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    Monday, February 06, 2006
    Thoughts While in the Brooklyn Museum
    Well, I’m back. I had a conversation with Lizy last night about why I haven’t been blogging lately. How hard it is to motivate myself to write when I get home from the office. How emotionally draining going in every day is. Facing the people who fired me. Keeping a brave face on in front of the coworkers who know I’ve been fired. It takes everything I’ve got to keep it together. And what little I have left goes to writing cover letters, resumes, preparing for interviews (I’ve had two so far).

    So the blog has suffered because of that. So has my email correspondence. For those of you who have emailed and posted comments, thank you. I am still alive and kicking, I promise.

    As a way to get myself back into the swing of things, I took a trip to the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday and spent a few hours just wandering around the collection. For those of you New Yorkers who haven’t been there, I highly suggest it. It’s peaceful and quiet. Out of the way enough that the crowds don’t get large at all. Their collection isn’t as extensive as many of the NYC museums, but what it lacks in breadth, it more than makes up for in other ways. These are my thoughts/ramblings while walking through the museum.

    It should be noted, I don’t know shit about art. I know everyone says that, but I’m just giving you all a heads up. I use art museums more as a place to escape. I place to reflect, and often, a place to write. There’s something about having the art of others around me that inspires me to try to create something lasting of my own.

    * * * * *

    Madonna Nursing the Christ Child - Master of the Magdalene Legend

    For probably the first time in my life I saw the actualization of a painted scene at the exact moment I was gazing at the painting itself. The portrait was small, maybe a foot and a half tall and less than a foot wide. The vivid red background caught my eye immediately, but I was interested more in what was happening on the bench in front of the image. For there sat a mother, with her back to the painting, nursing her son. We were in a small alcove on the top floor of the museum, an idea spot to nurse out of the public eye. I approached quietly and sat on the opposite end of the bench from the pair, facing towards the painting in order not to disturb the mother, and to write about the beautiful symmetry of the moment. But I was almost immediately distracted by the happy gurgling of the infant to my right, who had apparently decided that staring at me was infinitely more interesting than his mother’s breast.

    Being a person in the possession of a uterus, I of course turned and smiled, unable to be the casual observer any longer. The mother smiled at me and simply said “What an ideal spot to nurse, huh?” as she looked over her shoulder at the painting of Mary and the baby Jesus. “If anyone gets upset I can just point them in the direction of the wall. Whenever I take him here with me I always feed him here”.

    Sometimes talking to people you’ve been “people watching” can take away from the idealistic thoughts you have going through your head. But I liked the situation even more because of her knowledge of the symmetry.

    * * * * *

    Visible Storage – Number 49.67
    Incantation – Charles Sheeler

    One of my favorite portions of the trip was the “Visible Storage” on the fifth floor of the museum. In it, a visitor can walk through one of the museums storage areas, which has been turned into a sort of tutorial on how the museum operates. Kind of a “behind the scenes” look at what it takes to get the galleries looking the way they do. It’s almost awe inspiring to think of the thousands of works they have on hand, hung on sliding walls stacked at least five deep, or shelved in floor to ceiling glass cases, catalogued for ease of use.

    It was here that I saw my favorite piece of the day (see picture). Visual Storage Number 49.67. By using one of the five computers provided in the area, I looked up the description of the work.

    “Clean, sharp lines and unmodulated passages of color here create shapes that suggest factories and machinery, aligning this work with the Precisionist style that Charles Sheeler helped to develop. Although the artist intended this painting to be viewed in terms of its abstract design, contemporary audiences often endowed the image with social meaning, lodged in the fear of technology's potential to replace the human workforce. In 1949 a writer for The New York Daily Worker described the painting as "an industrialist's heaven where factories work themselves."”

    I loved the image mainly because of it’s simplicity. But it’s interesting to think about the differences in the artists intent and the meaning the audience gleans from it. This happens with everything from painting to sculpture to literature to music. So what’s more important? What the artist actually meant (which in many cases can’t be a question posed to the creator) or what the audience takes away from it? I don’t have an answer, just a question to think about.

    * * * * *

    Egyptian art doesn’t fascinate me the way that I feel like it should.

    * * * * *

    I enjoy paintings with vivid colors, sharp contrasts, every day detail. I shy away from portraits of royalty. My taste in visual art, much like my taste in literature, focus on the details. Our every day lives are beautiful and the details of OTHERS everyday lives are fascinating.

    Perhaps that’s why blogging has taken off in the manner in which it has. Manny blogging critics will say that the personal blogs we write, these daily musings on nothing, suggest how voyeuristic and self-important, self-indulgent, self-centered, or society has become. But I see it differently. If we can find beauty and intrigue in the minutia of other’s lives, we are in turn reminded of the simple elegance of our own existence. This is probably reading too much into nothing. But I’m in a museum, I’m bound to get overly wordy.


    posted by FINY @ Monday, February 06, 2006  
    • At 2/06/2006, Blogger Esther said…

      I like the descriptions, and I'm glad to see you're back.

    • At 2/06/2006, Blogger BlackJack said…

      Those Manny critics can go to hell - I'll take him on my team any day.

      Seriously though, I agree with you. I like the 'slice of life' flavor of most blogs. For my own blogging I usually have some sort of objective with my entries, but they are almost always grounded in something that touched me personally.

    • At 2/07/2006, Blogger Macca said…

      Seeing the little nuances in other's blogs makes me feel a little more, I don't know, in place with everyone else. I try to put some stuff in my blog that I may be a little embarrassed about admitting or even something slightly humiliating, only to see that these things happen to a lot of people. The blogs that are the best are the blogs that make you empathize with someone. To say, "hey, that happens to me too! Don't sweat it!".

      I tend to babble.

    • At 2/07/2006, Blogger Michael Leggett said…

      Real life is more important than fantasy, anyday.

    • At 2/17/2006, Blogger Peter N said…

      You know that in your last paragraph of this post, you spelled the word many as manny.'s always there. Take care.

    • At 2/05/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      best regards, nice info » »

    • At 4/25/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Best regards from NY! » » »

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    Name: FINY
    Home: New York, New York, United States
    About Me: Just a New England girl trying to make it in NYC. Email me at: soxfaninnyc [at] gmail [dot] com
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