Friday, August 11, 2006

Art in Milwaukee, Part 3 (Conclusion)

The Hayfamzone Blog can sometimes serve as a Think Tank, a veritable pressure cooker of potentially volatile topics. Let's switch into that mode today and examine the Masters of American Comics museum exhibit from a higher plane.

Who is this exhibit aimed at? What does it seek to accomplish? Does it succeed?

On the one hand you have me as an attendee: a lifelong comics fan, something of an artist myself, definitely a collector of original comic book artwork. If the exhibit was aimed at me, that was an easy win, because I thought it was fabulous. But how many of the attendees do you suppose fit my profile? The narrow demographic I fall into might be filed in the folder labelled Preaching to the Choir.

On the other hand you have some attendees who are perhaps uninterested in distinguishing between the dissimilar art styles of Will Eisner's Spirit and Chester Gould's Dick Tracy. Can you in your wildest imagination envision a museum-goer confronted by a Picasso and proclaiming that the artist was just copying Van Gogh? A museum exhibit provides an opportunity for self-enrichment through observation, but the museum-goer must want to grasp the opportunity.

The exhibit was sparsely-attended on the afternoon I went, but it struck me that just about everyone present was entranced by an artform they had not previously investigated. Sure, there were a couple of us on the floor who were already in the Choir and there were a couple of ladies who were not quite ready to open their eyes to something new, but mostly this was a great museum audience standing at the foot of a mountain and realizing there was some climbing to be done.


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