When having to be a grown up blows….

I had such a great weekend. I really did. I was in NM last weekend, so Saturday was about running errands, taking a nap and reconnecting with that cute boy I share a home with. Sunday we loaded up and headed for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

I love having artsy days. I don’t do them enough, honestly, and I always come out inspired.

I grew up in a sort of small town as the child of VERY small minded and small town parents. Albuquerque in the 70’s wasn’t exactly brimming with wide ranging cultural opportunities. It’s improved, some, but even today it’s tough. So I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that growing up, I never went to an art museum.

The first art museum I ever went to was the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. I was 29. Sad huh?

I still remember it vividly. They were having a Monet and Manet exhibit, juxtaposing the two artists who painted in the same era. I was literally *blown away* to stand in front of an actual Monet painting. I mean, it blew the hayseeds right out of my New Mexico girl hair…..

After the Monet exhibit, I went to the next floor. There held an exhibit of Matisse works. It was mostly his torn and cut paper work, and while I was not all that crazy about his torn paper years, I did see some amazing stuff. And again, I was *blown away* that I was standing in front of Matisse’s original work, including the well known “Jazz”. The actual original piece of art.

I was also turned on to some of his paintings. Back then I’d never even known he did anything OTHER than the torn paper work (little did I know torn and cut paper was late in his life).

It was truly a profound experience.

My next profound art excursion was last year at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Did you know that Van Gogh’s “Starry Starry Night” lives there (or at least it did in the summer of 2006)? I didn’t. That painting has meaning for me. An English teacher changed my life by teaching a poetry segment using lyrics from songs. She taught Don McLean’s “Vincent” and she talked about the artist and showed slides of the painting. That was seventh grade and I can still remember in vivid detail her lecture and what I learned (I can remember little from my childhood, but I remember this). I’ve always considered that painting to be inspirational and I’m a fan of Van Gogh.

So I laid eyes on the actual painting….and I burst into tears. I was so moved, it meant everything to me. Despite spending a few more days in Manhattan, I could have gone home that day. I was spent.

My next art museum trip was to San Francisco’s de Young Museum for the “Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge”. It was a moving experience, showing art from Cheech Marin’s private collection, folklore items, and work by Chicano artists. Again, I was blown away to see the original “La Pistola y El Corazon” by George Yepes. Well, the second original, the first was owned by Sean Penn and it burned in a house fire. George painted another one with subtle differences, but no less powerful. I sat on the floor in front of the some eight foot tall canvas and gaped at that painting, blown away by the style and the power of it. Moved to silence.

(noticing a trend here? Going to art museums is usually a deep emotional experience)

So going to the MoMa in San Francisco on Sunday was a big day for me. My reaction on this tour of an art museum was much different from the previous two. The first two times, I fell in love. This time, I sort of got mad.

Mad, you ask? Yes. Mad. Or well, maybe not mad as much as disgruntled.

I am not a fan of abstract art. There I said it, shoot slings at arrows at me now…..

I don’t enjoy the canvas painted blue. Just blue, that’s it. I’m also no fan of Jackson Pollock. I know, heresy. And there was a lot of abstract art during this visit. Some I liked, some just made me hostile. All evoked a response, and that’s the idea, right?

But all was not lost. Also on this trip I got to see two real live Diego Rivera paintings! That was pretty cool. And also a real live Frida Kahlo painting.

And the main reason we went to MoMa was to see the display of Matisse sculptures. Ah yes, Matisse again! It was fascinating to watch him progress with his style and getting the human form right, then deconstructing it. Amazing! Made me want to pick up some clay and get to work!

And finally, I was wowed by the “Hidden Picasso” exhibit. First, I was that close to a Picasso! (you know the drill…*blown away*). And then the mysteries behind the painting hidden behind Picasso’s “Rue de Montmartre” and discovered using pretty cool technology.


So, all filled with the arts and feeling artistic and flying on a cloud of joy……Sunday ended.

And today, I had to come back to work. To get yelled at. And complained about. And feeling decidedly UN-creative.

Being a grown up sucks.

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  • avelino

    I was never a big fan of “the arts” when I was growing up, though I had an appreciation based on a youth filled with band practice. It wasn’t until I made it to the Louvre in 1999 that I got my first taste of good art (and I got to see the Mona Lisa!) and I haven’t looked back since.

    Some of my more memorable museum visits include the Met in Chicago and the Corcoran here in D.C.

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