Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi, who uses the nearly 8,000-square-foot open-air space (the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) as his canvas, depicts his emotional response to violence occurring in Pakistan and across the globe, by working areas with blood-like spilled and splattered red acrylic paint into patterns of lush ornamental leaves that evoke the luxuriant walled gardens that are ubiquitous in miniatures of the Mughal court and also echo the foliage of Central Park surrounding the Roof Garden. Qureshi is the first artist to create a work that is be painted directly onto the roof’s surface of the museum, encouraging visitors to walk on it as they view it.
darling, dearest, dead.
My love for you shall live forever.
You, however, did not.
I would much prefer it if you were alive and well.
My love flew like a butterfly
Until death swooped down like a bat
As the poet Emma Montana McElroy said:
“That’s the end of that.”
You will always be in my…
What I want to talk about is how emotional outbursts typically more associated with men (shouting, expressing anger openly) are given a pass in public discourse in a way that emotional outbursts typically more associated with women (crying, “getting upset”) are stigmatized. I wish to dispel the notion that women are “more emotional.” I don’t think we are. I think that the emotions women stereotypically express are what men call “emotions,” and the emotions that men typically express are somehow considered by men to be something else. This is incorrect. Anger? EMOTION. Hate? EMOTION. Resorting to violence? EMOTIONAL OUTBURST. An irrational need to be correct when all the evidence is against you? Pretty sure that’s an emotion. Resorting to shouting really loudly when you don’t like the other person’s point of view? That’s called “being too emotional to engage in a rational discussion.” Not only do I think men are at least as emotional as women, I think that these stereotypically male emotions are more damaging to rational dialogue than are stereotypically female emotions. A hurt, crying person can still listen, think, and speak. A shouting, angry person? That person is crapping all over meaningful discourse.
It is terrifying to think that one day you will trust somebody enough to let them see you naked. You will undress and remind them that you’ve stretch marks and birth marks and scars from having chicken pox when you were little and scars from all of the other things now. You will blush thousands of shades of red, painting yourself as a rose losing its petals. And that person - that person will take it all in. And I wonder if they will reassure you. But mostly, I wonder if they will even see anything worth reassuring you about. I hope they see each freckle on your back as if it’s a star and you are the whole universe to them.