For Real Though? (Favorite at the Met)

I’ve been going places in my memory.

It’s all I’ve probably got for my forseeable, so let’s do some museums together! I’m going to post my favorites in a number of my favorite collections.

I’m going to start with my home base of sorts, the Met in NYC. I can’t count the weekends I went there, the school trips we all went there – some of my earliest memories are of being in the echoing massive galleries.

What’s your favorite item in the Met collections, if you have been there?

Is it the unicorn at the Cloisters? Magnificent!

Maybe you’re into more obscure B sides – and this Bronzino portrait knocks your socks off!

Maybe no matter how familiar it may be, you can stare at it forever.

Maybe it’s a huge influence on your own artistic interest and practice, like this George Innes, in my case?

Honestly? My favorite piece at the Met –

In an institution where the strong points are ancient to early 20th c, my favorite piece is modern. It looks nothing like my work, but I think it has influenced my work in its way.

The reason for my love of it is experiential. Sitting. Taking it in. Nobody but me in the space on a weekday afternoon. You hear it before you see it.

Water Stone by Isamu Noguchi.

It’s been copied to death, and you probably know of some derivative in a public indoor or outdoor space. But these copies are copies and distanced from its specificity.

This short doc about its installation captures the feel of seeing this piece at the end, and shows the hidden level of intensity needed to make minimal and subtle work that works. Noguchi’s level of involvement is striking – a lot of contemporary sculptors would be less involved in an install.

I know that a lot of people would scoff at this choice. It’s not “important” enough. It’s not even the most “important” in Noguchi’s catalog. It’s too soothing, too simple, too comfortable, too corporate, too contemporary, too eighties, too whatever.

But those “more important” works aren’t the first ones I visit in my mind. They aren’t the place I go in my mind when I’m talking myself through another medical adventure, or coping with this trash fire of 2022.

They aren’t there for me the same way. Art is a lot of things, but there isn’t any place for that in your concept of Art, it’s not an Art I want a part of.

Next time we’ll visit a smaller and weirder venue. Stay safe till then and happy creating! If you have a good Met story leave it in the comments, I’d love to know.

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