Aging with Attitude
Friday, March 7, 6:00-9:00 pm is the opening reception for an art exhibit, Aging With Attitude, that challenges and and expands the perceptions of aging. It's at the Slusser Gallery, UM School of Art and Design, North Campus, and is sponsored by Blueprint for Aging. The show presents artists of all ages and media exploring our individual and collective responses to growing older, reflecting the diversity of aging as an experience, a concept, and a cultural phenomenon. It even includes local elementary school students exploring the theme "Me, When I am Old." The exhibit runs through March 28. Among AADL's large collection of art materials, is a fine volume on the idea of old age in world art entitled A History of Old Age, edited by Pat Thane.
This exhibit was fun-- and really good! The strength of the work reflects the fact that the art includes both juried submissions and invited works by national artists. The installations are very well executed*. I felt the annotations by the artists especially add to the works' accessibility.
I liked having the age of the artist listed under their name. Most of the artists are older, but some are young. I think it's Naomi Zaslow who is 19 and did a great couple of photographs of her relatives, Irene and Nat. When the artist was older, I had a few different reactions.
1. First it emphasized how much more important is the vision of the individual than the age of the individual. For example, imagine "Marc Chagall, 98" beside an art work. The fact that the artist is Chagall is much more important than the fact that the artist is 98.
2. The older age of most of these artists made me feel hopeful that I could be creative and thoughtful as I age.
3. Sometimes the artist's age obviously informed the art. The castings of the skin with the interesting shape of the feet was very powerful. In one of the annotations there is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt to the effect that a beautiful young person is a gift and each [beautiful] old person is a work of art.
I would like to hear what others think about the exhibit. Thanks!--Sue
p.s. *I especially like the lighting on Brooks Harris Stevens' mixed media piece, "I Know You Hear Me, But Are You Listening". Please go look and tell me what you think. I think it's stunning.
I visited Aging with Attitude on March 14 for just a few minutes, but I'll return by March 28 to take the time this exciting exhibit deserves. What struck me was the variety of forms, quality of each piece, and the placement of the art in the large well-lit space. There really is a strong life-force present, the attitude, which serves well to dispell aging stereotypes and gives a voice to the different statements.
I came from Chicago to see the show the day before it closed. I remembered when the idea for this exhibit came up several years ago and I was astonished to see how beautifully this vision was achieved. The variety of media, the range of ages of the artists and the very thoughtful comments of the artists fully represented the depth and complexity of the theme. It was so moving for me to see pictures of people I knew well along with their taped stories. I loved Millie Danielson's strong figure standing in the middle of the room, the wonderful photographs and the colorful picture about everyone I love is here (I forget the artist's name and title but remember the picture which is probably as it should be).
Most of all, I would like to express admiration and appreciation for all the people involved in getting this together. I especially want to applaud all the vital partnerships you built-with Pfizer, the library, elementary schools, the UM School of Art and Design and many others. This is just what we hoped the Blueprint would do eons ago. You are all doing a marvellous job. Thank you so much.
Would you consider doing a juried writing competition on the same theme-Aging with Attitude-which might culminate in a public reading? Some people express their thoughts in a visual way, others with words. I would love to read their thoughts.
This was a bit tricky to be able to find the link to actually post a response to this now completed art exhibit. However, I found the online look of the exhibition a real treat. The variety of images really made me think a lot about varied perspectives, which our culture sort of pushes out of site. Extremely creative.Thanks.