Monday, October 09, 2006

Education at MOMA

A few weekends ago back in August (ok, I guess more like a few months), I did something cultural to deulde myself that I am in fact a cultured and worldly person who attends museum events all in hopes of getting invited to those outlandish benefit galas in 20 years. I chose the Museum of modern Art for my first visit to an art museum in New York in five years because I wanted to see al the cool design objects and i do like modern art, so of course I'll go to the place that has "modern art" in the name. I prepped myself the day before by becoming a MEMBER of the Museum. Yes, that deserves caps because it's just that impressive.

I went with two friends who work at the firm I used to be at. Well, actually, one of them now works at another firm in a job position more similar to my current job, and with just about the same ho-hum attitude towards it that I have towards my job. I won't rant about my job again, but how did I ever get pigeon-holed in this industry?

Before the museum, I made a nice lunch for my two friends. It was a pretty simple lunch of soup and salad, but with some pretty chi-chi ingredients like filet mignon (for the sandwiches) and a cheese plate with some nice wedges of Taleggio, Roncal and Cabrales cheese. Mmmmm. I learned long ago that the best way to cook for other people is to just cook one course and dump plates and silverware in the middle of the table and let everyone serve themselves. Or better yet, tell everyone to get their own plates and silverware. First of all, I am not a waiter, nor do I run a restaurant and so i don't want to feel like I'm running some home-grown version of Hell's Kitchen. Keep it casual, so I don't have to unnecessarily stress myself out and try to be the perfect host or leave the table and say something lame like "Don't have fun without me" like the Barefoot Contessa would say in her best control-freak voice.

So we had our luch. I had also made a dessert the night before. But I was kind of afraid to serve it. I made a Pavlova, but kind of accidently put almost double the amount of sugar in relation to the number of egg whites. My teeth still chatter thinking about the sugar rush. You might as well have injected yourself with Type 2 Diabetes if you were going to eat this. of course, I'm a weathered pro when it comes to sweet things, since I'm the one who puts sugars in a cup of coffee. Given that I didn't want to be responsible for any cavities or any cardiac arrests, I warned my friends that my "Pav" (that's the official nickname) had a TON of sugar. i also had to explain to them what exactly a Pavlova was. I told the whole story of how this chef in Australia (some say New Zealand) was so dazzled by the ballerina Anna Pavlova, that he created this ethereal, sugary dessert. Probably my friends weren't interested in the life history behind this dessert, but I fed them the story anyhow because that's how I sometimes get. I like to think of myself as a "worldly" (proud grin") individual brimming with lots of stories to tell everyone I know.

After lunch, we started hoofing it to the museum. Lunch took longer than I expected, and I wanted to at least have time to see at least one painting before the place closed. Plus I was expecting a welcome ceremony since I did just become a MEMBER. Unexpectedly, we ran smack dab in the middle of the Dominican Republic Pride Parade or National Dominican Republic Day Parade or whatever they called it.

Now, at the risk of starting some kind of trouble, let me say that the Dominican Day Parade is no Gay Pride Parade. whereas some New York City Parades tend to feature all kinds of talent- dancers, singers - and people of all ages, the Dominican Day Parade seemed to consist entirely of Dominicans who were 18 years old, in posses or couples, dressed in Dominican shirts and waving Dominican flags, on floats or on foot. Spectators became paraders, while other paraders lost interest, dropped out, and started yakking with the other 18 years olds on the sidelines.

We finally crossed the parade and arrived at the museum. Since I am a MEMBER, I got in for free. But the welcome ceremony for me was suspiciously absent. I suppose they didn't have enough time to prepare for my arrival. Next time, I'm sure they'll go all out. My friends' tickets were only $5, and so that was nice for them too--one of the perks of being associated with a MEMBER.

We then went upstairs to the galleries. I hadn't been in an art museum in three or four years. And I know this is a semi-obvious thing to say, but MOMA really has a lot of famous paintings. All of sudden, I had flashbacks to art history class that I took to fulfill my art requirement in high school. It was so cool to see all these paintings just inches away from me, that I had seen in so many books. My friends and I were first in the Impressionist and Post-Impressionish wings. We began looking around. Unfortunately, one of the members of our group was a lingerer. You know those types--the ones who just stand there FOREVER reading every single little placard next to all of the paintings and just standing around looking at every painting at a snail's pace.

While we dragged the lingerer through the museum, I began telling my friends some of the things that I knew about the art in front of us. It began casually when we saw a painting by Marc Chagall, and I said, "Oh Chagall. There was a famous Chagall painting in Notting Hill that was Julia Roberts's and Hugh Grant's favorite." Then we came across some Gustav Klimt, and I went "Oh....Helena Bonham Carter and that guy she was having an affair with and the sick wife went to a Klimt exhibition in Wings of the Dove." Then I pointed to another painting and said "Oh the couple in Six Degrees of Separation had a Kandinski in their apartment that Will Smith knew ALL about." I continued, "Oh I think that was the Picasso that Kate Winslet brought on Titanic." My friends at that point, were looking at me kind of strangely, "Wow Terence," they said. "You sure do know a lot about art. I'm getting so much out of this field trip.

I grinned proudly like Wallace. Yes, I know the IMPORTANT stuff about art.


EM said...

*wiping eyes and sniffling* terry cho cho, you make me so proud.

teahouse said...

You didn't even mention arguably the most famous painting there!! And my favorite painting there. Christina's World, by Andrew Wyeth! I love how they just shove it in a corner by the elevator, like it's nothing.

I love MOMA, but I hate the price of admission.