Tuesday, December 25, 2012

No Need to Gift Wrap

I gave myself art for Christmas.

As in, once the bacon-laden breakfast was eaten and gifts unwrapped, it was time for a trip to the VMFA.

Hey, if the state wants to keep the museum open 365 days a year, I want to make sure enough people show up to justify it.

Just doing my part.

So I gathered a small group and walked down Grove Avenue to see what needed to be seen this afternoon.

Besides the Christmas joggers and dog walkers en route.

We arrived to find the museum hopping with holiday guests.

Lots of folks were clearly there to see the Chihuly exhibit but since I've seen it twice and I've got a few more months to see it again, I veered upstairs.

I hadn't seen the new Asian galleries since I'd interviewed the curator last summer before they opened to the public.

I had a feeling they looked a lot better with art in them than when I'd seen them under construction.

Was I ever right.

With the mind-blowing 9th-11th century B.C. pieces in the ancient Chinese galleries, I tried to wrap my head around these elaborate bronze cooking vessels and pieces that surely represented the state of the art worldwide at the time.

I'd be the first to admit that my knowledge of eastern art is lacking, but even so I couldn't help but be amazed at the breadth of art-making in Korea, China and Japan.

And speaking of Japan, I learned about the tea ceremonies and the incense rituals I'd had only a cursory knowledge of previously.

True, I don't drink tea, but it was time to find out.

Or say you go to an incense party. Charcoal is lit and a piece of wood put over it and each guest guesses what the wood is.

He who guesses correctly wins.

With my inferior nose, I'd lose every time.

But I'm quite sure I'd enjoy the exercise.

As lovely as the delicate Japanese scrolls were, my mind was blown when I went into the Japanese temple gallery.

The room, trimmed in a handsome dark wood had three large figures mounted on a striking wood platform.

I'm hardly a religious person, but I almost wished there was a bench there for meditation.

The simple grandeur of the figures almost demanded it.

And, let's face it, how often do you find yourself in a position to meditate, on this day especially?

I'm telling you, it's a natural when you give yourself art for Christmas.

Cheap, too.

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