My Life with Christina

I’m back in New York this week for the 2012 NAEA conference. After checking in to my hotel yesterday, I made a beeline over to MoMA to see the Cindy Sherman retrospective and to wander once again through the museum’s galleries.

Whenever I visit MoMA, I always make a point to stop by and see ‘Christina’s World’ by Andrew Wyeth. I’ve written about my first encounter with this painting here. As a 15-year-old on a school field trip to NYC, I saw this painting for the first time, and fell in love with it. Since then I have revisited this painting countless times over the years. Actually, I must admit, stopping by to see Christina at the MoMA has been a part of every trip I’ve ever taken to New York over the years.

This time though the painting wasn’t hung in it’s usual spot. I experienced a moment of panic. I thought perhaps the work was on loan or temporarily taken away for cleaning. I asked a lady at a nearby information desk if the painting had been moved and she said “Yes, let me find it for you.” She pulled out a notebook that lists the location of all the works in the galleries, skimmed its pages, and said “It’s up on the next floor.” I breathed a sign of relief as she gave me directions to it’s new location.

I made my way up the escalator, down a hall, and there was Christina. As I stood there admiring her once again, I felt a rush of emotion come over me. I realized at that moment that I’ve had a lifetime relationship with this painting. Though all the ups and downs I’ve experienced over the years, this painting has been one of the constants in my professional life.

As I stood there, several people walked by and paused for a moment in front of the painting before continuing on. I wanted to stop one of them and share what I knew about Christina and how I come back to the museum over and over again to see her. But, I thought “no, they wouldn’t understand.” So, I just stood there a while longer, before finally saying goodbye.

I’m curious if others have similar stories to share about particular works of art that resonate with them?