I am not a glowing fan of modern art. And by “modern” I mean just about everything after The David.
I take dozens of exceptions to that, throwing in Sargent and Copley and Homer, but for the most part, I believe in art as communication. I want to see what you see, and to know what that is. But sometimes, I find myself drawn to certain modern works, and that’s exactly what happened with four buffed stainless steel structures created by David von Schlegell installed in Boston that the artist never named.
I have walked or biked past “Untitled” two times over the past month, and both times, the enormous brushed steel structures were surrounded by kids with skateboards. I was half thinking these panels had some purpose, something in the solar category of usefulness perhaps, and was a bit fearful watching these kids working out the kinks in their ollies on top of them. But walking and riding on these behemoth angled structures had no impact on their tricks or their general well-being, so I stopped and placed a foot delicately on top.
The warm, gentle sunshine bounced off of the surface like a plush silver microfiber blanket. I loved it. I don’t know what the artist was thinking, could not see the map of where he was going, but felt peaceful and content sitting and watching the skateboarders with the edge of the Atlantic at my back.
If you have ever driven a car in Boston, you’ll be familiar with a host of hand exercises from shifting and honking to more emphatic calorie burners. And to get to the waterfront, you’ll know why you need pain medication and the navigation skills of a monarch butterfly. But on a bicycle, the city courts you with its secrets. On a bicycle, you have the freedom to explore the underbellies of bridges, the place where this cradle of America butts up against the great Atlantic, and the art left forever “Untitled.”