I went to the New Orleans Museum of Art after work last Wednesday to catch the Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studio exhibit that was ending this weekend. I had been meaning to go since it first opened in November. In fact, Amanda and I tried to take the kids last Friday but it was another field trip day and there were buses lined up outside. Viewing the exhibit with hundreds of kids while trying to keep track of her two kids did not seem like a good time. So I went on my own.
I have been re-discovering Disney classics as I watch them with my niece and nephew. I went through this stage as I got older where I maybe felt a little “too cool” for Disney movies. I think it was a reaction against a very particular group in high school who loved Disney and sang their songs all the time and probably wore those shirts/overalls/sweatshirts with Winnie the Pooh/Tinkerbell/Tigger on them. Yes, those kind of people did go to my high school. And I wanted to distance myself from them. (They also ruined The Princess Bride for me.) So the Disney classics I grew up with were tainted by association. But as I’ve been watching Cinderella, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and others again (and usually it’s over and over again) and especially seeing how Peter’s reacting to them, I have been connecting to that old magic I felt as a young child. It’s really been delightful. And the exhibit was fantastic. It showed conceptual art of characters before they took the shape we are familiar with. It showed the process of creating them. I really loved it. But I couldn’t take pictures.
Upstairs was a completely different exhibit that ran about the same time. It was free (as opposed to the fee for the Disney exhibit, even for residents who otherwise enter the museum free of charge). I didn’t get an identifying sticker or an audio tour, like I did at the Disney one. And it didn’t have any lines. In fact, I was the only person in the galleries. I didn’t even know it was taking place. The banners outside the museum only advertised the Disney exhibit. But I feel so fortunate that I happened upon it. I was deeply impressed by the art of Kathe Kollwitz when I first encountered her in my Art History class in high school. The emotional impact of her etchings kept her name close in my mind for all of the years since then. I had to give a presentation on a woman in history for my Intro to Women’s Studies class forever ago, and I chose her. I don’t remember the details of her life now, but I still remember her art. I was so pleased to find some drawings by her in two small rooms. And luckily, I can share photos with you because seeing these works is so much better than me trying to write about them. (I’m just sorry the photo quality isn’t the best. I had to use my phone’s camera.)
I also apologize that I don’t have any titles. For some reason, I didn’t keep track of them this time. I am always amazed at how much expression she is able to convey in her etchings/sketchings. What do you think? Do you have a favorite?