Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ya gotta have art

I've lived in the Detroit area for more than three decades and had never gone to the Ann Arbor Art Fair (I don't know if that is the official title). It is a huge event spread from the University of Michigan main campus to downtown. Because it is held in July the weather is usually beastly hot, a good reason for me not to go.

But with a July polar vortex and a high for today predicted to be 75F I decided it was a good year to go. So I did. My overall reaction is that now that I've done it I don't have to do it again.

I parked at a high school in northeast Ann Arbor and took a shuttle to the fair. I got there about 12:30. I strolled past the booths and very few of them prompted me to linger. As I passed the displays I thought most of it was way too cute or too precious or too garish. Rugged landscapes! Barns! Wolves! Mermaids! Michigan scenes! Fish! Sailboats! Dogs! Cats! Sport scenes! Frogs! Interesting patterns! Bright colors! See how clever I am to make this scene out of this unusual material! Some booths had jewelry, which I have no need for. Some had clothing, almost all for women. Some had toys and my nieces and nephews don't play with toys anymore.

Along the way I got to be thinking about what one of my music professor colleagues had said. Her definition of popular music was something that was obvious – one could tell immediately what one was going to get. Classical music had depth – the complete meaning was not apparent in one hearing. What I was seeing in these booths was obvious and had little depth. I finally figured out this was a fair of decorations for house, yard, and body. I understand most people don't want a lot of deep meaning on the wall above the couch.

My house doesn't need any more decoration. I've got plenty of stuff on the walls, much of it from my travels around the world.

I didn't pass every booth, but I did get all the way from South University to Main St. and back to the Quad and the shuttle by 3:30. And that included a lunch stop. That gives some of you an idea of how quickly I walked.

I had lunch with my friend and debate partner yesterday. We talked about the fair. He was taking his girlfriend that afternoon. It is just as well I didn't go with them. Friend, I hope you had a good time.

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