Wonderful day

| No Comments

Yesterday, as I mentioned, my parents came up to visit and celebrate my birthday.

We chatted in the apartment, I was spoiled with gifts (Eric having showered me with gifts and affection the day before), and the cats received much attention and petting.

Then we headed down to the Brooklyn Museum, which was fantastic. We started out wandering around the permanent collection some, and my mother reminded me that when my father goes to museums, he really takes the time to look at every object and read every sign. We all really enjoyed the way it was set up, and I remembered that one of my first pseudo dates with Eric was to this museum, a little more than 3 years ago.

We checked out Ron Mueck's fantastic larger than life and eerily accurate human sculptures.

In particular, In Bed was positively disarming. Mueck captured details like the flushness of skin around the elbows and the veins under her skin with such a subtlety and sensitivity that it seemed at any moment she could breathe in and stand up.

My mother found these kind of creepy, particularly the ones which resembled bodies in morgues, but Eric, my father and I really liked them. The scale made them both monstrous and sublime, and being able to look so closely at something so alive yet so massive was just a powerful experience.

Next we moved on to the Annie Leibovitz exhibit, which was also amazing. The way it was put together was quite intriguing - juxtaposing personal photos from her life, especially those dealing with the lives and deaths of Susan Sontag and her father, with the more famous celebrity and politician photos she took for work.

The difference in format was at once maddening and yet logical. Her personal photos were very small, usually 4″x6″ or 3″x5″ (if not smaller), black and white, and printed with soft contrast, sometimes slightly sepia toned. Those of famous personalities were huge, boldly colorful, glossy, and perfect (even when disheveled, it was a perfect, stylish kind of disheveled). Eight or ten people could look at them at a time and take it all in, whereas the personal photos were so intimate a scale and presentation that only one person could look at a time, and it was difficult to grasp even with close inspection. The emotional content was powerful without becoming cliche, and the small moments of Leibovitz's life were monumentalized in a far more substantial way than the totemic portraits really could ever approach.

I noticed too that her propensity for shooting people in bed is not limited to actors, but extends across her oeuvre. And it never becomes pat. I kept whispering to my mother "God she's good." And really, looking at somewhere around 200 images, I never got tired of them, and I kept discovering new ways she's innovative, exciting, and fantastic.

I think this show is an exceptional retrospective, thoughtfully hung, and an absolutely essential viewing experience. I'm very much looking forward to reading the catalog at some point, and most likely I'll have more to say about this show soon (still thinking it over).

After Leibovitz, we saw an hilarious show called Tigers of Wrath, of Walton Ford. He made delightful large scale watercolor and gouache paintings of animals in an Audubon-esque, naturalist style, with a fantastic sense of humor and perversity.

My father especially loved these and has decided that Walton Ford is his new favorite contemporary artist. I've made a mental note to check out the Art 21 bit on him and do some more reading and research because I think he's really fun - I'm surprised I hadn't caught on to him earlier. Other links: 2002 New York articlePaul Kasmin gallery.

So the museum was great fun. And I want to go back to check out the Looking Back from Ground Zeroexhibit, which Eric says was pretty interesting - I didn't have the energy to do it yesterday. I really like the Brooklyn Museum, and that it's only 10 min down the road makes it hard to beat.

We then drove to Cono & Sons in Williamsburg for dinner - because the universe was bestowing blessings on me, I got parking immediately out front - and it lived up to the rave reviews I'd read online. We were all famished by the time we got there, so we quickly lit into our bread and gulped down beverages. We shared calamari and stuffed mushrooms for appetizers - the mushrooms in particular were truly spectacular.

Our dinners were all delicious. Eric got veal rollatini marsala, my mother went for veal parmiagiana, I had gnocchi bolognese, and my father had Chilean sea bass which they prepared in a buttery scampi with some shrimp thrown in for good measure. Everything about the meal was perfection, there was a spectacular ambiance, and the company just couldn't be beat.

We rolled ourselves out into the car, then back to the apartment for the aforementioned ganache frosted brownies, which profited measurably from chilling in the fridge. My father and Eric drank hazelnut coffee which scented the entire apartment in a heavenly way, and my mother and I sipped Earl Grey tea. The cats were petted even more, and we enjoyed the coziness of the newly cleaned and rearranged living room.

Just before sending my parents on their way home, we stopped by my studio to deposit the mini refrigerator my brother gave me for my birthday (he was not able to join us, as he was off shore fishing). I know it seems a strange gift, but now I will be able to store eggs at my studio and mix and keep fresh tempera paint. Because I will also be able to keep beverages and some of the meals from my diet as well, I will be able to work all day continuously without the current requisite trips home which interrupt my painting groove so often lately.

Such a perfect birthday celebration! I am a lucky, lucky girl.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Vicki published on November 7, 2006 1:35 AM.

Sweetness was the previous entry in this blog.

Looking ahead is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.