Research/Trip to the Met

Good evening all!

I’ve been researching prodigiously, though I feel I’ll always be behind. Somehow there are endless books (stacks and stacks of books and articles) that I will never be able to sift through in time. However, the research is rewarding. I always feel more powerful when I have more knowledge. I feel as though I’m getting to know Amrita really well (though now I’m convinced I must read all of her favorite books–adding to the stacks). I am having a hard time separating romantic accounts from factual records of what she was like. I’m augmenting my readings about her with readings written by her to attempt to reconcile certain discrepancies. Overall, I am learning a grand amount about her approach to her work, as well as the then-contemporary conceptions of Modernism. I also ran across some other interesting tidbits while searching through newspapers from the 30s (I was looking for an article written by Amrita, and had some fun reading about beauty powders and curiosities). Anyway–reasearch, though never-ending, has been fun and interesting.

Yesterday, this funding allowed me to visit the Met for the first time in my life! IT WAS AMAZING. I wanted to see “The Stein’s Collection,” but I spent the day getting lost in the museum as I attempted to take in its glory. The night before the trip I was considering my summer schedule. I knew that I needed to go to the “Stein’s Collection” exhibit, I just hadn’t set out exactly when I would do it. Since summer school was starting the next week, after that I would be going to India, and the last two weeks at home I would no doubt be studying for the GRE, I decided that the next day would be the best time to go. So, since it was 4 AM already (I’d been watching The X-Files), I took a shower, got dressed and started driving. I ended up arriving around 10 AM (good GOD I think I spent 30 dollars on tolls alone). I’m not one of those people who likes to “see the sights” when I go to a city (the lines, the build-up and inevitable let down, and my total lack of intest compel me to stay away). I would rather walk around, get a feel for the city, pretend to be a local, smell the smells, see the people, etc. So, as soon as I ditched my car I walked around. After walking for a bit (listening to Adele of course), I got a coffee and a blueberry scone at a cute little coffee shop, and did some Sher-Gil reading. I also did a little eavesdropping on some women who were not too pleased on some recent policies on the future destiny of New York garbage. Finally, I made my way over to the Met. IT IS ENORMOUS. I walked up the huge set of stairs (that many were utilizing as a nice place to lunch), got my bag checked at the door, bought my ticket (a cool little circular tag of metal with an M on it that I could fold around my bag strap), and was off! As soon as I entered the main exhibit on the first floor, I started crying (real tears mind you). There was just SO MUCH STUFF. I walked through the sculpture garden and was immediately overwhelmed by the shear amount of grade A art that surrounded me. No sliver of space was wasted, and everywhere I stepped I was wrapped in glorious art! It was like walking through a 3-d version of the tomes I had studied in survey. Every room had at least 3 works that I remember poring over my freshman year as I attempted to memorize 1400+ works for class. I think I scared the normals with my racing around, my excited muttering, and my frantic notetaking. That’s OK–I had the time of my life. When I finally got to the “Stein’s Collection” (I’d gotten lost 3 times) I was shocked at the number of people in the exhibit–the collection had been open for a couple of months now, and wasn’t set to close for another month and a half, but it was still relatively packed. This was where I spent most of my time. I gazed, and gauked, and giggled, and wept. The most amazing thing to see up close and personal–“Blue Nude” by Henri Matisse. The way the arms and the shoulders were rendered was absolutely genius. I spent the most time (by far) in front of this piece. The other surprising thing was the scale of Picasso’s early work–much of it was significantly larger than what I was expecting (human scale). I suppose the sketch-like quality, and spindly nature of these works made me think they would be closer to the standard 8.5×11 scale I’m used to. Another surprising element that Iwas not ready for was the way that later Picasso and Braque collages held my interest. I understand the conceptual importance of the existance of these works, but when I looked at images of them I was usually only intrigued by the ideas that birthed them, not the actual physical incarnation of those ideas. However, in their presence, I was absolutely intrigued! I spent much more time on them then I would have anticipated, and felt as though I was exploring uncharted territory as I traversed their surfaces. Finally, and perhaps the most surprising of all, I was not impressed by Matisse’s “Woman with a Hat.” For some reason I thought it would be much more vibrant and energetic than it actually was. My eye was overwhelmed by the seemingly random patches of paint and color (but not in a good way). Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mood to see it (this happens sometimes when I’m oversaturated with images), but I was not impressed. I finished my day with some linner in the museum (which happened to be overpriced, but not overly good, which was disappointing, but I did get some good reading in). Then I walked down to a market and picked up some jawdropping desserts (DEAR GOD THEY WERE DELICIOUS), and started my drive back. I was absolutely exhausted when I returned (due to an all-nighter the previous night, a 10-11 hours of driving, and a long day of walking and intellectual stimulation). I fell into bed, waking up 17 hours later! It was a lovely and incredibly educational experience, and I’m so glad I had the money and opportunity to go!

 

Till next time!