I was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday for exactly two hours between business meetings.
The Museum was jammed full of people and, quite annoyingly, children. They were told to use their “museum voices”, but they didn’t. It was like looking at art with flocks of chirping birds. And they swarmed in front of the Chuck Close so that I couldn’t take a selfie.
Then there were the French speakers. Do they really need to show off their proficiency in French? Don’t they know that I have tried to speak French since sixth grade and can still barely manage the present tense? They need to understand one thing about America: it’s all about me.
Being at the Met is unlike any other museum experience. One must visit old friends. Always first for me in my youth were the mummies. I remember when I was a kid, they were in cases in the hallway. My brother and I would hang over the cases and nudge each other with our elbows. But yesterday, I couldn’t find them. Plenty of mummies in wrappings. Who wants those? I like the gruesome unwrapped kind.
Second, the Temple of Dendur. It sits surrounded by water, overlooked by huge glass panes – it is a wonderful place for contemplation. As long as you’re there with just a few other like souls. And I wasn’t.
So – off to see Degas’ The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer. I had to shove my way to the front.
Then the Impressionists, the rest of the Europeans, the Americans, and the Moderns. One large group of chickadees immediately recognized a Jackson Pollock, then sat down in front of it to discuss. I tried to hear their teacher, but she was using her museum voice. You’re in my way, small people!
I had lunch in one of the Museum’s cafes. I was at a table for two, facing the window, when I realized that there is too much Mafia in me to stand for that, so I moved around to face the room. I got to watch as the bar seats filled up with single women and there was a silent power struggle over where to put the purses of the left-handers versus the right-handers. My grilled asparagus salad was delicious.
There were several galleries that were roped off and the woman I spoke to said there weren’t enough guards to protect them given recent budget cuts. My solution? Cut the docents for children and bring back more guards. I want to get closer to that de Kooning!
At one point, a crabby guard yelled (not just at me, I’m sure, probably) that if I wanted to get a closer picture I should use my zoom. My phone camera has a zoom?
And now I feel like painting children. Flocks of children with their little tiny mouths closed. Les bouches de Botero. (Feel free to correct my French.)