil scratching the paper becomes this mesmerizing soundtrack. I just loved it, before I even knew it was by Dijsktra. It made me think how we don't often focus our attention on the artist at work, in the act of producing her craft, which has its own unconventional beauty to it.
File this under 'tastes of a post-preschool-stage future'.