Wednesday, May 30, 2007
the day after that
nyc can be so beautiful, sometimes. the filth they're always showing in the movies and on television doesn't ever measure up to the real thing when it's this breathtaking and simple. this is me in fort tryon park -- a place that looks and feels a lot like my parents' backyard in atlanta.
actually, in my first few years of living in nyc, i would take the train to this park and wander through it until i got to the cloisters, because it was a "pay what you wish" situation and i was all kinds of broke. it was the same deal at the met. i always thought of that place as especially spectacular because it was basically five museums in one. and believe me, i treated it like it was my very own palace. when i didn't have enough money to get on the subway and head to that glorified castle near the end of the A line, i would walk across the park and spend all day getting lost in the post-Impressionist wing, staring at my favorite one, but mostly scheming and making lists and daydreaming about my future in nyc and what it might be like.
i always thought that the cloisters are a bright shining example of what people should do with their money when they're really loaded.
later, when i had two nickels to rub together, the met was the first museum i joined. but then i joined MoMA too -- because it was so unbelievably expensive but mostly because i'd been stuck in bauhaus for years and i really needed to learn about modern and contemporary art.
i think of any work of art as a kind of snapshot: a moment in time that captures something of the artist's life, the artist's essence. when i walk through any museum, i feel as though any one of them have been split open and emotionally disemboweled right in front of me. kandinsky makes me feel that way. so does de kooning. and rauschenberg. a live performance, a song, a recording should do the same thing. seeing emmylou harris at joe's pub and listening to her sing red dirt girl made me blink back tears. i don't know if it's me or what but i don't hear a lot that moves me. i can still get lost in what i see, when i wander through a museum. and then certain pictures become touchstones in the same way that i can get so emotionally tangled up in a song or a particular lyric. so when i go, i want to see certain ones and get that particular feeling all over again.
i think i made the beginnings of pre-production plans on my next cd while sitting next to picasso's goat in the rock garden at MoMA. i like that goat. it looks unhinged. besides, i have an uncle with a farm in walterboro that has a lot of goats. if i could have a pet, it would be a goat. so until i get back down south, this one will have to do.
at first, i went to museums because i wanted to see the art that i'd been looking at in textbooks all of my academic life. and then i went because it helped me to think through ideas in this really expansive way. now i get it: it's occupying one part of my brain while another part is ticking away like a metronome. and some other part of me is exploding...