A Lost Art, In Time

Man laying on bench in center of art gallery with framed photographs

“No one goes to museums anymore, Sydney.” My boyfriend teased through a deadpan expression.

Though joking, he didn’t know how right he was. We weren’t there by choice, anyway. And to us, it seemed no one was.

“Yeah, okay…” I began. “I just need to find something for this project.”

And the assignment? For an art class. Take a picture of a piece, comment on it. Analyze it. Rest assured, I enjoyed this sort of thing. But the museum was a lost art. Besides, we had dinner reservations.

We wandered around the place, taking in the vast, soothing emptiness. Though still and cold, it wasn’t particularly unsettling. Soon, though, it would be. This emptiness would normalize. And the distance between us and the art would further inch itself into the forefront of our minds.

The strangeness of it all, among other things, mutated after this encounter.

I took the picture, like any other picture. Went to dinner, like any other dinner. But I would soon long for museum visits and dinner dates. February would feel like a dream, in time. The mundane would become a distraction for this new life.

What would retrospect say? This year, is it time wasted? What becomes of those lost and those still living? Have we done enough?

Only in noting the practices of those around us did we take notice. Sure, we did more than some—followed mandates. But through a new, unalluring quality. One that had developed within: judgement. And who are we to condemn?

We hardly remember where we stood—apart from the few feet away from the paintings. Perhaps on a bench in the middle of the exhibit. Uniformity (or what had become of it) had somehow become opposed. A joint chorus of those in uniform, masks, with claims of: “we are in this together!”. Now, divided.

Stuck like time.

And we? Invisible. Envious of where we were, if not more envious of where we weren’t yet. In time, the distance between us and others would further inch itself closer. Mending the gap in which we were the subject of a new, lost art.