"No one ever called Pablo Picasso . . ."

I wore a tie to church yesterday, fulfilling my five-time a year quota, but the true reason I wore it wasn't for spiritual purposes. Kelly and I had a date for lunch at the Polo Grill in Deerfield Crossing [we had gift certificates so the price was right!] and then an afternoon at the Cincinnati Art Museum. One of the main reasons I wanted to go to the museum is because of their exhibition of "Petra- Lost City of Stone." Petra is the remains of a city from 2,000 years ago. Located in modern-day Jordan, it's inhabitants carved their houses and temples and tombs into limestone mountain faces. We'll get the chance to tour Petra this spring during a trip to Israel so it was a good opportunity for us to get familiar with the Nabateans and the society they built. I guess for some people it sounds incredibly boring, but I'm thankful for a wife who humors me through my geekness.

Anyway, after that, we spent some time exploring other parts of the museum. Both Kelly and I have been there a few times before. While most of the museum is the same [I guess that's why admission is free now] there are a few things. Their newest piece of prominence is a Renior. Kelly has her favorites that she has to see- always Monet, and she loves the glass exhibits. We found some interesting things in the Cincinnati wing. There were these prints made to commemorate the underground railroad that burned/painted sheet music to "This Little Light of Mine" in multiple colors. And there were two marble cherubs about five feet tall that were once in St Teresa of Avila church [yes, on the westside]. They were exquisite. It's amazing the detail that the artisans are able to inscribe to pieces of stone- more life-like than some people I know.

But I always leave the art museum shaking my head a little. For while I try to pretend that I'm refined and into art culture, so much of art created in the past 100 or so years looks like crap. I have a huge appreciation for artists who can take paints and wood, bronze and marble and form them into beautiful replications of people and nature. But just because I throw gobs of paint on a canvas and call it abstract doesn't make it spectacular. They have a few works by Picasso down there. A few of them are fascinating, but when you call something a portrait and the person's eyes are on opposite ends of the painting, I call it dumb. Or when you call something a landscape and I can't tell what's sky and what's feces, than you're probably just full of it. I would welcome the advice of an art aficionado to help me with this and teach me to be more discerning in my interpretations. But I'm much more impressed by people who paint vivid images with the spoken or written word than I am with some of these "artists" who turn elementary school art projects into so-called masterpieces.

"Art is what you can get away with"
Andy Warhol