Review of the Menil Collection

After a nice lunch in the park with Danny and Jane, I decided to go to a free art museum. I don't want to always end up staying inside by myself all day. In fact, I think it would be good (but very hard) if I could get out every day for at least a little while. I think that will be hard because I just like being home so much, even when home is a studio hotel next to a loud light-rail.

I did some research earlier, and decided to go to see the Menil Collection. All in all, I'm glad that I went.

I give the experience a 3/10.

But that's just because I really hate surrealism. It's kind of rare for me to have entire genres of art that I hate, but I can say with absolute certainty that I hate surrealism. It's scary, ugly, creepy, dark, and there are too many naked women's body parts. The museum had a good sized collection of surrealist art. There were even a few pieces by Magritte, the all-time most world famous surrealist ever, as far as I know. His pieces are also some of the all-time most creepiest and weird. And naked-women-body-part-emparted. Bleaugh.

The museum itself was nice enough. Only 1 floor. Big ceilings. Good parking. A/C. Lots of light. Weird vents in the old wooden floors. Right next to some college. Lots of students and moms with tiny babies, like me. Looks like a storage unit from the outside, but that's probably on purpose.

It's kind of sad because that one piece by Magritte is the only one that really stands out in my head, now that I'm home. It's called "Le Viol". You probably shouldn't google image it. Just saying that makes me know for sure that my sister Sarah will. Ha. It's actually got an interesting concept, but it's scary piece and not suitable for children, and frankly me either. Surrealism is oozing with post-war anxiety. It just freaks me out. I'm not about to argue that it's not a valid form of art, or a "good" form of art (even though I reserve the right to THINK that!), but it's just freaky and I don't like it.

But seriously, there couldn't be another piece in the entire museum for me to ponder more than a nasty Magritte?

What bugged me, actually, was the collection went from shards of every-day objects (lots of idols, actually - one from Sumer that was really beautiful, had lapis lazuli eyes) from the ancient B.C. past, to Yves-Klein-esque (they had something by Klein, actually...not a famous piece, but something) blah from the '70's. With nothing in between.

In my opinion, the 70's period of art was a real drag. Lots of monochrome canvasses. There was one exhibit that was just a bunch of scribbles. Huge lack of craft. I mean, it's okay to be weird, innovative, and original; I prefer to admire pieces of art that also have craft. That's the difference between these pieces and lots of contemporary art. I've seen fantastic contemporary art that is weird, innovative, original, but also awes you by the artist's sense of craft. If you use mixed media, MASTER that medium. Don't just scribble a bunch of lines on paper, tape it together, and put it in a pretty picture frame. Why not? Because it's dead boring to the viewers. Okay, so the goal isn't to "shock and awe" people, but I think most good art attempts to leave the viewer with something long after they have gone. The art in this museum just didn't.

But I did text a picture of a funny monkey mask from New Ireland to Sarah; it reminded me of a picture she posted on Facebook of if Sarah Jessica Parker and a monkey had a kid.

Still, I can't even really remember what the monkey mask looks like, while the Magritte is still there (and I don't want it to be). Bleaugh. Next time I think I'll go to a nice, pretty impressionist exhibit.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate reading about your museum experience! a lot! (no surprise) When I come to Houston, we can skip the Menil Collection. Surrealism isn't one of my top 10 genres, either. For some extraordinary craft in fine art, look online to find the current exhibit at the Smith College MOA which I saw in person two months ago. It's Japanese ceramics done by women, a pioneering work because traditionally in Japan, ceramics is men's domain. The fabric screens in place around the ceramics were equally fascinating to me.


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