January 03, 2006

Sperm "Art"

I meant to post a Happy New Year wish at the end of last week, but clearly it didn’t happen. R and I went out of town this weekend to celebrate a decade of wedded bliss, and being the last-minute packer that I am, I was still frantically cramming things into a suitcase five hours before we were supposed to wake up to go to the airport. Where is the Suitcase Packing Fairy when I need her??

So, a belated Happy New Year! May this year be filled with the peace, joy and children we are all longing for.

Speaking of children and longing, that was something R and I decided we were not going to do this weekend. It was going to be a no-infertility-thoughts weekend. It was a great plan.

Despite how well intentioned that idea was, it turns out there are some things that will find you regardless of where you are, even if where you are is in an art museum.

I should mention here that R and I are not cultured, art-loving sophisticates. When I see a very large, plum-colored canvas painted orange on most of the top of it and dark blue on most of the bottom, I don’t think that the slightly varying shades of orange have any sort of deep, philosophical meaning. Yes, I realize it’s a famous painting, but I don’t understand why. Nor do I understand why a large canvas painted solid blue is considered “art” and worth thousands of dollars. I could do that. Come to think of it, maybe I should take up canvas-painting as a new way to pay for our infertility treatment bills.

But I digress. We wound up in said museum because it was raining, we needed something to do indoors, and the unfortunate timing of cycle day 1 ruined any chance of other romantic activities.

Our obvious lack of artistic taste aside, we were having a pretty good time wandering through the exhibits. Then we got to the last one, entitiled “Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980-2005.”

We turned the corner, stepped into the gallery and looked down to see a large, square, black platform on the floor. It was covered with dozens and dozens of foot-long glass sperm. It looked like a drop of a semen sample, magnified by the power of 1 million.

You think I’m making this up. I’m not. Here’s proof. The picture shows the glass sperm on what appears to be a wood background rather than a black background, but that’s about the only difference.

R and I quickly decide to move on. A mistake. We look up, and there’s a paper maiche-looking sculpture of a woman standing up, umbilical cord hanging out of her vagina, with a baby laying on the ground between her legs. The baby is still attached to the other end of the umbilical cord, which appears to have either hung or strangled him, I’m not sure which.

Quick! Keep going! We continue to scurry through the exhibit, only to come face to face with another paper maiche-looking sculpture. In this one, the woman’s nipples are leaking breast milk that has run down her chest and stomach, leaving chalky white stains as evidence.

By that point, we forgot that this was “art” in the traditional sense of the word. It felt more like a creepy Adams Family version of Infertility Hell, in technicolor. We decided we’d had more than our fill of art and culture for 2006, so we headed for the nearest exit.

5 comments:

thalia said...

I have to admit to enjoying the large purple canvases etc., but the kiki exhibits do sound like a bit much to handle. Sorry you were subject to this drive-by in a museum - I hope the rest of the trip is better!

April said...

Oh my...

So sorry that you had to go through that!

Nico said...

Just when you think you're safe!

I don't know if you read Pixi at all, but she actually has a Kiki Smith sculpture as her about pic at the moment. Her post about it is really thought provoking - if you're interested, it's at http://pixi.typepad.com/pixi/2005/12/about_image_3_u.html

Liz said...

Oh what an experience. It seems you aren't safe anywhere. Hope you were able to enjoy the trip.

K said...

huh. I'm not sure what I would have thought about that one...