Sigh. I didn’t enjoy this date very much. I saw a Facebook Event for Third Thursday at Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). They were featuring 3 exhibitions and welcoming people to come and check them out for free. They do this every third Thursday of the month and it includes free craft beer from a local brewery and a DJ rockin some tunes.
This event appealed to me because I enjoy art museums and haven’t taken the time to check out what we have in Tucson. My work week was really tough and it sounded like it would be nice to wander through the museum and enjoy the exhibitions. I’m not an artist or an art expert. I just know what I like when I see it and like art that provokes feelings for me or makes me think. So, here’s how I felt about what was on display…
Relevance of Your Data – I was looking forward to seeing this one. Tucson MOCA offers this description: “The exhibition’s title refers to the insidious ways personal data is used to categorize an individual’s identity in order to ascribe value or erase relevance––practices that are particularly harmful to people of color. The artists in the show seek to build solidarity between Black and Indigenous makers, and use techniques like abstraction, collage, and improvisation to rewire reductive categories.” I don’t have any idea how this exhibition related to relevance of data or anything else in the description in any way. There were spider webs represented in one or more of the giant paintings, which could represent connection of some sort, but otherwise it just didn’t speak to me. There was a big sculpture hanging from the ceiling that was pretty cool. This was a miss for me on communicating relevance of data. I didn’t love it.
Silent Spikes – This exhibition sounded really interesting. MOCA explained that it “investigates the intersections of masculinity, race, and labor. Featuring a two-channel video installation with accompanying photographs, the show examines the performance of gender and considers the power of image production and circulation, asking who has been silenced, erased, or left out of the frame.” I couldn’t bear to watch more than 5 minutes of this video installation. It just seemed like some guys got really stoned and started to talk about nonsense. It seemed like a weird “Wayne’s World” dream sequence or something I would see parodied on “Portlandia”. This one also did not speak to me.
Plein Air – Per MOCA “explores shifting ideas of western landscape, painting, and fieldwork. Traditional plein air painting, which typically involves painting outdoors in a single sitting to capture a vista in a certain quality of light, is taken as a point of departure to consider the ways in which humans use, observe, record, and commune with the land. This group exhibition expands plein air to include contemporary works of painting, video, mapping, multidisciplinary research, and installation, that involve the act of painting outdoors.” I liked this exhibition more than the other 2, but I wasn’t excited enough about it to spend much time taking it in. I was done with my stroll through Tucson MOCA.
It was a really beautiful night and I noticed that the majority of people attending Third Thursday were outside the museum. They had it right. I pulled up a chair and sat back to enjoy my beer and some people watching. This wasn’t really my crowd. They were all friendly, but there were a lot of really young hipsters. I finished my beer and took myself out for a quick dinner before calling it a night.
I didn’t enjoy the art experience, but I’m happy I went and gave it a chance. It has motivated me to see what other art museums we have in town.
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