Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday Afternoon at the Met

Hey all.

The New York heat wave has broken. After High 90 and humid last weekend through Tuesday, it has slowly cooled, and now tonight, after occasional rain, it's in the high 60s. Beautiful.

Went to the Met for about four hours yesterday afternoon. Good day trip. Took forever to get there, though, but that's the weekend subway for you. Took the R train and then the D, because it was the first to show up. But to get to the upper East Side you have to transfer to 4, 5, or 6, and only 6 stops near Broadway/Lafayette, which is where the D stops. And the 6 is local, so we stopped at every stop in Manhattan. At some point, probably Grand Central, a whole troupe of kids from a church youth group in Columbus, GA (it said so on their aquamarine T-shirts) got on and crowded the train car. On the way home I stopped by the World Trade Center site for the first time, which was weird, because now, almost 7 years later, it's just a construction site. But let me get back to complaining: from Lower Manhattan I took a 4 train to Borough Hall, but they decided it would be a fun time to close the Brooklyn-bound R, so I wandered around downtown Brooklyn until I found an F train.

Now that that's out of my system, I can say this -- the Met is awesome. Went through the Greek and Roman exhibits, Africa & Oceania, Pop Art, European paintings, and just had enough energy to see the Egyptian relics before my feet said "no more." Once they did, I did my long route home and then watched Juno and a whole disc of Weeds. Good day.

A few things I remembered about museum-hopping:

We will be remembered by the things that persist. For the Greeks & Romans, it's temples and statues. We think of them as white marble because the paint did not last.

You can only look at historical artifacts and appreciate works of art on their own merits while standing up for so long before you just want to say "take me to something famous." The Greek statuary and vases were interesting because I now know a fair bit about Greek history. But once my legs were getting weary, I walked through rooms of painters I didn't know so I could see the Van Goghs, Monets, and Davids. Like this one. That painting is amazing.

Museums, as sort of an obligation, feature rooms of tiny still lifes about the size of sheet of paper. Ok, neat. You made a small painting of something. But this is art; size matter. The Met has a smaller study of Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, but you need to see the huge version at the Art Institute of Chicago. Without the grandeur, it's just a cute painting.


chaviva said...

Wait. How long will you be there again ...?

I think I'm moving out around August 11/12/13 ... I want to come down to NYC and visit for a few days :D

Elissa said...

I've got 40 pages of thesis and counting; it's going OK. You?