Thursday, February 13, 2014


I went to see "Monuments Men." This film tells the heroic tale of a group of battle-hardened art historians who go behind enemy lines near the end of World War II, searching for paintings and statues that have been stolen by the Nazis. It was a nice slice of that corner of history. The Allies banding together to keep Adolph Hitler from gathering all the world's great works for his own, and saving many treasures from ages past from becoming rubble and ash. It did prompt me to reflect on art preservation.
That same weekend, I took my son to see the "Dark Side of the Moon" Laserium show. He had missed it when my wife and I had gone before Christmas, and we were anxious to share this slice of our past with him. I know every note from years of listening to the album through headphones, and I was familiar with the light show from my previous visit and the multiple times I sat in various stages of consciousness while the lasers danced above my head when I was in high school and college. After the show was over, we stayed a little for my son the techie to talk with Danny the Laserist. They talked about the science that made the art. Danny told about how he came to be a Laser Artist. I watched my son's fascination grow. A new generation of appreciation for the dancing lights and Pink Floyd was growing in front of me.
Later that night, the Columbia Broadcasting System ran a special commemorating the first appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Half a century of Beatlemania. An audience of millions watched as the glitterati sat and watched today's stars pay tribute to the Fab Four at fifty. Their musical influence can still be felt in this new century, just as the strains of baroque piano could be found "In My Life." I wondered if we would be gathering again, in another fifty years, to celebrate this moment in time.
I wondered about Ryan O'Neal fully appreciates Andy Warhol's painting of his enamorata, Farrah Fawcett. It has stood the test of time for more than three decades. I wondered if some future oppressive regime might try to forcibly remove that portrait. Would it end up on the "save" pile, or the "delete," as many of Picasso's works did during the Nazi occupation? Then I remembered Rabo Karabekian, the hero of Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Bluebeard. Mister Karabekian was an abstract impressionist who maintains a barn full of what might be masterpieces. As it turns out, spoiler alert, Karabekian's last painting is an enormous photo-realistic picture of his experience of World War II where he and five-thousand, two hundred and nineteen other prisoners of war, gypsies, and concentration camp victims were dumped in a valley when the German forces realized that the war was lost.
What will be left behind by the next war? Pink Floyd? Daft Punk?

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