Every time I travel to a new city, I make a point of visiting one or more of its museums, so it is somewhat strange how little time I have spent at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) when it is within walking distance of where I live. After seeing repeated ads for the Matisse exhibit, and having heard of the artist, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to spend a little quality time at the fabulous local museum.
I am always struck by the architecture of museums and often remember it more vividly than the paintings within. Be it columns, staircases, marble floors, grand entrances or long ornate hallways, each element combines to create a spectacular setting and a tone of noteworthiness. The MIA is no exception to creating a beautiful backdrop to appreciate art, although my favorite entrance is currently under siege of an ice wall worthy of guarding by the Night’s Watch from The Game of Thrones.
As I always do when given the opportunity, I bought the audio tour to help enhance my experience with actual knowledge and stuff beyond just looking at the prettiness; I found the audio for this exhibit to be well done and worth the added cost. The headsets add a layer of isolation making me feel as though I am all alone enjoying the art.
There is something about visiting a museum that makes me feel small. When I think about how long ago a piece was created or how prolific an artist was I am in awe and wonder about their exceptional life and the sacrifices they had to make to create such beauty. With Matisse, he was considered a modern master by the time he was my age and was able to reinvent himself and his art as he continued his career; if I am a modern master of anything it is TV viewing which is much less impressive.
My ability to appreciate art is incredibly primitive; I react on a gut level as to what strikes my fancy but could not articulate any logical reason why one piece appeals to me over another. I listen to the audio, I read the posted description and while I understand that these words are English, when put together to describe the art I practically hear the swoshing sound as they fly over my head. I learned to accept this about myself ages ago and I am sure it is part of my charm.
On this visit I found myself drawn to some lithographs and a painting called “Girl Reading, Vase of Flowers” which I liked for the colors as well as how the girl was sitting as she read.
Normally, I am drawn to sculptures and it takes all of my self-control to not pet them. I liked Matisse’s sculptures but not as much as the other pieces. I did think it was cool that he used sculpting as a way to inspire his painting.
Most of the people milling about the art appeared appreciative and eager to take it all in. There was one couple that seemed to be in my way no matter which direction I turned but, as I was not in any hurry, I was not bothered. I was struck by a lost girl who was casually looking for her people as a museum staff member followed closely behind trying to extract any clue as to their identity. The young girl, maybe 7 or 8, seemed so nonchalant by the occurrence I assumed this was not a first and considering I saw her wondering about on her own later I also assume it will not be her last.
I enjoyed the exhibit and it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I must make a point to get back to the MIA soon and enjoy the permanent collection.