I'm at 35,000 ft. -- on my way back to SFO from Boston. it's Virgin America, so i'm writing this and watching Die Hard, aglow in purple light and surrounded by what looks like a giant flying ipod. It's now been over a week since I painted anything, and I can't wait to get back to it. The lull was for a good cause though; In addition to the trip out to Montreal, and a visit with my dad in Massachusetts, I managed to make it down to New York with my dad and hit the Met, the Guggenheim, and MOMA -- all in 2 days. The Met was my favorite by far so I'll save the other two for a future entry. A warning to those who have been to the Met, those who may know a lot of art history, or those who may not really care to read a somewhat large summary of my trip there, 'cause I'm going to gush about it big time. I'll be back with more of my own artsy happenings very soon, so duck out if you please.
In that last post from the Montreal museum, I mentioned how looking at and absorbing paintings is the best way for me to learn (short of trial and error forever and ever). that statement seems entirely understated when applied to the Met though, and I'm going to do my best to describe what that trip did for me. Let me start by saying that i've been to Louvre twice…it's very prestigious you know. the last time was almost 10 years ago, and roughly around the time I started painting myself. I wasn't thinking about art the way I do now, and I'm sure if I delve into why that may be, this post will go on forever. the point is, that I didn't take too much from it at the time. I went there, It was rad, but that's about it. I don't remember very many specific pieces, and I didn't have the favorite artists list I have now. [lists are very important to me, I'll elaborate more on this another time]. These days, seeing a piece by one of my favorite artists, or a piece that strikes me by an artist i've never even heard of -- it's huge…and feels extremely beneficial. that seems both selfish and horribly put, but it's the best I can do.
So now that i'm a big boy, and a few years into attempting a professional art career, I make it to the Metropolitan Museum. Again, I make a point to do no research whatsoever as to what pieces are part of a museums collection. I love the surprise. It maybe has backfired a few times in the past (SFMOMA i'm looking at you), but it really came through for me this time. Within the first few minutes, I ran into my favorite Dali painting. From there, as we made our way from the Modern Art wing to the European Painting & Sculpture wing, it got better and better. We spent over 6 hours there -- really long for a museum visit, and major sensory overload…but that place is amazing. This is also not one of those museums with one big painting per wall, very open and pristine. This museum, especially the European Painting and Sculpture Wing, is jam packed with paintings. Paintings on every piece of wall --paintings above paintings, so high you can barely see them. Paintings in hallways and above doorways. it's fantastic, and totally overwhelming.
My shortlist of favorite painters is as follows (and it's always getting longer, so this is, let's say, the abbreviated mid-2010 edition): Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Ingrés, Mucha, Bouguerou. All of whom are part of the Met's collection. Prior to this trip, I had never even seen an original Caravaggio… or an original Mucha (who is contemporary by comparison). There were Caravaggios I have never seen images of, 500 years old and unbelievable. There was a room full of Rembrandts that would have been worth the trip alone and I will now spend the rest of my life trying to render shadows and backgrounds the way he could. [a note: I realize this is really old news -- apologies to any possible eye rollers out there, although if you've read this blog before, the naiveté is no surprise.] Here's what I mean:
It's also no surprise that I saw a ton of art I loved by artists I've never heard of. Now I get to go home and get to researching, and expand my ever-changing list of favorites / influences / inspirations / benchmarks. I took a million pictures of paintings and information tags, and at risk of totally boring you or really slowing down this blog, here are some more.
And that's it for my super long museum report -- a huge than you to my dad for the nyc trip idea and the excellent company. I was contemplating writing about our visit to the MOMA and Guggenheim, but I don't think I can do it without going into a "what is art?" (or rather "that is art?") type tirade. If anybody is interested in that, let me know and i'll get it together (if I can hack it). until then, I'm back to painting. thank you!