If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Back-Yard Impressionism

First, I would like to recommend opening a banana with Kung-Fu. Seriously. It will change your day… if not your life.

Second... well, there is no second.

What I did today was more PR, conveniently inside of the Frist Center, downtown Nashville, where they just so happen to be having an Impressionist... ism... Exhibit. Yep, Monet, Manet, Courbet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne… right here in Hicktown.

Gloria went with, since I didn’t want to go alone and I didn’t think that I could pull off the seeing-eye-dog thing again. Not at an art exhibit.

Did you know that you can stand in front of a Monet all day, and it will never sink in that that is a real Monet, or whichever? God, and the picture frames. I know, I am so starved for art. Anyway...

Despite all the famous names, this was my favorite… Jules Bastien-Lepage, Hay Making

There are times when you see things so beautiful, you think, I am done, I need nothing more from life. It was that beautiful. I wanted to cry. I did cry. I came so close to touching it… touching her. Gloria told me not to.

The painting is enormous, the size of a wall. You walk in the room and she is just sitting there in that field. The clarity is stunning. She is so tired and worn thin, dazed, with the world and life all a blur around her, the realization that this is how the rest of my life is going to be just dawning on her. Twelve inches from her face and I swear I could hear her breathing.

Anyway… You know how if you don’t really know a lot about a certain form of art… a movement or a trend… it all kind of blends together…say for instance how one generation says another’s music all sounds the same. And it does. That’s because all of the artists of that age, that moment, have figured out what is ‘right’ and they are all trying to create their version, their interpretation of the same ‘right’. Distinctions are minimal and miniscule and tough to notice if you’re not pretty hung up on that particular scene. There’s nothing wrong with it. It was just kind of funny to walk into a room with five different heavy-hitter artist’s work, and have to make an effort to sort out who is who… and I know who is who.

Oh gawd, and one hick gal was about eight inches from a Monet—nothing famous, one though, from the time in his career when you really needed to step back from the work to see things in 'focus', unless you were appreciating the brush strokes—but I don't think she was and she says, “Gawd, now that’s just ugly.” She was amazed by what three steps back did for the work. I didn’t give her a flyer.

Then I thought we would never find the truck, because I put down bread crumbs and there are pigeons by the truckload in Nasville. Nothing works like it used to back in the old days.


  1. Damn pigeons. They are the reason I feel so lost these days.

  2. oh, and I always open my banana like a monkey from the bottom. Puts me in touch with my roots.

  3. I want to see a real Monet close up now! The way you described it was so vivid, so powerful that I just wished more than anything I could be there. Although, honestly, Steven, I feel like that when I read most of your writing. I just feel this urge to be there with you, seeing what you're seeing, and sharing the experiences you so carefully document. You are a Monet, of sorts, Steven, except you paint with words and stimulate the imagination. I bow to the real master of the arts!

  4. How do you open a bananna from the bottom? Where's a monkey!?

    Emmy... if that exhibition comes to your town, you have to, have to, have to go see it! Or maybe you can just go visit the Musee d'Orsay when they return... that would be even better!

  5. I love that painting.. never saw it except in a book... You are lucky... Thank you for describing it so well, I almost felt like I was standing there, absorbing it...

    I know what you mean about things not working like they use to... makes me wonder what another 20 years will bring or more correctly, "Take" away.

  6. Gwen...

    They had her on a calender in the gift shop, I thought about buying it, but... The few exhibits I've gone to, the paintings were small, at least an imaginable size, not far from the prints I had first seen them in. She was near life-size... her flesh and the fabric... god, the closer you got, the more real, the more alive they appeared.

    Her pose too, is so moving. I can't help but wonder, with all the symbolism those guys grew up with, if Jules was imagining Mary after receiving the news that she was carrying the saviour of the world.


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