Today’s post is my 16-year-old brother Jared’s second contribution. His first, View from the Upper Deck, was a hit–at least he tells me his friends enjoyed it. Today’s target of his acerbic wit and sarcasm-laced hating is my beloved Baltimore’s Museum of Art.
Today I had the pleasure of being forced to the Baltimore Museum of Art because of a summer English assignment I was given because 9 months of work is not difficult enough. Driving to the museum I enjoyed the sights of Baltimore City; cracked sidewalks, buildings that I’m pretty sure were built with graffiti already on it, and windows that may have been clean in a past life, all showered by the unmistakable Baltimore smell of; no, not Old Bay Seasoning – crime.
Walking into the museum I felt ‘that sense of purpose and power and rightness that I always knew on these occasions.’ Actually, that description is how Lord Voldermort felt when he was gliding through Godric’s Hollow en route to murdering the Potters, but I think that the Dark Lord and I had similar tasks. You might say that me walking in and getting directions to the Cone Collection was like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named killing James Potter. Me discovering the Matisse section could be comparable to Tom Riddle killing Lily Potter. And me trying to find a Matisse painting that “stopped” me, a painting that I could write a 300 word essay about, similar to You-Know-Who trying to kill Harry and having the house blow up. Yes, my mind was blown by Matisse’s art – the colors, the girls, the light! But again my similarity to Voldermort is uncanny; when my mind blew apart, a fragment of my soul blew off and attached itself to Matisse’s Young Woman at the Window, Sunset, and I believe that I am forever bound to that painting.
But then my mom woke me up from my dream on a bench in the Matisse collection. I sat looking at Woman at the Window with a notebook in my lap and a pen ready to write. If it wasn’t for my occasional laughter (not happy, more like ‘this is so unbelievable I can only laugh’), mixed in with tears of having two and a half books to read in a week, I may have looked like an intelligent art-aficionado. As I jotted down some notes about the painting I paused to listen to a ‘driven’ mom trying to ask her daughter what she ‘saw’. The girl seemed about pre-school age, so when she did not say anything about Matisse’s harem girls I was shocked. “Public schools these days, what do they teach those kids?” I wondered. By kindergarten I had already grown a deep appreciation for the works of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael. And for Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles those 4 artists really captivated me, generally for hour and a-halves at a time, with some popcorn. At least, I thought, the mom should show the girl some Picasso – work that young children can relate to. Then when she scribbles on the wall or spills some paint on the table, the little girl can think she is creating wonderful, world-renowned art.
After about 20 minutes of looking at Young Woman at the Window, Sunset like I watch Posh every 2 minutes at LA Galaxy games on television, I had enough notes to write something that will probably leave my English teacher speechless. Needless to say I enjoyed this assignment thoroughly, so much that I may actually finish the book that we have to read to go along with the assignment, which, I admit, is more than I can say for Pride and Prejudice. If any of you are interested in the book it is called Blue Arabesque by Patricia Hampl. However, if you don’t have a book store close to you, some sleep medicine will probably produce the same effect as reading the book.