Out and About: National Gallery of Art

I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C. area for nearly three years and for three years I have planned to go to the National Gallery of Art. I don’t have time. I don’t have anyone to go with. To be honest, I also didn’t want to be seen. And isn’t seeing what a museum is all about?

Women with lipedema understand the twin and often intersecting sides of being seen. People look away and ignore us, perhaps when we walk into a store to shop for clothes, or they look directly at us and judge us, possibly on public transportation or in a restaurant.

During my undergraduate years I studied history of art, often telling people I was getting my degree in beauty. The truth was, however, that I was much more interested in the deconstruction and re-imagination of beauty. Whereas centuries of art focused on seamlessly capturing – or even improving upon – reality, modern and contemporary art dares to embrace the messy everything else.

Movement. Emotion. Color. Space.

Think Jackson Pollock, who rebelled against the canon by painting on the ground rather than on an easel then, to add insult to art historical injury, launched his paint at it with a stick rather than with the neat and controlled strokes of a paintbrush. Think Frida Kahlo, who painted herself in a wheelchair and with a uni-brow even though she could have easily “fixed” her body’s “imperfections.”

What do you wish was different about your body? How can you, as your own modern artist, embrace its messy beauty and set it free to take up space? If Marcel Duchamp can turn a urinal into art by putting it in a gallery then you, my dear sturdy woman, can make your body beautiful just by setting it free in this world. Go forth and let yourself be seen!

2 thoughts on “Out and About: National Gallery of Art”

    1. Thanks so much, Rosie! It’s been sitting in draft for a few weeks and I finally thought, “yeah, that’s good enough to go!” Seems like it was meant for you today šŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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