Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Creating an Art Museum Lover

Photos of Elissa, Julia and me by Philip. Memory shots by Nana Franna..
Additional fun provided by GranE and mama Julia, inside and outside the museum. .
We made a dramatic entrance to the Art Museum on Sunday.  Julia wanted to see the "Made in Hollywood " exhibit before it closed in a week, and her mom Elissa and I were happy to join her and Philip.  

When Elissa and I got to the museum, Julia was already there waiting in the parking lot with Philip, but she had "crashed the gate," as it were.  There was no attendant at the booth when she arrived, she told us later, so she went charging over a snow bank and ended up taking two of those bright orange plastic cones along with her, stuck under her car.  Rather than slowing down, she had sped up. I can picture her determination in going forward come hell or high water! 

The attendant simply told us, "That lady over there went over the cones and I need them back.  She didn't pay either." We looked under Julia's car in astonishment, and saw it was so.  OMG! We paid up and laughed hysterically, wondering how the heck she had done that.  Needless to say, it took a while to free the cones.  Julia and Philip, bless his heart, got down on all fours, in freezing weather, to poke them out with a long-handled snow scrapper thing that GranE had. They got one cone out.  One  more to go. For that, Julia had the sense to get her old jack and raise the front of her car, no easy feat. It took time. But they did it. The cones were a bit smashed and returned the worse for wear. We all went merrily on our way into the museum, as if nothing had happened and all was right with the world.  Elissa and I would just look at each other and laugh!   

The dramatic entrance in the parking lot was worth the effort.  Here we were, three generations, sharing the beauty and blessings of the Toledo Museum of Art, one of the best museums in the country. And every time we go to the museum, Philip becomes more observant, more ardent.  

“There’s that cut-out mural!”  Yes, the Matisse, a museum showpiece.  

“And look at this....look at that....and oh, look at that one.”   Philip’s pointing to a variety of sculptures from Louise Nevelson to a horse, and to modern paintings from Modigliani to Robert Rauschenberg, some realistic, some landscapes, some portraits, many abstract, full of color, shapes and texture.  GranE points out some of these features, quietly and quickly.  Philip’s on the move.   

We are walking through galleries on the way to the “Made in Hollywood” exhibit. When Julia was Philip’s age, I took her to the same Museum, and she grew in interest and appreciation. Now her 5-year-old son is doing the same.

He asked me if he could use my camera.  He had discovered he could have fun with it the last time we were together, on our “Winnie the Pooh” evening.  Sure, go ahead.  GranE gently moved his fingers off the lense. Great. He got it.  He posed us: ""Stand here. Move there. No move closer. Okay, smile."  We obliged. He took some good pictures, which pleased him. 

This is for Julia, a Marilyn fan, 
taken in the little gift shop
 selling "Made in Hollywood "stuff. 
When we got to “Made in Hollywood,” Philip just stood and looked. Lots of photographs of famous actors and actresses from the heyday of Hollywood: Mary Pickford to Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and lots of those handsome actors we swooned over as teens, like James Dean and the young Marlon Brando.  The photographers, unfamiliar to me but well-known in their time, had worked for the big film studios like Paramount and MGM from the 1920s to 50s.  Julia liked the exhibit, and so did I. I had a few favorites:  an artistic photo of Audrey Hepburn in a big hat (forgot to write down the artist) and a portrait of actress Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee, with a long strand of white pearls against a black background, stunningly composed, simple, sinewy, art deco.   I thought the photographs were set up too low, and didn't have much of a story line, but actually they were just right for Philip!

So was the snowball fight with his mom after we left the museum.  Julia was playful.  Time for art, time for play.  Philip is getting the idea that going to the art museum can be fun, and that art comes in lots of different styles and mediums.  He's our budding art lover, or museum lover. He also loves making and throwing snowballs.   And he is a real help when his mama gets in trouble!    


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