Saturday, August 08, 2009

I'm vaguely embarrassed that in the nine years since I first visited New York it took till today--and only because Angela wanted to go--to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We started in the Egyptian exhibit; it was hard to focus on the walls of papyrus hieroglyphics and wall drawings, but that changed soon, and a lot--a LOT--of what I saw there and in the Arms and Armor, Medieval Art, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, American Decorative Arts, the Oceania stuff (briefly, really want to dig into that more), and especially Modern Art exhibits was just breathtaking. That's less than half of the first floor; two-and-a-half hours on our feet was more tiring than we'd expected. It was one of the most life-affirming things I've experienced, and there's so much more to take in. Dozens of permanent revelations to process: Tiffany as middle-class exoticist! Finally seeing Hopper up close! Grant Wood's "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"! Stuart Davis! O'Keeffe's "Black Iris"! The "colossal head" of an Egyptian woman with only the right half of the face remaining! In the Egyptian room, music swimming inside my head: old jungle, new dubstep/grime/wonky/whatever. Thoughts about the way de-privileging the rock narrative lets the music breathe anew. Endless evidence that knowing deep roots charges you up for the future, not the opposite. Years-old anti-intellectual stances I wasn't even aware I'd ever carried around utterly crumbling. The Modern Art galleries like a deep, unexpected homecoming. (The Walker was a lot more formative on me than I'd ever realized.) I can't wait to go again.