Sunday, December 05, 2004


Partner and I had a long weekend in New York. We had good weather and didn't try to cram in too much, which meant going to only two shows (Mario Cantone's Laugh Whore and the revival of Sondheim's Pacific Overtures).

And we visited two musuems that have been on my list to do someday, the Frick Collection and the Tenament Museum.

Exactly why have I never gone to the Frick? My bad. Big money spent well, for the most part. Like many American collections centered around a rich buyer, the Frick has a lot of known names on its walls, including a few iconic paintings (Holbein the elder's Sir Thomas Moore, Vemeer's Woman and Servant Reading the Letter, e.g.). Unlike many single collection museums, there are very few impressionists, but quite a few of the Old Masters (Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Hals, Titian, Veronese, Piero, El Greco, Velasquez, Goya, Corot).

The scale is good, one can spend three hours and see the entire hung collection. The setting is the oppulent home Frick built toward the end of his life on Fifth Avenue -- there are several references that Frick pulled his designers back from going over the top.

How far it was over the top was felt the next day at the Tenament Museum in the Lower East Side. Over 7,000 different people lived in that narrow four or five story building, from the 1860s to 1931. Four of the apartments have been restored to a specific family and to a specific time period, representing the various ethnic groups who launched their families American journey. A fifth apartment is scheduled to be opened within a year or so.

It was a moving tour -- there are four, but we took the one that looked at two Jewish families related to the garment industry called Piecing It Together.


lemming said...

(sigh) Sound terrific. It's been far too long since I visited a museum - must do something about that.

Don said...

Lemming -- I must confess to being a bit of museum-a-holic. These were both great places that had been on my someday list. They were both worth it.

And yes, you should get out more as soon as your pending duties are completed!

Girl Gone Gardening said...

Museaums are great! One of htese days I will take the train into Chicago and go visit some...its been over a year since I have visited any.

marthachick said...

I really liked the Frick when we visited four years ago -- it's pocket-sized, in a way, like the Picasso Museum in Paris. While I dearly loved the Louvre and the Met and the Chicago Art Museum (not the right name, but the biggie, and a must-see), I get easily overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of them. The Frick is just right. You can stop in and get creatively recharged without losing your equilibrium.

There are actually several museums here in Austin that I've never visited...a good reminder as I've got some time off coming.