Friday, October 9, 2015

The Healing Power of Walking and Art

After a series of contretemps too boring to go into, what with HOAs and encroaching neighbors and Amazon billing foulups, I was very happy to seize the day and go out this afternoon to Princeton University Art Museum to see the new installation, and the big exhibit of the Book of Kings, the Persian manuscript.

Here are the flyers about them




And a few views of the installation, the piece being designed and created specifically for this location, and to my mind somewhat poorly installed. The reason I'm complaining is that a sculptural installation is usually meant to be seen from all sides, being designed as a 360 experience.  This one can only be seen from three sides, impossible to walk around it and experience it.  However, since the artists, the brothers Starn, no doubt took this into consideration, I suppose they didn't attach as much importance to it as I do.

So I muttered and took a few pix. 





 The bicycles are not part of the installation, but I left them in so as to give you a measure of the size of this piece.  And the landscaper blowing leaves and grass away from the base similarly.  Also I liked the concept of life going on around the artwork anyway. The parts which look like trees propping up the structure are in fact cast metal, brilliantly created to resemble wood, until you realize they have seams where the casting was joined.

I found the whole thing awkward, because too close to the building, difficult to see, because so big, at close quarters, almost impossible to get back far enough to see better because of construction going on a few yards away and fences blocked with temporary coverings.  Let's hope this situation improves before much longer.  I did like the light shining through the glass, though, and the incidental art that happened when the sun made a shadow on the museum wall.



If you want to see a bit more info about the artists and this installation, go here


Then the other item I wanted to see, can't see too much in one visit, need to digest, was the really spectacular Book of Kings exhibit, with original four centuries old manuscripts to peer at, over several galleries,  individual pages, newly restored, framed and being exhibited before they are put back into appropriate bindings by the restorers.  There are many copies of this classic Persian work, but this is the best conserved and restored one in the US.


This was a great idea, a chance to see many pages close up, using magnifying glasses provided, because of the fineness and detail in the manuscript pages, before it vanishes into its permanent rebinding and is accessible mainly to scholars.  

The light was kept a bit dimmed, because the pages are fragile, and no photography was permitted, as usual with collections on loan. But the experience of being up close to see this amazing work, with the beautiful old script, and even additional ancient notes in the margins, was very healing after a few bumps in my own little life!

If you want to know more (and this exhibit is there till January, should you be local enough to visit), go here

And, since it was a weekday, parking at a premium, I had to park way far away, which built in a walk, always a Good Thing!  So I got home in a much better mood, especially since I'd had sunshine all afternoon,  and, shortly after I arrived home, the skies went black and dumped a lot of rain.  I was home by then, and dry.  And smug!

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