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Art Affects Attitude

336. Art Affects Attitude

A story: In the fall of 1992 I went on the train with my friend Thom to Washington, DC. We were going to see the AIDS quilt spread out on the National Mall. My friend, Paul Abels, had died the spring before and his section of the quilt would be there. His partner, Thom, and I were both filled with emotion that Paul had died and filled with anticipation for seeing his quilt piece as part of the display. I was also dealing with another issue and looking for an answer.

We got to the Mall too soon and so wandered away from the site and into the sculpture garden of the Hirshhorn Museum. Suddenly there she was—a sculpture titled Standing Woman. She was impressive, cast in bronze in 1933 (the same year I was born) by Gaston Lachaise who lived from 1882 to 1935. He was an American sculptor of French birth. She was nude and her powerful body spoke volumes to me.

She said to me, “Here I stand. I am strong and capable just like you.” I took her picture and knew that in her I had found my answer. The interesting thing is that she has continued to affect my attitude toward myself. I have a 5×7 print of that picture framed and standing in a place I pass often. I see her daily. She continues to talk to me daily about our strength and power.

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