See the Art, BE the Art

February 9, 2017
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We are ¼ of the way into this trip, I guesstimated as I looked through the glass of the car window out at the city of Boston. Trees bled into other trees, and people into other people. One second I was looking at a strawberry blonde sipping a Starbucks on a bench, and the next I was watching as a gray coated man walked by a woman and her pet dog, nearly hitting the two with his briefcase…or so it looked. I liked to calculate the progress of our trips in this manner, and I couldn’t tell you why. Just as a dog likes to circle its bed a million times before it sits down, or as my grandmother likes to put a little more of everything than the recipe recommends, it was a perk of mine.

¼ of the way into the trip meant hakuna matata. It meant I had time to enjoy myself. Depending on how long the trip was, ¼ of our trip was a larger period of time, or a much smaller period of time. The ½ point of our trip timeline was an “ehh” point. I still had another half. But, the ¾ point-this was where I started to kick off my comfort shoes. I had things to consider: Do I have homework when I get home? Was I supposed to be studying for a test?

I had plenty of time to enjoy myself now. And I knew I was going to. My Nana and Pop-B (what I call my grandma and grandpa) were taking me and my brother to the Museum of Fine Arts for the rest of the afternoon. The museum was fairly large, but that wasn’t why we reserved the whole afternoon. You shouldn’t rush through art.

It was a cold day in Boston, but the atmosphere heated up 10 degrees as we stepped into the museum. We took off our layers: scarves, hats… but we couldn’t get completely comfortable yet. We needed tickets, and to get those we had to wait in a line that was every claustrophobic’s nightmare. Sometimes, I realized, inching closer to the ticket counter, the waiting builds up the excitement. By the time we got out of the rope stanchions and to the counter, facing a lady with dark, thin-rimmed glasses and a ready smile, I was tired of excitement-building. I made sure to grab a museum map for us all, and we were out of there.

A few exhibits later, my brother and I sat waiting on a bench next to a sculpture that I think made us both feel awkward. We were waiting on our grandparents to finish viewing the exhibit. I had just taken pictures of my favorite works around the room, and was on Instagram. Seeing a particular post that was humorous and relevant to our situation, I laughed and showed it to my brother Jack. The post was of a girl that took her skateboard to an art museum, and at some point, tired of carrying the skateboard, she set it down on the floor. She took a break on a bench and as she rested, she noticed a few people taking pictures of her board. They thought it was a work of art! Jack giggled too, and we both sat there, playing out our own version of it in our heads. The post ended up sparking an idea in Jack. A minute later, he turned to me.

“Kyra, what if I did that.”
“Did what?” It took me a second. “You don’t have a skateboard.”
“Yeah, I know, but – I can pretend to be a sculpture.”
“How so?” I was honestly intrigued.
“I’ll show you.” He took off his beanie and slid the gloves he had in his pockets on.

“I can pull up my hood…put this… over my face like this…” He did just as he talked, his voice becoming muffled as he pulled his beanie over his face. He pulled his zipper higher up, and with the beanie on his face, gloves on his hands, his skin wasn’t showing anywhere.
“I could strike a pose.” He gave me the jazz hands for an example.
“Oh gosh, you’re crazy.” I sighed. “Go for it.”

Nana and Pop-B had walked over to us by now and had caught the last few seconds up to the decision, but I quickly explained it further to them. Nana was all excited with the trick Jack was about to pull. We watched from the corners of our eyes as Jack took a pose next to a framed photograph. He chose the Timmy Tebow pose: knee down, elbow resting on knee. The three of us put on the façade that we had no idea what was next to that framed photograph wasn’t a sculpture. The people that saw him pose and go still didn’t fall for it. But, as they moved on, the next group that moved in totally fell for it. One woman came in with her male companion (brother, boyfriend, those are just assumptions) and she didn’t see “Jack” until she was at the art piece before him. She cries out, steps back, her hand flying out to grab onto the shoulder of her companion. He notices before she has to direct him.

“Oh my…ahh!” She gives out a breath. “I thought that was a person!” I shoot a look at Nana, and I snort as I try to keep my laughs in. People have gathered around “him”. I see some of them with their phones in their hands, but they aren’t taking pictures yet. One pair smiles as they observe from the outside. They can’t know, they’re new to the room… but I can tell, they don’t think he’s a sculpture.

“That is really a cool one!” Someone says somewhere. I hear, but I don’t look, my attentions have moved onto the next pair. They are whispering to each other, and pointing at him. I’m not sure if they know. It’s exciting being on the inside, and watching those on the outside. A bold individual steps out of the ring enclosing him and goes up to him. They don’t touch him, due to the rule not to touch the art. Jack has become the puppet master, and he has his strings. The individual walks around him in a half-circle, observing, looking.

“Do you think that’s a person?”
“It couldn’t be.”

“Really? You think it is?” Exchanges are going throughout the room. The three of us are smiling like we took the cookie from the cookie jar. We wait. Most of the people leave the room and take their theories with them. Jack breaks his pose, pulling off his beanie and coming back to us. The few that did remain are shocked to see Jack emerge, but they quickly transition to laughing with each other.

“Jack that was absolutely a riot!” My Nana gushes. He gets to laugh with us, now that he’s not playing. We go through the first woman’s reaction: “I thought that was a person!” Jack went on to do it in another exhibit later, and then again a last time before we left. And each time, it just got funnier. Being the art; it’s fun. You should try it some time.

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