Inspired by…

The Tampa Museum of Art’s featured exhibit, Syntax: Text and Symbols for a New Generation, was my destination for the field trip portion of this week’s Find Your Eye assignment, to explore and take inspiration from other artists’ work.

Syntax is a collection of contemporary art focusing on the text-based work of more than 30 artists. The exhibition includes paintings and photographs as well as a variety of dimensional pieces. There were several neon works including a chandelier and a piece called Daylight Map that illuminates the world’s 24 time zones only during each time zone’s daylight hours.

My favorite piece, by far, was a large, curved wall of books that was at least 10 feet long by 5 feet tall. That’s a lot of books! At first I thought all the books were stacked horizontally but a closer look revealed a few vertical placements as well. I saw novels, textbooks, and coffee table books among many, many others and even recognized a few titles that have passed through my hands over the years. What appealed to me about this creation? It was outrageous, irreverent, and very colorful, and it made me smile—more than enough for a Friday afternoon.

Photography wasn’t allowed in the exhibit halls, but the museum’s location on the Hillsborough River opposite the University of Tampa provided some interesting options. My favorite, because it echoed the text-based artwork inside the museum, is this image of a graffiti-covered railroad bridge.

11 thoughts on “Inspired by…

  1. thanks for the video link… gosh, I learn so much from other people’s experiences… my list of “CHECK THIS OUT” seems to be growing as I get sidetracked reading & following links.

  2. For those of you who are intrigued by the wall of books…

    All I can tell you is that sculpture is called “Job Creation in a Bad Economy” and is the work of Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares. They’ve done a related video here:

    I learned from one of the newspaper articles I found that this may be the first time this collection has been publicly exhibited. Amazingly enough, all the art in the exhibition comes from the Hadley Martin Fisher Collection.

  3. I know I would love this exhibit. I’m realizing more and more that I am drawn to letters and symbols used as art. I love graffiti and street art-and your bridge is a fantastic scene to match your visit. How cool to be instantly inspired. Your description of the wall of books-how unique for someone to create that as “art”…and art many of us have in our own homes.

  4. Love this image – industrial with grafitti – doesn’t get any better than that. Great tie-in with your art day. I too would like to experience that wall of books as I have been a reader all my life – my favorite jaunt as a child were the visits to the library with my dad.

  5. I was intrigued by your description and googled the exhibit in hopes of seeing that wall of books! (I’m something of a book fiend.) I couldn’t find a picture of that, but did see the neon chandelier – very interesting! I like your graffiti-covered bridge image. Very clever tie-in!

  6. It sounds like you had so much fun! “Outrageous, irreverent, very colorful… made me smile.” Sounds like the perfect kind of art. What a wonderful exhibit, to connect with you in such a positive way. I typically love special exhibits like this – when there is a theme and some good curation, I learn so much more than a big museum with a lot of random art. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  7. It sounds like you had a wonderful day exploring art! I would love to see the stack of books, as I’m a book fanatic!! I enjoyed this exercise and plan to go back to the art center soon!! I love your photo of the bridge! I love the contrast of the rusted metal and the red, white, and blue graffiti!

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