National Public Viking

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wet, black boughs in the National Gallery

|current sounds| The Necks- Chemist

I have never been more tempted to publically air guitar than today with the Tuesday morning metro ride to work. Converge's "Heartless" begged and pleaded to have its receptor thrash his long, golden locks about the subway car in metallic ecstacy. These petals on a wet, black bough* needed a jarring from their 8:30 ride, but I did not unshield my invisible axe, though expectant looks seemed to ask for anything out of the ordinary. I am sorry to say that I failed them.

Woke me up, though! (*My apologies to Ezra Pound.)

This past Sunday, I lost track of time in an art gallery (isn't it just like me to hole up in a gallery on a beautiful day) and only saw the last thirty minutes of the World Cup Final (looks as if the World Cup Death watch ended at 63 victims). I don't know why I keep going back to the National Gallery East because I'm always disappointed. First of all, the gallery physically separates historically "canonized" art (pre-1850s or thereabouts) from modern and contemporary art as if both cannot co-exist aesthetically, thematically, visually, etc. (That's another entry.) The permanent collection, which houses Rothko, Picasso, and Warhol, are all nice, but don't give the kind of relevatory spark they once did. Don't get me wrong, these pieces still speak deeply to me (seeing a Picasso enthralled, confused, and revealed more about myself at age seven than anything else up to that point), but the presentation is stale... dreadfully academic. Most of these artists valued the experience of art, yet the story the National Gallery has written in its "modern wing" does nothing to engage the senses (fine, Linda Brooks, I did learn something from your Museum Politics class).

Some good did come out of the day, though. I attended a lecture on Giovanni Bellini's Feast of the Gods (1514/1529) to coincide with the Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting exhibition. J. Russell Sale gave the 300-person hall (almost capacity - everyone over 30 years old except for this curious 20-something) historical, cultural, and mythological contexts for Bellini's masterpiece told in the excited and nerdy rhetoric of a curator eager to share his knowledge. He lost my interest when it came to the painting's unconfirmed patron, Alfonso d'Este, but, as with just about any Renaissance work, revived everyone's interest with bachannal details (read: sex and Greek debauchery): Priapus's extensive "member," a tanked Mercury with a bowl on his head instead of a helmet, and a very frisky Pluto enjoying the fruits Persephone.

Oh, art.

Speaking of air guitar, my friend Jace (AKA Zombie on a Rainbow, Esq.) won 2nd place in the National Air Guitar competition, so hearty devil horns I raise to him. Here's the Jace of Spades in action:


At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the stamp of DNA - from "Impressions of an air guitar" in the morning to critiques of gallery curator politicking in the afternoon. I did not allow sugared cereals when they were young. Lord have mercy.........jg

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, would you say the urge to air guitar in transit was POUNDing deep inside you?

Sorry, couldn't pass that up. What I really wanted to tell you is that I'm listening to LMC's Airs RIGHT NOW and damn it's good!
-the only person who would make the pun I just made


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