Happy Art Saturday everyone! This week’s piece of Denver public art is “Dancers” by Jonathon Borofsky. It consists of two seventy foot tall dancers made of steel and fiberglass.
The sculpture sits behind the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and is visible all along one stretch of Speer Boulevard. The lesson I learned this week is that art has to be viewed the way the artist intended it before you can really appreciate it.
I have hated this piece for years. I didn’t like the vague outlines of the dancers, I thought that they looked unfinished and even though I did know the name of the piece was “Dancers” they just did not look like dancers to me. I know, what do I know about art? Still I had my opinion.
Then I went to take the pictures of them this week. Seeing them from the Denver Center, instead of whizzing by at 40 miles an hour gave me a better chance to look at the work and think about it a little bit. Sure, they still look like smooth aliens, but now I could see they were holding hands and the arms flung into the pale blue winter sky seemed to suggest a joyousness that I had never gotten from the piece before.
When I walked up to the base, it turns out that there is music playing. It is this kind of upbeat string music, and it captured my wife and me so much that we started to dance around ourselves. That was the epiphany. The music combined with the statutes and let me paint the complete image of two people dancing away under a clear blue sky in my mind.
Instead of an impenetrable piece of modern sculpture, this was a monument to those times when music sweeps you and another away and you dance; you dance like no one is watching, you dance like you know people are watching and you don’t care; you dance like it is all there is in the world to do.
Yeah, I know the last paragraph is a little purple, but that is how it felt. I went from being ready to lambaste a piece of art that I have vocally hated for years to a huge fan of it. This all happened because the missing pieces, a little time and the music were added and I finally got what the artist was trying to say.
So, this weeks lesson, is never assume about art, until you see it in the conditions the artist intended. Then you can love it or hate it but at least you will not be forming an uninformed opinion.
The floor is yours.