Thursday, March 15, 2012

Museum of Fine Arts

Join me as I wander through the second floor of the MFA.  What a glorious way it was to spend my Friday afternoon.  One of the first things that impressed me was the detail of inlay work on an English cabinet by Bruce Talbert from 1875.

Visit to a Museum by Edgar Degas.  I was enjoying seeing an actual Degas painting up close and personal until I read the exhibit text that quoted the artist as saying he wanted "to give the idea of that bored and respectfully crushed and impressed absence of sensation that women experience in front of paintings."  Talented painter, member of the Big Pile of Dicks Brigade.

Eddie baby, I present the following evidence in contrast to your notion.  This room took my breath away.  On the right wall are a collection of works by Claude Monet.  Directly in front are several Van Gogh paintings.  On the left is a group of Renoirs.  There were sculptures by Degas and Rodin in the room.  Being in a single room containing so many works by so many artists I have admired, being able to see these things up close and personal as opposed to only in was spiritual.  There was, in fact, a great overwhelming sensation of awe, which prevented a hasty exit from the gallery, for this woman.  Take that, Degas!

After that mountaintop experience I entered a gallery of quite different works.  Nothing like a beaded figurine of a naked, banana-wielding woman astride a Holstein to bring you back to Earth.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present Dairy Queen by Liz Manfredini. Again, no dearth of sensation, just a hearty giggle.

This one I had to show Logo.  It's a Dale Chihuly piece called Seaform.  Chihuly is a famous glass worker based in Seattle, which is generally known for its art glass production.  I thought it was funny that I had to come to Boston to see a Chihuly when I had spent 10 days in Seattle back in September.

Here is more hand blown glass. Endlessly Repeating 20th Century Modernism by Josiah McElheny.  It was a large four-sided display with dozens of bottles arranged to be reflecting infinitely.  I could have wandered around it for an hour or so just studying the shapes and patterns in the reflections.  It was fascinating.
Here we have Lilith by Kiki Smith.  She was perched on the wall high above my head, Lilith, not Kiki.  I wonder what old Edgar would make of her.  She looks like she might bite his head off if he made any disparaging comments in her presence.  I feel more kindred with her legend than with the story of Eve. I like her.

I freely admit, some modern art perplexes me.  There was one piece that was a photograph of a photograph.  The exhibit text for it spoke of how the artist took a picture of someone else's famous piece and the debate over whether or not using another's images is art of plagiarism.  About that time I was seized with a particular sensation. (See, Monsieur Degas, women have all sorts of sensations when looking at art!) When I found what I needed I took a picture of that image.  Oh look!  I am a modern artist now!

After finding some relief I proceeded into the hall for Asian art.  While I appreciate the amazing skill required to produce this lovely little 15th century piece called Devotee, the sensation I have is an overwhelming urge to nudge her either enough to topple her or to right her.  She looks like she could use a good chiropractor.

This is 1st or 2nd century BC Greek torso of Aphrodite.  I found it affirming because she does not have washboard abs and yet was considered the ideal once upon a time. Once upon a time, at my thinnest and most fit, I still had that soft belly paunch. It's nice to know some culture would have appreciated it.  We won't discuss how much that paunch has grown in middle age..moving on....

I loved he detail work on this gorgeous American mandolin.

I am a fan of Antiques Roadshow.  I've learned a lot from it.  There was a group called The Saturday Evening Girls around the turn of the last century.  They were immigrant girls instructed in pottery decoration as a means to supporting themselves.  This piece is by Sarah Galner, who was one of the more respected artists.  I have a thing for trees.  Trees + pottery + plus art education enabling women to earn a living=an empowering sensation Degas can stick in his pipe and smoke.

Fishing Party by Fitz Henry Lane.  I also have a thing for the moon.  It seems rare that a landscape painting highlights the moon as opposed to a glorious sunset or dawn.  I just love the light in this piece.

Closeup of a chair back.  Aside from the obvious skill in producing this carving I just chuckled thinking of this being in someone's parlor.  It seems like it had potential as metaphorical furniture. "Come into my parlor," said the spider to the fly...

Finally, I was ready to leave but not before capturing the rotunda ceiling.  Gorgeous, no?

Once outside I found this warrior imploring the Great Spirit.  I gave thanks myself for such a wonderful afternoon.


Anonymous said...

Who knew Degas was one of the Big Pile of Pricks brigade! Heh.

Craig said...

