Sunday, February 26, 2012

Freedom of Association

TOH and I ventured south to Philadelphia, City of Brotherly Love, this weekend. It was my first trip to the city. Sad to say, we didn't see much of it, despite my aims to:
  1. Recreate the beginning of Trading Places
  2. Find Paddy's Pub
  3. Play me some b-ball on the courts of West Philadelphia

Alas, it was not to be. The weather was cold and windy and rather unpleasant, and instead we cooped up indoors making pizzas and hanging out with our friends' cool kid. But we did manage to go to the Italian Market, which pleased me greatly (despite it basically being all shut down apart from one stall with a bin on fire and, fortunately, the cheese shop where we purchased mozzarella for the homemade pizzas).

We also went to the Art Museum. Assessment: mixed. There is decidedly too much English art on exhibition (Gainsborough, ugh), but there was a glorious Stubbs of a Hound coursing a Deer - rarely does an artist capture the sinew and weight and movement of an animal like he does - and a Turner I'd seen, I think, in the Turner Monet Whistler exhibition from a few years ago at Tate Britain, of the Houses of Parliament burning down. There was also a lovely Goya portrait of a toreador that I'd not seen before, with its typical glowing, expressive brown eyes and soft background and squiggly clothing details.

There were also lots of bits of churches ripped out and placed in the museum, something which I find a bit strange (see The Cloisters here in New York for a prime exhibit). The labels at the museum feature a lot of the passive voice - when the panels were removed, when the triptych was removed - which, felt a little unnerving as a British person rather familiar with the methods of stocking The British Museum (not that I don't love it there but you know... Residual ickiness with how we got the things doesn't stop wonder at the things or the loveliness of the building. Or something like that). There were glorious tiles and a Hindu shrine recreated, which were beautiful and calming. The art museum itself is gloriously situated, with that amazing panorama of the Philadelphia skyline (which I couldn't look at without hearing the theme tune to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - that association is fixed for me, I'm afraid) and the sweeping run toward the main city made so famous by Rocky. Of course, TOH recreated the run up the steps, but it was horrendously windy so sadly it was not quite the triumphant moment it should have been (i.e. the two of us doing it together in full photoed montage).

No comments: