Show me the Monet
(The following is a true account of Correctness correspondent TBinns and his bride on their honeymoon as they tackle the Met in New York City. Between this and his recent Shakespeare post, we feel he is steering toward real culture instead of pop culture. The Correctness has taken him aside and spoken very sternly to him, and he assured us that he is still working on his 100 page thesis on why Transformers should not have testicles.)
After spending a few days kicking around Times Square, which, fun though it may be, can also be compared to having your eyeballs gang raped by advertisers, my new bride and I decided to take our honeymoon up a cultural notch and go to Metropolitan Museum to take in one of the world’s great art collections. I offer the following as a guide and also a cautionary tale. Losing your way in the Met is not unlike getting lost in the woods, sure it looks gorgeous, but when the finger pointing, bickering and aching feet start, you’ll begin to wish one of you brought along a map and a compass.
We went in with a plan…we definitely wanted to see the visiting Rembrandt exhibition, some Ancient Greek and Roman stuff, and some Impressionists. Then we’d be out in time for our dinner reservations and off to the Great White Way to see Spring Awakening. The plan breaks down almost immediately.
We take our traveling companion; a beanie baby sloth named Frederick, and place him on a pedestal next to an exquisite 20000 year old Herme. Other tourists giggle as we snap photos. I’m shocked that no one attempts to stop us. I make a mental note to put Frederick in the thinker pose if we stumble across a Rodin today.
The nerd in me lingers far too long looking at medieval weapons and armor. My wife punishes me by making sure for the rest of the day she reads every single placard at every single exhibit.. Twice.
Lunch on the steps, hot dog and pretzels. Depending on one’s tolerance for pigeons this is a much better option than the overpriced museum food.
The sloping glass wall that overlooks Central Park in the heart of the Egyptian exhibit looks familiar to me. Then I remember where I saw it from. I share this knowledge with my wife through the power of annoying movie quotes.
“Waiter…there is too much peppaaar in my Paprikash….but I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie….peeeecaaaan pieeee” I say with a grin. The wife continues to reread a placard. I try again
“I think hieroglyphics are just an ancient comic strip about a character named “Sphinxy”.
“I got it.” She says moving onward.
The Rembrandt exhibit is jammed. It seems that when there’s a visiting exhibit the native New Yorkers turn up as well, making it very difficult to get near the surprisingly small paintings. I did manage to display my profound ignorance by pointing to Rembrandts famous self portrait and proclaiming “Hey, it’s the guy from the Masterpiece game. Check underneath, it might be a forgery.” I seem to recall running into similar problems when I embarrassed my sister at the National gallery in London by cheerfully pointing out which of the paintings had been used in various Terry Gilliam cartoons on Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
A wrong turn at furniture has led us to a large area that looks like storage space. I’m not even sure we are supposed to be here. It looks like a Costco filled with fine art and antiques. The afternoon wears on and The Impressionists continue to be elusive.
My wife is no longer speaking to me. The warehouse area goes on and on. In desperation I squint at a portrait, in the hopes that it would look more impressionist painting. For the record, it doesn’t.
We finally emerge into what looks more like an area we are meant to be in, right next to a gigantic portrait of Washington crossing the Delaware. We sit for a bit, not out of any misplaced patriotic fervor for Washington and his famous whitewater rafting trip, but because we needed to get off our feet. This was the first painting we recognized in awhile, and dammit we were going to get our moneys worth out of it.
Neither of us have any idea how we ended up back at Ancient Egypt. I forgo the joke I was going to make comparing the mummy we have now seen twice to Nicole Ritchie. We opt for the “Hail a cab” exhibit outside the main doors so we can make dinner and curtain..
Midway through Act 1 of Spring Awakening, a rock musical set in the 1800’s where the characters all hold microphones and make anachronistic references, I realize that I had last found a little bit of impressionist art in New York. And it was even better when I squinted.