Thursday, July 24, 2014

All Day At the Kimbell

Earl and I spent a full day at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. Just after 4:00 p.m. we agreed we were on visual overload and that our feet ached. We'd spent a delicious day at the Kimbell and it would be wise to return to our room at the Belmont Hotel and simply savor all we'd seen. We felt much as we did when in Rome and Florence, Venice, Naples, Siena and Orvito. Well, maybe not quite. Those duomos are beyond compare. But the Renaissance paintings? They can be compared with some of those at the Kimbell.
The museum's permanent collection was filled with connections to paintings and sculpture we saw during that Italian sojourn. Examples? Carravagio's 'The Cardsharps.' We saw several such paintings and Earl would remember where? The Corsini? The Barbarini?
The Kimbell is also home to Georges de La Tour's 'Cheat with the Ace of Clubs'. Again, a gambling situation with a naive and rich young man being taken by a knowing group of cheats. And you have to love their costumes - the bevy of bows over the shoulders, the rich textures of velvet and taffeta.
When I saw the terracotta bust of a woman and its title 'Portrait of a Woman, Probably Isabella d'Este, I actually had some idea of who she was. There were two Bernini terracotta pieces and a portriat of a Venetian Doge. And I recognized what I was seeing.
I loved seeing 'Apollo and the Continents' because the painting was Tiepolo's model for a ceiling fresco in Milan and it was so like many of the frescoed ceilings that I strained my neck to see in churches and palazzos. Here was a painting up close - before it became ceiling ornamentation. And another nice thing about wandering through the Kimbell's permanent collection. One could take photos, as many as one wanted.
And the day had one other similarity with those spent in Italy. A young man in red pants appeared and as he studied each painting, he lifted his tee shirt and showed some skin. Intentional? Unintentional? He was with two others - were they all from Dallas or Germany?
The Kimbell has a recent and very beautiful addition. The Piano Pavilion  was under construction when last we visited. We took it all in for the first time and the building is sublime in its architectural detailing. The art within its galleries was compelling, but my eyes were often meandering to the flooring, the window coverings, stair railings, indirect light sources. The new theater is a piece of work and I quote from the Kimbell's website:
"...and an auditorium with superior acoustics for music. The latter, located below ground level, is a design centerpiece: its raked seating faces the stage and the dramatic backdrop of a light well animated by shifting patterns of natural light."
I loved the sunlit staircase leading down to the auditorium and the graphic that signaled the women's rest room. 
Have to say, though, that the restroom was not as exciting as those at the Houston Permitting Center. Both are in shades of grey, but Studio Red made theirs more design worthy. Guess it's OK that the women's rest room in the Piano Pavilion was not exciting. Everything else about the place was a joy to experience. I knew I liked the gallery floors. Perhaps the following quote shows why?
"In the galleries, Piano has developed what is referred to as a “breathing floor,” in which the entire floor functions as a vent. The floorboards, made of white oak, have been laid with small gaps, allowing low-velocity air to flow freely through the floor. A subtle pattern in the arrangement of the floorboards echoes the wooden beams of the roof above, and the floor’s warm color complements the cool concrete walls." 
Earl and I had espresso in the grand lobby. Even the metal coffee cups and saucers were part of the whole experience. And then we were on to the Samurai Armor exhibition. 
No photos, but I filled page after page with sketches because I was thinking of those fabrics from San Antonio and how I might make panelled over skirts like the warrior attire, connecting the panel sections with Mexican rayon ribbons of which I have big box full ready for a project.
I wandered into the bookstore in the Piano Pavilion to look for postcards of Samurai warriors, but they were limited and none showed anything below the waist. I was asked if I needed anything and I said yes, I wanted a picture of the entire costume because I had an idea for sewing such panels.
"May I take a few photos from the catalog."
"Yes," she said, "Go, ahead."
Wish Aggie'd been there. I'd like to see what she made of these elaborate get-ups. Spectacular workmanship. Imagine being in combat wearing this stuff. Imagine blood staining these silk and leather ribbons that run through each panel. Panels, BTW, are metal. There must be an element of sound as one moves?
It's work looking at fine permanent collections and Samurai warrior costumes. We broke for lunch in the museum's restaurant. Loved the hostess who wore over-the-top patterned leggings. She called them her mini-rebellion. Said some folks thought they were tattoos. Liked the snappy way she wrote 'Earl' on the table sign. The cold carrot soup and quiche was good. And yes, I ate the entire ham sandwich, gluten and all.
And so, our day at the Kimbell was a very good day. I left with a book about the history of nativities in Naples. Is this a sign that we'll return to Napoli sometime? Sure would like that. 
More soon about our two days in Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton.

1 comment:

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