Monday, April 20, 2009
Went to the Met on Sunday afternoon. The main focus of the visit was checking out the exhibition of Indian drawings. So I checked it out. Eh. They were less like finished drawings and more like sketches--just some vaguely articulated black lines, no color, no detail, none of the features that make Indian miniatures so intense. But the rest of the Met was fantastic. Always is. I spent a good deal of time just wandering the Greek and Roman halls. I never run out of stuff to look at there. Always something new.
I also revisited an 1865 Jasper Cropsey landscape painting, The Valley of Wyoming. (Oddly enough, it's a painting of valley in PA, not a valley in WY.) It's a big canvas, large enough to be completely immersive if you stand at the correct distance. It's a really masterful canvas, an interlocking puzzle of lights and darks, value and contrast. Realistic and illusionistic but a painting that acknowledged all of the tricks of painting: some of the effects are created through treating paint as paint, a plastic medium with a physical presence, and other effects are produced by scraping the paint off allowing textured raw canvas to catch the light. Yet another example of my conservative tastes manifesting. (I took a photo of the image but it was crappy and yellowish so I stole this image from Wally Gobetz. Thanks WallyG.)
I wandered out of the Met and around to the back in search of Cleopatra's Needle. I vaguely recall hearing of the monument in one or more Earth Science classes during my hitch in Indiana's fine public schools--it was always brought up as example of erosion and/or the corrosive effects of pollution. (Apparently, the hieroglyphics used to be quite legible until 100 years or so ago when the combined effects of weather and pollution melted the crisp edges of the Egyptian eyes and the hawks and the reeds and all of that.) It was hauled all the way from Heliopolis to Central Park and now it was surrounded by fat, pink tourists (with legs the color of raw bacon) and beautiful, moneyed UES four-year-old children speaking in complete, precocious sentences. Still, the weathered monument was . . . well, monumental and intimidating . . . and it was surrounded by magnolias in full bloom. So I sat there for a bit and got my vitamin D levels up.
Wandered through the park and found a nice rock to sit on and watch people row their rented boats about the lake. Then around the southern lip of the lake where I saw and old frail man trying to land a carp. Then past the rollerdisco party, down the Mall and out to Fifth Ave. Over to Lexington and down the the E. The E to 23/Ely and off for some beer at the C-Town. UP the six Sunday-only flights of stairs to the studio to drop off the sundries. DOWN the six Sunday-only flights of stairs and over to Vernon Blvd for a falafel which I then carried over to East River for consumption. Had a nice--if windy and slightly cool--meal and finished up a few articles in a magazine. Back to the studio where I did fuckall but read and finish my magazine and the last few chapters of the illustrated Adventures of Baron Munchausen.