austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Moved to Babylonia

Incidentally, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my mother overachieved on the recommended donation by deciding to buy a family membership. Given that she and Dad usually find some reason to go into Manhattan once a month, or more, that's probably not a bad decision. The form she filled out offered spots for two names, and she had started to check off (in titles) Doctor and then Doctor -- since she was thinking of getting me in, and we are both PhD's -- although she thought it over and decided it was better if the second membership was for ``invited guest'' rather than a specific name (though since I have the same name as my father, apart from the PhD, it wouldn't make much difference in the most likely case). The woman taking the form agreed ``Guest'' was probably better than a specific name.

We only had a couple hours, so it probably wasn't realistic to take in every exhibit they had. We aimed at two, a collection of photographs from the excavation of King Tutankhamen's tomb, and a series on how modernism came to Barcelona art. I'm naturally intrigued by pretty much everything anyone puts in front of me, although in the case of the King Tutankhamen pictures I got distracted by something trivial. (Who would have imagined?) The thing is, in quite a few of the pictures there's a little index card identifying the item. It wasn't just sheets of paper with numbers run off, either; they looked to be printed up in Bodoni (as well they should). So, how many cards did Howard Carter have printed up for each expedition? Some pictures with many points of interest had extra cards with letters; how far did the letters go up?

Modernism in Barcelona had a fuller display with pictures and models of architectural triumphs from the age, such as textile factories or pieces put together for the Barcelona International Expo, as well as menus or newsletters or a signboard model of some cats which hung outside Modernist hangout Els Quatre Gats and which might have been painted by Pablo Picasso. (They weren't sure.) I, naturally, insisted on watching and reading everyone and noticed four plaques in a row mentioning the artist Isidore (Ducasse? I didn't get his name straight and a web search today is inconclusive) had works which could be compared to Picasso's blue period. Either they wanted to emphasize it or they didn't think people would read each of the plaques. Also Mom wasn't expecting me to read each plaque, as she got through the exhibit much faster than I did (she had also seen all the Salvador Dali pieces a few months ago, and skipped them), and got out, picked up an incredibly heavy book at the gift shop, waited, went to the coat check room to see if I were there, waited, came back, and caught me on the way out. She had me carry the incredibly heavy book (and bought another at the King Tut exhibit) the rest of the day.

Trivia: The amount of office space in New York City grew by 72 percent between 1960 and 1972. Source: The City, Joel Kotkin.

Currently Reading: A History of the Habsburg Empire, Robert A Kann.

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