Night at the Museum

In an effort not to fail on my second day of blogging, I’m forcing myself to sit still and think. What happened in the last 24 hours that feels worthy of a post? What am I chewing on that deserves a deeper dive? What have I accomplished in the last 24 hours that feels worthy of sharing?

I decided to keep it simple.

I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and my boyfriend lives on the Upper East Side. (More on this tale of two cities in future posts, I’m sure.) However, one of the benefits of having two residences in New York is being able to easily access the treasures of two (very different) neighborhoods with ease.

It’s full-blown winter here, snow is dropping outside as I write, and we’re finding ourselves a little befuddled on how to take advantage of our weekends. Movies movies movies. Which I love. But a guilt has been setting in that we should probably be doing more. So, going into this long weekend (MLK!) I tried to be intentional about Things To Do. What do we always say we want to do but never do? What do we always say we want to do but it’s the wrong season?  What do we always want to do but there are we have too many other plans to take advantage of? Here’s what:

Night at the Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art stays open until 9pm on Friday and Saturday nights. This is one of those perks of living in New York that after a year here you quickly ignore – either by saying ‘I’ll go next time,’ or forgetting about it entirely. (On the flip side, this is definitely something you will use as a defense when challenged as to why you live in one of the most expensive and filthy cities in the country. “The culture!”)

We went to the Max Beckmann exhibit. I’d never heard of him before this visit. With The Met’s a pay-what-you-can setup, it’s easy to flop in for an hour and not feel the need to cover every inch of this behemoth museum.

There were a ton of self-portraits from Max’s 10-year exile from Germany in Holland, and many from the second half of his life in the U.S. A lot of his work was confiscated by the National Socialists in 1937 when they called his word “degenerate.” Reading that sentence without spending time staring into Max’s face from his paintings doesn’t quit give the same sense of sadness and loss that it does as you look at his work. It’s like hearing about a worn-torn country on the news, and then reading a survivor’s personal essay – the impact is so vastly different.

Here are some of my favorites:

Self Portrait with White Hat, 1926.
Self-Portrait with Cigarette, 1947.

In  non-portraiture work he creates such a sense of place. I love the high-class, sombre dignity these two give off:

The Oyster-Eaters, 1943.
Quappi in Grey, 1948.

In a nutshell: go to this show! It closes February 20th.

And if you feel like it afterwards, go to Vietnaam restaurant on 2nd Ave. and 88th Street for pho and these incredible green beans, and you’ve got yourself a perfect, wintry Friday night.


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