Dancing Fireflies

July 7, 2009

Yesterday we visited the Phoenix Art Museum, because we believe it’s so important to expose Moo to art, and also, um – Rosalind gave us free tickets.   Oh yes, we’ve got connections – Rosalind helps out in the museum store whenever she can, and sometimes gifts us her museum passes.  She’s not quite a museum expert – as she told me, “Every time a customer opens their mouth, I’m just praying they’re going to ask where the bathroom or the elevator is, because other than that, I have no clue.”

So of course when we arrived, I asked if she could direct us to the Early European Impressionists, and also do you have any books on Himalayan art?  Rosalind was not amused.  She did, however, know where we could find the fireflies, which is where we spent most of the afternoon.

Technically, the fireflies are called, “YOU WHO ARE GETTING OBLITERATED IN THE DANCING SWARM OF FIREFLIES!!!”  by Yayoi Kusama.  I don’t think Kusama included the capitalization and exclamation marks in the title, but I just don’t see how you can’t SHOUT IT!  DANCING FIREFLY SWARM!  ACH!  SO BEAUTIFUL AND SO SWARMY!  EEK I AM GETTING OBLITERATED!

Here’s someone’s trippy picture of the experience:













But the obliteration is actually much more peaceful than that – it’s simply a dark, mirrored room with thousands (?) of LED lights hanging down and constantly changing color.  You can’t see yourself at all, and it looks like these little firefly lights go on and on forever.  I thought Moo might freak out, but safely in her Daddy’s arms, she made best friends with the fireflies in a snap and was soon deep in conversation with them.  “I’m red!  Ooh no, now I’m green!  Look, you’re pink!”

Moo also was hypnotized by this dancing tree:











And of course, she loved the miniature room, a gallery of tiny bedrooms and dining rooms replicating period-style European and American houses, which has not changed a smidge since I was a kid pressing my nose up to the glass.  Moo seemed entranced by the teeny tiny books lining the walls, and declared that she was pretty sure her snake “King True” lived in the most opulent rooms.

We also visited the “Kids Gallery,” which apparently re-opened last May, and left me scratching my head.  I visited the kids’ space a few years ago with my niece and nephew, and it was pretty lame back then – remarkably, it has become even more lame.  I don’t think you can call a stack of books about art and a glorified puzzle a “gallery.”  I felt nostalgic for the good ol’ days at the Phoenix Art Museum when I was a kid – correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I remember a shadow room in the basement, giant blocks, and a velcro wall.  And at Christmas, they always had a Christmas tree and gingerbread house exhibit.  Back then, they courted younger visitors – now it almost seems like they don’t want children to visit.  But I don’t know, perhaps the good folks at the art museum are just trying to save the youth from TOTAL FIREFLY OBLITERATION!

If you haven’t seen the fireflies yet, I highly recommend that you go check them out.  And while you’re there, say hi to Rosalind!  Ask her where you might find the Spanish Colonial art.  She’ll love it.


3 Responses to “Dancing Fireflies”

  1. Beth H. Says:

    wow – sounds like a really cool exhibit!

  2. Rosalind Says:

    I also know where the cafe is.

  3. pam b Says:

    o.m.g. i completely forgot about the shadows and the velcro wall!!!!!

    and i remember the miniature houses. i am not sure if that was what inspired my dad to make each of my cousins a miniature doll house. he did all the miniature items – it was super neat.

    thanks for that walk down memory lane!

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