YA was seriously into the art scene over her birthday weekend. She actually requested that I take either Friday or Monday off to go to the Minneapolis Art Institute with her. I have a friend who works at MIA and she said it’s pretty deserted on week days, so I took Friday off and we headed to see art.
Since it was YA’s day, I let her lead; she didn’t have anything in particular that she wanted to see so we pretty much just wandered around. She isn’t a big reader so we saw far more than I would have seen on my own; I love to know what the artist has titled their work and any background/history on either the piece or the artist is always interesting to me. Normally because I am slow, I don’t always see my favorite works but this isn’t a big deal as I know they will be there the next time.
So the first of my favorites we happened upon was the Yoruba shrine head. It is exquisitely carved and I always have to be reminded that it’s centuries old as it seems very contemporary to me.
Then we walked through a gallery where the second of my favorites resides. Les Trois Graces is a smaller version of a statue that was initially installed outside the Paris Opera House. The artist, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, went on to do various versions of this work in a lot of different mediums (media?). I love the delicacy of the hands and the gracefulness of the feet and toes as they dance.
I felt like good fortune had befallen me and then we climbed up to the third level and came across my very favorite, living in a different gallery than the last time I saw her. The Veiled Lady by Monti. I know that there is a technique to making marble seem transparent – something to do with the smoothness versus the roughness of the carved marble – but it still seems like magic to me.
And as if this weren’t enough, to see all three of my favorite pieces on the same day, we came across a little bronze piece, only about 10 inches high (see the header photo). This is a sculpture of Loie Fuller, who was a well-known dancer in the late 1800s. A quick search uncovers quite a bit of artwork based on Fuller, much of it can only be described as “ecstatic”, like this one. Of course, now I have a book of her life on hold at the library and I have a fourth favorite at MIA.
As we were departing the museum it occurred to me that all four of my favorites are sculptures. Maybe because I have never seen all of them on the same day, I just never connected the dots. If you had asked me last week, I could not have told you that my favorite artworks are sculptures (and not just at MIA). I have always marveled at the artist’s ability to not only envision the sculpture but to chisel down to it. Sculpture seems all the more magical to me because it must be so unforgiving. One wrong hit of the hammer and you have to start over!
If these sculptures came to life, what would you serve them for lunch?