Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Modern

I should say that the food at The Modern was exactly as expected, albeit in slightly shorter supply than even I might have imagined. My fish did, in fact, arrive with foam on top, albeit not anise-flavored. And the stuff it sat upon was not jicama, but could easily have been. And man, was that portion small. Good thing I ate before I went. Am pleased to announce that it was, to me at least, free due to the magnanimity of my host.

Above, even, and beyond the paying for lunch part, the company was lovely. And I did discover that, if finessed properly (which I didn't do, I simply discovered), one could penetrate the perimeter of MOMA from The Modern without paying the twenty bucks they seem intent on peeling off you. More than penetrate the perimeter, I should say. One can travel right into the very heart of the thing without a ticket.

Me? I had already bought my ticket so as to permit the wasting of a couple of minutes prior to lunch and the subsequent investment of an hour or so after lunch perusing the Lucien Freud show and the permanent collection. All of which was, of course, good clean fun. And one has to wonder if the calm look on my face as I snuck into the museum (due to the fact that I wasn't sneaking at all; I had my ticket in my pocket) in fact contributed to my ability to do that very thing. Sneak in, that is. Some version of the notion that the people who look most nervous in the customs line are the ones that get searched.

Is it "snuck" or "sneaked?"

In any case--because credit should be given where credit is due--if you walk into one of the galleries in the permanent collection and turn back around, these two paintings sit on either side of the door. Like those two huge stone Kings of Elder Days that guard the entrance to Gondor that they paddle past near the end of "The Fellowship of the Ring."

This one is on the left:

And this one is on the right:

And to suggest that your breath is taken away doesn't begin to do the moment justice. Both, as I am sure you know, are big honking paintings. I love the dog in the Three Musicians. God, said maybe Phillip Johnson, is in the details.

And what is amazing, if you are not amazed enough, is that both were painted (by Picasso, if this needs to be said) in the same summer. 1921. The Three Musicians is an example of, if I'm not mistaken, synthetic cubism. The Three Women at the Spring is an example of something else entirely--massive, tubular women? Was that a style? Tubular women?

But I mean, really, how cool to be able to just shuttle back and forth like that.

Anyway, both of these paintings fall into my personal category of "paintings that make you want to be a painter," and have to rank, each of them, in my list of top ten favorite Picasso's; and possibly top ten, period.

I love that dog.


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