I have to admit, as much as I love making art, I have to be in the right mood to spend a day in an art museum. My favorite kind of art, which I’ve never seen showcased in any art museum, is scientific illustration and concept art. While I can appreciate all forms of art, and could probably name a favorite for each major era and genre, I tend to get bored pretty easily in art museums. All that being said, I have gone to the Phoenix Art Museum on multiple occasions, and I enjoy it every time.
Often, it is the temporary exhibits that bring me back, and the Phoenix Museum has had some pretty unique showcases in the past. The most recent of these was the Art of Video Games, which was surprisingly interactive, and definitely unexpected. Going in, I was hoping to get a chance to enjoy some video game concept art, but that turned out to be a very very small part of the exhibit. Most of the showcase was a display of different gaming systems, and scenes from influential games. There were also a few places where visitors could try out games from different consoles and eras.
Despite displaying traditional art like European portraits, landscapes, and various forms of modern art, the Phoenix Art Museum has always had a uniquely interactive nature to it, which made the Art of Video Game exhibit fit in well with the rest of the museum. Of the permanent pieces that are featured in the museum there are two that I never get tired of seeing. The first is Cornelia Parker’s Mass (Colder Dark Matter), which is not only beautiful but has an interesting story. The piece itself is a suspended cube made out of small chips of wood on the outside, and larger shards in the center. They all hang there on nearly invisible strings, twisting in the slight breezes of the museum. The wood itself came from a church that was struck by lightning and burned down. From loss comes something of beauty. It is a piece that has always spoken to me.
And my all time favorite is Yayoi Kusama’s You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies. In order to experience this piece, the visitor steps into a dark room of mirrored walls, filled with hanging lights. As they slowly change color in the calm air, the dangling lights look to be an infinite field of fireflies. Every time I come here, I wish I could just sit in a corner and watch the lights for a while. They are mesmerizingly beautiful, and no matter why I come to the museum, this is always the highlight of the trip.