And it was, indeed, disappointing. So small. Here's my depiction from an email I sent my mom (keep in mind that my mom is not really knowledgeable on art, and I don't think she's been to an art museum in over a decade):
The museum was very small...definitely not an Art Institute. I've gotten spoiled living so close to Chicago. It wasn't bad, but there's just not a whole lot there. My project is on Mesoamerican Art (Art of Mexico and Central America before Columbus got there), and there was only one room of that type of art. Then one room of African art, two of American landscape and portraiture, and two of Contemporary design art. The temporary exhibition (two rooms) was on Impressionist art, so that was cool. They had one Monet there, just for the exhibit, and it was definitely a big draw for the visitors.
I think overall, Orlando's museum was smaller than the Indiana University Art Museum, which actually had a really nice collection of African and Asian art, and of course boasted a couple Monets, a Picasso, and a Jackson Pollack. Orlando's museum definitely lacked in any art from Europe, which is where most of the big changes and movements of art occurred in the past 2000 years. And, of course, where most of the well-known artists were. Art in other parts of the world either occurred in primitive civilizations before colonization (back before European explorers started taking lands in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America--and was mostly pottery, small ceramics, jewelry, or early wall painting), or just recently in the 20th Century when artists became popular out of the United States, Mexico, and Asia. Still, most recognizable art is European in origin.
I don't know if I'll go back unless I have another project to do, but it was nice to go once, so now I don't have to wonder. It was also good that they had an Impressionist exhibit. I had almost forgotten how much I like impressionist art. Better than if I had gone last year when they had that "Art of the Motorcycle" exhibit...I don't think that would have enticed me to go back. It was $7, which isn't bad, I suppose...but that's how much the Art Institute of Chicago costs, and they definitely weren't on the same level. I'm definitely spoiled when it comes to the quality of art I expect. Spending a month visiting museums in Europe probably didn't help much, either.
The Monet at the exhibit was a good one...waterlillies (typical), but good colors. Not too green, but lots of teal, pink, and purple. With gorgeous little red and white flowers that pop out from the canvas (literally and figuratively). I love how smooth the waters look, but the flowers are so thick with paint they provide texture and draws the eye right in. How can you not fall in love with such a beautiful work. It makes me smile, almost prideful, that such wonderful art exists and that I have had a chance to look and it and study it. It's like a secret revealed to those who bother to look for it. Fabulous. They also had a Sisley and a Pissarro...but that was it as far as European artists. In fairness, it was an American Impressionist exhibit. The biggest name I recognized from their permanent collection was American artist Benjamin West. And I only know him because I'm an art history student. (He is probably most famous for his painting "The Death of General Wolfe.")
Now, obviously names aren't important in art, and there were a few pieces in their collection that struck me, but overall...I'm used to a much larger variety and I just love European art so much more than any other kind. I had almost forgotten until I saw the Monet they had, just how much I miss impressionist art. So free and moving and emotional. So unlike the Roman classicism of Renaissance art and so much simpler than Baroque. Though I would rather be studying either right now, instead of American Art (currently: American architecture, pre-Thomas Jefferson) and Mesoamerican Art (I should have taken Asian Art for my non-Western requirement).
I think what I miss most are paintings and sculptures. Sure, architecture is interesting, but I have to memorize 74 buildings from between 1620 and 1795 for my test on Monday. That's a fuck lot of random old houses that all look the same to me. Seriously, there are so many three-story, brick, rectangle houses with hip roofs and dormer windows...I can't tell them apart. And Mesoamerican art is nice and all, but oh my god, I don't care at ALL about it.
Alright. Enough about art.
I just finished watching 9 to 5, which really makes you want to stand up and fight for Women's Lib...a little late, I suppose. Inequalities remain, but I think they always will for the simple fact that, biologically, women are the ones that have babies. No matter how hard you work, or how equal you are to the men in your field, if you want to have a baby, you're looking at at least a month on leave while you give birth and recuperate. Even after that point, you need to find some sort of sitter or nanny, you have to deal with bottling breast milk at the office and of course the horrendous guilt of leaving baby with someone who's not you. Otherwise, you take off, what, a year of work? That's a liability for any company and while, by law, they aren't allowed to say it, it's the elephant in the room that no one will acknowledge. Then again, you can always choose not to have children, but I think the statistic is: 98% of women will have at least one child.
My sister-in-law has the best thing going, though. She works from home. Not only can she take breaks to care for baby, and breast-feed baby, and give baby the love and attention she needs...but she can work without a boss looming over her and knowing every minute of the day. Feed baby, send email. Change diaper, make phone call. Put baby down for nap, type up paperwork. That's a sweet deal.
(By the way, my niece is due in a little under a month. I'm still considering flying up for a weekend after she's born. She's due October 14th, and I have a paper due the 13th, a test the 16th, two tests and a paper due the 19th, but the weekend of the 20th, I'm pretty free...except for a test I have Tuesday the 24th. If Samantha Jean is on time, October 20th-22nd might be a good time for Aunt Gail to visit. Otherwise, I'll probably have to wait until Winter Break...if I go up north for that. Family Christmas will most likely be in Florida, so I'll have to be down here for the 25th, and probably surrounding dates too. I don't even know when people will be "home" for winter break, so if I go up on the 8th when my finals are over, is anyone even going to be there?)
That was the longest parenthetical thought ever.
Anyway...I'm considering that on my way back from school next May (assuming I go "home" again for summer...living arrangements are yet to be determined), I might take a detour to Montecello (in Virginia) on the way. And then I was thinking...if I'm already over in Virginia...it's only another 6 and a half hours to NYC (according to MapQuest). I want to go to the Met.
(Life always comes full circle to art.)