Sunday, May 24, 2009

Museum/Gallery Visit

I'm always overwhelmed by the atmosphere and the collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I saw many wonderful and moving works of art, but it was the title of the sculpture on the grounds of the museum that inspired me most. "Social Consciousness" is a large bronze outdoor piece by Jacob Epstein.

Jacob Epstein was known for creating contravesial works of art. Epstein was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the "3rd Sculpture International," held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 1949. On the base of the sculpture, is a Walt Whitman inscription. "Social Consciousness, A grand, sane, towering, seated mother, Chaired in the adamant of time." This piece stood out to me because of my interest in social issues and human rights. I like the idea that we are one human family. The concept of social consciousness being a mother, fits in well with that. The sculpture itself, is towering and moving. I see compassion demonstrated in the figures on either side of the mother. The mother seems to be proclaiming the need for this caring and compassion. She is the consciousness. To write about this sculpture helped me to remember my interest and committment to myself, to be more socially conscious. The sculpture and inscription went beyond what I was looking at and on to human rights issues like Darfur, child soldiers, and public executions. These are all issues that have helped me to become more socially conscious. To write on an actual piece of art, was something foreign to me. I usually write, based on my feelings at the time. It took a little more concentration to focus only on what the art was saying to me and not just on my feelings, moods and opinions.

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