by Kyla Hull
If you know me well (or even if you don’t), you have probably realized that I have a deep passion for art. Thus, I was elated by the fact that I got to see the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) while I was in NYC a few weeks ago. I was absolutely captivated by each piece of art and the stories they had to tell, however one in particular stood out to me. This work, by Marcel Duchamp, actually made me stop completely in my tracks.
To Be Looked at [from the Other Side of the Glass] with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour – that’s the name of the piece. The mixed media composition is basically comprised of a sheet of glass in a metal frame, embedded with various designs and magnifying lenses. There’s also a spider web of cracks running across it, which happened during a shipment of the piece after World War I. Duchamp was apparently overjoyed by this occurrence and I can see why, as it truly adds to the message that the piece has to share.
This piece of artwork reminds me of how we as humans view others and the situations they are in. When I looked through the lens, I was on the opposite side of the image I was viewing and when we judge the lives of others, we do so from the “other side” since we typically aren’t directly involved. The image through the magnifying lens was distorted – flipped upside down and disproportionate. This is usually how the opinions that we make of others are when we don’t know the whole story. As I was peering through Duchamp’s piece, I happened to notice that people were simultaneously watching me and forming their own thoughts about my intent analysis of the piece. This is how the perpetual cycle continues, because as we judge people, we are being judged as well. And the cracks in the glass…to me, they represent how we never know the full extent of what may have caused a person to arrive at their current state.
I think that this piece has such an enlightening message; that we should take care to not let the way things “appear” to be so heavily influence our opinions of others. I want to challenge us all to be a little more kind, compassionate, open-minded, and understanding. Let’s spread more love and less hate; let’s be better humans. We owe it to each other, because views from the “other side” never show the whole story.