freakin' weekend in three states.

so there's been a lull here on the blog. when you start finding my articles in upcoming issues of City Beat, Aeqai, and another magazine that i'm too excited to tell you about quite yet, you'll understand that my writing attentions have been elsewhere. But I wanted to give you the skinny about this past weekend when I and a friend went down to Saint Louis by way of Louisville and returned through Indianapolis, allowing us to see five museums in three states in two days. ! ! !

I will be writing about a number of the things we saw for magazines and don't want to give it all away here. But this is the rundown in list form:

-Speed Art Museum, Louisville: The Vogel's have been bequeathing their collection in packets of 50 works to different museums. The Speed is one of the recipients. Along with the stunning number of Richard Tuttles from different periods (which one would expect as the Vogels have been major collectors of his throughout his career), I was delighted by Lynda Benglis, Jene Highstein, and Peter Halley. Outside of the Vogel pieces, I also greatly enjoyed a lithograph by Ellsworth Kelly and a large horizontal painting by Helen Frankenthaler. And I always LOVE the Hans Arp pieces there (one wall piece, one bronze sculpture).

-21C, Louisville: Will Morrow, a delightful fellow, works at putting together surprisingly current exhibitions of cutting edge contemporary art that coincides with permanent installations throughout the museum/hotel. (What I mean by museum/hotel is that this luxury hotel's 'theme,' if you will is contemporary art. it is a weird, but well done venture). One of Nick Cave's sound suits that were just described in the New York Times was one of the highlights. A piece that wasn't fully installed (i don't think) seemed to be a nearly life sized papier mache sculpture of Madonna or some other female rock star in fishnets, pink, + purple, donning sunglasses and blonde tresses.

-Moonlite Bar-B-Q, Owensboro: Along with museums on this trip, we used Jane and Michael Stern's Roadfood Guide to eat regional specialties along the journey. Owensboro has several claims in the form of a set of restaurants as being the international capitol for mutton. Another popular dish at Moonlite is burgoo, a stew with shredded meats, vegetables, and a red saucy consistency. One of the platters we split came with two vegetables; among our choices were macaroni and cheese and dressing (not really vegetables, why not call these 'sides'?). Service was fast, welcoming, and pretty fun to experience.

-Napoleon's Retreat, Saint Louis: We decided at the last minute to stay in an historic bed and breakfast. It was a nice change of pace from the hostels of our college years and larger chain hotels. It was located in a very quaint, picaresque part of the city in close proximity to the museums we were in town to see.

-Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis, Saint Louis: Our main intention for this trip was to catch the tail end of Gedi Sibony's solo museum exhibition here. It ranks among most important exhibitions I have ever seen: sparse, spiritual, and playful; mostly whites and grays drawn from vernacular, recovered materials. Lagniappe was the small Bruce Nauman exhibition also on display and, upstairs, one of Polly Apfelbaum's huge + adorable relief prints. This one in fact:

-Robust Wine Bar, Webster Groves: In an outlying area beyond the edge of Saint Louis, we found one of the nicest wine bar cafes in this breed of restaurant. Compare to Lavomatic locally, but with a lot more investment, love, and attention to detail (not to knock Lavomatic, whose sunday brunch has currently stolen my heart). Every item on the menu is numbered to correspond with one or two sections that they demark their wine menu with. Basically rough sorted wine pairings for cheese courses, charcuterie (the pate de campagne was astounding and was paired with cornichons, dates, and an insane horseradish and hot mustard spread), salads, main dishes, and desserts. The creme brulee du jour was a cherry and vanilla, which rounded off the evening beautifully.

-Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis: We have heard great things about the SLAM's permanent collection, especially their choices in the contemporary wing. I was not disappointed. The main pieces I wanted to see were the four gray mirrored pieces by Gerhard Richter that I've read about and considered an inspiration (without having seen them) for a couple of years. But also: a couple of additional Richar Tuttles for the trip, hung near a Dan Flavin. A Joseph Beuys gray felt suit, a WHITE Louise Nevelson built in units that contrasts quirky, curvilinear forms (think Arp) against decorative mouldings from frames, chair legs, etc. The Kiefer in the lobby space was also striking and got me thinking about the development of my aesthetic, having seen work like Kiefer's in early high school.

-Ted Drewe's, Saint Louis: This frozen custard stand has sold its famous "concretes" as well as christmas trees in the winter for decades. We got a concrete apiece just before we headed out to Indiana. E's = the "bunny-rete," an Easter special that imitates carrot cake with shredded carrot and brown sugary bits. Mine = fresh banana and black walnuts whipped into the vanilla custard. Freaking fantastic!!!

-Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis: We barely made it here in time. My main purpose was to see the two Robert Irwin pieces that are a part of the museum's permanent collection. We got to dash through the contemporary wing, and the guard that escorted us (they allowed us to stay after museum hours) showed us his favorite piece, a James Turrell installation. Seeing these works only builds on my understanding and research of the life and work of Robert Irwin.

-Mug 'N' Bun Drive-In, Indianapolis: Our last stop took us to a wonderful old fashioned drive in that really manages to avoid much change from time as well as I can tell. The highlight here is there homemade root beer. We could talk about it like a red wine- it's creaminess and body, with notes of vanilla, clove, and nutmeg. Our first serving was in the frosted mugs they keep at the restaurant, but we got seconds to drive with.

the food and company were easily as important as the museum trips themselves. i needed this weekend getaway; everyone does come to think of it. i wanted to mention too that we listened to two very good audiobooks, both by NPR contributors: Alphabet Juice by Roy Blount, Jr. and The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell both employ semantics and history to look at lives and culture. Blount's book is a series of humorous and purist notations about grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Etymologies abound, as do Blount's delight in cultural idiosyncrasy. Oddly appropriate to follow up is Vowell's history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, that also incisively examines the wording and intent in the writings of early puritan settlers. both were engaging travelmates.

1 comment:

  1. Next time come to KC by way of StL and Louisville and Indianapolis. Only like 5 hours from St Louis and many extra things to eat and look at.


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