By: Lisa Hoffman, curator of education on December 19th, 2018

December can be a difficult month in which to maintain perspective. Those of us in the northern hemisphere appreciate the many festivals and holidays of lights, as daylight is fleeting and the darkness descends. I recently shared a light-hearted story – with some of the Woodson Art Museum’s youngest program participants – about a snoring bear awakened too soon from his hibernation by well-meaning but rowdy friends. Bear’s initial, grumpy response was softened by Mouse’s offer of friendship . . . and snacks.

Bear benefited from a different perspective.

Victor Vasarely, “Gordes Taïra,” 1971, from the collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece

At an art museum, perspective usually relates to vision. The eye’s function – absorbing and relaying light and images for the brain to literally perceive – is paired powerfully with the mind, soul, and heart’s perspective, yielding art appreciation.

Much like Bear, the Woodson Art Museum benefits from different perspectives.

Spend time with Jane Kim’s marvelous RGB(ird) painting – an homage to the interplay of light waves and the molecular structure of proteins in the feathers of birds that appear to us as blue. Spoiler alert: blue feathers don’t exist in nature; they are optical illusions.

Victor Vasarely: Op Art Master features dozens of artworks in a variety of mediums by the father of optical art. Vasarely’s work epitomizes changing visual perspectives; visitors experience dynamic, undulating, kinetic lines and colors.

Victor Vasarely, “Xico 4,” 1973, from the collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece

The Woodson Art Museum – ever striving to offer barrier-free access – has long recognized that appreciating visual art extends beyond the purview of the eyes alone. Our Art Beyond Sight program designed for individuals with blindness and visual impairment offers quarterly, multisensory gallery experiences that incorporate changing exhibition themes. During school group tours, students are encouraged to explore provided, touchable objects that relate to artwork on view. Also, a future tactile exhibition will offer all visitors opportunities to perceive visual art through touch.

Explore new perspectives this holiday season. Visit the Woodson Art Museum and experience a vast variety of views. Gather in Art Park or at a board-game table in the galleries and enjoy friendship like that of Bear and Mouse, no snacks necessary.  

Vasarely’s vivid artwork remains on view through Sunday, February 24, which encompasses much of the Wisconsin winter. Visit the Museum often, linger in the warmth of the galleries, and enjoy the view.

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