I had the pleasure of leading a couple of blackout poetry workshops at the Dallas Museum of Art last weekend. It’s still a huge thrill for me to see a whole room full of people of all ages and backgrounds making art in the same space. I’ve found that folks really don’t need much instruction—they just need materials, some space, some time, and permission to play.
On Saturday, I led an all-teen workshop of 15 students. We worked on poems, and then we went into the galleries to soak up some inspiration. I showed them some pieces I liked and talked about how I look at art in museums and how I look at art in general. One thing I said to them is that it’s one thing to feel something about a piece of art, it’s another thing completely to be able to express it in words. Sometimes you can’t explain why you like a piece, and that’s okay.
I carried an iPad around with me, and as we were looking at the work, I’d pull up a few of my blackout poems to talk about the work in context. At a Mondrian, I talked about color and grids. In sculpture, we talked about subtraction. Etc.
In the Reves collection, which displays the Reves’ collection as it was originally displayed at their villa, I talked about my experiences with 20×200 and collecting art, and how art doesn’t just hang in a museum—it’s something you live with in your everyday life.
Thanks to all the great people at the Dallas Museum of Art for having me. I love teaching, and I love talking about art, so this was a real treat.