25 days of joy, constraint, & my holiday brain: Day two.

Visible Storage at The Met

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Ecstatic about aesthetic.

When I visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I turn left once thru the main doors and enter the art proper thru the Greek and Roman Galleries. The other way leads to the Egyptian galleries, which are a little too samey and deathy for my taste.

The first attraction in the Greek and Roman Galleries is a giant column, ionic. Turn left here for the first bathroom break. When visiting The Met, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the locations of bathrooms as their locations follows no logic.

Beyond the Greek and Roman Galleries, I go to the Oceanic Gallery. It’s bright, and most of the stuff is huge and amiable.

From there, the route anybody’s guess. I just start turning and twisting from Islamic to Impressionist, from photography to iconography. I cannot rest. I must see it all. Or not. It’s too big. I’ve been to The Met dozens of times, and I still find new rooms full of new thing each time. I like to go with others. Half the fun of going to a museum is chatting with a friend and figuring out what they like. I usually pretend I’m following them.

But I have a destination, Visible Storage in the American Wing. Visible Storage is where I can finally rest.

Visible Storage is exactly what the name implies. Objects —all American, as the name of the wing would imply —are on shelves behind glass, labeled with accession numbers. So many objects. Ever want to see twenty-seven examples of 19th century American glass salt-cellars? They’re here, next to any number of chicken-shaped serving dishes. There’s bronze sculptures from St. Gardens and Remington down the aisle from a Tiffany Studios workstation. The Peaceable Kingdom is here, along with a very scary porcupine-themed screen. Empty frames as objects in themselves. Chairs on shelves!

It’s cool and dark. Orderly, yet chaotic.

And empty of people.

I can twirl and not knock anything over. My main standard for whether a location will or will not send me into a claustrophobic spiral is the availability of unencumbered twirling space.

When twirling’s done, there’s actual couches in the place of hard benches. This is good place to eat Cheetos without having to worry about getting orange dust on the art or being hassled by The Man.

I also think it would be fun to make out on one these couches with only The Peaceable Kingdom as witness.

 

Then we can twirl some more.

Looking at art with Ernie

Co-visiting the Art Institute with my stepmom, who couldn’t make it for obvious reasons…

This past Tuesday, my stepmom Ernie passed away. I got the news as I was checking into a hotel in Chicago. A good friend of mine, Doug, was up there for an LGBT Law Conference, and I had decided to venture up there. I have been out of NYC for a while and really needed to see a friendly face from there. As there was honestly nothing to do at this point for her physical being, I decided to treat her soul to some art. I had wanted to visit the Art Institute, so I decided to devote part of my visit to her. This meant going to look at a lot of Impressionist paintings. Frankly, this was a lot more Impressionist paintings that I would look at on a normal visit; give me a nice Yves Klein Blue to stare at for an hour and I’m happy. Impressionism is a little heavy on the pastels for me, but I loved the woman. I can deal with pastels out of love. I learned a term when I was in Museum Studies: CO-VISITING is the notion that most people don’t visit a museum alone. There is not only a conversation going on between the viewer and the art; there is also a conversation between the viewer and his the person standing next to him. This was a great way to connect with Ernie. I flashed back to every Christmas when she would open the gift from her sister Nicole. They exchanged calendars every year, and it always seemed to be some sort of Impressionist calendar. I think they even gave each other the same one one year. Enjoy.

PHOTO ESSAY: Folks at The Cloisters

One of my favorite NYC outings is to take the A Train all the way up to 190th Street and walk thru Fort Tryon Park to The Cloisters.  The Met’s outpost for medieval religious (mostly) art sits atop a hill in the most un-Manhattan part of Manhattan.  It’s still rocky and hilly up here, and a view across the Hudson presents one with the vista of The Palisades, which is a much nicer view than Weehawken.  There are trees, actual virgin forest.

But it’s not the view or the trees that draw me up here.  It’s not even the “suggested” admission price (though that helps). I go because it’s like visiting old friends. Yes, I can get lost contemplating palimpsest of a Pollock or drown in the cool blue ocean of an Yves Klein. But The Cloisters is full of characters.

And they won’t shut up. It’s like being at a wonderful cocktail party where everyone keeps dropping the same name: Jesus’.

They’re always happy to see you…

"Did you make it alright? I hope the A Train wasn't too much of a hassle."

“Did you make it alright? I hope the A Train wasn’t too much of a hassle.”

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