Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Pooh Bear stamped one delicate foot, stuck out her perfect and rosy bottom lip and shouted, "But I don't like art!"

"So, you don't want to go to the art museum today, right? And whose child are you anyway?" I question.

"I just told you I don't like art." Pooh Bear asserts again.

Well, I do. Boy howdy. Since my red headed aunt took me at age seven to the Cincinnati Art Museum I fell head over heels with high ceilinged galleries, walls lined with paintings, artifacts, sculptures. Looking at a painting by Mary Cassatt of a mother sitting with her back turned from the painter holding a toddler sucking on his fingers, I'm instantly transported to an age of high lace collars and impeccable culture, meticulous manners and sprawling flower gardens I otherwise never would have known.

This was a day of opportunity to explore the very same museum (CMA) with my own children for the first time, and Pooh Bear ended up being a rather good sport about it afterall.

We began in ancient middle east. The illuminated Koran texts reminded me Christianity is not the only religion to dearly love its sacred texts and preserve them in magnificent art form.

Later, I was wowed by a special exhibit called "Cat Chow"of women's clothing made from impossible items; coils of folded dollars sewn together for a dress, a continuous zipper wedding dress, a shift made entirely from glue sticks and copper rings, swirly designs of washers for an evening gown, ivory soap bar wrappers sewn together for a frock, a dress made old thick coiled bandaids, a jacket made entirely of facial tissue.

Peace liked a glass sculpture which he thought looked like Atlantis. It was a block of glass with a chiseled city inside somehow. I have no idea how one does that.

Wise One's favorite exhibit was the Damascus room, preserved from the Ottoman empire. Ivory and gold inlaid doors, intricate painting, a prayer section spoke to him of another place and time too.

Tator loved the Japanese knives and swords- gorgeous metal work and design full of snakes and dragons.

Pooh Bear loved the "Genius of the Water" who tops Fountain Square's fountain in the heart of Cincinnati's downtown. She's at the museum for a close up look while they are restoring the fountain. Her feet were gigantic- something I'd never have guessed while she was high atop the fountain water flowing down from her hands.

All our mouths dropped open when we discovered a piece of work over 2,500 years old.

I was a bit disappointed but educated to find that my personal favorite CMA piece "Grief", a 1981 painting by Fishle (I think) was not on display. The information lady informed me that 97% of the acquisitions are in storage, preservation, or lent. The displays are frequently changed out.

While I was in college at University of Cincinnati a hundred years ago, and my heart was desperately broken, I'd drive myself through tears to the museum, dry my face on my thrift store wool coat, and sit and stare at that particular painting. For an hour. Maybe two. From what I remember, the oil painting included a life-sized magnificent man holding someone naked, dripping, and drowned raggedly hanging from his muscular arms on a dark rocky seashore. The painted rescue came too late, and the deep melancholy and dark side of me wondered sorrowfully if my rescue would also be delayed until death.

On this day in 2006, I wondered what the picture would have done inside me among my steady abundant life. I'll not know until I venture back up here to Porkopolis and "Grief" hangs back in it's spot for me to gander upon.


unquenchableworshipper said...

I miss you guys.. hurry home!

~m2~ said...

i do believe we are sisters, separated at birth :)

my daughter, a bit older than pooh, feels the same way -- even gawking at the Hope Diamond at the national gallery in washington d.c. did nothing to sway her.

museums are remarkable things and art, truly subjective -- a little something for everyone! this year, my daughter's class trip is to washington and i am full-on for volunteering to go but she doesn't want me to take them to museums. what on earth else would we do? i asked - "go shopping."

i should say not.

(want to come?)

truevyne said...

m2, in my other life I am meant to live in D.C. and guard Renoirs, and read books when none come to my gallery. Yes, we are sisters separated at birth.

kbowman said...

"Grief" is an incredible work. It's my favorite too, and I haven't seen it in years. I was actually searching for info about it when I found your blog.