April 26, 2011

Art Museum Tour Redux

Two visionarily dulcet hours in the Cincy art museum on Saturday. It felt downright vacational. The magic of Onstar made the route there painless despite the pouring rain, and the museum tour began with Greek and Roman art, some from the time of Christ (and therefore Pilate who is the subject of my latest read). I was bedazzled by the new addition, a Cincinnati-themed wing that featured various and sundry old paintings of Southwestern Ohio, a replica of the Fountain Square statue and a naked-as-a-jaybird “Eve Disconsolate” (later there was another Eve Disconsolate statue, also naked as a jaybird. What is this fascination with Eve at this art museum?)

The Cincinnati entrance wing had a quoted (on the wall) an august figure of the time (whose name now escapes me) who remarked in 1840 on the plethora of artists the city has produced. “What is it about Cincinnati that produces such artists?” he asked.

Upstairs there was a mix of the sacred and the profane, of medieval religious art to an exhibit titled, revealingly, “The Way We Are Now”. The modern art exhibit showed pictures of naked women with wolves heads photoshopped on, and a television with a nude black woman dancing and chanting or singing, I can’t recall which. I can’t think of a better way to say, “our society is in trouble” than that modern art exhibit. “The way we are now,” seems more accusation than anything else.

Driving from the museum, I’ve noticed that for all its prominence in the life and geography of Cincinnati, the Ohio River tends to be elusive. The hills and valleys seem to hide it, for there were only occasional glimpses accorded to me as I drove around. How different, it seems, from lakes or oceans which often have a flat, ocean-view road you can drive along. No such thing for dense cities like Cincy & Pittsburgh which live along a river.

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