Thank you to everyone who voted me into this award category!
Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
I am awaiting my (delayed) flight home and reflecting on the past week in New York. If it is humanly possible to visit New York without engaging in the travel equivalent of a drug binge I haven’t figured it out yet. The art and fashion and beaches and food and my aching feet at the end of the day: oh my!
The contents of the Metropolitan museum alone deserve whole encyclopedias written about them, but instead I will devote this blog to two little words: visible storage. Visible Storage is the Met’s answer to the curator’s quandary: what the heck do we do with all this great stuff that we don’t have enough gallery space to always keep on display?
It turns out they can build narrow Plexiglas cabinets and stuff them with paintings, furniture, china, silver and the like. If you can handle being in a windowless basement with narrow aisles, peering into shelves crowded with priceless objet than you’re in luck because this is the only way to get six inches away from a breathtaking Hopper without security guards telling you to back up. This experience alone is worth tackling any claustrophobia issues.
I think great paintings tell us something about how to live. No matter what the subject it all seems to come down to light and shadow. It’s a paradox that we need darkness in order to notice light. The luminosity of a candle or a pearl earring or a pair of bright eyes positively shines against a gloomy backdrop.
It’s the same with mental health. People want to feel happy. They want access to their personal light. How frustrating that we must look at our own darkness in order to find the light.
“What good is it to talk about my past? I just want to let bygones be bygones,” some people say.
Imagine a Vermeer without shadow or a statue devoid of contour. Would it still inspire awe hundreds of years later? Would the symphony of composition in Starry Night work without blackness to light the stars?