I wish I liked art museums. Art-Loving Me would sip martinis and engage in witty banter about Jackson Pollock. Art-Loving Me would skip into the MOMA in ballet flats with a sketchbook under my arm (“for inspiration, darling!”). Marc Jacobs would likely make Art-Loving Me his muse.
But- like pickles and Mad Men and pilates- art museums seem destined to remain fixed in the category of Things I Want To Like… But Really Don’t.
Sorry, Marc Jacobs.
Happily, there are exceptions to every rule, especially when the rule is made by me and when it’s so frosty outside that there’s really nowhere else to take cover.
Last winter, Mr. M & I decided we needed to inject some culture into our lives and decided to hit the Guggenheim. Pepper me with hate mail, but it was not good, friends. NOT good.
The low point was a diorama in which a taxidermied squirrel was seen slumped over his dining room table having just committed suicide by squirrel-sized handgun. I seriously spent the rest of the day shaking my fists heavenwards, despondent over squirrels suffering from undiagnosed depression (for the love of God, WHY? What could I have done to help? More acorns?!).
They did NOT teach us this crap in vet school.
Day #11,235: After a year of trying to suppress the idea of squirrels committing suicide (I still maintain that was not art but a waste of a perfectly good squirrel carcass), I was ready to get back on the proverbial horse. Besides, it was 15 degrees outside, and we’d both agreed that it would be a Cardinal Sin to live in New York City and not visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met was determined to change my mind about art as soon as I’d walked in the door. The very first exhibit plunked down in front of us was an ancient Egyptian tomb constructed in 2300 BC. 2300BC!
I’ll admit I was a little concerned about how we came to procure such a treasure… I remember reading about all the obelisks that Napoleon essentially ransacked and usurped as Parisian decor, but it turns out someone actually bought this from the Egyptian government over a century ago. An ancient Egyptian tomb is quite the thing to buy, no?
Possibly even more amazing was the Temple of Dendur, built in 15BC and given as a gift from Egypt to the U.S. in 1965 when rising floodwaters from a newly built dam were poised to submerge it.
I could have sat still in this room for a very long time. It was so peaceful.
Prosaic as my choice may be, one of my favorite artists is Louis Comfort Tiffany.
His famous stained glass windows are so bright and colorful and always make me happy. (Hear that, creator of squirrel death? Happy!)
I did try to branch out and visited the modern art section for as long as I could tolerate without getting annoyed. I even found a piece that I kinda liked.
Just as my least favorite collection is pretty much always the modern art, my most favorite is almost always the African & Oceanic Art. The Met wing of African & Oceanic Art is absolutely amazing and chock-full of ceremonial masks and costumes.
The ceiling is covered in wooden shields from Papua New Guinea, and it became one of my favorite art installations ever.
I loved it so much that I decided it needed to be recreated in our living room and that Step One necessitated a balls-out expedition to Papua New Guinea. Mr. M was not as enthusiastic as I’d hoped… but he’s not in charge of planning our travel.
As our museum patience started winding down (“I’m huuuungry…”), and we exited the famous steps of The Met, it honest to goodness started to snow. Big, fluffy, magical flakes of snow that made me remember how lucky I am to have access to New York City and art in general. Even art I don’t like.
(But not that poor squirrel. I’m still pissed about that.)
Details of the Day:
The Met (easily accessible by the 4, 5, or 6 train at the 86th St stop) operates on a donation basis. Although there’s a recommended donation of $25 for adults, all are welcome to pay whatever each can afford. If you can afford it, the museum is AT LEAST worth the $25. Calling it amaze-balls is underselling the experience.
And hey, while you’re in the area, you may as well stop at Le Churro (1236 Lexington Ave) a couple blocks over, right? Although Mr. M & I shared a traditional cone of churros, I recently went back with a friend who introduced me to the Nutella-Filled Churro. Good God, it’s Christmas morning.
**Writing this post made me curious, especially because I’m sure y’all must have some very interesting answers: what’s on your list of Things You REALLY Want to Like… But Really Don’t? Rounding out my top five are butterflies (yecchhh, they’re still insects) and Hemingway novels.**