May 24, 2012

birthday week, day 1


a friend and I in a museum room,
she says, 'look at mark rothko's side,
did you know about his suicide?
some folks were born with a foot in the grave, but not me, of course.'
and she smiles as if to say we're in the know
then she names a coffee place where we can go, uptown
well, the painting is desperate but the crowds wash away
in a world of kind pedestrians who've seen enough today

untitled, 1963

I don't know what I expected from the rothkos. I had totally forgotten that he had works other than his late paintings, the giant blocks of color. I expected to like the bright ones, but in fact it was this one that got me. I could have stood and looked at this one all day. I probably went back to it ten times, enough that I was a little bit embarrassed, because the same museum employee was standing there every time I came back. no photo could do it justice: probably 15 feet tall, so somber and sad, heavy. it made me feel so quiet.

but there were cute little bright ones too:
wee rothko

I met her at the funeral,
she said, 'I don't know what he meant to me,
I just know he affected me.
an effect not unlike his art, I believe.'
the service starts and we are in the know
he had so much to say, but more to show,
and ain't that true of life?
so we weep for a person who lived at great cost
that we barely knew his powers till we sensed that we had lost

I hadn't ever been to the art museum, which I'm kind of embarrassed about. I only had the morning, so although I made a pass through the contemporary art building, I didn't get to linger as long as I would have liked. fortunately I did stumble upon this on the top floor (photo from flickr by LaValle PDX):

City of the Future

the scale of it is hard to get from this, but it was about six feet long and SO BRIGHT!

it's funny, when I was having beers with our timpanist we got into a long conversation about what music I like and don't like, how all the opera I like is 20th (or 21st) century english language opera. will tried to tease out exactly what it is that I like so much about it, or connect to in it, and I couldn't really explain it to him. then I got to the contemporary wing of the art museum and I loved everything and I thought, well, at least I'm consistent. I might not know art, but I know what I like.

there were also two calder mobiles. I have long loved calder. one of the museum employees, who just happened to be sort of following me through the museum, stopped when I stopped at this one and blew on it at just the right angle to make it move. thanks, random museum guy.


birthday week, day 1 also included a morning massage where my massage therapist exclaimed, "god, your calf is RIPPED UP!" followed quickly by, "oh god, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it that way, it's not THAT bad," but since I'm inside my leg I know better. I told a friend yesterday that I've just resigned myself to sitting around the house and eating butter all summer. take that, leg.

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