Holland Cotter has a wonderful new piece in the New York Times entitled A Memory Museum.
Cotter writes," I’m also a curator of my memory, which carries traces of art encounters from over the years. A few of those encounters — with certain objects, books, buildings — have altered the atmosphere, changed how I see and joined a permanent collection that I regularly revisit."
He then challenges us to describe experiences with art that has changed our lives and to post them in the comment section in his article. I find this to be an enlightening question:
Which works of art have changed the way you look at the world?
I answered Mr. Cotter with the following:
The place of memory in the arts is so revealing. One of my first experiences with an artwork happened in Amsterdam when I was a six year old and the experience changed me forever. My father had finished his tour in Vietnam as a USMC JAG and we reunited as a family in Europe. During that trip we visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. There I found myself slack jawed in front of Rembrandt’s iconic group portrait "The Sampling Officials of the Amsterdam Drapers Guild." I recognized it as the same image on the Dutch Masters’ cigar box, my father’s go-to brand. The connection was phenomenal; I was hooked and I knew that someday I would become an artist.