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A day in the life of a wasteful school

CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/arizona daily wildcat
"The Reason for Ruin" - Tucson Lifestyle Magazine writer and UA Alum Tara Kirkpatrick examines some of Giovanni Piranesi's etchings from "The Reason for Ruin" collection on exhibit at the UA's Museum of Art. Kirkpatrick described Piranesi's depiction of Italy's ruins to be "even more beautiful" than she had remembered.
By Laura Wilson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 21, 2005
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It's not often that I eat on campus. I'd love to say that my preference for eating at home stems from a deep-seeded love of fresh vegetables, or that I hate the idea of tainting my sacred temple with deep-fried meat products, but if I said either one of those things, I'd be lying.

The truth is, it's not often that I can afford to eat on campus. So, when I get the opportunity, it's something of a special occasion.

Recently, such an occasion came up. In fact, I found myself in the Panda Express line this very afternoon. The line was moving quickly, facilitated by the ever-efficient employees, when all of a sudden something very troubling happened. There was some confusion regarding the beverage choice of the woman in front of me. It was chaos.

From my vantage point as "next in line," I saw the entire thing unfold. When I look back on it, it seems like it happened in slow motion. There, amid the confusion, stood a woman who thought she had ordered a small soda, a cashier who charged the woman for a small soda, and a second employee who presented the woman with a medium soda. Pandemonium! The cashier was quick; she caught the mistake before the woman could leave with more soda than she had paid for. To remedy the situation, the cashier transferred the soda to a smaller cup, throwing away the too-large cup, lid, and extra soda.

I wish I had made this up. I also wish this were the worst case of wasting resources that I saw today; however, it wasn't.

After my almost-tasty meal, I decided to head over to the UA Museum of Art to check out the two newest exhibits. Both "Giovanni Battista Piranesi: the Reason for Ruins" and "Outward Appearances: Images of Ourselves and Others" opened Saturday and will run until August 14.

To be honest, I'd never been to the Museum of Art until today. More embarrassingly, I didn't even know where the museum was. Unfortunately, I found that I wasn't the only one. The majority of the students I asked didn't seem to know that our campus was home to an art museum, let alone where it was located. Of those that did know where it was, most only knew because they had gone to fulfill class assignments. I don't want to believe that I go to school on such an uncultured campus, but it's harder to believe that we could waste such an amazing resource.

After I found the museum, things took a turn for the worse. Despite the near-frigid temperature inside (an amazing bonus this time of year), I seemed to be the only visitor who wasn't on a middle school field trip. There were preteens scattered throughout the museum, soaking up the art education that most of us pass by on a daily basis.

I headed upstairs and found the Piranesi exhibit. Thanks to the free handouts explaining who Piranesi was, and what Piranesi did and why that matters, I didn't feel too uncultured to appreciate what I saw. While I'm not particularly a fan of etchings and drawings of 17th- and 18th-century Rome, I could see why Piranesi's works continue to be lauded. His use of shading and perspective were amazing, even if he was just drawing buildings.

My attention span is fairly limited when it comes to 18th-century Neoclassicism, so I moved on to the next room, which housed the "Outward Appearances" exhibit. Spanning the 20th century, the exhibit focuses on portraits. As a fan of both Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe, it made my day to see one of Warhol's "Marilyn Monroe" screenprints. Although I've seen Warhol paintings in many different countries, and on several different continents, there was something special about seeing it in between going to classes.

Not all of the portraits were paintings of people. Robert Morris' "Portrait" is a collection of small, glass bottles on a wooden rack. Beneath each bottle, the name of a bodily fluid is inscribed. Although "Portrait" isn't actually a portrait in the traditional sense, it does provide a look into what makes a person.

I'm not a preachy person, so I'm not going to write about how students are throwing away an amazing opportunity every time they walk past the Museum of Art. I'm not going to write about how it's the wasteful equivalent of throwing out hundreds of too-large cups, to sit on the mall gossiping with friends when you could see drawings that continue to inspire. I'm not going to write about how you can wow and dazzle friends from other schools by dropping the names of the artists featured at the Museum of Art. I'm not a preachy person, so I'm not going to write about any of that, even if it may all be true.

The UA Museum of Art is located near North Park Avenue and East Speedway Boulevard and is free to the public. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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