This weekend was Get Out and See Tallahassee, as I mentioned before. My neighbor and I planned to go see the Mission, but the smoke scared us some and we decided to see what we could find indoors. We wound up at the Mary Brogan museum. Seeing Kleman Plaza packed with families and kids and wandering young couples brought my spirits up, even with the heat and the dry smell of burning forest all around us.
We walked around the science exhibits, watched kids pull levers and turn cranks and generally have a damn good time. For some reason, I got a real kick out of the device that throws a tennis ball up a story or two before when a rope is pulled, catching it in a funnel net and reloading for the next go.
After we'd had our fill of hands-on fare, we headed upstairs to check out the art. Unless you've got your head firmly planted under a rock, you know that Mary Brogan's currently running AfroProvocations. With a focus on race in current society, the exhibit includes a couple riffs on the Confederate battle flag that have been the source of some controversy lately, including a series of flags made to the St. Andrew's cross and stars pattern in different styles (drag flag, wedding flag, leather flag). Honestly, I didn't find those particular pieces particularly shocking or offensive. Maybe because I've seen it done so many times - I've seen tshirts bearing gay pride Dixie flags, flags done in Afro-centric colors, you name it. I guess what I'm saying is that it all just felt too obvious.
O.L. Samuel's carved wooden figures of beasts and monsters and odd people, on the other hand, left me feeling uneasy but interested. I'll be remembering his name for any future displays of his work.
And that's the whole point of a real art gallery, isn't it? Not to present ideas and images that every single person will like, but to capture a wide enough spectrum that anyone can take find something worth remembering and thinking about.
I hope Get Out and See Tallahassee becomes a yearly event. And I hope that next year we're not fighting through clouds of smoke to enjoy it.