Form and function

San Francisco has a wonderful museum, the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.) I’m not an afficionado of Modern Art, but I love museums. Especially when the building itself is a work of art (Mario Botta, architect.) I was particularly delighted to visit the museum in the company of my 5 year old daughter and my 69 year old mother. Both have an amazing ability to see the world with fresh eyes. Our docent, Gretchen, a biochemist by profession and an art lover by confession, started us off with the question, “What is art? And what is craft.” My child offered 2 great answers.

“Craft is when you color something in.”

“Art is what an artist makes.”

The visit consisted of discussion about the line drawn between form and function and where that line blurred. The art was interesting, but what blew us all away was the attention to the building design. Blond wood in varying textures to contrast the black marble and white walls. Curves, arches and cutouts to feel form against the steel. Even the cafe was a marvel.

My daughter, with her innocent, untainted view of the world, was able to see the black and white…through to the base creativity of the artist. My mother, with her vast art knowledge, to provide the color commentary. One of the most important challenges of our time is, as we age, to push our minds to learn more, learn new, and to learn differently. This is what keeps our minds growing, creating new circuitry to replace old, keeps atrophy at bay.

I happen to be an older mother, however, visiting any museum with an innocent and a sage? I highly recommend it.

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