I had lunch at the museum (hella crowded, natch) and sat with a couple gay guys.
Then I looked at some art before the first of the movies I wanted to see.
First: Laura McPhee: River of No Return (Foster Gallery)
I wasn't expecting much, but as it turns out, I love this deeply.
These huge photographs of Idaho that upon closer inspection are troubling.
Shallow note first, though. The photo of Mattie on a horse? I totally thought she looked like Keira Knightley. It was happy.
So, the serious.
There's this guy all covered in blue feathers (camouflage) sitting in a wooded area, but the title card says it's a biologist (Native, I think) tranquilizing and radio-collaring wolves, and if you look more closely you can see is holding something like a gun.
Similarly, the big promo photo looks like a woman in simple clothing out in the middle of a huge field, but the title is "Judy Tracking Radio-Collared Wolves From Her Yard, Summer Range, H-Hook Ranch, Custer County, Idaho."
Title: "Judy holding elk heart." I hadn't even registered what the woman was holding before I read the title card but wow. This huge grey object like the size of her head.
There were a number of photographs of a skinned elk. The blood in contrast with the surrounding snow. The first one I didn't even realize there were skinned limbs until I read the title card I didn't register the whitish limbs against the snow, thought the furry head and other pieces were the only parts visible and the rest was buried under the snow.
And there's a great picture of Mattie holding this small bird by its wings so they're both facing the viewer and they're both beautiful but of course the bird has to be dead for that photograph to occur.
Title: "Igloo made from downloaded plans." The photograph itself doesn't impress me, but I have such love for the title.
There's a photo of a campsite at night, all in deep blue, but if you look closely you see the firelight reflecting on a metal wavy T -- some sort of radio equipment, I imagine.
There's a beautiful photograph of grey light cuting in to a dark forest and a few patches of red-orange flame, and the title is "Understory Flareups, Fourth of July Creek, Valley Road Wildfire." This photograph is amongst various other photos which are more obvious in their depiction of destruction from fire and you are forced to see both the beauty and the destruction.
The official descriptors don't quite hit how the exhibit hit me, but I am very much failing at articulating its appeal for me. I think basically it comes down to its undermining of a certain romanticism -- and also how it doesn't do that by depicting ugliness but rather by depicting beauty.
I also checked out Degas to Picasso: Modern Masters
I was expecting this exhibit to actually attempt to teach the viewer about the progression of modern art, of how the artists influenced each other and those who came after, but it really was just a "survey of European art from 1900 to the 1960s."
The Torf Gallery (which had most of the more well-known artists) had some permanent collection stuff I'd seen before and like well enough -- Magritte's "Natural Grace" (which I can't find online but which is grey birds/leaves) and a Paul Delvaux title something like "Woman with Mirror in Courtyard" but not this or this (warnings for female nudity in links); it's a nude woman holding a mirror but the mirror doesn't show any reflection, and there's a nude man in the background.
There was also a Temptation of St. Anthony I really liked in the Trustman Gallery, but I didn't catch the artist's name. Part of a nude woman superimposed in front of a building, and with like watercolor washes or something so there's a pinkish stripe and a yellow stripe and maybe a blue one too I forget.
The Modern Art permanent collection gallery hasn't changed much since I was last there, but it had couches, with books, so I sat down with Georgia O'Keeffe: The Poetry of Things for a bit.
So, the films.
I found the retirement-age British blokes fall in love film much more compelling than the Argentian HIV+ writer in leather clubs film. [Maybe next Sunday will be better?]
I'll write more about them at a later date. (I know, I know, this Later Date list just keeps growing.) Before the second film, the guy sitting next to me said, "You look like you're here more for business than pleasure" because I had a notebook and pen out. I said I wrote for my own reference and recollection and he said his mother kept a diary from 1930-1975, wrote five lines a day and packed a lot into those five lines.
After the second film, I headed out with intention to Orange Line from Ruggles because it had gotten chilly, but I crossed at the MFA Green Line Station. I looked and saw a trolley was coming and I didn't feel like hurrying to cross in front of it so I just waited. These two older guys came up behind me and one crossed and was fine (though braver than I was, obviously) and the other guy was a bit slower and he was on the yellow line when I said, "You're gonna get hit by the train." He stopped and stepped back. I said it not even very loudly because it was like I couldn't actually believe it was going to happen. He said later in his defense that it was a very large umbrella. I said something about how they must not take the Green Line often, and they said they don't usually come this far out, only as far as Hynes, so it's never above ground. The guy who almost got hit said you wouldn't believe it but he's actually been reading a book on Buddhist mindfulness.
I had been thinking that since it was a Saturday getting the 11:20 home I would encounter Chris-the-technical-writer-from-Walpole but no, instead I ended up chatting with the Franklin High GSA contingent, who had just come back from YouthPride (I knew Latino Pride Week was starting 'cause it got announced in the intro to A Year Without Love but didn't know YouthPride was also happening) and BAGLY Prom. They were crazy in a good way, reminiscent of my Smith people. I was sad to have to depart.
And then I came home and my brother talked to me for about two hours. Not that I wasn't interested but yeah, I've been running on fewer than all cylinders today.