There are two subjects that, when asked to talk about them, cause most Americans go white with fear – wine and art. I’ve been around this country enough times to see the intimidation so many people feel about these subjects, cringing at the thought of being asked questions they don’t feel knowledgeable enough to answer. Wine has come the furthest in recent years, as more and more people add wine to their weekday dinner tables, enjoy it at restaurant and wine bars, or travel to the Napa Valley to drink up the energy, the excitement and the romance of wine country.
But art…wow, that’s still a head scratcher for so many. I think the difficulty comes from the rarely discussed fact that art is a visual language, not a verbal one. The temptation to translate that visual expression into words is always there because we are so verbal. But holding back the words can really open up the experience.
As a language, even a visual one, art has its symbols, its idioms, its vernacular. These are derived from art throughout the ages, from the evolution of styles and subject matter. They bounce between the historic and the current. But they truly are the elements of art’s visual vocabulary.
So, at you next art opening, enjoy the art but resist the temptation to put words all over the experience. Just be still. Let it soak in. You don’t need to “know.”
And don’t forget to drink some wine. Plenty of wine