08 March 2015

road trip 2015: will she ever forgive me?

Early in this road trip, I stayed with Sara Jane Pearman in Cleveland. We were talking about my destinations and Sara Jane mentioned the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, which hadn't been on my list. I stopped:
The museum building is a nice deco building from 1931 with an understated and sympathetic addition by Norman Foster, opened 1994. The fountain court and Founders Room in the old building are beautiful deco spaces. The main entrance is now in the space between the old and new buildings:

The special show was "American Moderns" from the Brooklyn Museum. Some really fine works by well-known folks like Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O'Keeffe, along with good stuff by Augustus Tack and Francis Criss. The permanent collection has lots of good stuff too. Particular favorites were a diminutive collection of blocks by Sol LeWitt; a Kay Sage surrealist painting; landscapes by Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, and Thomas Hill; a Sargent portrait; a William Merritt Chase painting of a man with coffee and cigarette and lady in hammock; an N.C. Wyeth advertisement for tires with some Indians and a car driving away; two Vibert paintings (The King of Rome and The Grasshopper and the Ant); the landscape Stone City by Grant Wood that has been interpreted as a man's butt; and a lovely painting by Mariano Fortuny.

I read a long time ago about a groovy new warehouse and loft district in Omaha. I didn't get to walk about in the area but I did drive through on my way out of town after finishing at the Joslyn. One of the streets I was on was as pockmarked as the Meatpacking District used to be in New York City. On a nice Sunday morning, it was very tempting to linger but I wanted to get to Lincoln to see the Sheldon Museum of Art and to have a coffee and chat with Jonathan Walz, a curator there. Something came up for Jonathan so I didn't get to see him in situ.

After I got to Lincoln, I checked my email and Facebook and Sara Jane asked if the casts of the Chartres jamb figures were still in the front lobby. Oh, that's right: that's what she was particularly interested in at the Joslyn. I don't remember them, I was in the main front lobby of the old building, I don't think they were there. Will she ever forgive me for not verifying their presence or absence?

The Sheldon Museum of Art is part of the University of Nebraska and the building was designed by Philip Johnson at about the same time as the Amon Carter Museum:
Two special shows were on view: Will Wilson: Critical Indigenous Photograph Exchange, and Bracketing the Reading: Thinking Through Photography. Both were pretty darn fine and included some pairing of works. The Wilson was heavily comparative. The Bracketing show included a Vik Muniz view of a minimalist exhibition with works by Carl Andre and others and there was an Andre floor piece nearby.

I had seen the Gee's Bend quilt show at the Whitney some years ago and loved the postage stamps that featured the quilts. The From Quilts to Prints show was a very interesting spin: the design of the quilts in print form.

Paintings from the collection, mostly American, were on display in the permanent collection galleries. Again, some really enjoyable art: a Martin Johnson Heade still life with oranges, the Grant Wood portrait of Arnold Pyle, a Dove and a Demuth in the corner of one gallery, a really nice recently-acquired Lee Krasner in bright colors with a Frankenthaler and Morris Louis in the same gallery.

A chorus and instrumentalists were rehearsing when I arrived. The concert started at 3 and I was captive for a while in the South galleries since the only egress was across a balcony above the singers. Normally, I'd love to fall upon a concert but this was full of endless alleluias and I had a different agenda. As the audience clapped, I slipped across the balcony over to the elevator, and down and out.

Heading West. I am now in Grand Island, Nebraska, and tomorrow probably brings a trip to North Loup where my family lived when I was in high school and a visit with someone who lived in North Loup when we were there and now lives in Kearney. Kearney State used to sponsor a competition for academic achievement for high school kids, a sort of compensation for the nerds and geeks who weren't on sports teams. I was second in penmanship and not the last in Spanish. Back to Sara Jane: she taught at Kearney State for a short while before heading to Cleveland for grad school.

1 comment:

bklynbiblio said...

Hopefully Sara Jane forgave you! I've been enjoying reading your road trip art & architecture tour. Great fun!