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Sunday, September 06, 2015

Museums: A Double Header

It'd been at least a year since I took Mo to a museum. We used to go all the time, before teenage naysaying entered the picture. But to my surprise, for once, when I offered she said yes.

It's hard to tell sometimes with her verbal communication. She'll say no to almost anything sometimes, including favorite treats like Sprite or Oreos. But when she says yes, you know you're on to something.

I realized something she's been communicating to me, probably, all along on these outings today. She'll go and pose in front of pictures or statues, but not all of them. I think what she's saying, she likes this one. She wants me to take her picture with it because she's giving it the thumbs up.

If I'm reading these tea leaves correctly, Mo prefers modern to classical. Or maybe that reflected the fact that we spent most of our time in the Bloch addition, which is mostly modern stuff, while we were at the Nelson and then we followed up the Nelson with a trip through the Kemper museum which is all new stuff. Vivid colors and dense color also seemed to attract her poses. Makes sense, I guess, when she paints it's with absolute obliteration of white space, her paintings aren't done until everything is color.

For my own part, I'm a sucker for modernity. The Dutch masters and whatnot, really not moving the needle for me. Actual antiquity, a 1700 year old Greek sculpture, yeah, that impresses me for its sheer age, but I'll take a de Koenig or a Pollack over a Rembrandt any day. Or pop art, I really enjoy Warhol. Or Richard Estes, I loves me some Central Savings type stuff.

I turned on Strava for this excursion. My health insurance rewards me for verified workouts, and I've been logging my bike commutes and whatnot to great effect. If my employer keeps this insurance and if the points roll over year to year (I don't know that yet), I think I can get a free bike out of the deal. Not a super awesome top drawer bike, but an entry level Trek mountain bike or cyclocross bike, a respectable backup to be sure. It took my wife seven months to harangue me into setting up the Strava thing but once I saw what was possible, I got really into it. They only credit one workout a day, but since I wasn't going to get to bike today, the walking thing. We walked 1-1/2 miles according to the app.

I think the idea that Mo is expressing approval of the art when she poses by it has an exception. She always, always poses in front of the wax guard, mocking him. If I dug around, I bet I have twenty shots like this covering her from about age 9 to age 18.

The puzzle chair really fascinated me. Then I read the placard on it and it totally fascinated me. I want one of these, you can get the files to 3D print your own for free, all I need is a friend with a 3D printer and whatever the plastic costs.

Trying to learn more about photography myself, I'm really in awe of the photography exhibits near the bottom of the Bloch addition. Shots from the 1860s, shot with the very earliest, crudest photographic technology. No looking at the preview to see if you got it, no tweaking the curves or exposure compensation, just really detailed photographs with challenging combinations of background and foreground. I don't know how many shitty shots it took to get there, but they just couldn't shoot as many shots as I sometimes do with my D7000 (and I often get mostly junk).

And of course we had to visit the Four Seasons by Haas while they're still there. Sadly they're going away in a little over a month, I like them enough I wish they were a permanent exhibit.

Judging from all the people trying for the same shots, I think the Haas installation has got to be a resounding success for the museum. I'm sure they bring in traveling exhibits at times they expect to really pull people in and then it's crickets, and then there's times where people just trip over each other getting in to see something. I bet it's semi-mysterious as far as what works and what doesn't, but the Four Seasons is a win

After we'd done the glass maze at the Nelson we headed over to the Kemper, which is a much more intimate affair. The glass maze was pretty claustrophobic for me, which is counterintuitive since it's clear. You can see a great distance in every direction, you just can't go there. The glass makes it hotter, and realizing you would have to walk those last 100 steps in reverse to get out if you had to, yeah.

The wall spider outside the Kemper was missing, and I inquired. First, I got a guard who thought they'd taken it down because the artist's work had gotten crazy expensive and they were afraid it'd be stolen. Or that one (the big lawn spider) by the same artist was enough to show. Then I talked to someone who seemed to really know, and she said it just needed a cleaning and some TLC, and it'd be back soon. I hope the latter was right, the only way I'd be okay with that spider leaving the wall of the Kemper is if I could have it put on the wall of my house.

Oh, and I totally need this coffee mug. Except I don't really drink coffee and it would be an insulting serving size for soda.

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