Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Getty

The Getty – a fabulous world class museum: free! Well kind of free. Getting in is free. Parking? That's fifteen bucks. But never mind. This really is a world class museum, and one that Katherine had wanted to see. Apparently she learned about it in her museum studies class.

The Getty has some fancy architecture that makes it a beautiful complex standing out, sparkling white, high about the freeway below. Everything about it is steeped in art. Whether you think that's good or bad is up to you.

We parked our car, and took the elevator up to the tram station. We were informed the tram would not be running for another half hour. We were early. There was, however, a sculpture garden that we could make our way through. It was in a sculpture garden, just outside Winnipeg, I believe, back in 2006 that I first decided I did not hate art.

This one? It evoked a different feeling. The only thing this had going for it was the unique set up. While still outdoors, there were 'corridors' of paved stone, connecting 'rooms' of grass, on which the statues stood. The unique layout was far more impressive than any of the pieces collected.

The tram is supposed to make one feel as if they are being whisked up, up, and away from their daily life to this other realm. Apparently the wheels which moved us were to the side, rather than below. The guide claimed that we were being whisked away on a cushion of air. If that's the case, we must have hit some heavy turbulence.

Once arrived, we were still too early for the museum, but comforted ourselves with some breakfast at the outdoors cafe. The man working the counter must not have expected any eager tourists quite so early, and as such we were rewarded with the 30% off employee discount. It's like getting a whole breakfast burrito for free! I do recommend the breakfast burritos at The Getty, as well. It was delicious and filling.

Eventually we got in, and watched the ten minute introductory video. Then we hung around the gift shop for a half an hour, waiting for the gallery highlights tour to begin. The one object that stood out, and which I'll probably regret not having bought as time wears on? A stuffed Van Gogh. He had an ear which, through the magic of Velcro, could be removed – to be given to a cherished friend.

As we wandered the gallery in our group, connected with wireless head sets which allowed for our guide to talk at a reasonable volume, we stopped at statues, and tapestries, and paintings. None of the pieces really made much of an impact to me, though one of the first flower paintings stood out.

Our guide reminded me of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Cordelia Chase. Her look, mannerisms, the way she talked, and her curt nods after every point. What was most distressing was the way the head set changed the guides voice, making it an octave higher. For the most part I tried to keep it turned off. The jarring disconnect was slightly uneasing.

Our tour ended at a great big bed. It was all original, we were told, except for the fabric. Never you mind that the fabric is eighty percent of the bed. It's best not to question that.

After the tour we explored the photograph gallery where one exhibit detailed the Vietnam war, with captions describing the pictures. One of the most striking was a photo of a mother and baby seemingly hanging out with a solider. This shot was snapped only minutes before the two were killed by the same unit.

In another room was a gallery dedicated to the photographer behind Fast Forward and Girl Culture: Lauren Greenfield. These images are as striking now as they were when I considered buying the book years ago. Signed copies were available. The one thing that upset me was that the framing went over any signing and numbering on the print. I would like to have known how many were made, and if they were scarce. Perhaps photographers print up a new batch for the museum? I don't know.

Other wanderings took us past a picture of lilies by Van Gogh (I now regret not having visited his museum when I was in Amsterdam, although I doubt it would have meant as much as Doctor Who was yet to tell me why I should love him.) and out into the courtyard where the desert garden, and the central garden (mischievously placed off to the side, rather than in a central location) could be viewed.

We made our way to another tour – this time of the Jean-Leon Gerome gallery where his art was on display for the first time in thirty years. At the time, I was told, his work was considered pornographic. How this claim could be made when just about every painting every made with humans in it is a desperate attempt to hide the pornographic behind the veil of mythology is beyond me. But there it was. Critics hated his work because people liked it, and wanted prints. That sounds about right. The fact that it was so in demand must have made it terrible (though I should watch myself, normally mass appeal is a sure sign a novel isn't going to be good – I'm looking at you Dan Brown, Mr. Clancey.)

Some of the work? I dug. Others – m'eh. By this point my feet were hurting, and I was tired. Five hours in a gallery is far too long. We just had one more stop to make before heading back down to the real world on our cushion of air machine. The illuminated manuscripts.

These manuscripts were books for the fourteenth century and later. Each was hand written with illustrations complementing the text. Each tome must have been a life's work. There was great beauty, and understanding they were not simply mass produced made each quite the collection of ideas.

Though tired, and potentially cranky, these stood out to me. One was an instructional text teaching how to properly write the calligraphic characters. A reproduction could be found in the gift shop. Katherine quickly snatched it up.

Leaving I felt there was more to appreciate, but said appreciation would require more time that we did not have. Not without food. Fearing we would no longer be met as employees by the wait staff we headed out, grabbed a quick meal, and tried to find parking in Santa Monica. Easier said than done. Instead we just headed home, and watched terrible amounts of television. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (3-d cartoon.) It wasn't as awful as I thought it might be. I don't remember children shows dealing with the concept of war deserters when I was young.

Then there was Back to the Future – always a pleasure. Finally we threw in the DVD Clue. Why was I not informed of this movie earlier? Tim Curry looking younger, while looking younger, than when he was in Rocky Horror. made this a film to remember.

There are three endings to the film, a different one shown in each theater back in 1985. Now all three are played back to back. Just as I was ready to gush about how wonderful and fantastic this movie was I read a remake will soon be coming out. Lord why? Do these things ever work out (Dawn of the Dead? I'll give you that I actually did like the remake more, but that's because the first had pacing issues. Clue? It's damn near perfect.)

But we shall see. If they can pull off Monopoly: The movie, an Battleship The movie, well anything might be possible.

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