Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cezanne and Cheesesteak

A few weeks ago now I went to Philadelphia with friends to see the Cezanne exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The only place in Philly that I'd ever spent any time was the train station so when a friend said asked me if I wanted to join them on their trip down I jumped at the chance. 
You couldn't have asked for a better day to see a new city either--the weather was absolutely gorgeous. You could, however, ask for slightly better planning on our part. By the time we got to the museum the earliest available tickets to the Cezanne exhibit were for around 4:00. Which was pretty much the time we were planning on leaving Philly. Oops.

We spent the morning wandering around the museum--which is fantastic and worth the trip on its own--and then took a break from the high culture stuff by getting cheesesteaks for lunch. These places--Pat's and Geno's--had been featured on a TV show (I didn't see it) and are right across the street from each other. So we had to try both in a not-terribly-formal taste test. 

Pat's is the very old-school, no-frills looking place:

Geno's is all bright orange and neon:

Never having had a cheesesteak before that day (or cheez wiz for that matter) I'm not at all qualified to judge. But if I were to go back, I'd probably go to Pat's.

After we'd finished eating it was finally time to go back to the museum and actually get in line at the art museum for the Cezanne exhibit. The long line.

Happily it was a good enough exhibit to make that worthwhile. I'd seen paintings by Cezanne before, of course, and liked them well enough but I can't say I'd ever given him much thought or considered how he might have influenced other artists. But this show did a great--if extremely literal--job of illustrating his influence on later artists, some of whom appear at first glance to be very different from him. And was just the right length. Sometimes these art shows are so long that you're just dead on your feet at the end. This one felt complete without taking you to that point. And had a very good audio guide to boot. Totally worth seeing.

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