Sunday, September 18, 2011

Art for Art's Sake

Yesterday, my husband and I visited the Taubman Museum in Roanoke.

It was the first time I had been in the building, which was built in 2008. So it took me a long time to get down there.

I love to look at art, but I am not a fan of downtown Roanoke. I always have trouble parking and I don't like the atmosphere of the entire city - I find it smelly and fraught and full of crazy people who seem to always want to accost me for a cigarette or money.

I used to work downtown and I am pretty sure it ruined my idea of the area. I once had a man chase me down three blocks, trying to take my purse and my life, until I ran into a shop and begged the owner to hide me while she called the police. The man wasn't a criminal, he was insane and he thought I was his mother or sister or something. But he scared me and I have never felt safe in downtown Roanoke since that happened. Yes, that was a long time ago, like 1990. No, I haven't gotten over it. It scarred me for life.

So anyway, I try not to go to downtown Roanoke unless I have someone with me.

The Taubman, on the exterior, looks to me like a spaceship that crashed into downtown. The inside looks better, but what a lot of wasted space. I didn't even find it that visually interesting. Oh well. I didn't go to see the building.

We looked at all of the exhibits. We went because I was keenly interested in one called In the Moment: Light, Vision and Memory Celebrating Photography in the 125th year of The Roanoke Times. Being an old newspaper woman, this interested me, as you might imagine.

They had some wonderful photographs on display. Several depicted scenes where Roanoke was on the national list - visits from presidents such as FDR, JFK, and Nixon, for example. There were just a few from the Flood of 1985. There was one of a house burning down earlier this year, and another of a fireman resuscitating a child back in the 1970s.  They were all high quality shots. My biggest complaint was not quality, but quantity. I wanted to see much more. There simply weren't enough of the pictures.

Because of regulations against photography at most of the displays, I did not take many pictures. You could take pictures of things that are on permanent display, and I took a few shots there. Follow the links if you want a better idea of the displays.

My husband enjoyed the Civil War Drawings from the Becker Collection. These were made by special artists on assignment who kept track of the Union soldiers during the war by drawing pictures.

I don't think either of us knew what to make of the Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth exhibit. This is a display of wearable suits that look completely out of this world.

Here a few shots of some of the permanent exhibits.

A very large portrait of a lady. She took up a very big space.

 Some of those pictures that make you scratch your head.

My husband looking at sketches on one of the walls. The picture in the rear, right, is called "Mardi Gras."

A few sculptures. The picture in the right rear, the one with the yellow, was called "Strumming" (or something like that) and I thought it was an artistic depiction of the sound of music. I think it was my favorite piece in the museum.

If you're local or just visiting, you can explore the Taubman Tuesday through Saturdays, 10 a.m - 5 p.m. and from 12 - 5 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $7.


  1. I like downtown Roanoke and would have swung my heavy purse at the dude had he chased me. I have never noticed any odors when there and I go to the 'pay for' parking lots where the gentlemen are usually happy to park my car for me. It's not very expensive either and makes the trip downtown much more enjoyable. Sorry you hold such bad memories of that area of town. :-(

  2. i love downtown. coming from a larger city, i find your downtown very easy to get around. i love the old buildings and it's very clean. love the street lamps with the hanging flower baskets, just really like walking around down there, of course when i am downtown, my husband is with me. what a scary experience though for you, yikes!
    i don't care for the art museum's building. it just looks like an eye sore to me. i have also heard that it is pretty empty inside. i haven't been in yet but that sounds like a great exhibit you saw!


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