by Laura Hutson
At an artist-heavy party about a year ago, Watkins professor/art historian Tom Williams asked a group of us if there had been one painting that was our first favorite — one thing that we could put our finger on and say, “That! That was when I decided to love art.” I hadn't considered it before, but I immediately remembered the first time I saw Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" at MoMA and stood in front of it like some sort of hybrid of a lovesick teenager and a raver on the best kinds of drugs. That is to say, my pulse quickened, my pupils dilated, and my thoughts turned so corny that I probably would have made myself sick if I weren't so enraptured.
I was watching Sister Wendy's Story Of Painting on Saturday morning — always the best time for wholesome, nostalgic TV — and for some reason that sparked the memory of when I first started really falling for art and art history. I got curious about what other people's first favorite paintings are, and sent an email to some of my favorite Nashville artists to ask them about it. I'll be presenting their answers here on Country Life in a series called "Artists Spill."
The first one is by Amelia Winger-Bearskin. Read it after the jump.
There was no painting. It was [performance artist] Ana Mendieta. I took a sculpture class on a whim as an undergrad. Tom Ashcraft, the sculpture professor, gave me a book of her work. He told me I was a performance artist. He was right. Later that same year Mendieta's sister put together a viewing of her works that hadn't been seen before. My professor took me, and it totally changed how I saw art and performance.