Monday, April 28, 2008
Monkey and I loaded into the Penguin early on Saturday morning and headed south (after heading east) to KCMO. Our destination: the Nelson-Atkins and Kemper museums, the Plaza, and Lidia's on Baltimore Ave. Our arrival was heralded by abundant sunshine and convenient parking right next to the museum. The new wing of the Nelson-Atkins, while not outwardly aesthetically pleasing to me, has an interesting interior. Monkey and I spent a few hours examining some old and new pieces in the collection, as well as a really informative and enlightening photography exhibit focusing on celebrity and the photograph. There were the as-expected shots of Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo, as well as a really unique print of Sarah Bernhardt, and some daguerrotypes (one of John Brown!).
The Kemper, a new stop for both of us, also had a photo exhibit up, "Uncommon Ground: The Photography of Stephen Shore." This exhibit was dominated by road photos, places in the US and Canada such as motels, street corners, restaurants, etc. It seems mundane, but the composition of the photos makes them more than mundane, and, taken as a whole, the mundane-ness becomes part of the point. Another installation, by visiting artist Julia Oschatz, called "Where Else?" consisted of a black room with a few cardboard pyramids on the floor and ceiling, like stalactites and stalagmites in a cave. Some black and white drawing/paintings adorned the walls, and several video installations played short looped vignettes, all (paintings and video) featuring a rabbit/mouse character, called Essen or Wessen, or something, who apparently finds himself/herself/itself in these void-like landscapes, and is totally chill with that. It creeped Monkey out, but, I thought it was sort of German Expressionist cool. Oh, and there was some semi-techno music playing, too.
Having had enough of art, we elected to engage in some consumerism. We motored over to the Plaza, where we walked around, poked about in a few shops, bought a bottle of wine, and wasted time until dinner. We drove over to Lidia's, as the beautiful afternoon began to cloud up, had a great dinner--good lasagna--and then rolled our fullness back to the Penguin to head back home.
As usually happens, as we rolled along I-29, the heavens opened up, and we slashed home through the rain, It was annoying, but, we've had worse. And, we were in bed before tomorrow even came.