UNLV’s Jerry Schefcik and LVAM board President Patrick Duffy discuss the exhibit on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at desertcompanion.com/hearmore
A second look at the revived LVAM collection in the newly reopened Marjorie Barrick Museum reveals new intrigues and pleasures By Danielle Kelly Photography Christopher smith
22 | Desert
Companion | NOVEMBER 2012
While working as a docent at the Venetian’s ill-fated Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, I had the strange and wonderful privilege of hosting student tour groups. Void of self-conscious ramblings, these tours were eyeopening: kids are astute observers and, truth be told, say the darnedest things. After greeting school children under the bubbling putti of the frescoed Venetian lobby, we’d spend the next hour or so moving through the galleries, stopping at relevant pieces as I coaxed conversation from their impressionable young minds. Every tour had its moments, but one stands out from the rest. While organizing a group of predictably aloof pre-teens, a girl of about 12 asked, “Are we going to see real paintings?” Puzzled, I assured her that real paintings were, indeed, in her immediate future. She squinted, unconvinced. Our first stop on the tour was a luminous Rembrandt, and she asked again: “Is this a real painting?”
A sense of display: The “Into the Light” exhibit features some bold curatorial choices.
Eventually it became clear that she thought we were looking at a reproduction — a poster of the painting. She had never seen a “real painting” — and a quick survey of the other students revealed much the same. Cue corny music as I pulled all of the students as close as possible to the canvas’ surface to point out the delicate shadows cast by Rembrandt’s more effusive brush strokes, physical evidence of the painting’s veracity. Who knew that the whipped-cream peak of a 350-year-old dollop of oil paint could blow a 12-year-old’s mind? Drooling with an equally blown mind before the frenetic peaks and valleys of Michael Reafsnyder’s dense acrylic cacophony “Confetti,” I am reminded of “real” painting’s heartier pleasures. Looking at art just feels good. It’s not supposed to hurt, it might make you confused or angry, but good art thrives and so do its viewers. Who knows why or how the girl and