THE LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL MUSEUM GOERS IV

Yes.  A feature from a while ago is returning to the blog, but I’m also going to talk a bit about the types of people I’m friends with.  So expect friends stuff and then museum related stuff.  Skip to whatever part you feel like reading first.

So its summer and that means I go on one of my crazy, whirlwind 24 to 48 hour trips to New York.  I gotta admit, I kinda love doing this.  I usually go on the super cheap, the cheapest ride and then I get to eat my favorite cheap eats while I’m there.  I’m lucky enough not only to have good friends whose house I can bunk at while I’m there but one of them works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — so I get to go for free!!!!!

Anyway, on Friday I departed for my trip.  My friends group here was asking what I was going to be doing in New York.  I told them I was going to New York to talk about dresses.  Well, look at dresses.  And yeah, talk about them.

James and Marci, my friends in New York are a very unique pair.  Marci works in the costume institute at the Metropolitan and is an encyclopedia of fashion.  She knows every time period, every fabric, every seam, every button of any garment you are talking about.  James is equally unique.  He grew up in Pensacola, Florida or as he calls it, the Redneck Riviera (I have always wanted to write that) as the only person who liked to read Charles Dickens.  He’s a playwright, writer, literary critic and possessor of a great sardonic wit.

Visiting them this weekend I started to think about ALL the friends I have.  I have friends who are like family to me, like the Riot in Philadelphia.  I have my Bostonian friends.  I have my Washington friends that I can tell political jokes and observations to.  I guess all of them represent different sides of me, different interests I have.  And anyway, life would be pretty boring if we had friends who were all exactly like us.

So most of the weekend was spent seeing the unbelievably gorgeous Heavenly Bodies exhibit at the Met’s main location and at the Cloisters, the Met’s second location.  Now I’ve been going to Met since I was five years old and practically grew up there.  My parents love museums and as a kid, I did what they did.

Many items in the Heavenly Bodies exhibit were in the Gothic part of the museum, which I have been walking through for let’s say the past 30 or so years.  On the walk through the Heavenly Bodies exhibit, the whole feeling changed.  The clothes were all garments inspired by the Catholic church.  In the Gothic cathedral, there was this somber, dramatic music playing, creating this movie kind of moment, kind of like when you put music on in your headphones and the whole atmosphere of the place you are in completely changes.  I was mesmerized.

Whoever is running things at the Met, I salute you.  The museum is really upping its game exhibitions wise.  I think they know they are competing against smartphones and the internet and they are winning.  The exhibitions are so much more immersive than they have ever been.  It really lends itself to a unique experience when you go into the museum.

For me, the best addition is Marci’s commentary on the items.  She tells me the history of each and why and how it was placed in a certain area of the museum.  She also has tons of knowledge about the way the garments are constructed and who constructed them.  Do I eat this all up?  Of course I do.

Oh and not pictured — the original garments from the Vatican that inspired the ones they have on view.  The modern parts of the exhibit were in the upstairs part of the museum, while the Vatican garments are downstairs.  No photography, by Vatican decree.  There were papal vestments worn by John Paul II, including his shoes.  I told James that you could tell that a Polish guy owned these shoes because they looked brand new.  A couple was next to us and they started laughing.  I said “I’m Polish.  I can confirm to you that no Polish person would be caught dead in shoes that were scuffed or otherwise unkept.”

James and I had a hilarious conversation in the exhibit’s other objects.  I’ve recently joined a church but I still refer to John Paul II’s clothes as “his pope suit.”  I referred to the head covering of a bishop as a “bishop hat” and James corrected me and told me it was a called a miter, which is a word I had not even known until last Saturday.  I was also about to call something a “church glass” when I remembered it was a goblet, but then James explained to me that the actual object was called a chalice.  Work out for the brain for sure.

Anyway, enough with the prose already.  Let’s see some photos!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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