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Friday, March 11, 2005


Gris Is the Word

With my wife back from Seattle, we're getting a chance to spend some time together again. So tonight we took advantage of the fact that we live in New York. We went to Free Target Fridays at the Museum of Modern Art. If you've never been to MoMA NY, you need to hop a subway, plane or dirigible and get there. And you should do it on a Friday between 4 and 8, because it's twenty fucking dollars otherwise. I realize that, in the grand scheme of things, twenty bucks isn't all that much. Still, it's kind of galling to me that some of the greatest paintings in the world are in town but out of reach to folks who can't swing a double sawbuck.

Whatever you pay, though, it's a fucking phenomenal collection. The problem with this is that, especially when you're there with the mass of cheapskates like me who take advantage of Free Fridays, the aforementioned Greatest Paintings in the World are pretty much surrounded at all times. I didn't really get a good look in at Van Gough's The Starry Night, as there was a swarm of gawkers on all sides of it. It kind of reminded me of the bar scene when I was single. If there was a really gorgeous girl, you could sure there'd be a couple dozen frat boys jockeying for position. It was the same thing for Dali's The Persistence of Memory. Anything that people have seen posters of in dorm rooms, they're going to want to get a picture of to take home.

Picasso fans have it a bit easier in MoMA, because there's about three hundred seventy-eight of his pieces there. The man was prolific. When we were in Europe this summer, I got my fill of Picasso. He's fucking everywhere. The man had to've painted three or four pieces every day. Maybe he painted in his sleep. Maybe he worked on two canvasses at once, painting one conventionally and then shoving a couple tubes of paint in his ass and squeezing to paint one behind him. I'm no longer moved when I see a Picasso. In fact, I barely look.

I actually much prefer Juan Gris. Maybe it's the fact that his work feels more carefully considered to me. Maybe it's the fact that he painted less than 50,000 pieces. Maybe it's the fact that I always tend to root for the guy on the second tier. Mark Price instead of Michael Jordan. Aquaman over Superman. Onion rings over french fries. Whatever the reason, I much prefer a Gris. I like getting Gris-y.

There was one rather tense moment in the museum tonight. I was checking out a Seurat piece I'd never seen and thinking that, if it wasn't for the fact that it's made up of tiny dots, it'd be pretty much just another Starving Artists painting that you could buy in a mall to hang above your couch. All of a sudden there's a museum guard to my left yelling at someone to my right. He's marching menacingly and purposefully past me. I look where he's headed and see that a pudgy thirteen year old (could have been a really big boned eleven year old) is leaning--actually, literally leaning against Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy. One of the most famous paintings in the world and little Chubsy Wubsy's gonna use it as a back scratcher. The kid's mother, who'd been taking his picture is standing there looking vacant. I wanted to hit the kid upside the head with a Max Ernst.

Oh, the paintings we saw! They have pretty much one of everything at MoMA, so we got to see a lesser work by Munch (who apparently didn't have the ability to draw someone without their arms right up to their heads.) We saw a buttload of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Matisse, with all of whom I am now bored. They even had a series of photos of Vito "Yank-Yank" Acconci burning the hair off of his chest with a candle. Okay, well, that one might not be a reason to visit the museum.

So yes, I am all full of culture this evening. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat a bucket of KFC and watch an Adam Sandler flick.

Well, at least KFC isn't a dessert.
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