Tuesday, February 26, 2013

LacMoMA

So this was the day Mark told his Buddhism & Liberal Arts advising tutorial group to meet at the Museum of Modern Art, to soak in the opaque warmth of Wolfgang Laib's "Pollen from Hazelnut" in the atrium, reflect on a reading from David Loy's A Buddhist History of the West: Studies in Lack over coffee, and to strongly recommend a look at "Inventing Abstraction: 1910-25." Good ideas all, especially the lack-abstraction connection, but... MoMA's closed on Tuesdays!

We were fine. The lobby was open. You could watch traffic on 54th (as above, flashing). Even better was watching the people breezing in from 53rd - as each of us had done - looking surprised and delighted that it was so empty and then haltingly, each in her own way, slowing down in confusion or consternation at the unwelcome realization that the museum was closed. Lack of museum! (Surely someone's made a video of just this, and sold it to a museum of modern art somewhere?)

The students took it in their stride. Maybe it's even a relief when the big cultural institution stands there mute (or when your teacher blows it!). And as a consolation prize, each of us filled in one of the I went to MoMA and... cards which you can fill in, scan, and, eventually, see projected overhead with others saying things like great art! and fell in love and I can't believe my eyes! It was as I imagined - all here in real life. memorable. Here's the 15 seconds of fame mine received:
Instead of spending time with Laib and then repairing to the museum café for our convo, we made our way to Eastern Radiance, a Chinese tea house on 55th Street, where we tittered over the purple descriptions of our An Xie Tie Guan Yin and Yellow Mt. Mao Feng tea. And - whaddaya know - talked, and talked! Our topic was "School/Life" and being off-campus freed up conversation nicely. Two students eventually had to return to school for another class; the others stayed another hour.

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