Moved by ARTS ALIVE!

Story and Photos by Harriet Monzon-Aguirre
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Performance in Art

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Through May 21
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
Tarpon Springs
Details here

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On Sunday afternoon my three kids, William, Madeline and Thomas and I went to visit the Leepa-Rattner Museum, this time to see ARTS ALIVE!: Performance in Art.

I let my troupe know that the exhibition was going to be about the circus, performance arts, dancing and theater. When we entered we were just in time to start a guided tour, but my two eldest children, having visited the museum several times before, moved through the place like they owned it and clearly wanted to lead our ensemble.

So William and Madeline guided me through the space and took me to the works that interested them. For William, that was the work by Japanese artist Keisuke Teshima called Rising Dragon. What intrigued me was William felt compelled to turn himself upside down to view the painting at what he deemed the correct angle.

William studying Keisuke Teshima’s single-stroke technique

We later learned in a video presentation that the dragon is painted in one brush stroke which made William love the work even more.

William experiencing Fernand Leger’s colorful Le Cirque series

We continued to tour the exhibition appreciating Fernand Léger’s Le Cirque portfolio before Madeline was captivated by Abraham Rattner’s The Flying Trapeze. She said she liked the colors.

Madeline viewing Abraham Rattner’s The Flying Trapeze

What caught my attention was the way she held her dress and her gesture in showing me the painting, almost as though she was trying to embody the dramatic subject matter.

Madeline studying dance photographer Tom Kramer’s work
Thomas is inspired by Tom Kramer’s photograph of dancer Helen Hansen French

Then we viewed the Dance Photography Slideshow, and Thomas jumped up to mimic the arm position from dancer Helen Hansen French on the screen.

William and Maddie Viewing Tom Kramer’s work

When we finished viewing Thomas Kramer’s beautiful photography, their three free-spirits took to the stage. Madeline and Thomas immediately began their own interpretative dance and theater while William was the director of course. Another example of how the exhibition impacted them.

Seeing Thomas’ reaction, Madeline’s movements and William’s topsy-turvy viewing made me realize exactly what the entire exhibition was showcasing – how the human body and its movement through space is an important form of creative expression.

I think it’s a shame that as we get older, perhaps due to societal expectations, we lose touch with the joy of pure, unfiltered movement.

The final pièce de résistance for the children was the “Chill Lounge.” My children loved Maker Space and all three of them were absorbed into the world of circus by coloring in their own flyers.

Two of their works hang in the display area but William asked me to take a photo of his work in front of the sculpture at the entrance of the art museum.

Thomas creating his own circus flyer

We really loved our trip to the Leepa-Rattner and ARTS ALIVE! Performance in Art was moving to say the least.

For those wanting to be dazzled and inspired by this exhibition, ARTS ALIVE! Performance in Art is on view through May 21, 2023.
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Originally published in the Bahia-Studios blog


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