Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Inspirado: David Wilson and The Museum of Jurassic Technology

I’m almost done reading a great book by Lawrence Weschler called “Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder”. It was lent to me by a friend and has lived on my bookshelf embarrassingly untouched for some time now. I’m happy to report that it is a wonderful read.  Mr. Weschler describes some of the background to the Museum of Jurassic Technology (further referred to as MJT) as well as conversations with Mr. Wilson about his museum and about museums in general. I’ve been to the MJT a few times while I’ve lived in Los Angeles, but I guess I never really quite “got it”. It was explained to me by my ex-husband, who was a well studied art student, that the museum was really an art piece. A museum that is a play on museums. Reading this book cleared up the confusion I always had with the MJT ("what?", "why?", "Is that real?", "That can't be real", etc.).  I don’t want to give too much away for the sake of those who have never been, but I highly recommend it if you are like me and have always been baffled yet intrigued by the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

More than the museum talk, what I really liked about this book are Mr. Weschler’s conversations with David Wilson. I saw Mr. Wilson give a rambling speech at LACMA once. I watched his lecture with about the same confused look on my face that have on when I wander through the MJT. But this book reveals Mr. Wilson’s background and now I understand more about him as an artist. There's one section where he self consciously describes the time in his life when he realized he had a purpose, but wasn’t sure exactly what:

P.44 “ It was like something was being given to me – somewhere between a gift and an assignment – and one wants to be incredibly careful with how one treats of such things”

I like that quote. The author goes on about how reluctant Mr. Wilson was to let that part be published, but of all the book, that part sticks in my mind the most. He seems like a really neat guy who let his life experiences, good and bad, point him in the direction of what he really wanted to do.

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