Written by Zhenbang Wu.
“Diversity is essential to happiness.” — Bertrand Russell
“Between the Buildings: Art from Chicago, 1930s–1980s”. Just from the name of the exhibition, I thought all the works there should somehow represent the same theme, or have the same style. However, this is not the case. Yes, all the works there do come from the same city and they do share the same period, but their styles, themes, and emotions are so different from each other. All the works there are kind of like the people in the painting above, with different appearances, wearing different clothes, going in different directions, which to some extent implies one of the themes of the exhibition: the beauty of diversity.
Some works there are more like to be a documentary of the architecture, such as the painting on the left. It gives you an evident feeling of how big change of Chicago is. It shows you the beauty of symmetry and metal structure, and it gives you an illusion as if you were currently standing behind those buildings. On the other hand, some works are more absurd, like the painting on the right. For the first glimpse, you cannot actually tell what it is about. But if you look if carefully, you can actually share that unknown feeling from the person in the painting.
I always consider art as one of the ways people use to convey information. But unlike other ways such as newspaper, broadcasting, art is kind of different: it does not directly tell you what the information is. But you are the one who should actively extract information from it. And because of this, each person can share a different feeling from art based on their personality, experience, and standards. Diversity! That is one of the facts that makes art different from each other.
Allowing diversity, this is one of the reasons that makes me really enjoy the exhibition. By presenting the arts of different styles, themes, and emotions, the exhibition gives the right back to the viewers: they are the one to decide what feeling they will share from the exhibition. This is just one exhibition lasting for only several months, but the diverse emotions and feeling it gives to the viewers can last for a long time and even change their life. That is the power of art and that is the power of diversity. Just like what Russell said, “Diversity is essential to happiness“.