Lucky you, fellow bloggers, two Lunch Break Interlude posts within a two-week span! The writing bug has clearly infested my brain, as by the time this posts I will have pre-scheduled three weeks of consecutive posts, dating all the way back to my first piece about Anne Brontë!
Mother’s Day weekend I went over to Harvard to get my haircut and once again couldn’t escape the lure of Harvard Bookstore. I stopped in afterward and got these two lovely books! Annabel by Kathleen Winter is on my long to-be-read list from when I saw it in Harvard Book Store over a year ago and The Ghost Road by Pat Barker is a Man-Booker Prize winning novel and I’m slowly working my way through all those winners as well. The only downside was that The Ghost Road is the third book in a trilogy and the other two books in the trilogy, even though they were used, were more expensive so I didn’t grab them, but that means I’ll be supporting my local library!
So on to the cultural aspects of that weekend! Below is a photo of Boston Harbor from the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) here in Boston. The view of the from the building and the building itself were definitely the highlights of visiting. I bought a membership from Groupon earlier in the year thinking it would be a great addition to my Museum of Fine Arts membership so Tom and I decided to grab dinner and check it out. (Sorry for the lumpy picture – I pasted it together from three pictures.
I don’t want to be too negative about the experience, but it wasn’t quite what I expected and I was definitely underwhelmed (and part of it was my fault). The major critique I had was the number of staff people present. I understand it was a bit unique in that there mini-lectures that night, but there were probably 3:1, if not 4:1, staff to visitor ratios while we were there. This detracted from the artwork and significantly increased the noise in the galleries, not to mention it made me incredibly uncomfortable. I wasn’t able to experience the artwork without interruption and there were a few pieces I probably would’ve spent a bit more time looking at like Untitled (Pins) and Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson).
The other two things that weren’t that great were the no photography (I apparently missed the one sign at the elevator) and the sparseness of the galleries. I understand the no photography, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it – most major museums I’ve visited allow you to take photographs as long as they are for personal use and there is no flash involved. I wanted to take a picture of Felix Gonzalez-Torres “Untitled” (Lover Boys) which is a piece I studied in an English class in undergrad (Queer Latino/Latina Literature and Imagery – AWESOME class), but I couldn’t and found this out when I tried to. However I had already snapped the picture to the right.
The work itself is described really well in the description (of course), but to see a picture is completely different. It’s 355 lbs of candy, the weight of Gonzalez-Torres and his lover, and depending on the installation the candy is either replaced or not and guests are encouraged to take a piece. This represents the wasting away of AIDS or the continuous battle/replenishment of the drugs. To the left is the piece I picked up. Here is an example of the installation.
I don’t know if I’ll go back, it will take a special exhibition to get me to go back that’s for sure. I still think the building is unique but overall I think I prefer the Museum of Fine Arts, at least of those museums here in Boston.