Saturday, July 12, 2008

Come up and see my etchings

At last. A free day. My normal work schedule got flipped around, so I had a day off when Buddy was in daycare.

I could have lounged around the house and played video games, but we decided to make the most of the day and planned a museum visit, dim sum in China Town and a swimming/sauna/spa trip to a swanky gym in the center of town.

Although we've been to the British Museum many times, we decided to go there because there were a couple of special exhibits on. A Chinese Garden in the forecourt (lame), flowers and insects in Chinese art (lame) and The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock. Brilliant.

Prints and etchings from the first half of the 20th Century, including works from Hopper (always great) and Pollock (yeah, whatever) and some iconic works like George Bellow's A Stag at Sharkey's. They were all stark and dark and social-commenty and stuff, the Vol-in-Law declared they were not quite Hogarthian, but he could see where they were going. But mostly they were just really powerful images playing with light and shadow in a really striking way.

I sort of forget that British Museum has stuff like this. Although I've been many times, I'm usually going with a visitor and it's a quick look at the big Assyrian thingies, a gander at the Rosetta Stone (if you can press through the throng) and maybe check out the Elgin marbles or the big hall of Egyptian mummies. If that's all you have time for, that's probably a good way to go.

But checking out the special exhibit meant we headed off the north side, where apparently we've never been - because very little of it looked familiar. We'll have to go back again, because after a tour around the Korean room and quick jaunt through a great hall of Asian treasures, it was time for our lunch. Besides, too much museum in one day gives you artifact daze.

Besides the special exhibit, I think the Korean room was a favorite. There's a definitely a cool style vibe going for the Koreans - simple and pragmatically beautiful everyday objects. In some way it reminded me of Finnish design sensibility (though not the same look at all). My favorite was a simple green ewer with a leaf pattern (though I didn't think to take a picture).

Korean fans

In the great big Asian hall that I can't believe we've never been to

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