Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Get Thee To a Museum

The past few days were filled with perfect company, perfect activities, and even the ever elusive gift of perfect timing.  My Dad and I went on one last adventure just before taking the sad journey to the airport and spent the afternoon visiting The Frist Center for the Visual Arts.  There are few things I’d rather do than explore a museum, and The Frist certainly didn’t leave me disappointed.  Their Masterpieces of European Painting and Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece exhibits had all the ingredients of a museum experience tailored to…well…me or someone identical to me (though I suspect the former as I can’t imagine the world could handle two of us).  Luckily we happened to catch these two traveling exhibits just days before they moved on to their next destination- quite providential if you ask me.  There’s so much I took from what I saw today- color combinations that made for a masterpiece, pictures that push the boundary in size and scale and content, and classics of every variety.  The most fun and helpful thing I could possibly encourage you to do is to go to your own local museum to see what jumps out at you!  Click  here to find the one closest to you.  Thanks to the world wide web, even if you can’t get to a museum for whatever reason you can still browse their gift shops!  One of my favorite museums in the world, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, has an amazing online store that offers limited edition prints, rugs and other unique items, all inspired by their remarkable exhibits.  While you may have to side step the occasional novelty item, there are plenty of classically beautiful finds that would add to any home.  Here are our favorite pieces on the site.

This beautiful reproduction of an early 20th century Japanese painting from the Taisho era is a two-fold screen in ink and color on paper.  It comes ready to hang and mounted on a wood panel.  We appreciated it’s tranquil nature, and it’s potential to introduce an element of overtly Asian art to a room without making the space kitschy in any way.  

It’s never too soon to introduce the little one in your life to the world of art.  This set of books was developed and published by the Museum and designed to just that.  It features works of art from ancient times to the present and helps readers of all ages find new ways of looking at images.  It’s a great, albeit advanced, way to teach colors, shapes, numbers and the alphabet.  The good news is, when your toddlers start identifying Botero, Cezanne, Degas, Hiroshige, Lichtenstein, and Monet the world will know they’re as much of a genius as you suspected from birth.  


While this square frame itself wasn’t created by Frank Lloyd Wright, it is adapted from an art glass window he designed for his Oak Park studio.  Wright worked in Oak Park from 1889 to 1909, the same time he developed the Prairie style of architecture.  Many famous buildings were designed in this studio including Robie House and Unity Temple.  It’s like having a teeny tiny piece of history in your home. 


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