Last Saturday, I decided to spend my day getting cultured at the Guggenheim, a place I have not been to in years and had been told was holding a new exhibit soon. I went to the Guggenheim alone, in a van that the school provides to drop students off at the Met, so I had no one to rush me and no anxiety as to how I would get back. After being released at the steps of the Met, I made my way to the Guggenheim.
It’s not really an outing for me unless I get lost at least once and blow all of my cash on something I don’t need. This time it came in the form of me buying a bag with Mapplethorpe’s self-portrait on it, what I can only assume was a Basquiat themed t-shirt (I just sort of bought it without checking), and a sweatshirt that heavily implies that I play for the same sporting team as Monet, but let’s be real here, Monet probably never played a sport a day in his life. As far as my impeccable sense of direction goes, I got lost trekking from the Met to the Guggenheim, despite them being a half a mile apart. It got to the point where I called my mom in Georgia, so that she could use the tracking device on my phone to point me in the right direction. Since I got my sense of direction from her, because genetics are a bitch, I think that it is only fair that she sort me out.
I had been to the Guggenheim as a little girl, when they had their exhibition of lights and therefore nobody could take any photos out of fear of flash. This time they were showing Mapplethorpe and Basquiat exhibits that are being featured for a limited time only. Mapplethorpe’s exhibit, which may as well have been titled “sex education,” was a collection of various different people in the buff, gazing at the camera with sultry stares. Basquiat’s exhibit, which I may have liked even more, communicated his less-than-favorable view towards the police.
I don’t know how other people feel when they’re in museums, but I get a weird urge to touch everything, the same way I get the urge to clap incredibly loudly during the silent parts of church. As far as dressing for the occasion went, I was not sure how to play this. I thought that maybe I should dress incredibly posh and be the pinnacle of sophistication, since art museums are epicenters for culture. The other part of me wanted to dress like an angsty and distressed college student who did not care for things like the establishment and its rules. I went middle of the road with a black dress and long black boots. The Guggenheim has a rule that you must wear your backpack in front of you, so that you do not smack people with it from behind as you walk past. So I, and many other people, walked around looking like we were practicing lamaze.
I had a mild fear of being kicked out for mistaking a piece of installation art for a place to sit down, yet that did not become an issue. Fortunately for me, the Guggenheim is shaped into one big twist, so that even I cannot get lost there. I therefore just kept on walking in a large circle, my favorite direction, until I made it to the top and then back down again; making the Guggenheim the world’s greatest spiral staircase.
Once I felt like I was done with the Guggenheim, I walked to the park to go to the reservoir. I did not manage to get lost while there, a fact I was rather proud of, but it does help that it is all one big circle. From the reservoir, I decided to go to revisit the Met since I had a few hours to kill. Having gone there recently, I did not feel the need to see everything but rather mill around and find what interested me.
I played “Pas de Deux” by Tchaikovsky on my Spotify, as I perused the European paintings section of the Met; a setup so romantic that it only makes sense that I shared it with myself. Whilst listening to this insanely dramatic piece of music, I stumbled upon a 1790 statue of Cupid and Psyche who were having a brisk workout at Cupid’s gymnasium, right as the song struck peak passion. I suddenly felt the urge to throw rose petals in the air and jump naked into the fountains in front of the Met. I really should stop going to museums because it’s a struggle to control myself.
The way I see it, I am eighteen years old, which gives me license to go and do whatever I want. Recently, that has meant inventing new ways to enter the city, so that I may enjoy fine art.
I love the feeling that you get when you are standing in front of something you find strangely beautiful. It is exhilarating to think that in one day I managed to see many strangely-beautiful works by Mapplethorpe, Basquiat, Monet, Picasso, and Da Vinci, just to name a few.