Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Walters Art Museum

On my way to the Walters Art Museum I was able to see the extreme variation of cultures that reside in Baltimore. It started after I crossed over Cold Spring lane. This neighborhood was rather upscale. The houses were big, their lawns were tended to, and they all had nice cars in their driveways such as BMW, Audi, or Mercedes. It quickly transitioned to the Johns Hopkins area. Here I found trendy students and hipsters flooding the streets like insects on an anthill. Around Penn Station, the area took a downturn. There were many ethnic people and minorities, small apartment buildings that looked like that have not been cared for, and cars with bumpers that were being held on with bungee cords. All of a sudden, and rather unexpected and out of suit, the area became nice again. This random order of different cultures, races and traditions continued all the way to the museum. This melting pot that is Baltimore City, is a perfect example of modernity with a foundation of tradition. All of these different cultures, resided directly adjacent to each other and mix with each other while still holding true to tradition, much like the main theme to the readings.
When I arrived at the museum, the first thing I noticed was that it was a very old, and stunningly beautiful building. The stone walls were constructed perfectly and surrounded the shining tile floors. It was clear that it was very old. As I went through the museum, I was astonished at how different each exhibit was from the rest. The European was nothing like the Asian and the Asian was nothing like the American. When looked at currently, however, the regions of the world are much more similar in culture. Driven by the media, the Internet, and other technological communication devices, the tradition of separation has been overcome by modernization, much like the inevitable outcome of the Whales Rider by Witi Ihimaera.
The biggest difference between the arts I saw in the museum and what I see today were the portraits. The portraits of old were simple. The model was always in the same general pose, looking very stiff, and not showing any emotion in his/her face except for a slight amount of pensiveness. In the modeling world of today what makes a model good is his or her ability to display different emotions at the drop of a hat. This shows how tradition is not always kept through modernization.

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