by Mackenzie O’Guin
WHOAH. It’s been a while, hasn’t it friends? With finals and break, there’s been hardly a moment to publicly embarrass and/or enlighten myself for your entertainment. However, much to my disdain and yours, I’m going to start second semester nice and mild with a trip to the art museum.
Most KC natives are disturbed and disgusted that in my 15 years of life I was never taken to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. By god, how could I be so uncultured? Aside from one short visit last June with sophomore Christina Kirk, I had never been exposed to the Kansas City landmark. This is probably for a few reasons. First of all, I don’t come from a family of wild art enthusiasts. My parents never felt it especially important to bring a young Mack O’Guin to pontificate over the importance of oil painting in art history or whatever. Second, I never spent a lot of time around major KC monuments until I got to STA and, even then, never had time to explore all the fun bits and pieces our city might have to offer. Third, I just never felt compelled to go. I, myself, love art, but I’m not one to sit in front of an abstract painting for a half hour and talk about my feelings.
Despite all this, sophomore Christina Kirk and I embarked once again on a journey to go explore the Nelson. We began in the Bloch building. As a big fan of minimalist design and modern art, this was the perfect place to start. My favorite room by far was the pop art room. Fun fact, I love Andy Warhol (I actually have a huge pack of Warhol-themed thank you cards). Christina was very tolerant of my fanatic raving in front of one of the famous Campbell’s soup cans.
Due to the severe construction throughout most the building, we breezed through the Bloch building with surprising speed and made our way out to the Sculpture Garden. Of course, the first thing we had to do was the glass labyrinth. My favorite part of the glass labyrinth was this: at most sharp turns, you can see a very faint face-shaped smear on the glass. Seeing this, I can only imagine a poor, over-zealous young chap eagerly power walking through the labyrinth when- BAM! Face plant straight into the side of the art. How do you recover from that sort of humiliation? I can think of two methods. Method A: Walk it off like nothing happened. Ignore anyone that mentions the incident. No one can prove anything. Or, Method B: Fall to the ground, “unconscious”. Score pity points. Maybe someone’ll treat you to a coffee out of second-hand humiliation. It doesn’t matter what you choose, because the end result is essentially the same: your soul is forever marred by the shame of that time you ran into a glass wall and everyone saw you.
Post-labyrinth, Christina and I watched the sunset under Ferment, a massive silver tree sculpture-thing. While we were admiring the park from, in my opinion, the best seats in the house, I had one of my infamous BRILLIANT IDEAS! I slowly saddled up beside the massive shiny tree and asked, “Christina, may I scale Ferment?”
AND IN THAT MOMENT, THE VOICE OF THE GOD ECHOED DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS: “Please do not touch the sculpture. Thank you and enjoy your visit.”
As I jumped back from the tree, I made a few ghastly realizations: first, that voice was definitely not prerecorded. Second, if my first realization is in fact accurate, that means there is a literal person who could hear everything I said up to my genius idea to climb the tree. Kill me now.
We then quickly fled the scene of my embarrassment and took shelter within the main building. Our first stop: a beautiful restaurant by the name of Rozzelle Court. As we went in, Christina and I were taken aback by how elegant and fanciful everything was. From the food to the music to the candle-lit fountain, the restaurant was as artfully made as half the masterpieces in the museum. I could go on for days about how wonderful our experience was, but you can see more of Rozzelle Court in the video above.
As we combed through each and every room of the museum, I was amazed at how much my perspective on art has changed since my first short visit in June. Many might find it crazy, but I believe I have little more to credit than Mr. Egner’s AP World History course. Here’s why: before, I appreciated the art, but it didn’t hold much significance to me. Throughout APWH, I’ve learned the historical significance in art. Art of all forms is like a portal into the time in which it was created. Identifying key elements in a painting can give you a glimpse into the life of person who’s been dead and gone for centuries. Art is, essentially, our only true form of time travel. And, as I walked through the halls of the Nelson, I saw each piece of art as less a mere painting than a doorway leading to a lifetime far removed from my own, enough to make me question how removed said artists really are from myself. That sort of interconnectivity has given art a new meaning to me. Thanks, Mr. E.
As usual, thank you all so much for reading! This was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in a very long time. As usual, comment your feedback. I love you! Have a great week, everyone.
So long and goodnight,
Mackenzie Nicole O’Guin
Special thanks to Christina Kirk for her never-ending support and spectacular video-editing skills, Mackenzie the Waiter from Rozzelle Court for having a super cool name, Mr. Egner for innovating how I see art and the Nelson-Atkins for putting the fear of god in me just because I mentioned wanting to climb your stupid fake tree. Y’all need to chill.