Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Museum Day

I’ve been in NYC today, one of my museum days, and the museum was more crowded than I've ever seen it-- vast lines on fifth avenue. I asked if members had to stand on line, and the guard said Yes, or go to the lower entrance. Duh. So I went in that way, but there was a big line for tickets there too, so I went to membership desk and asked if members had to stand on line, and the women said they weren't letting people in, too many (which wasn't true, ) and gave me a button anyhow
So I went in.
Most of them are lined up for the McQueen show, which I already saw and wouldn't stand in line for. I spend a while looking at sarcophagi in the Roman galleries, and then drifted into Americas and found this small show of Andes tunics-- 500 - @ 1450 CE. Essentially big squares of cloth with a head hole, but beautiful weaving, patterns, "camelid" hair (llamas and vicunas etc.) some of native cotton. Colors rich from dry conditions between mountains and coast. One pale cotton one with pelicans woven into the pattern, and two nice tie dyes, one of which was a real knock out, that made me feel I was seeing something absolutely new. Specially woven squares and step shapes then sewed together, colors blue and yellow and red, with the tie die pale spots and dark center, but what was so moving was that one side was regular blocks, beautiful and regular, and the other half in a step pattern, some colors, but as if the regularity had been broken up with lightning or earthquakes-- all the same and yet all different. And the back of the tunic, the same, but opposite sides. Some basic philosophical statement here.
Also saw a nice exhibit in Modern of living artists' work with or around masks. Two clever artists from Benin (jerrijug face masks); Lynda Benglis (what do I know about her?) and some beautiful glass constructions that I wouldn't have tagged as masks, but okay, and then Willie Cole-- a mask called Shine made of black shoes, mostly patent leather, this hilarious splendid grimacing threatening face with square heeled shoe ears and pointed toe squinty eyes and rugged roiled cheeks-- oh I loved this thing.
Also his others, like the tall African wooden head dresses with lots of space-- he meade his of a pink girl's bicycle frame.
Finally, a nice Franz Hals exhibit, and I bought the bulletin and the audioguide and am trying to learn something.
Bought a kraut and mustard hot dog and walked to the West side via the golden green summer park, down B'way to the subway, to Penn Station and home.

No comments: