Thursday, September 22, 2011

The National Gallery

Have I ever told you about the time I was offered a place in a graduate program for Museum Studies? And not just that, offered an assistantship and a stipend!?! Real live professionals in the field had decided to pay me to come and study all things museum-related. Clark was going to transfer law schools and the two of us were to going to move across the country to live under a mountain of snow and books in Syracuse, New York. Two studious students, studying law and art. It was a dream come true.

No, I never told you about that? Perhaps because I don't like to dwell on it. It pokes at a tender little place in my heart. A place that sits right next to the huge space of my heart reserved for my kids. You see, I turned down the offer. I got pregnant and although we tried our best to work out an arrangement where I could attend school, work and be a new mom, it didn't feel right. I kissed it all goodbye and told myself that for everything there is a season. Turn turn turn.

Right now I'm in the season of raising babies, but I know a time will come (much too soon) when they are gone and I'll face a new season. I'm grateful that life is long. I'll get my master's degree one day. Until then, I'm getting my training in something else. Something far less glamorous but important to me none the less.

The point is, I love art museums. I love art museums almost as much as I love my kids. In fact, on days like today when Asher cries endlessly for no apparent reason, I love art museums more than my kids. I love art museums so much, I got married in one!

So when I found myself in DC with a free day all to myself, the first thing I did was book it to the National Gallery. When I walked through those doors, I felt like I had entered hallowed ground. The last time I was in the National Gallery was over 10 years ago. I was living in Boston and had gone down to visit my parents who were living in DC at the time. My mom told me she would take me anywhere I wanted to go. We spent an afternoon together wandering around the National Gallery, just the two of us. It is one of the fondest memories I have with my mother. She took me to the gift shop afterwards and bought me several prints of the paintings we had just seen. It's likely that my mother has no recollection of that afternoon, but I remember it so well.

My latest trip to the National Gallery was absolutely lovely. It was a rainy day and Asher was such an agreeable little companion. I love visiting a museum by myself so I can set my own pace. Between the National Gallery and the Museum of American Art the following day, I saw at least one thing from all my favorites except for Velazquez and Duchamp. So basically they've got an awesome and comprehensive collection but you can't have it all.

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Asher with Max Ernst!

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Gigantic Calder sculpture!

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Lichtenstein!

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I hung a postcard of this painting on my bedroom wall when I was in high school... right next to my Leonardo DiCaprio poster. A true fat girl at heart. Speaking of things hanging on the walls of my room during high school, why didn't anyone tell me it's a little odd to have a collage of Georgia O'Keeffe's enlarged flower paintings adorning my wall? Good thing I never had to worry about having boys in my room. Potentially awkward.

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Matisse!!!

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Matisse with scale!

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Manet! Taken with my phone... boo.

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Double Gauguin!!

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A whole room full of Calder sculptures!

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Rothko!

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A Pollock that I didn't hate!

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Even the walkway between the East and West building was beautiful.

Up next... MORE MUSEUMS!!!

3 comments:

Little Red said...

Correction: we weren't married in a museum. Just had a reception there. But it doesn't sound as nice to say we were "received" in a museum now does it?

emilymhjohnson said...

Mmmm... Art Museums. I am not an expert, but I love them too! Remember that time you and Clark and me and Matt all went to Las Vegas and there was a tiny exhibit at the Bellagio or somewhere and they had a Rothko or two? Standing in front of one of those Rothkos with Matt remains one of the strongest emotional responses I ever had to a work of art. After that I started paying closer attention to art museums. Now I never miss a chance to go!

And your babies are so lucky to have you as a mommy. Advanced degree or not. You'll get there when the time is right!

NewBini said...

Your musings about Georgia O'Keeffe's flower painting made me guffaw! I have a Little Einstein's book about color and in it for the color red is her painting red canna. Seriously? Ha!