The following excerpt is in the Introduction of my book. I'd like to thank Professor Lionel Bascom for telling me of this experience as his illustration of iconic realism.
A group of New Yorkers assembles in the Cloisters museum, which sits atop a hill overlooking the Hudson River, just outside of Manhattan. These individuals have come to listen to a concert, which will be presented just before sunset. Anticipating a traditional concert with musicians performing in front of a listening audience, they search for seating. They notice that chairs have been strategically placed throughout the museum, a few here, a few there, up the winding staircases, in the garden, along the walls of stone. Confused, the concert attendees seat themselves, waiting.
Soon, echoing through the interweaving chambers of the museum, low brass instruments create a resonating medieval drone, monotone voices chanting in Latin with sustained pitches, fill the damp air with a sound that transports the audience from the busy New York City museum to a medieval stone castle. The glow from the setting sun mixed with low lighting envelops the medieval tapestries, statuary and paintings while muted melodies fill the audience with an aural feast. Iconic melodies that signify this medieval period permeate the halls.
The medieval tones mingle with the realism in the works of art, architecture and presence of the audience, sensually transported to this era. When the concert ends, the members of this audience become aware of the cultural distinctions between the two worlds of medieval Europe and twentieth century New York City, now transformed in their perceptions of continuity of human interaction in time and space, having experienced iconic realism.