04 March 2015

road trip 2015: first couple-three days

The VRA and ARLIS/NA annual conferences are unusually close in time and place this year. When I first heard about the two March conferences in mid-late March and in Denver and Fort Worth respectively, I figured it was time for a road trip. What started out as a four-day trip in a one-way rental car between the two conference cities turned into a month-long trip in my own car, Hieronymus, with stops along the way in both directions.

I set off on Monday, the 2nd, driving on blue highways and through the Allegheny National Forest during this winter of particularly vigorous snow and cold. I stopped at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., to see the show curated by my friend Darren Lee Miller: Performing Blackness, Performing Whiteness. It was especially interesting to see the works in Darren's company. Lots to think about and to remember from an earlier trip to Allegheny to see another show that Darren put together.

And then it was on Cleveland where I landed at Sara Jane's just after dark. She has been quite house-bound in the heavy snow so we took advantage of that as we ate take-out Mexican (sadly, without margaritas) and talked about everything: art, her writing project on early Netherlandish sculpture and the influence of the textile trade, life, growing older, weather, old graduate school chums.

Tuesday was museum day for me in Cleveland. This was my first visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art since the latest building project was completed. Several favorite works from grad student days had not been on display when I was last there. But now, NOW! There they were: the Saint Jerome and the lion by Tilmann Riemenschneider that greeted me every day as I went to the CMA Library to study--
and also Riemenschneider's Saints Stephen and Lawrence, the Annunciation by Albrecht Bouts, the Inness landscape, the El Greco crucifixion, the Hours of Charles the Noble, etc. It was delightful to be with my old friends. So familiar, so fine.

As I was turned around from the Riemenschneiders and started toward the next gallery, I noticed that John and Jacquelyn were in that gallery. They were on their way East after Jacq's post-doc at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. We did lunch and had a wonderful visit and then went back to our serious art-looking.

When I was done at the CMA, I went out for coffee and then to the Museum of Contemporary Art and then the mania really set in. My first trip. As you approach from the West, the doorway is wonderfully understated. I didn't realize that I was coming in the secondary door but I loved it. I got to the front desk to see that they had a Joyce J. Scott show. I had seen her show at Tulane during the Prospect.2 biennial in New Orleans in late 2011 and really love her work.
She does sculptures with lots of beadwork but also African sculpture, crocheting, glass shapes, porcelain figures, whatever works. She also deals with race and gender so it was rather a performance of blackness and whiteness all in one. But that's not all: the other two shows at MOCA were by artists I knew about. They had Ragnar Kjartansson's The Visitors; Kjartansson has gotten a lot of press for his recent works at the Venice Biennale. The third artist was Jessica Eaton who was at Alfred to give an artist talk last year. Not only great artists but the building was really fine too. It's a little like Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin without being so self-conscious.

Poor Sara Jane had to put up with mania all evening but I think she rather got a kick out of it. It didn't hurt that she, a beader, could tell me that she had actually met Joyce J. Scott.

1 comment:

bklynbiblio said...

I still haven't been to Cleveland or either museum, but I'm glad to hear you had a great art experience, and I look forward to going myself one day soon! Hope you enjoyed Denver and are having fun in Fort Worth!