Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Place and Space

I've been musing about the differences between history and art - two subjects I love dearly. Years ago I wrote an article entitled "History: A Thing to Study, A Place to Go," in which I addressed the differences between history taught in the academy and history presented at a historic site. For me, history as a place has always been paramount. When you learn about history at a particular place, when you are in the place where something happened, the experience is physical and emotional as well as cognitive. It's a richer experience. I have had many times when I actually felt like I could touch the past.

My experiences with art are different. It's not about the place, it's about the space. Recently I was in the new modern wing of the Chicago Art Institute. The gallery spaces, and the vistas across space into other galleries, heightened my senses. Viewing the art, and watching other visitors viewing the art, was a layered physical and emotional experience.

So, I'm wondering about place and space and how they affect me. I'd welcome thoughts on this.