Saturday, March 03, 2007

What the Frick?

There's no point resisting a terrible pun when it presents itself. I think we should just embrace the punny. Today I also needed to embrace a trip to the Frick Collection with my maternal grandmother to see the George Stubbs exhibition.

It was a gorgeous day today: warm, sunny, and springlike. On days like this I'd rather not be inside. I come up with some sort of errand that requires me to walk a long way and then just walk around the city. It's one of my favorite things about living here. I'd committed to seeing my grandmother though so I walked over the the 6 at Bleeker and headed for the Upper East Side.

Before arriving though, I needed to experience the joy that is weekend subway travel. The show for today was Out-of-His-Frickin'-Mind featuring Man-in-Big-Gray-Hoodie. He got on somewhere around 14th and proceeded to freak everyone around him out. About once a minute he would clap his hands loudly and say--in a preacher-type voice--something like, "just chill," or, "we need more pepper for these fucking cheeseburgers," all the while looking around with crazy eyes. Big guy too. The little old lady sitting next to me with the shawl over her head and a cane looked over at me and did the totally nuts finger twirl thing. I had a rare moment in which I actually liked little old ladies.

As it turned out, my grandmother was running pretty late and I spent about half an hour sitting on the steps to the Frick and reading. It's a pretty building with some nice little grounds.

Anyway the Stubbs exhibit was nice if heavily symbolic paintings of animals (see right) and idyllic English countryside scenes--also with animals--are your thing. Upon seeing that particular picture my grandmother said, "Well I wouldn't want to hang that in my living room. Or anywhere." Which is exactly what my mother would say. These charming horse and lion paintings were apparently a reaction to Edmund Burke's notion of the Sublime (capital 's' please) which demanded a mix of beauty and terror. I was actually familiar with this idea of the Sublime from reading Passage to Juneau which made me feel like quite the smartypants. Anyway, as a fan of neither symbolism nor idealized country scenes in which people happily reap grain in fine clothing I was glad the exhibition was short. I can be interested in that stuff, but only in small doses.

Since neither of us had ever been to the Frick we looked around the permanent collection as well. I'd always thought of the Frick as a rather staid and serious museum and apparently I was not mistaken. Lots of portraits of finely dressed ladies. In front of each one my grandmother would comment on whether or not the lady looked happy, sad, or what have you and saying things like, "Gawd, look at that jewelry. Good grief auntie." I really might as well just have been at the museum with my mother.

By the time we left it had cooled down considerably outside and we walked over to a little bakery for a late lunch. I don't think I've ever been to a bakery with ruder staff. You suck, Corrado Bread & Pastry!

My sister is in Alaska right now and going to see the start of the Iditarod tomorrow. Such adventure! I'm so jealous I could vomit.

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