Monday, January 15, 2007

Artrain USA

Art ExhibitAs I mentioned in a previous post, Lisa and I had a date to visit Artrain USA here in Ann Arbor. On Saturday afternoon we made our way down to the railroad tracks near where Main Street runs into M-14. We had reserved a spot in a VIP tour of the current exhibit, "Native Views: Influences of Modern Culture."

When we arrived, we were greeted by Barb Shoffner, who had told me about Artrain when we first met. We were then introduced to our tour guide, Nathan Zamarron, and to the other members of our tour group. Then we were off!

Over the next hour, Nathan took us through the length of the train, four or five cars in all. We stopped periodically for him to tell us the stories behind some of the pieces. Sometime it was to explain some of the Native American symbology, others to tell an anecdote about the artist, still others would be to point out some subtle bit of imagery which my untrained eye, at any rate, might well have missed. His infectious enthusiasm really helped draw us all into the artwork and helped me to appreciate the subtleties of modern Native American art.

While each painting or sculpture was interesting, I found one or two of the pieces particularly intriguing. One was a computer printout of a scanned image of native beadwork. What was so cool, though, was the fact that the artist intentionally chose to print the image at a fairly low resolution. This meant that if you stood close enough, you could easily pick out the individual pixels which made up the image. in effect, it was a modern form of the beadwork which it depicted.

The other piece which really grabbed me was one which emboddied the concept of the "seventh generation". According to Nathan, the tribe would attempt to make decisions based on how the results would effect not only those alive today, but also how it would affect everyone down to the seventh generation. It made me pause to consider: What if we did the same thing today? What if we gave pause to think about those would follow us in seven generations? How would we change our current behaviors. Heck, there are times when I think life on this planet would improve if we considered what effects our actions would have in a week, let alone a time period measured in generations.

Anyway, the current exhibit will be in the Ann Arbor area for the rest of the month. I don't know if any VIP tours remain, but even if you can't get in on one of those, you should really make the effort to get down there before they leave to check it out. Give them a call at 734-747-8300 if you have any questions.

So, what was the last thought-provoking event that you attended?

1 comment:

Nathan said...

thanks for the Kudos Greg, I'm glad you enjoyed the tour.