Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sometimes You Have A Perfect Day

My parents started dragging my sister and I to museums before we were teenagers. The Corcoran and the National Gallery in Washington D.C., also the Smithsonian. I studied art history in Paris and went to the Corcoran School of Art in D.C. in my junior year. Once someone left a joint in my art box. I'd heard of this devil marijuana and how it was a gateway drug to ice cream sandwiches, but had never smoked one. I gave it to Betsy, one of my roommates, who promptly smoked it, got high and proclaimed me very Un-Cool, like that was even possible. By the time I smoked pot, two years later, I wanted to go back in time and make Betsy cough up that joint.

I have many favorite museums, the Frick and the Guggenheim in NY, The Musee D'Orsay in Paris and now The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. Mr. Simon started collecting art when he was 40.  I started collecting bad boyfriends at 40. Twins!

Mr. Simon died in 1993 and what he left behind boggles the art lovers' mind. One of the largest collections of French painter Edgar Degas, including this beauty: Little Dancer: Aged 14.
I've seen this in a million (maybe 7) art books but never saw the original. The tulle skirt is real, albeit tattered and dirty. Degas put it on her in 1878. The $10 entrance fee to the museum was recouped immediately upon realizing this beauty was here in California.
This is a side view of Little Dancer: Aged 14.  The bow in the dancer's long braid had to be replaced as it was touched  by so many art lovers it fell apart. The skirt probably suffered the same fate but didn't fall off. If you get too close to this bronze, a net drops over you and you're sent to Gitmo.  I have no idea why people always tell me I exaggerate. GITMO I TELL YOU. My mom and best friend are in the background. Mom is a notorious "toucher" so I made Dennison watch her like a hawk.
This is by the glorious Mexican painter Diego Rivera. It is so breathtaking in person that no picture can do it justice. I now understand why fellow Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was so in love with him.
An Alberto Giacometti with the Diego Rivera in the distance. This is another piece I've seen in a million art books (maybe 5) but never had the fortune to see up close.
The Norton Simon Sculpture Garden. Mom took one look at it and said, "It's Monet's Water Lilies." The gardens are filled with pieces by sculptors Henri Moore, Jacques Lipchitz and Aristide Maillol. And 2 live ducks.

Mom sitting in the Sculpture Garden. Probably thinking up ways to steal my essence. 


  1. Oh, how I love a good art museum. Is there such a thing as a bad art museum? Probably. Somebody always figures out how to screw up everybody else's happiness. The Degas is heavenly. I love Rivera, but I love Kahlo even more.


  2. Oh my gosh: I have a large copy of Diego Rivera's Girl with Lillies in my hallway upstairs!

    I LOVE IT. From the first time I saw it, I was just in love with that girl, who I swear was my grandmother in Colombia.

  3. Your mom is so cute! glad you had fun

  4. That Diego Rivera is amazing, though I've never seen it in person. I also didn't know of the museum. Might have to put it on my to-do list next time I'm down that way to visit my best friend.

  5. You've got some essence left? All of those boyfriends didn't take it all?

  6. Wow. That's quite a collection he had there. I have to put that on my must-do list the next time I'm out there. Gorgeous stuff.

  7. check out the dr. sun yet san garden, in vancouver, bc?

  8. Your mom looks like a little artist herself with her sweet little beret! I love art museums. I went to our local one here in Bakersfield on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and they had a huge event going on. I need to go back when it's just a normal day. I love the painting by Diego Rivera...breathtaking for sure!

  9. I love art museums, especially when you discover things you didn't know about. There is an art museum in Honolulu that had some wonderful paintings but was this tiny little thing...and 20 years ago, wasn't even air conditioned! But it was so wonderful just to wander.

  10. Perfect is right.

    That photo of your mother is not at all like I picture her and yet exactly as I would expect. Especially the beret.