art as therapy: a day at the MOCA

The Therapy Part

I believe there are two universal languages: love and art. Despite what your native tongue is, you are born with the innate ability to feel, a sensation evoked by both love and art. They’re both capable of drawing out emotions that may have otherwise remained suppressed; they possess the genuine power to heal. Because of this, art can and should be used as a form of therapy. It really helps and I can tell you this firsthand.

Sometimes my moods are all over the place. It took me a while to fully understand why but I think I have it figured out: hormones, stress, and overthinking, which, funny enough, causes stress. Anyway, in order to get myself back to equilibrium, I’ve found that turning to art helps me the most. I use that term loosely, though, because I don’t always do the creating. Yeah, I journal and sometimes pick up a paintbrush, but aside from that, the opuses of others are where I find the most consolation. The emotions that fueled them to write those lyrics and mix those colors on that canvas were raw. For a girl that feels all the feelings, that resonates with me on a very personal level. I get it where they’re coming from because I’ve been there. I’ve felt it all: confidence, confusion, optimism, pessimism, love, heartbreak; knowing that I’m not the first to feel ‘this way’ or ‘that way’ is super comforting.

In addition to that always important emotional healing business, art also introduces you to artists from all walks of life. By strolling through the galleries, you’re exposed to dozens of new techniques and customs from different cultures. Basically, art cultivates you into a more well-rounded person and who doesn’t want to be well-rounded?

No. 61 (Rust and Blue) [Brown Blue, Brown on Blue] by Mark Rothko (1953)

Let’s tie this all together…where can you go for a therapy session with a side of enlightenment? You guessed it: museums.

Visiting museums in person *gasp* is extremely fulfilling. It’s sort of the equivalent of holding a book vs. reading a Kindle. Kindles are convenient, sure, but the act of flipping the pages is what creates the authentic experience. Similarly, scrolling through a digital gallery is cool and all, but being up close and checking out all the fine details is what it’s about.

Whenever I’m in a new place, visiting a museum or art exhibit is always a priority on my list. It’s an easy, fun stop that familiarizes you with the local culture without breaking the bank. Oh, and you get to see some impressive works of art. Added bonus: museums also serve as houses of inspiration- especially useful for those times that you feel you’ve hit a creative wall.

So naturally, upon moving to LA, I had to check out one of their [many] museums.


The Art Part

Museum of Contemporary Art– Downtown Los Angeles, California

I think I’ve done enough talking so I’ll let the photos below speak for themselves. The MOCA is lined with unique and wonderfully bizarre pieces that are totally up my alley. And yes, I know I just went on about how you shouldn’t just scroll through digital galleries, but this will do until you have the chance to check out the MOCA yourself if you haven’t already.

These were my favorites:

White Cigarette by James Rosenquist (1961)

Fountain, Sunset, Hollywood by Edward Ruscha (1999)
I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art by John Baldessari (1971)
Unsure of title- believe it is from Anna Maria Maiolino’s Drawn Objects Series (1975)

The next time you’re feeling a little ‘bleh’, get on the internet and Google: “museums near me.” It’s a foolproof way of finding an exhibit or museum in your area that you haven’t heard of. Or maybe you have heard of but haven’t made an effort to check out. Either way, make the time. You’ll leave with lifted spirits, a lil inspiration, and a tidbit or two of knowledge that you didn’t have before.

Your Gal, Shaye

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