Friday, January 2, 2009

A day at the museums (updated--see bottom)

Cities, even Dallas (the Can't Do City), are smart: They're very good about situating most of their museums in the same area of town. And as winter break dwindles, Chris and I decided to head into Dallas to see three museums: the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Dallas Museum of Art (hereafter known as the DMA).

We started the day at the Crow Collection, which we'd been to before. However, we'd been on a Saturday, and Crow is a hot spot for receptions--we ended up closed off from the South Asian section. But today I got my wish to see it, and though sparse it was absolutely fantastic. I have a bit of an obsession with India right now, it seems, seeing as how I:

1. am reading The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie,
2. am also reading a biography of Gandhi,
3. spend most of my time listening to Satyagraha, an opera about Gandhi,
4. have a sudden, overwhelming desire to learn Hindi, and
5. purchased a book of photography of India at Crow that was way too expensive.

So I enjoyed finally having access to that part of the museum very much indeedy.

Then it was off to Nasher. I learned a few things while I was there. One was that I seem to like modern and contemporary sculpture better than painting. The other thing was that Spanish artist Joan MirĂ³ is a true waste of space--an artist of "my kid could do that" style. Moving on, Nasher had a nice sculpture garden with a great piece by an American artist. You can actually see it from outside the building: it's a huge metal pole with fiber glass people walking up it. There are also fiber glass people at its base looking up, which resulted in the real genius of the piece. Out of the corner of your eye, you think the people at the base are really people, only to find out they aren't. And heaven forbid that an actual person stops right next to these fiber glass people and look up too! You think they're fake! I once again bought a much too expensive book and a poster of a sculpture called "The Kiss":

How often is modern art adorable? C'mon!

Then off to the DMA, where King Tut is on loan and the lines are excruciating. Fortunately, it's a separate exhibit with a separate line and separate tickets, so we skipped it. The DMA came with a pair of truly surreal experiences. The first was a large, colorful glass bridge that you went through into a room filled with mustard-yellow lights. Going in was boring, but the room was so strange--the lights eradicated any other colors and everything was in shades of yellow! I told Chris later that I couldn't tell if I could see different colors but my brain was too lazy to care or if the lights really played a trick that complete! After acclimating to the monochrome (it was really almost like being visually impaired--so strange), you go back through the glass tunnel, which is a sight for sore eyes with its prism of cool colors. Really stunning. The other surreal thing was a tall circle with a section cut out for people to walk in. It had different colors projecting on it, and I thought it was funny as we entered that people were just standing about a foot from a wall and staring. Then I found myself doing the same thing. It does a Magic Eye kind of thing so that your eyes go strangely out of focus and all you see is color. (Well, I also saw the rims of my glasses, but the experience was hardly tainted.) After being nearly blinded by red, we had to depart. Too much fun--everything else paled in comparison. We spent much less money on books, and have plans to install something in our own house that we saw in the entry way: a table fan on a cord (or a long stick?) hanging from the ceiling, swinging wildly all around the room by its own propulsion. Strange things pass for art these days, but at least it's fun!

Here's that link: Take Your Time. Lots of shots of the glass bridge/tunnel. The picture by "About the Exhibition" is the thing people were staring into from about a foot away. The picture by "Join the Dallas Museum of Art" shows the yellow lights.

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