Monday, March 3, 2014

At the Guggenheim

Photo courtesy of

We make an almost-monthly visit to New York from the Cape.  Joe spends time with his mother who will be celebrating her 99th birthday this month.  He takes her shopping, does some things around her house, and generally performs sonly-duties while I............take off like a bolt of lightening.  I always have a "plan" that most always finds me on an early train that transports me into Manhattan.  As I am writing this, I am envisioning something very Jules Vernon, an image from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, me in an underwater capsule, sailing through a set of major arteries that course through a human body and end in the Vena Cava.  I picture the capsule, having arrived at the entrance to one of the heart's chambers, its door bursting open and me, tumbling out like some rolly-polly figure, landing feet down on the cushy bottom floor.  As I do, I feel the heart muscle squeezing and pumping and I hear the beating, letting me know that I have landed in a very alive place.  And I am smiling, dusting off my happy body and dancing around from chamber to chamber.  This is my New York experience and I relive it over and over, as many times as I possibly can. I'm not new to this.  I was born here.  I grew up here and I never tire of it, ever.

So, this past Saturday, I did what I usually do, I made plans to meet up with my friend Jay.  This time, our meeting spot was the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue.  I hadn't been there since I was a teenager and this was a maiden voyage for Jay; the sun was shining, it was not cold and it was an absolutely perfect choice for two friends who have the same museum-viewing habits as do we.  And this time, it was a whopper of a viewing......"  Italian Futurism, 1909-1944. Reconstructing the Universe".  Wow!

This is an amazing collection of avante-garde art in all of its forms.  Launched in 1909 by writer, publisher and impresario  Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, it had its origins in literature.  Very quickly, the movement permeated the visual and performing arts, advertising and politics, as the works on display strongly suggested.  Each and every piece, and there were so many of them, said something about the times, the printed word having a place of high importance in communicating the powerful messages.  Here, one finds the passion of the Italian to enter the First World War, the fascination with speed, technology, nationalism and communication.  The visual images are stunning, all of them hinting at what we find today to be commonplace.  Mind-blowing when one considers the works done in the early years.  We marveled, over and over, about the concepts, the ideas and their portrayal in an era that was so at the mercy of pure genius and talent, a time before the Internet and advanced technology.  We paid close attention and learned so much from the Futurists and came away feeling fulfilled and rather pleased with our choice.

We were buoyed by our experience when we left the museum and we decided to walk along Central Park on Fifth Avenue where we made a left at 59th street and made the rest of our way to Grand Central via Park Avenue.  It's a long walk from 89th to 42nd but we enjoyed every step, catching up on gossip, family stuff and generalities that we both find so interesting and/or amusing before lunch and kisses and hugs which signaled the end of our day together.  We've done this scene a gazillion times but the part that makes it easy is the final conversations.  Most often, they center on my next trip into the city and the plans instantly start.

I get back into my capsule, find a seat that is as far away from disturbances as I can get, and allow the pulsating of my heart to push me back down into my own viscera where I hang out and wait for the next spurt.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post. Wish I were there. Wonderful photos of the Guggenheim, never get tired of admiring that building.