I didn’t know I was so starved for art until I walked in. In Anchorage we have no Van Goghs, Pissaros, Sargents, no Mondrian, but that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I was looking for color after a white winter. I walked into the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and because it was free I had low expectations. I wound up being transported to so many countries and time periods that I became aware of the scope of humanity for a few hours. This is what a holiday should do. Let me show you some of my favorites.
Some of these do address death, a recurring theme of this blog but also a recurring theme in art so let’s get those out of the way first.
Not quite sure what Skelator is up to but I like how the shadow on the wall looks like it has another wing. I don’t usually see skeletons with wings. It looks pretty miserable but that wing is fantastic and a tiny bit hopeful. The next one is also macabre but in a more Victorian way. It’s a tradition mourning painting of a young person. Those in the know are aware of this because of the colors he is wearing which are what dead people wear in these sort of things. I started thinking, almost everyone who made the art in here is dead, most of the people in the portraits are dead even if they were alive when they were made unlike this little fellow. Life is short but don’t run out of the museum now and get an ice cream, just sit with the idea that art is an attempt to distill life. It can evoke feelings that remind me of pain and beauty and the end of all that.
On a more happy note, here come the colors. I’ve never been to London and I’m sure it doesn’t really look like this but boy do I like this painting!
This next one was place on another wall in the same gallery. I suppose these are all Impressionists but not the ones that all the kids were looking for. It was a weekday and classes full of kids were looking for “Van Golf”. Teachers kept going up to the same pieces – one an ancient clay sculpture of a home with live people on the bottom floor and dead people on the top floor. It must have been some kind of “touchstone for discussion” mandated by curriculum because it could not have been every teacher’s favorite piece. I felt a little sorry for them having to rush through and just hit one piece per room. I found three in this one room that made me see the world differently. Once again I have never been to Dresden and I’m sure Kurt Vonnegut could testify that it doesn’t look like this but I love the way it feels. Perhaps this is what Dresden felt like at that time? It’s a little darker than what I usually am drawn to but I love how it’s not quite straight.
I was hesitant about including this one here only because all the school teachers spoke about it but once again the skewed viewpoint is so fun. I guess you could see it as spooky but I love it. I think I have been to Saint Severin. I believe I heard my sister sing there when I visited a couple of years ago. I do remember it being beautiful but I didn’t catch this viewpoint as I was focusing on the music.
A last impressionist piece. This is a strong self portrait which inspired me. So many of the artists represented were men, painting women. Alas, I could not find the artist on the museum website but it is a striking piece. I would like to know more about her and her work.
Let me throw in two last pieces. There was a series of Sunrise/Sunsets accompanied by two triptychs of Ansel Adams photos recreated with black paint on wood that looked like it came from pallets with all the numbers and such running through. Once again I couldn’t find the artist listed but I loved the juxtaposition of the natural world and industry.
Last one I promise. The MIA has a ton of furnished rooms, especially those from different parts of The U.S. A. Below find “The New England Room.” Can you imagine if this is what someone from Minnesota grows up thinking New Englanders live like? Alright it is historically accurate but somewhat extreme, very Peabody Museum/Essex Institute. I actually like the wallpaper. Very busy, like me and shiny.
Enough looking at art. I feel inspired. Time to make art or dinner, brownies or perhaps a life?