Friday, November 4, 2011

My Favorite Places: Detroit Institute of Arts Part I

I've decided to start a series on my favorite local Michigan spots. 

Destination #1:

Part I
I don't know how cultured outsiders view Detroit as being, and this troubles me.  Living in the metro-area my whole life places me in a bubble of bias, so I've always thought of the DIA as a top-notch art collection.

We've got big names, you know:
Van Gogh!
Oh my!

A walk through its halls gives you that classic "museum" feel.  That one where you're contained in one building, but can feel like you've been wandering for days.  (Which reminds me to remind you: Grab a map.  The probability of getting lost is great.  The possibility of getting turned around when in dire need of a bathroom, astounding!)  It's not the most humongous of museums in the nation, but it's certainly well-appointed, which lends itself to a largeness of its own.  A full day is recommended and practically required.

I have an old-timey affection for museums which are separated into smaller rooms and halls.  It all but insists on that feeling of privacy that assures to lull you into traquil art-filled dreaminess.  (Which usually then leads me into a round my favorite DIA game, which I'll elaborate more on later.)

Each room or hall is dedicated to either a geographical region or era.

Amid these rooms, you'll find:

The Europeans and their biblical fascination:

Descent From the Cross
Moses and the Daughters of Jethro
The Dutch:  With their very own room, I refer to as "Dead Animal Hall".  (As in, almost every single painting, a still piece of freshly killed game slung over a dining room table.  Complete with blood, gash wounds... everything but X's crossed over the eyes.)  The Dutch however do have one painting I could bear to photograph:

Poultry Yard, Melchior del Hondecoeter
"Scat, Turkey Lurkey!" yells Chicken Little.

A peek at historic fashion-plates:

Woman Sewing, William Paxton.
From 1913, but I swear I've seen Mary-Kate and/or Ashley in this dress.

The Beach Hat, Robert Cozad Henri.
 Not just the hat, but the entire outfit, SPF approved!

Madame Paul Poirson, John Singer Sargent.
I posted this once on Facebook with the caption, "Kate Winslet, eat your heart out!" and I still stand by that statement.  Red carpet?  Cotillion?  Beheading?  Whatever it is, she's ready for it!

Those paintings that inspire a color addict like me:

Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts, Edgar Degas.
Pervy as he was, what young girly-girl wouldn't want to wear or decorate her bedroom in each and every one of these colors.

The Inspirational:
The Freedman, John Quincy Ward
The ultimate projection of strength.  However, after reading The Warmth of Other Suns this year, I can't help but wonder if he ended up under the thumb of an evil sharecropper.  

The "Hey!  I could paint that!":
A Woman, Amedeo Modigliani
Thank you, Modigliani, for making it look easy.

The "How to capture a party before Polaroid":

Savoy Ballroom, Reginald Marsh
Tell me this doesn't scream, "Keeping your head above water... Makin' a wave if you can. ♫"

The "Hey!  I'm in it!" art:

No, to the Increase of Tram Fare, Michelangelo Pistoletto
When, it's made of stainless steel, you have art and a place to quickly check your teeth.

And, of course, we have:

The Mural:

Diego Rivera

Now will you believe me that Detroit's got art?!

If I've convinced you thoroughly, stick around for Part II, entailing my favorite DIA game.  And, please oh please support the arts, anywhere that you might live!

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