Wrestling Art

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March 5, 2010 by David Gillaspie

If you get invited to an art show, go.  How many times have you seen what looks like a party through the gallery window and thought it looked fun, but you weren’t invited. 

Well now you are.  

That’s what I told myself while I stood outside the big windows of a downtown show and watched people look at paintings.  It looked like a good time.  

I went in.

I saw the featured artist and shook her husband’s hand.  A nice crowd circulated from room to room.  Like any good art appreciation guy I wanted something interesting to look at.  I got something interesting to hear instead.

Using my smooth steps I eavesdropped on a small group and said so many of the pieces felt full of conflict, of ideas and images wrestling for dominance. 

A young woman, arty-looking post college-age, straightened me out.

She was a music major, which means she plays every instrument made.  I settled in for music discussion and waited for my moment this time.

I said, “You played in the pep band?  Did you play at volleyball games?  On a scale of one to ten, what’s more fun, playing at a basketball game or a wrestling match.  Did you play at wrestling matches?”

She said she was not the right person to talk to.  She was a matgirl four years in high school.  All of her friends were wrestlers.  She said they were great guys, the best friends she’s ever had.  She said five people in her class went to college.  All the guys joined the service. 

Since then they’ve been dying.  She said they’ve been ticking off one by one.

She knows the heart of wrestling and feels it breaking in her hometown.  The paintings on the gallery walls looked strong, but she said they’re not wrestling.  Not the same thing. 

I said thank-you.

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