The overheard word – Andy Warhol

I know, I’m jumping themes here, but I have always intended to come back to this one, and last night, well, I couldn’t resist putting it out there because I need to know what you think.
Last night a friend and I went to the Andy Warhol – Ai Weiwei exhibit at the NGV. It was the up-late Friday night series where they open at 6pm and there’s a band on later and food available, and a couple of bars.

Anyway, totally awesome to see all of those iconic Pop Art pieces in the flesh, and to understand the depth of their skill. I love seeing how other people manifest their creativity, and the juxtaposition of Andy Warhols western freedom and acceptance into society (not necessarily of his art, but I mean the freedom of being able to be different) which opened many doors for him and manifests in his work; and Ai’s struggle against the regime, closed mindedness, unacceptance, intercultural equity and incarceration and how that influences his social commentary was the key take home for me. Also, the Lego room WAS AWESOME!!!!

I know many people didn’t get it. I heard one name-badged (a sponsor?), well dressed individual wrap up his conversation to his equally well dressed cohorts by saying “Anyway I have to go and see the other rooms to see if it is as bad as this.” We were in the photo room. Wow.

There were other complaints about the photo room, some young well dressed, pretty early 20’s women were saying “there are like too many photos, I mean they are good photos, but there is just too many of them”. Yes, I agree it is densely populated but they do tell a story. Anyway, every one is entitled to their own opinion.

Anyway, back when I was in the first room looking at Ai’s map of China a beautifully dressed young couple in their eatly 20’s approached the piece I had been studying. I had probably been there for about 5 minutes looking at it from every angle. It is a very intricate piece that would have taken ages to put together. The first I became aware of them was when he said to her “Right if you’re so smart what country is this?”

She thought for a minute and then said “I don’t know.” She looked a bit sad, but wasn’t embarrassed, just honest.

Looking at it quickly it is a very difficult interpretation to make, and while there were definitely some clues in that it was an Ai Weiwei piece, and he is from China. But anyway who talks to someone like that?

I did a bit of sideways staring and checked them both out. They looked like students, but he was in a suit and she had a beautiful dress on and had gone to efforts with her hair and make-up. It had a first date vibe and she seemed a bit dewy eyed about him. And maybe he thought he was being impressively cool, instead of coming off acting like a twat.

I don’t like being around people like him, and if he had kept it up I may have said something, so I deliberately went the other way round the room to avoid him.

The next time I became aware of them was when they were next to me again as I was at the grey, black and white Lego trilogy. I was just reading the explanatory notes on the wall and, because I didn’t have glasses on, not only did I think the Lego was tapestry, I was taking AGES to read the notes.

I hadn’t really thought about it, but I assumed that the two sets of curator notes, one below the other on the wall, were the explanation of the piece, followed by the explanation of the choice of materials. Or that’s what made sense to me. So I was surprised when he said to her: “ I’ll read the top one and you read the bottom one.” I thought, oh that’s cute then they can discuss it later, and speed up the journey because there is a lot to get through.

No no, I was wrong, and it was most decidedly NOT cute. I read the headings on the notes. The first one is titled ‘For Grown-ups’, and the bottom one is titled ‘For kids’. I mean, how rude is this guy?

I did a whiplash speed turn-and-stare at him, his behaviour is ridiculous. But I didn’t say anything. And I know he saw my disgust. But it won’t have made any difference to him. If he thinks so little of everyone else but himself, he isn’t going to take on board random-stranger-at-gallery-glaring.

Fortunately for me my friend rang from outside and I had to go and hand her the ticket to get in, but I certainly told her about it, and you now. As per the theme The Overheard Word, I like to apply my creativity to what happened next.

I didn’t see them again, as we went and had a drink and a catch-up then started the rooms again. But here’s what I hope happened:

They got to the lego room, and she saw the Rosie Batty quote in the exhibition, and when he asked her for a drink afterwards she said “No thanks, I have to go home and study geography”.

Then she left on a tram and on the way home blocked his number.

At least, that’s what I hope happened, because every woman deserves more than that.

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