Friday, September 30, 2011

Going to Jail via the Met

My boy Eric ended up in the hospital after eating a half-smoke at New Shea on Wednesday (more on that later).

Me? I was fine after eating mine, but I think I narrowly escaped a trip to jail after tripping the alarm at the Met's "Sensitivity to the Seasons" show of Japanese screens and such. Take a look at this:



Now, since you're all fired up, go here and check out one of the nice features of the Met's newly revamped website--the infinite zoom into significant works. You can see a much better rendition of the low-res image you see here.
Editorial aside: Disregard what you just read. The infinite zoom thing doesn't seem to be working in the link I gave you and I don't have time to go back and re-find the correct one, nor do I feel like re-writing the above. You DO, however, get a nice hi-res close-up. And you should click through. But don't blame me.
This screen, in the flesh, is a thing of such serene beauty that it takes your breath away. Do you know how sometimes, when you are watch Pan Am and they are fetishistically, if that's even a word, sliding the camera over the stewardesses as they walk, en masse, down the jetway? Like the way Hannibal Lector, had he been a cinematographer, might have photographed Clarice Starling, had she been a stewardess? And you realize that, without knowing it, you've left your seat on the sofa and are now standing directly in front of the television with your nose pressed against the glass?

Well, I had the same experience with this screen. The way they set it up is this: they create compartments in the walls so the screens, which measure maybe 4x12--some longer, can be raised slightly and recessed a couple of feet in the compartment. The screens, if left slightly folded (are you with me here?) stand up by themselves, and the zig zag only adds to the zing of the thing.

There's no glass on the front of the recessed compartment. You appear free, should you choose, to take a Sharpie, lean in, and write something like "Lehman Brothers was the first domino" right on the damned thing. What nobody tells you, however, is that if you try to get too close to the screen, a sensor lets off an alarm.

At which point the violator (me) is given a stern lecture by the security person and made to feel like an asshole. I survived, and I didn't go to jail in the end, but everybody in the room did turn and stare at me. And that's something, I suppose.

One elderly woman hissed, "Aren't you the one that caused the ruckus at the de Kooning show?" Which just goes to show you that word does get around.

I'm having this idea about rejiggering my black and white stuff to engage in a painterly conversation with some of these Japanese screens ("painterly conversation" being another term for "ripping off") and then writing something about the coming European melt-down along the bottom. I haven't quite figured it out, but the first one is going to be called (as differentiated from what is written on the face of the painting) "Love-note #1 to Gretchen Morgensen."

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