I’ve long been a fan of art, history, culture, and periods of the past. And if I’m being totally honest, I get much more satisfaction enjoying things from long before my time than anything that I see around me now. Even though I know this isn’t exactly the norm.
When I was home for winter break last month, I went to The Portland Art Museum and got to experience an Andy Warhol exhibit highlighting the works he created throughout his life. But what struck me as odd, was how few faces I saw in the crowd that somewhat resembled mine. Most people looking and enjoying the works weren’t young, and if they were, they didn’t seem as captivated by the history or magic of the artwork as those older faces, and myself, were.
So, as I enjoyed the art, and to some extent, people watched, I realized that no one from my generation was as interested in all of this nearly as much as I felt they should be. I don’t mean Andy Warhol, and not even necessarily his art, but the crafting of something different than that which we are capable of ourselves. For example, I can’t draw. I can’t. I’ve tried, believe me, but to very little success and absolutely no acclaim. And so, I respect the works laid before me. But the culture we live in now, so captivated by the future, media, and big business, has forgotten about many of the things that make our culture what it is.
Traditional artists, musicians, speakers, sculptors, people who have somehow impacted our society beyond just being a member of a Fortune 500 company, aren’t really held in the same regard. Because as much as we all want to seem as though we are differentiating from each other, the quicker we seem to be becoming the same. So, the output of our society, frankly, isn’t related to that which will last, rather it’s tied to the value we place on things that are here today and gone tomorrow.
When I was done with my tour of the museum, taking too many selfies, and walking the marble hallways, I sat and looked up at a giant portrait Warhol made of Mao, in traditional pop art form. All I could think was, ‘if only more people like me, my generation, were here to see this.’ What would they think? The ones I saw at the museum didn’t seem to care, and they didn’t seem too concerned about the history of tomorrow.
Tomorrow doesn’t create new and exciting tales of Americana unless we start caring about that again today; unless we once again value something greater than the latest and greatest. I won’t give you the tired line that we need to stop and smell the roses, or any of that, because the world doesn’t slow down when we do. But we need to remember that at the end of the day, a stock price can change in a second, but a piece of history can last forever.