"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Art of Seeing

My work ID gets me into several city museums for free, including the Museum of Modern Art, which is a good thing because otherwise I’d never go. The idea of paying twenty bucks to go to a museum rubs me the wrong way, bless Washington D.C. Sometimes, I’ll head over for even just ten minutes during my lunch break to stimulate my eyes. Plus, it feels like being on vacation, what with all the tourists, perfumed and looking nice (what is it about art museums that makes people dress-up?).

My favorite spot–in the old Modern and the new one–is the Matisse room.

Reproductions can’t do the paintings justice, of course, but this here is the picture I’d die for:


It hangs next to The Piano Lesson. I sit and swoon.


It is incredible to me how I never tire of looking at my favorite pictures. It is as if the paintings are living and breathing things. They never get old. There is always something new to see.


I don’t weep easily at movies or books or music even. But great paintings, for whatever reason, bring me to the brink.

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1 gary from chevy chase   ~  Dec 2, 2009 3:40 pm

Ah, the one great benefit of living in the DC area is that most museums are free. Taking the kids to the various art museums (as well as natural history, Air and Space, etc.) was always great (and free). And don't foprget that the Zoo is free also! I worked next to the National Gallery - great spot to spend a lunch hour.

On the other hand, we are in the running for worst serious sports town in the country: the Nationals, the Redskins, the Wizards, even DC United stunk it up this year. And the Great 8 was just suspended.

Think I'll stop by the National Portrait Gallery later - they always have winners there.

Alex B: "I don’t weep easily at movies or books or music even. But great paintings, for whatever reason, bring me to the brink."

I, on the other hand, weep at movies (TG for home video!), all musical theater (probably because I saw the Sound of Music when I was 8), a good TV commercial, or a Yankee Championship.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 2, 2009 3:53 pm

Yankee championships, yeah, that's a good one too. I can be moved to tears by movies or TV or books but it is usally because something makes me sad. I want to cry at paintings because I'm so overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. It is not a depressing feeling, like, "This is so great, I'll never be able to match it so I might as well give up," it is, "Man, I'm so humbled to be able to be standing in front of something that could offer me so much, time and time again."

3 LHerman   ~  Dec 2, 2009 7:28 pm

I never go to the Museum of Modern Art without planting myself in front of The Persistence of Memory for a half hour or so.

4 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 2, 2009 7:33 pm

Alex .... if you ever get yourself to San Francisco ... you MUST .... MUST ... MUST .... visit their Museum of Modern Art.

5 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 2, 2009 8:17 pm

Alex, it is inetresting how people are wired so differently. I can honestly say I have never once been "moved" while viewing a painting..not sure why...Music, films and books though, am a reagular Water Works...Paintings & Dance just don't connect for some reason...

6 edoubletrouble   ~  Dec 3, 2009 3:33 am

Lines like, "There is always something new to see" bring me to the brink of weeping. :-)

7 nemecizer   ~  Dec 3, 2009 4:34 am

I'm bored.

When do pitchers and catchers report?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver