28 February 2010

"Paint your palette blue and grey" --Don McLean

I spend part of Saturday eating Bertha's mussels.* It is a first for me but I gotta say, I like it. A lot.

Then, the hubs, a friend and I check out the Cezanne exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It is not as enchanting as I'd hoped.

First, it is less about Cezanne and more about Cezanne's influence on other artists. So, instead of seeing, say, fifty Cezannes, we see a dozen Cezannes surrounded by fifty pieces from other artists. Yes, I get to see a dozen Cezannes which is twelve more than I've ever seen before, but, a) I discover I'm not that big a Cezanne fan** and b) the audio commentary, that is complimentary with the tickets, goes something like this:

In this early work by Albrecht Foofer,
Two Lemons and a Stuffed Squirrel, you can clearly see Cezanne's influence. Foofer's vertical brush strokes on the topmost third of the left lemon are reminiscent of Cezanne's in Bather with a Hangnail. Notice, too, the vacant gaze of the stuffed squirrel, indicating that Foofer, much like Cezanne and his drive for anonymity in his subjects, was not trying to portray this particular stuffed squirrel, but capture the symbol of the stuffed squirrel, or the every-squirrel. Foofer painted this in 1902, one year after he read a book that had once been chewed on by Cezanne's pet goat.

So, here we are, listening to this pre-recorded drivel at the appropriately marked spots and some Arty Chick is 30 seconds behind me in the audio loop but insists on being 30 degrees in front of me at all times. Picture it, I see the marker on the wall saying "120", so I stand about five feet back, making sure I'm not blocking anyone, and, facing the paintings, I press "120" on my device and listen. 30 seconds elapse and Arty Chick comes over. She sees the marker, presses "120" on her device and then positions herself to block one-third of my view. Then, she starts to rock left and right, like she's got Steven Tyler crooning "Cryin'" in front of her. WTF?!***

This happens at least six times. To me. By her. Even though there are plenty of other people around for her to be rude to, she picks me. At first, I walk away. But after the third time, I stand my ground, annoyed, maybe sucking my teeth a little.**** After the sixth time, I wait to see where she's going to position herself, and go stand in front of her. Because, kids? Nobody is going to stop me from seeing an Albrecht Foofer every-squirrel! NOBODY!!

The question du jour: How do you cut a chick without the docent seeing?

* "Not that there's anything wrong with that." --Jerry Seinfeld

** Forget what you heard, Cezanne did not create Dogs Playing Pool.

*** I pressed every possible number combination. Sadly, no Aerosmith.

**** The universal symbol for Are you kidding me?!


Shawna said...

love love LOVE the Steven Tyler/Aerosmith reference!!
great post!

Cyndy said...

I'm glad that you discovered the awesomeness of Bertha's Mussels.

It sounds like art history is presented in a similar fashion to music history, trying to make a tidy little knot out of all the loose ends. I learned most of what I know about art history in the context of music history so you have my sympathy.

I think I would enjoy seeing that assortment, I mean collection, of paintings but I think I tend to enjoy paintings more when it's just me and the painting. Which is weird because I really like history in most other contexts.

emmajames said...

I think you'd be a very fun companion at any museum. I will never look at Cezanne the same way again.

Drama Queen said...

I would stand right behind her and when she turns around, I'd stick my foot out and trip her.

Not that I would ever do that. Really.

Love the cartoon. As usual. :)

Little Ms Blogger said...

Tripping or shoving isn't an option? I know it's considered wrong to do that, but sometimes it is the best solution.

I have to ask, did she FINALLY understand how rude she was being?

Maya said...

Hilarious! I think you handled this situation very well. Next time bring your own music player!

Kate said...

You didn't just kick her in the shins?

Liebchen said...


I'm also a fan of the "accidental bump." Kind of an "oh, I'm sorry, did my elbow just get you in the gut/back/other body part? maybe you shouldn't have been standing in my way."

But that's just me.

Reya Mellicker said...

OMG Two lemons and a stuffed squirrel. You are SO funny.

Cezanne, schmezanne ...

Barbara said...

I've always felt so cool because my 1985 Volvo has a bumper sticker "Eat Bertha's Mussels", courtesy of my daughter who apparently has done just that.

Art museums require a certain etiquette that many people seem not to have learned. My last experience was at the NatGeo exhibit of the Terra Cotta Warriors. I happened to be touring at the same time a pre-school class was visiting. Who in the world decided to send 3-year-olds to this exhibit? I had to laugh at the adults who were seriously trying to provide a history lesson. Anyway between kvetching the kids wandered in front and behind us and were often quite vocal. The good news was they were short.

Mike said...

Did you ever think she was coming on to you? Maybe you should have stood closer and wispered, "you wan'a push my buttons"?

Wv: headann - The new top artist.

Malnurtured Snay said...

Klingon cloaking device.

Also - since when does the BMA charge? They used to be free!

Alice said...

maybe you should have gotten super close and been all creepy, like smelling her hair and stuff. that should make an artsy hipster flee, right?

Bowie Mike said...

Each time she pressed a button on her listening device, you should have started moving your mouth and making hand gestures as if you were talking to her. And when she removed her headphones to hear you, you should have stopped and turned your head away. Eventually she would have kept her distance from crazy lady.

...and you know I love dogs playing pool.

LiLu said...

These are the moments...

That make me want to run away to a little island in the Caribbean with only a coconut to talk to.

I bet even it would start being rude after a while. Tom Hanks knows what I'm talking about.

lacochran said...

Shawna: Thanks and thanks for stopping by. :)

Cyndy: Your response can be more immediate without trying to understand what your response is supposed to be according to someone else, hm?

emmajames: *makes call me hand signal*

Drama Queen: We can dream, right? :)

Little Ms. Blogger: I have no idea. If she did, she didn't let on.

Maya: Genius! "Music to tour museums by." I like that.

Kate: I *so* wanted to.

Liebchen: I've definitely accidentally bumped a few people. On purpose. Accidentally.

Reya Mellicker: Glad you liked it. :)

Barbara: Now that I've been, I'm seeing double the number of bumper stickers, of course! Fantastic! Of course, the be-stickered Volvo is tres chic!

Mike: I did. But I think that about everyone. You're coming on to me right now, aren't you.

Malnurtured Snay: I'll bet that means something in your world.

Alice: Ooo, I like your style.

Bowie Mike: Dogs Playing Pool is an unparalleled masterpiece. Everyone talks about Dogs Playing Poker, but, really, that's just derivative.

LiLu: Wilsooooooooonnnnnnnnnnn!!!!