MOMA can be used instead of opioids because it has a pleasantly numbing effect. The art appeals neither to the intellect nor to emotions. It’s like a sweet, unoffensive vacuum.
For instance, the installation I really loved and spent a lot of time enjoying consisted of 4 screens in a dark room arranged in a square. When you go inside the square, you see the images on the screens and hear the sounds. For instance, one screen features bleating goats. Another has gently clinking crystal balls. The third screen shows something like a mini foundry. The sounds are neither loud nor jarring. None of the images have any meaning whatsoever. And it feels really restful to be in a dark room surrounded by these quietly bleating goats and clinking crystal balls. The sheer triviality and meaninglessness of it all feels like a relief.
There was also this art piece that represented a torn piece of fabric on a wall. The caption explained that the artist was referring to the torn fabric of society in the wake of the Vietnam War. The whole thing is so clearly ridiculous that it feels nice. It’s liberating to be in a space where any kind of silliness is accepted and celebrated. There needs to be space in life for the quietly ludicrous. Quietly is the operative word here because when the ludicrous is tweeting, Facebooking or emailing at you, that’s not restful at all. We need to be able to control our exposure to it for it to do no harm.
I walked out of there renewed and at peace.