Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Touring the TAM

Exploring Tacoma, Washington

The doors opened promptly at 10 am and we were the first ones to enter.  I couldn't wait.  I needed my art fix.

Filled with western art, studio glass and thought provoking curated exhibits, the Tacoma Art Museum is a gem.  We spent three hours here, but the art has stayed with me for much longer. 

I adored all the studio glass.  So vibrant and creative, but it was the immigrant artists that caught my attention and I think this is exactly what the museum intended.  The curators want us to think beyond stereotypes.  See beyond the Chinese immigrants as railroad workers.  See beyond Indian chiefs in elaborate feathered head dresses.  What else did they do?  How did they live?  What were they thinking?  How did they help shape America?

This is a trend I've noticed in the art museums here in the Pacific Northwest and it is one that is relevant today as we build walls, close borders and kick people out.  We need to stop, think, and listen.  What are we doing?  And why?

  The above sculpture is one of my favorites.  The cactus is made out of border patrol uniforms.
Cacti lines the border between Mexico and the United States.  Step or run into one, and you will be stabbed with painful spines.  The comparison to the border patrol is obvious.  And yet . . . the olive green fabric is embroidered with colorful flowers.  It is soft to the touch.  Perhaps the artist did not intend this line of thinking, but there is a danger in stereotyping border guards, as well.  They are not all bullies.  They have families themselves.  Friends from Mexico and Central America.  I know because my nephew is one of them.

Art is beautiful.
Art is powerful.

Art museums bring people from all walks of life together.
Under one roof.

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