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let it not be said that i don't like culture a whole lot

Post #240 • March 22, 2004, 6:42 AM • 3 Comments

Friday: National Gallery to see everything but Dutch art and rotating exhibition, Hirshhorn.

Saturday: National Gallery to see Dutch art and rotating exhibition (a handsome Jim Dine show), the Natural History Museum, and the Sackler Gallery (including a stunning show of recently unearthed Qi Buddhist sculptures).

Sunday: Great Blacks in Wax Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art.




March 22, 2004, 8:00 PM

When I lived in Baltimore in the early 80's, the BMA bought a major (at least in size) Warhol painting for what was then a hefty sum. It made the papers, and some people complained, presumably because there was public money involved. The BMA responded, as I recall, in rather condescending and high-handed museum-speak.

I went to see what the fuss was about. It was a knock-off of Da Vinci's "Last Supper", like a cheap black Xerox copy of the original, blown up to 25-foot size and given a fluorescent yellow background. If it had been a deliberate parody it might have been funny, albeit in dubious taste, but that's not what the price tag implied. This was ART, and we were supposed to be grateful.

I was still young enough to be bewildered and confused, as opposed to cynical, but I learned. Did you see it?



March 23, 2004, 5:37 PM

I saw it! It was pretty much as you describe, facing a far superior Susan Rothenberg horse painting of comparable size. Lots of nice stuff at the BMA - I saw some good Matisses, noticed Reynolds with more than passing regard for the first time, and they had a great Botticelli. The modern wing had a knockout Frankethaler. That was the tip of the iceberg over there. Great museum.



March 23, 2004, 6:21 PM

Yes, the BMA certainly qualifies as great by Miami standards. You should have gone to the Walters Art Gallery as well, which is all pre-1900 but has some wonderful things, and is a very nice complement to the BMA.

I assume by Reynolds you mean Joshua. He was sometimes inspired, but I prefer Gainsborough (or Thomas Lawrence at his best, for that matter).



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