Looking at Art with Girls

If my destiny is sheltered

May the grace of this privilege

Reach and bless the other infants

Who are destined for torn places.

- John O’Donohue (1956 – 2008)

Summer art camp,

languid after lunch,

it’s time to explore Pop Art

with seven girls, born long after

that form was news,

and who now have forgotten

their name tags, and my memory

not what it once was.

They are diffident or fierce

pleading, as we head upstairs

Can’t we take the elevator?

Our first stop

a TV cowboy star painted astride

his white rocking horse in downtown LA,

not a sagebrush in sight.

It leaves them cold.

We’ve seen this already!

The Remington bronco in bronze

grabs their attention but soon

they plop onto comfy Museum seats,

the only objects they can touch.

Interest in art plummets.

One girl, then another, feels ill

asks to be excused, led away

by a chaperone.

Two pm

the last day of Art Camp.

It’s all old hat to them.

I suggest, The more you look

the more you’ll see.

Their eyes are hungry for what’s fresh.

Straying far from our topic,

they spot a Korean basket

of pure white porcelain

and circle it, swooning.

Next, it’s on to Japan.

Seated on the floor

we gaze at a canvas

painted just this year.

Masses of skulls and flowers

in vivid teal, magenta and anime black

bring a burst of excitement.

The small repeating circles

look like emotocons!

One girl says how death

is ever- present, even

in the midst of life and fun.

Last stop is a series

of abstract Italian prints,

lines and stripes,

pulsating colors,

a geometry of grids

and overlapping spirals.

It’s our favorite gallery!

They go on to explain

exactly what they love

about each object.

The girls are brilliant.

Claudia Lapp


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