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Where is Spring?

Posted by Amanda Gustin on April 11, 2011 in potpourri |
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing another new voice to the blog. Maryam Keramaty is finishing up her certificate in museum studies this spring. Her post captures what all of New England feels about this time of year – where is spring? Maryam journeyed to the Museum of Fine Arts in hopes of an answer.
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Stark contrast greets me at the Museum of Fine Arts on this wintry second day of spring. Dark and bright, heavy and light, hopeful and despairing. Where is spring? Why am I cold? Why is there snow outside?

The new Art of the Americas wing is a cold, gray, glass and stone structure, that smells of smothering bacon from the kitchen. A towering explosion of bright lime green glass climbs up to the ceiling with sharp points as if to spear through the wintry mood.

I walk and next see the wintry Calderwood Courtyard. Big flakes of snow swirl outside, I have little hope but soon find new life in fluorescent green buds on weeping willow branches. Peace washes over me.
In the IM Pei atrium, I am drawn to Kristin Bakers’  Full Dawn Parallax, huge acrylic on acrylic, broad green brush strokes I see as young grass, raging hot popping pink are fresh spring blossoms. Growth and freedom fill my soul. With a full heart, I turn the corner.
As if this fateful trip to the MFA is a cruel joke, endless black blobs sluggishly plop down a giant  staircase in a Maria Friberg’s video, Commoncause. Spring fades again and I see my tired winter soul in those heavy deflated basketballs covered in black velvet. Before I can recover, from the corner of my eye, I am startled by men above me free falling to the earth.
Here, Jonathan Borofsky and his I Dreamed I Could Fly reminds me of something deeper. Though the artist intends to “suggest the essential human desires for harmony and individual happiness,” I wonder, how about just some sunshine? Are these people who have jumped off a tall building, are they despairing like me?
At this point the MFA and my quest feels even more hopeless. A stream of flashing lights deliver another depressing message. As if giving me advice: “It’s interesting to test your capabilities for a while but that too causes damage.” I feel my grief deepening.
I feel dizzy. Minutes later I see an Art in Bloom flier and the hope comes back; hope of flowers, freshness and life. I breath a sigh of relief in the gift shop, greeted by glass plates in colorful bloom, pink cherry blossom glasses and greeting cards with seeds to plant. A book about decorating with flowers feels like hope.
Contrast and conflict is part of life, even in the halls of an inspiring place like the Museum of Fine Arts. I find my inner world in black blobs, pink splashes and falling bodies. The despair and joy create tension and drama.
As I exit the building I put on my hat and feel icydrops on my cheeks. I’ll return to the MFA galleries next week in search again of signs of spring.

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