Like all travel lists, some of the items you put on it start to fall off once you arrive at your destination. For New York, I had a list of museums to visit as long as my arm. I had high hopes to go to the MOMA, Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History, WTC, and The Met. In the end, I hit the MOMA gift shop, but not the actual museum (It counts! Right?), and spent a couple of good hours being impressed by the AMNH’s elaborate dioramas, halls of biodiversity, dinosaur fossils and Hayden Planetarium — where science badass Neil deGrasse Tyson works. (Pics at end of post.)
But then it was time for The Met, oh The Met… that was the place, the one that was not coming off the list. And it never will. Did someone say this was just an art museum? Ha! It reminded me of London’s Victoria and Albert but on a much grander scale.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
By the time I got there I only had three and a half hours until closing. Big mistake! I began with the Egyptian wing, which needs it’s own day of exploration to fully appreciate it. My favourite artifacts were the tiny hair comb, the scarab amulets, the stone hieroglyphics, the footed bowl and the gold sandals and finger thingys. (All shown here.)
I was starting to run out of time and was making a mad dash to get to the floor of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Masters when I was stopped in my tracks by the Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit. Its dark gallery, full of the most beautiful ball gowns, lured me in and hooked me hard. So hard that I bought the 12 lb book (which ended up being a heavy pain to travel with). The exhibit was an unexpected treat. Each dress had a video with it that deconstructed its design by sculptural, scientific, and mathematical approaches. It was très chic and très cool.
Ok, so you can guess by now, by the time I left the Costume Institue, I was exploring on borrowed time. I had less than 45 minutes left to locate the van Gogh’s. I booted it to Gallery 823 and breathed a long happy sigh… ahhhh, this is home to me.
I dream my painting and then I paint my dream. Vincent Van Gogh.
I’m not quite sure what it is about van Gogh’s work that makes me crave seeing more, but I so anticipate the emotional experience I know I’m about to have. His work is moving, sometimes painful to look at, but always colourful in the most perfect way. First I have to sit back and take it all in, then go as close as possible to see the details — How was the paint applied? How did his brush strokes give the impression of movement? And how did he mix those bold intense colours? Honestly, how the hell did he do it??? Tears rise up every time I see one.
Then came the call… “The museum will be closing in 15 minutes.” Nooooooooo! Crapity crap. My Met experience was about to come to a close.
I started to make my exit, walking quickly through rooms full of pieces of priceless works of art that would normally take me hours to go through, glancing left, right and center trying to absorb whatever I could. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large painting with a cow’s skull. Not my thing, so I walked into the next room. Then I stopped. Then I went back. “Was that an O’Keeffe? Are there others? Maybe her flowers?” Oh yes, yes, yes. There were two on display. Black Iris and Grey Line with Lavender and Yellow. You tell me, do they look like lady parts?
Boy do I nerd out at museums.