Nov 3, 2006
Sam and the Perfect World
I took my students down to DC today to look at ART. We went to the Hirshhorn and National Gallery, and then we went up to the newly renovated National Portait Gallery. You have to go! Its part of the Smithsonian; its free to get in! We went up to see the Portrait Competition. Artists from each state were ask to submit a portait and the results are breath taking. The winner " Sam and the Perfect World" by David Lenz from Shorewood Wisconin is the pic I posted. Here is his artist statment:
"My wife Rosemarie had just given birth to our son Sam, and although he appeared perfectly healthy, something, nevertheless, didn't seem right. There was an awkward silence in the room, no words of congratulation or comments about how cute he was – even though he was cute. Five minutes later the diagnosis was given: Sam has Down Syndrome. "Are you going to keep him?" a nurse asked. Later that evening someone else came by to "console" us. "It's every mother's worst nightmare," she said.
Welcome to the world, Sam.
In America today, perfection is highly valued. We dump loads of chemicals on our lawns to try and get rid of every weed, every dandelion. Models and supermodels are tall, impossibly fit, their clothes stylish and wrinkle-free. Images like this tend to change our perceptions, our ideals, until finally they leave us looking around at the peeling paint on our own houses, and our less than fit bodies, and it leaves us wanting.
Perfection, I would submit, is overrated. And besides, I like dandelions.
In the painting Sam assumes the role of presenter, host, even tutor, of this most revealing examination of the civilization man has made for himself. Sam is not society's accepted definition of perfection. In spite of that, or perhaps because of that, he really does have an important message for everyone to hear."
You have to go and see it for yourself. Absolutely amazing!