This morning the chill weather and rain arrived as forecast. My wife had previously scheduled a yoga class late Saturday morning, followed by various tasks. I wanted to spend my day walking about a good bit indoors. I decided to go to the Dallas Museum of Art. First I had a wonderful pizza by the slice and salad at Angelo and Vittorio's at Plano, after which I was good to ride the rails. Sci-fi in pocket, mp3 player in my shirt, I set off.
I rode the train from Parker Road Station in Plano to the south. Although the drive is only twenty five miles, I find I prefer the leisure of riding and reading on a train to the hassle of parking downtown. This time the train ride converted to a shuttle ride on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas, as they are doing some unspecified good works with the rail during this holiday weekend. I did not mind the rain, though, and the shuttle was prompt.
I walked from the West End Station over to the Dallas Museum of Art. The inclement weather kept the crowds very light. I was eager to see the special exhibitions of miniature paintings and masterpieces from India. I walked through the collections while my mp3 player delivered to me a varied stream of Creative Commons electronica and ambient music, intermixed with some alternative pop.
The Indian collection was varied and fascinating. The exhibits will be on display for some months, so I did not try to "learn alot", but instead wandered as if at a flower garden, just trying to drink in the colors and images. Then I wandered in the permanent collections.
I like the way that diverse artists taken in samples can elicit a panoply of responses.
An Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun' portrait of a charming, smiling aristocratic woman, as her wrok usually does, inspires such a warm and companionable feeling about its subject--it's easy to see why she was so popular in her day. The Piet Mondrian abstracts always, for me, provide a connection with a kind of purity, like the best ambient music. A Kandinsky village scene was suitably etheral. A Kahlo faux retablo tells a story of courage and despair, with vibrant fruit standing in for religious imagery and the scroll of absolution left entirely blank. A nearby Diego Riviera portrait shows a leftist educator whose expression betrays stories untold and ideas unspoken. The younger Peale's Washington looks burdened with care and yet very strong anyway.
The small 20th Century Mexican art collection stood on a wall just outside an extensive Olmec collection. I always wonder how the Olmec saw themselves (in the abstract) when I see their sculptures. The work of the Dallas Nine regionalists shows this part of Texas in a realistic advanrage with more than an element of myth-making, while the Owlkill River in a snow-filled Grandma Moses painting really catches the eye with a pleasant, almost familial warmth. Clara Williamson's "Get Long Li'l Dogies", 1945, brings a primitivist approach to show a childhood memory of a north Texas cattle drive. Unlike "western art", the story here is not the cowboys but the crayon-like perfection of the land itself, dotted with cows.
My mp3 player, set on shuffle, began playing the album Collusion, a collaboration album on which I was one of the 12 collaborators. "Collusion" is a sixty minute dark ambient piece created by what amounts to a structured mash-up of short piece submissions by a disparate set of ambient and noise artists. The music provided a perfect soundtrack for the modern art, and for my walk through the rain to the Trammell Crow Collection Asian Art Museum. In the Asian Art museum, Chinese ceramics thousands of years old were the star exhibition. In the background of the exhibits, bell tones or eastern choruses blended with eerie synchronicity with the "Collusion" soundtrack. After a pleasant visit, I walked through the rain to the transit center, and caught the shuttle back to the Mockinbird train station. "Collusion" also filtered in nicely the roadway sounds and the sounds of people laughing and talking in the station and on the train. It was a nearly perfect multi-media ambient experience, right down to the grackle chorus overlaying the minimalist industrial electronica.
Tonight we forewent the movie, after we forgot our 'advance purchase" codes for our tickets, and, finding we were "out of luck" due to this omission, repaired instead to Fishmongers' Cafe for grilled fish and conversation. Few people were there, and we assumed that leftover turkey is on many a menu. We stopped by Crate and Barrel to get practical things, and then by World Market, where I got a pocket kite and inexpensive small musical instruments.
I'm feeling relaxed, after three days of restful times, and I look forward to a fourth to make the weekend grand.