Friday, June 27, 2014

Philly bucket list

If only I hadn’t gotten so lost in a meandering way, if only I hadn’t stopped to get something to drink, if only I hadn’t swung by Ross to get a replacement pair of cheap flats…I may have gotten to my car 11 minutes earlier and not gotten the $36 parking ticket for the expired meter! Damn Philadelphia, I was liking you but your parking is ridiculous and expensive. The downside of city visiting: gotta pay if you wanna park near & safe. Oh well. Could be worse. Philly is nice. Has a lot going on and tons of museums. I spent all day today just at ONE museum and there was still more I could see. Tomorrow I’ll go to the Mutter and get that Philly cheese steak, and then that is that. I’m staying with Kathryn, one of Celia’s friends. She is out of town for a bit of my stay, but I can still stay here! How nice is that? Very nice. I’ve also met her daughter Clare and her son Eamon. Their house is very nice, with tons of pretty rugs and nice tapestry on the couches and monkey wallpaper in one of the bathrooms. I love seeing all these houses.

It was an easy drive out here from Marietta, though I did have to pay a toll, though not the costliest of tolls. I sat at the house and hung with Clare and Eamon for a while, before heading downtown. I went to Reading Terminal Market, which was a block of food stalls under one roof. Tons of restaurants of all sorts, and the place smelled great. Very hustle and bustle. I eventually decided on artisanal grilled cheese. A brie and pine nut and cranberry grilled cheese. It was so good. And I finished it off with some fudge. I then wandered down to Mostly Books, a used book shop with other used stuff. I rifled through the antique photos. I sweated. And as I mentioned, after all my wandering and shopping I returned to my car just a bit too late.

I didn’t linger in the evening. I just went back to the house and showered and chatted and tucked into bed early. Big day tomorrow!

All day was spent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was HUGE with a massive collection of essential fine art. I parked in their lot and used my Olympic College ID to get student discount. I peeled off the “fall 2011” sticker first. I have my PNCA ID, but I look younger in that. If I’m going to cheat the system, I might as well use the less obvious cheat. And it worked! Hurray!

I started with the prints and drawings. They had some WPA prints which were lovely, even if their registration wouldn’t have passed my standards. Then I went into the American Art section. I totally missed The Gross Clinic on the first go around, but I returned to it at the end of the day. Yes. The. Gross. Clinic. By Eakins. I’ve seen so much fine art in person now. And some of it was stuff I’ve seen when it was on tour at Portland Art Museum. I saw Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the European Art wing. Saw a bunch of Winslow Homer, who I didn’t know existed till now but damn I love him. In the Modern and Contemporary Art wing I saw a massive Alex Katz, instantly recognizable out of the corner of my eye.

The museum had the mandatory women artists: Alice Neel, Mary Cassat, Judith Leyster, and Berthe Morisot.

Duchamp had his amazing section at the end of the wing. I grabbed a selfie with Nude Descending Staircase. I think Duchamp would approve. There was The Bride Stripped Bare by her Grooms, Even in all its shattered glory. And a recreation of R. Mutt. And just tons of stuff I’ve seen in art books, but there! I didn’t know they had that much in one spot, but damn there it was. And Etant Donnes was there. Duchamp’s final piece. 20 years of work. It’s an installation that you have to approach. There are these bar doors and you peek through a hole in the door and you are looking at a reclining nude woman holding a glass lamp. It’s a sculpture in the scene, though as much as you lean over, you can’t see her face. And the figure is laying on a bed of sticks and the whole scene is painted in the background. It’s a bit pervy, amplified by having to peep at the art. I learned about this piece years ago and knew I’d have to see it one day. Philadelphia has been on my list for ages. Seeing this piece was on my bucket list. Was. I’m accomplishing on this trip things I’ve wanted to accomplish for so long. I’ll have a short bucket list when I’m done. I still can’t believe I’ve seen it, though I was pressed against that door for a good long while, gawking.

There is a Picasso Minotaur print exhibit. That was nice. I do like his line work and intuition. And a photography exhibit devoted to the use of flash in the medium. At the Perelman Building was a Patrick Kelly exhibit with lots of his fashion on display. Utterly delightful! I was starting to flag but getting outside and eating a bagel got a bit of pep in my step for the last leg of it. The museum was open late, but my energy ran out at 5. 6 hours!

But I’m not even done talking about the art that I saw. You see why I’m so tired? I like to take my time and look. There was a kid who powered through the Eakins gallery just snapping a picture of each painting and moving on, not even looking. And there was a cluster of loud German tourists. And a kid that was whining to his mom and wanted to go, even though it was like… noon so the kid couldn’t have been there long. Brat!

Saw an epic Rubens. The galleries have some exhibits that are set up like old rooms. Old Flemish rooms, Dutch rooms, Victorian rooms. So you can see some of the stuff in context instead of behind glass. I saw Frans Hals and a Vermeer, which was authenticated because the canvas came from the same bolt of cloth that another Vermeer was painted on. That is s ome CSI shit right there.

Here is a list of artists I made note of: Antonio Fransconi, Alfred Bendier, Jacob Eichholtz, Winslow Homer, Sir Frederick Leighton, Charlemont, Vuillard, Kay Sage Tanguy, Noel Mahaffey, Kamisaka Sekka, Collin Son(Sun?), and George Stubbs.

I feel like I’m forgetting something. But damn it was an epic wander of art. I got back to the house at 6 absolutely pooped. Now I’m just going to chill. Tomorrow: Mutter & Cheese Steak. And then probably more chilling. And then Sunday will take me to New Jersey. Taking my time. Eight weeks! I keep forgetting to reset my odometer, but I’m not putting on too many miles these past few days, so it shouldn’t throw the next two weeks count all that much.

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