Well, you know, Degas is hardly the only, uh, 'great artiste' with misogynistic leanings. . .

I do enjoy me an art museum, from time to time (the 'engineer' stereotype notwithstanding).

And, you know, real women are ever-so-much more interesting than fantasy ones. . .


Just Me said...

I giggled with you at the chair.

I love museums... and the cross-section of one that you posted shows many reasons why. :)

Bijoux said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post! I'm also a fan of Dale Chihuly's works. He has a gorgeous outdoor sculpture at my alma mater and then there's the ceiling at the Bellagio in Vegas that is breathtaking. LOVE his work!

And I notice the nips on Aphrodite more than her tummy. Just sayin'

Uncle Skip, said...

Oh Em Gee!
It has never occurred to me to actually take pictures in a museum

Of course, if I had, I would now probably be scrambling around wondering what ever happened to all of them

Suldog said...

Love the woman with banana on a cow. It speaks to my inner need for beef, fried plantains, and milk.

Degas was a dolt.

And, for whatever it's worth (probably not much), I think a woman with curves is far superior to one that looks like a teenage boy. Power to the paunch!

lime said...

haphazard, who knew indeed? i was thusly educated

craig, yes i do know. in addition to the art i enjoyed quite a lot of the museum text. some of it was pretty intentionally funny.

just me, so glad you enjoyed :)

bijoux, yeah the nips are hard to miss

skip, some museums don't allow it but i asked and as long as it was non-flash it was ok they said.

suldog, and i have witnessed your need for beef and friend plantains (thanks for protecting me from them, btw)!

Beach Bum said...

I present Dairy Queen by Liz Manfredini.

Somehow I feel the urge for an Oreo Blizzard.

Craver Vii said...

Liz Manfedini's Dairy Queen makes me want to reach for the "Wednesday, Thursday, Friday" stamp. That's what WTF stands for, right? Good thing she's wearing that green splotch on her head. Otherwise it would just be your run-of-the-mill naked lady on a cow sculpture. I dunno... Suldog's got me rethinking my initial reaction. ;-)

Henry Lane's Fishing Party shows a love for the moonlight. Enlarging the photo really draws out the colorful attire of the people in the sailboat. I was surprised at the detail of that little boat, especially its rigging. It's interesting that the colors one would use for a brilliant sunset... happen to be included as a man made fire on the shore.

Aphrodite's torso exalts the female form, which is perfectly natural. But Kiki Smith's Lilith is aptly named, because it's downright creepy. Not only is it reference to a demon, but it's precariously waiting to fall on top of someone. (shudder)

Thanks for the neat pics. Love that mug!

silly rabbit said...

What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

I love glass. I like the shapes that it can be blown or molded into and the way that light plays through it.

I have long suspected that Degas felt that women were empty headed objects of some beauty. I like his nomination to the Big Pile of Pricks Brigade. I feel great respect for that notion.

There are some amazing things here lime. Thank you!

Hilary said...

Clearly Degas hung around with the wrong women.

I've been to the MFA several times.. and have spent hours in that very room with the Impressionist art. I love that place. Thanks for the tour.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like a beaded figurine of a naked, banana-wielding woman astride a Holstein to bring you back to Earth

yes. i've always thought that...

Daryl Edelstein said...

thanks for the tour ... I am marveling at your 'art' and impressed beyond belief that you were permitted to take photos ... my last visit to a museum was in Cincinnati and I was told to cease and desist snapping and I was using my iPhone w/o a flash!

lime said...

beach bum, if you're ordering, i will take a peanut butter cup blizzard!

craver, naked cow riders would be a good name for a rock band, dontcha think? glad you liked fishing party as much as i did.

silly rabbit, that reflecting glass piece was just endlessly intriguing to me.

hilary, oh! it makes me glad to know you've enjoyed that same room so much too. :)

cooper, whether it's a crash landing or a soft settling, i don't quite know.

daryl, i was glad to be permitted. last month i was in another museum (restored colonial mansion) that allowed no photography of any sort. i was a bit disappointed by that as there were some really interesting items.

Jocelyn said...

I get exasperated with modern art that is so "conceptual" it doesn't actually require talent--just pretense.

So much Impressionism on those walls. Sigh.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Except for the Chiquita Cowgirl (which looks like a kid's craft project) really cool stuff.

Margaret said...

I love museums and have not been lately. Will have to go in the next month. Thank you, I truly enjoyed this post.