Last night I lay on a yoga mat in the contemporary wing of the Baltimore Museum of Art. A green mat littered with tiny balls of black sock lint. My feet and arms bare. The room, tall and wide. Bright. The walls holding a collection by Andy Warhol. Shadow, pattern repetitions like camouflage, and the last supper—stretched over a canvas that took up most of the wall.
Others lay on the floor around me in between two sculptures by Franz West. One of the sculptures, named Viola. When asked to pick a sculpture to interact with Viola was the one I chose. Viola is lavender. Appearing both heavy and light all at once. Our instructor, Brianna, told us that Franz West wanted people to interact with his art. That it wasn't complete without our participation. Just looking at it wasn't sufficient.
I rest both hands delicately on Viola and stretched along with the class. As our instructor informed us further about Franz West I found myself captivated. Gliding my hand along the surface of the sculpture. Feeling both liberated and cautious around the piece.
We walked about the room. Looking at the various pieces in our bare feet. I couldn't help but think about how many feet, with shoes, had walked these floors before me. Just two weeks prior, Roberto and I had walked these floors exploring the wing.
It was immediate then, as it was last night, my commune with Shadow. We were asked to pick a piece to focus on. Shadow held a small corner of the room. Two canvas, one charcoal/black, the other, well, it reminded me of the color of freshly made pasta. Pasta cranked out—dusted with flour—sitting on a board. Both canvas glistened. As though sand had been mixed in with the paint. And with the light just right, it reflected off the current of people and objects inhabiting the room.
With my piece I picked a spot to meditate on. The lighter canvas, focusing full center. Breathing in deep. Our class audibly sighing out. The longer I looked, the blurrier things got until all at once, Shadow faded into the wall behind it.
We were asked to give our opinions about the pieces. It felt a bit challenging at times. But, eventually, this became easier. Perhaps it was the stretching. Or the quiet, often interrupted by strange echos coming from other parts of the museum. One such echo sounded much like a whale, calling out in the depths of the darkest and coolest of oceans.
Brianna let her voice glide (sing) through the space. Relax...
With my body sinking into the floor beneath me, I opened my eyes allowing my vision to travel to the highest point. The white rafters, beams and light.