Earlier this week I was in New York for a bit more than a day and half.
My husband was to be honored with a dinner in town to celebrate his 35th Anniversay with his company. As artists we all have our rocks, our support systems.
And we all also know that does not mean purely financial.
I have reinvented myself for this artist life three times in my career,
commercial illustrator, teacher and now a fine artist,
and each time he was there encouraging me when I thought this work was done for me.
So it was wonderful to hear so many of his co workers stand and say so many well deserved
wonderful things about him, his work ethic, fairness and leadership.
The morning of the dinner I had just a few hours to spare to see the city.
Given that the heat index was 105 that day I wisely chose an indoor activity,
jumped in a cab and found myself standing in front of the MET one of the worlds great museums.
I spent the next 5 hours, armed with a headset and a good pair of walking shoes,
exploring both floors from one end to the other.
The exhibit I really wanted to see was that of painter John Singer Sargent with special focus on his portraits. The stars were all there, Madame X, Ellen Terry as Lady MacBeth,
Dr. Samuel Jean Pozzi at Home and so many others each dwarfing the room in size and splendor.
Room after room until I turned a corner into a room filled only of his watercolor paintings.
JSS did so much in his time to give the art of watercolor a respectable prescense.
The watercolors of John Singer Sargent gave a majesty to this difficult medium that until then had only been considered useful for sketching and preliminary work.
I took many pictures with my trusty little iPhone, too many to show here, but if you should find yourself with time to spend at this museum, I have a few tips.
The MET opens at 10 am. I got there at 9:15 on a Tuesday morning, placed myself in a small line (jackpot!) turned around a few minites later to a mass of humanity sprawling down
the long stairway and onto the curb.
ORDER YOUR SKIP THE LINE TICKETS IN ADVANCE!
What I learned is that "skip the line" does not mean you walk past all those people waiting outside.
It means once you are in the building you go straight to the advanced ticket desk and go on your way.
And that does save some time.
(I've heard this also depends on who is maning the doors. So you might get lucky)
DO BRING YOUR CAMERA!
They will allow you to take pictures throughout the museum
(unless otherwise noted as in special exhibits)
just turn off your flash.
They won't let you in with backpacks or large purses.
You'll have to check them at the coat room.
Also no food or drink from the outside.
DON'T SKIMP, DO GET THE HEADSET!
A headset will cost you $7 and so worth it.
I taught art history for many years.
I consider myself pretty well versed in painting and sculpture.
But there's always more to learn and the headset will give you background stories,
references to other works and artists.
And just makes for a more relaxing experience to shut everything out
except the voice focusing you on the work.
Another reason to go early. Beat the crowds!
When I first walked the gallerys it was quiet with a manageable amount of people.
This is New York after all!