The inaugural exhibit at the Met Breuer” Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible,” reminds us that art is often about the process more than the product and that there is beauty in witnessing the act of creation. When an artist leaves a work unfinished it becomes a collaboration with the viewer who is then encouraged to consider, analyze and create an ending that is logical and meaningful to the viewer. They must complete the journey begun by the artist.
Some pieces are left unfinished due to the artist struggling with their vision of what the piece should be, others because the artist decided to take another direction. Some pieces are preparation for a larger work, and some pieces are left unfinished intentionally. It is a comment on the nature of art and expression. The viewer is left to complete the piece on their own or to wrestle with its incompleteness. Does the lack of closure lessen the value of the piece? Or does the viewer’s participation increase it’s value?
During this school year I have attempted to expose my students to art in order to enable them to engage more deeply with the world around them. Have I completed their education? I have not. They are “Non finito”-unfinished. I have begun the work and they, in turn, must take the next steps and progress on their own. As all of us must, they will write their own story. Only they will determine if, when, and where they will go. Surely they will stumble and fall; life is not a smooth or linear journey. They may not exert control over their experiences, but they have jurisdiction over their responses. Hopefully they will recover and move forward with courage and wisdom.
We are all unresolved, our future open-ended. We are all a collaboration. For my part, I have been a happy witness to my students’ evolution and the beauty that is their journey.