About a week ago, I learned of a relatively new exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston -- Penetrable, by the late artist Jesús Rafael Soto. The exhibit consists of 24,000 slender PVC tubes suspended from the ceiling, each one painted so that it looks like a bright yellow orb is floating in the air. The exhibit is intended to be a "fully immersive art experience," and visitors are invited to walk through the exhibit, take photographs, and share their experiences as much as possible.
Well, alrighty then.
When I saw photographs showing up on Instagram taken by friends of mine who had walked through the exhibit, I knew I wanted to visit myself, to see what sorts of photographs I could make of my own. So I convinced Marcus and Alex that we needed to go this weekend. Happily, I have a husband and daughter who are open to this sort of thing, and so off we went.
While I knew I'd have fun photographing the space, I didn't realize how intensely I would enjoy the exhibit itself. Walking through it is almost like walking through fog: when you step inside, your visibility is cut to just a few feet in front of you, and if you're standing right in the middle of the installation, it's not easy to tell where it begins and ends. To find your way out, you just trust that putting one foot in front of the other will get you there; as you do, other visitors slowly emerge into view and then vanish again. The effect is sort of mysterious, and surreal and ethereal.
You know how sometimes you're struggling with something, and then out of the blue, something completely unrelated happens to you, and everything sort of becomes clear? Well, that's what happened to me this weekend: I suddenly realized that the fear that has been keeping me from fully immersing myself in a big project I've been planning is sort of like being in the middle of the Penetrable -- that it might feel a bit overwhelming and "foggy," but all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other, and I'll navigate my way through it.
(My father calls this a Spirit Tap -- when you're struggling way too much with something, and God or Allah or Jehovah or the Universe smacks you upside the head with the obvious. I ain't gonna lie, it stings a bit.)
Anyway, if you happen to be anywhere in the Houston area between now and September 1st, I'd strongly recommend heading over to the MFA. It's a really amazing experience.
(And if you're not going to be in Houston, click here or on the image below to get a bit of an idea of what it was like to walk from one side of the exhibit to the other.)