I think the Musee d’ Orsay in Paris is on strike so they have sent their best paintings to the strike free zone that is the De Young in San Francisco. Reminder this place is a 5 minute bike ride from my house. The exhibition is:
Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay
I think it is one of the finest demonstration of the excellence of the ‘way we live now’ that you can pay a modest fee and wander around galleries displaying some of the greatest paintings in the history of art. You stand right in front of a Gauguin, you can lean forward to examine the brush strokes. For all intents and purposes it is yours until you decide to move on to er, what about a Van Gogh? I suppose you could stay in the gallery all day, make it your home and conceive of the other visitors as guests that you had invited in. You too can own hundreds of million of dollars worth of art.
It is a truly fantastic experience only tainted by the intrusion of the French need to intellectualize. I don’t know, but every time you have a conversation with a French guy it is only a matter time before there are references to Pascal or Rousseau or De Montaigne. I think the rigid education system ingrains the idea that any point of view you hold must be backed up by reference to a similar opinion of a recognized great. It it a bit like the law whereby a judgement is made referring back to a previous established judgement. Thus the information panels are full of intellectual art buzz words ‘divisionism, neoimpressionism, post impressionism, expressionism.’
I am not doing a good job here as these terms are not too bad and I have forgotten the over the top art terminology that was used in the information panels. Terminology is essential if your are going to converse in the French tradition. Any way you get the picture, the information given to the public was over intellectualized thus diminishing the joy of the experience and amplifying the academic, elitist component of looking at a painting.
It was cool to look at Cezanne’s paintings of Le Mont Sainte Victoire, behind which I lived just a couple of weeks ago.
When I went in, SF was in a heat wave. When I came out the fog had rolled in the temperature had gone down by 20 degrees.
Here is a bad poem
Fog covers the land
you can not see
the trees, hills
or the houses
only thick grey fog.