Wednesday, September 14, 2005

BiCoastal Chronicles: A Walk in the Park and Some Art

With fresh reasons to feel anxious, I decided it was time to give up the worries about the future of a Coop in Queens. Whereas real estate is ephemeral, nature and art are eternal.

So I walked across Central Park, alone, one of my favorite things to do on earth, and I went to The Met. First of all, the weather in New York just sucks. It is humid. It’s like wading through the ass of one of those giant guinea pigs in Brazil. However, some trees were turning, The old cast iron lamps were still gracing the walkways. New York is still pretty romantic, if not also clammy and filled with poorly dressed people.

Upon my approach to 96th and Fifth Avenue, I came across high school girls being coached in soccer ball dribbling. Nice lean white girls from some private school, no doubt. As I was about to exit the park, another gaggle of white girls were coming into the park for soccer. They, too, were tall, blue-eyed, milky white and carefree with privilege. What was also odd, they all looked the same. Like an army of young Mariel Hemingways. Could this private school be packed with one large family of sixty sisters? I think not.
The class structure in New York seems very entrenched to my populist California eyes.

The girls went about their balling and I went into the Met. With only a couple hours before the place would close, I decided to avoid my O.C.D. nature and just sort of wing it. See where it all took me.

First stop...the bathroom in ancient Egypt. It gave me great pleasure to know that people have been peeing for at least 2500 years. I usually could care less about the Egyptian stuff, but lately, I’m a little more into it. I mean, it really was a civilization. They really made all that crazy shit. Even though the eyes are kind of dead, they were all very much alive.

Then, I stumbled around the European paintings because, you know, why fuck with the American Wing? I just poked about and didn’t stop unless something really caught my eye...

The following paintings were the ones that made me stop, stare and take note. It was a great experience and I suggest you leave your daily grind right this minute and get theeself to an art museum.

Greuze’s BROKEN EGGS...1756...symbolizes the loss of virginity. The child tries to repair the broken egg...in his innocence. The young woman in the picture is a perfect symbol of melancholy. The old woman points her finger in anger. The gentleman is clueless. There’s mood, characters, attitude, great technique and the little kid’s face is priceless. It’s an amazing painting. Do a search.

Then there was the foppish Van Dyck SELF PORTRAIT. Call me wackypants, but I’m more of a Van Dyck fan than a fan of Rembrandt and certainly of Rubens. This particularly fop shot is just hilarious. His mop of hair is so flipped to the side. His hand hangs like a fag flipper with a little dainty ring on it. His lips are all ruddy pink like a lady. He is obviously an arch dude. Very funny. 1620. It’s an amazing painting. Do a search.

Then there was the awful Rapheal...MADONNA AND CHILD. Commissioned for the Franciscan convent of Sant’ Antonio in Perugia. The nuns requested that the baby Jesus be clothed. Lots of golden halos...all filled in. It’s flat, dead and conservative. 1504. We should be happy, today, that the world isn’t even more religiously insane than it is, given what Jesus lunatics Europe has endured over the centuries. It’s a wretched painting. Do a search.

Now, the ever so tacky PEACOCKS by Hondecooter...1683...hilarious. A huge Peacock and a squirrel, melon, a turkey, a new world monkey, a stork...this thing could have come from the living room of my grandmother. It is so bold and so obviously made for color and brazen tastes...you gotta love it. It’s a ridiculous painting with a monkey. Do a search.

1656—Vermeer—A MAID ASLEEP. Lovely. Modern in its light expression and gentle tone. Seems contemporary in its mood, even with the clothing and the heavy table cloth. It’s really lovely. Vermeer...you just gotta love this thing. Do a search.

***
I tried to find the Asian art...but the rabbit warren of rooms were confusing for me... many of them were blocked off for who knows what sort of traveling shows, reconstructions, what-have-you’s... And I, along with everyone else, felt very mouse-in-a-maze...It was disconcerting to feel so cornered at times...but then, someone would give me a little piece of cheese and I would continue...

I did go down to the Frank Lloyd Wright room...abiding the suggestion of my artist hottie, Megan. It was a complete Frank Lloyd Wright room in the basement of the American Wing...Summer residence of Francis W. Little—1912—Wayzata, Minnesota. It was Arts and Crafts meets The Midwest meets California Train Station. It was oddly graceful, relaxing and oppressive all at once.


I quickly zipped by the Manets, Monets, Renoirs, etc...because we were all being herded out and I’ve had enough of them lately. Renoir’s MARGUERITE caught my eye. You know the famous one...the little girl with the pronounced forehead with the wide blue eyes. 1879. This is a portrait of Marguerite Berard, known as Margot, one of three daughers of Paul Berard. Oddly enough, she looks like a cousin of Dakota Fanning. This added to my desire to maybe do some time traveling just so I could give her a little slap across the face to hear her scream. The papery little girl must have had an odd adulthood.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Rebecca Waring said...

How I love the Old Masters.

Dan said...

I couldn't find the monkey in PEACOCKS. Can somebody help me?

http://www.wga.hu/art/h/hondecoe/melchior/peacocks.jpg

HelenBach said...

After so many hours of walking through the Met it's so nice to read the details of someone else's ramble. And the parallel of the pass through the park with its hierarchies and the pass through the museum with its hierarchies is unintentionally poetic. Nice day.

Jeff said...

You are looking at the wrong peacocks.

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/nstl/ho_27.250.1.htm

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Reminds me of the book: The Mixed Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler (?)... Where two kids got locked in the Met Museum overnight... Remember that book?

Woohoo!

Cheers,

Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's Kitchen
And I Quote Blog

Anonymous said...

OK. First, I am disappointed in you all for only having one link by the time I got here!!

Second, Mr HK, "The Mixed Up Files..." was one of my favorite books!!

http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/history/core/pics/0253/img0015.jpg

http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/viewOnezoom.asp?dep=11&zoomFlag=0&viewmode=1&item=49%2E7%2E25

http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/viewOnezoom.asp?dep=11&zoomFlag=0&viewmode=0&item=16%2E30ab

http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/viewOnezoom.asp?dep=11&zoomFlag=0&viewmode=1&item=14%2E40%2E611

http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/display_image.php?id=8726


Bill

Don Cummings said...

You are all art freaks who should each have your own little monkey.
Don

HelenBach said...

I actually DID get locked into a wing of the old MoMA. Seriously. I was there with a member and we were trying to find the member dining room and it was after hours and we got locked in with the vanGogh's and I walked straight up to one of his paintings and ran my fingers over the paint. I was also incredibly tempted to pick a piece of paint off and eat it. But I didn't. My one regret...

Rebecca Waring said...

Oh I LOVED the Mixed Up Files!