Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday Thinking - Artistic Predisposition

Stephen Sandoval/Museum of Modern Art, New York City, Lillie P. Bliss Collection

Have you ever had a work of art reach out and grab you in a mysteriously deep and personal way? It's happened to me many, many times. The music of Dvořák, the poetry of Joyce Sutphen, the sculpture of Alexander Calder, and the short stories of Flannery O'Connor, just to name a few. It can happen with anything – sounds, tastes, places.

Robert Krulwich, co-host of WNYC's amazing Radiolab program, recently blogged about his own experience with this type of visceral connection with a piece of art. It happened to him in a museum when he was only eight years old and saw a Cézanne painting for the first time. How does such a connection happen? How is it that some things just seem like we were meant to find them? Here's what Krulwich thinks...
...when we are born, we are born with a sort of mood in us, a mood that comes to us through our genes, that will be seasoned by experience, but deep down, it's already there, looking for company, for someone to share itself with, and when we happen on the right piece of music, the right person, or, in this case the right artist, then, with a muscle that is as deep as ourselves, with the force of someone grabbing for a life preserver...
I'm not sure he's right, but that explanation sounds pretty accurate to me. How about you? What do you think is going on in people when they powerfully and inexplicably resonate and connect with some things? If you've had this experience, I'd like to hear how you would explain it.

Read Robert Krulwich's post, "Boy Meets Painting," on the Radiolab Blog.

1 comment:

  1. It mostly happens with music for me. Some songs just grab my heart and affection.

    It certainly rings true that it is an innate, unconscious thing...practically impervious to logic or explanation. But I think it's also affected by timing and mood-of-the-moment: what may have seemed profound or "awesome" at one time or place, may lose its specialness upon repeated viewings/hearings/readings.