Recently, I went to The Detroit Institute of Arts to see what the buzz was about after the grand remodeling. I have been going there since I was a kid, and I used to spend a lot of time there during my art history classes in college, writing essays about the paintings.
As I was looking at my favorite paintings, I felt a huge pang of loss, because I realized that now with my migraines, I could never even attempt to take an art history class. There is no way I could expect to complete it. Luckily, I caught my downward spiral of depressive thoughts. I told myself to stop moaning about my former life. I should just try to enjoy my trip to the art museum for what it was.
As for my pain level, it was a livable pain, but the moment I entered the contemporary art after 1950, which is my favorite, my head started banging like crazy. Ugh. Here we go, I thought.
The moment, I left the contemporary area, I felt much better. A couple galleries later, we came across a special exhibit by Julie Mehretu called City Sitings.
“Julie Mehretu: City Sitings inaugurates the central special exhibition galleries, located just to the south of Rivera Court. Mehretu, born in Ethiopia and raised and educated in Michigan and Rhode Island, has been described as a truly global artist, whose large, abstract paintings explore the often unwieldy issues of mobility, social organization, political entanglement, and global competition.”
My head spun. I was instantly nauseous. I told my friend I needed to take a break. I left the gallery to go visit the bathroom. Again, I felt much better as soon as I left the gallery. It was as if a switch was being turned on and off.
After the bathroom, I took a time out on a bench, while my friend finished looking at her work; I took some deep breaths and wondered what was going on with me today when I realized the same thing had happened to me during a trip to London a while back.
I had been at The Tate Modern Museum and I had an awful, splitting migraine, which I had attributed to exhaustion after a week of sight seeing, but I don’t think it was exhaustion, because I remember feeling far better once we got outside and headed for St. Paul’s Cathedral. It had to be the type of artwork that was triggering my pain levels higher.
I know that artwork is supposed to have an effect on the viewer, but I don't think artists ever intended this.