Monday, December 31, 2012

Warhol's Self Portrait at the SF MOMA

Recently I visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The decision to do so was taken on a whim, primarily out of curiosity. I have no experience or knowledge in this domain. I felt attracted by the way this sort of art seems to speak differently to different people; how the art becomes your own story, open for adaptation to the nuances of your personality.

You can hang abstract art in multiple orientations and derive a fresh meaning for that configuration unique to yourself. That concept felt both new and exciting. Often at the MOMA, I would look at a picture for long, make up my mind on what I think of it and then approach the little notes describing the picture, with its history, intent of the artist and other details. I was almost always different (if not wrong) from what these notes said. To me, that was fine. They were irrelevant to what I appreciated about the picture.

Anyways, this particular piece by Warhol, is not really abstract. And yet, the composition invites you to speculate what he is trying to say. I found the half darkened side to this face very very interesting. To me, it said that the artist is very aware that he is not fully aware of a part of himself. Or a part of himself is not available for public consumption. And yet he tries to create a self portrait. I read that he often invited other people to draw him. Hmmm. I wonder how far our self-image is influenced by how other people think of us. Or, indeed, how we imagine they think of us? And what of the patchiness on the left?

Of course, soon, I was just too muddled up and the art work too abstract for my untrained palate. Me and my partner in "artventure", giggled embarrassingly at how completely absurd some of the material appeared to us!