I couldn’t believe it when I walked into this room at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The painting. The people. How they didn’t even blink when I walked past them, and how they stayed glued to their “devices”, even when I stood in front of them, raised my camera, and snap, snap, snapped. None of it was enough to break them from their trance. America, look the fuck around.
You’re in the Getty Museum – one of the highest valued museums IN. THE. WORLD. What on earth are you doing with your head cocked down, looking at a black mirror? I don’t care what type of audio tour you’re taking. Did you come to this place to hear a bunch of names and facts or did you come to see the art? To experience it?
Museums, and the art they contain, were created to enable us to feel something. We truly experience art, not with our eyes, but with our being. We go to museums to allow our spirits be struck in whatever way is universally determined. We go to museums to be swept away from them.
At these places, we can let ourselves sink into a different time. We can recognize the common link between us and our ancestors. We can realize that whether a piece was created last year, a hundred years ago, or a thousand – there was that inherent desire to create, to express, to inspire. Someone felt something when they created this, and it makes you feel something today.
This photo itself ties together two moments in history – two societies, presented and reflected, caught in time. Two moments of artistic calling, tied together in such a paradoxical manner. For the call to capture the image ties me to the creative drive that exists in human nature - though the contents of the photo so vividly portray the striking juxtaposition between us and our ancestors.
I love this photo for so many reasons, but I hate it too. Such an ugly and candid portrayal of how disconnected we now are. How detached we are. How our internet connection is a human disconnection. How we can’t look up from our phones for ten damn minutes, even in the most awe-inspiring of places (don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of it too). It’s terrible. It’s fucking awful.
But that disdain for it - that disgust - with that, I feel something. And, ironically, I feel connected.