Applaud student art

by Dana Glaser

I’m an artist, not a dancer or an athlete, and art appreciation can be more of an awkward business. It’s like opening a gift while the person giving it watches over your shoulder: you can exclaim you love it and smile until your face breaks but the giver can almost always tell if you are going to return it the next day. For example:

Scene: Typical senior art show interaction.

YOUR FRIEND: Which ones are yours? (Looks around gallery holding free bagel)

YOU: That one. (you point and wander over, trying to look nonchalant)

(Long silence. YOUR FRIEND gazes searchingly at the artwork.)

Here, YOUR FRIEND may say any number of things. If the piece is well executed — “wow.” If it is shoddily executed or noticeably chilling — “that’s really cool.” If it is a self-portrait, “is that you?” If it’s abstract (or just tragically elementary) — “what is it?”

(Idle small talk for an appropriate period of five minutes. EXIT YOUR FRIEND to the quad to brush up on “Dalloway” reading before the quiz or finish a Stats turn-in.)

Honestly, I’m not complaining — it’s hard to fake that kind of enthusiasm. When a piece of artwork really strikes you, when you are drawn to someone’s work inexplicably (pretty much the ideal reaction in the artist’s mind), it’s a quiet affair. Unless he’s standing in the corner with a pair of binoculars, the artist will probably never know about his cataclysmic moment of success.

Which is why I feel I have an obligation to Sahar Bardi ’11. For those of you who missed it, or (since I’m assuming most people have been in Rugby in the past month) who walked by obliviously, here’s a recap of her project: video streaming of fluttering leaves and blue skies was projected onto fragmented mirrors. The mirrors reflected a sparkling pattern of light onto the opposite wall, which transformed it into a piece of moving, semi-abstract artwork.

Three weeks ago I was in the home stretch of a muddy-colored day with six periods of class under my belt, and two more to slog through armed with only a box of Junior Mints, facing the hideous Everest of The Tower, when I first saw the project. It brought the outside in, worked seamlessly with its dark stucco space, engulfed passerby in light, made me think of warm sun, tank tops, fresh grass, Marco Polo and spring break. It made me smile. And in the absence of a sweeping score, trumpets, Fanatics in full strength and swelling crowds, I wanted to say thank you. I think someone should.