Glass Castle

Cristiano Bianchin, Urna, Raccoglitore di Pensiero (Urn,Thought Collector), 2007.  Hand-blown, ground and polished glass with wood, crocheted hemp and steel, 13 x 8 ⅝   x 8 ⅝  in.
"I wish I could see a real Alexander Calder sculpture," mused the middle as he lay on his stomach, chin in hand, looking at Calder's Universe.  His interest had been piqued again upon finishing The Calder Game.  "We can."  "We can?"  "Here?"  "Yes, right here."  And not that day, but a day that closely followed we went to the Nelson to see one of Calder's mobiles.  (It says it's a mobile, but looks like a stabile to me. But what do I know?)

Laura de Santillana, Tokyo-ga (Caffe/Nero-Aqua), 2008. Hand-blown glass, 12 ⅜  x 8 ⅞  x 1 ¾  in.

We marched in, up the gradually sloping floor of the Bloch building awash in natural light, turned right and climbed the dramatic staircase to the Ward Sculpture Hall - that lion making me catch my breath every time - and took another, sharp, right.  ("Mom knows where everything is here."  Not true.  I could not find the Impressionists without winding around, but I sometimes drop in on the Surrealists when I have a chance.)  There it was, Calder's sculpture of wood and metal seeming so doable and simple as you stand up close and imagine the bite of the needle nose pliers on the wire.

Yoichi Ohira, Cristallo Sommerso N. 61–Scolpito Vase, 2009. Hand-blown, cut and polished glass with inciso finish, 12 1/4 x 6 x 5 7/8 in.

We talked about it for a minute, the boys and I, then we left.  I'm giddy with delight that the youngest came home and told me that Picasso, with whom he is familiar because of the delightful book, When Pigasso met Mootisse, was a fan of another artist, an artist who liked to paint the jungle.  "Rousseau?"  "Yeah.  Rousseau."  And we pull out a book and he flipped through and said, "Yeah.  That's totally Rousseau," finding the referenced artist's work.  Then he walked away leaving the book open on the floor.

Laura de Santillana, Flag 12 (Giallo/Nero Diverso/Nero Diverso), 2008. Hand-blown glass, 17 x 17 ½ in.

The Nelson is like that.  A reference, a touch stone.  I hope it is the thing that makes art striking.  Engaging.  I abhor the thought that it makes art grueling.  A chore.  Worse, a lesson.  Go, if you can, for small bites.  An amuse bouche rather than a Thanksgiving meal that leaves you heavy and tired, a trace memory of the joyful anticipation wiped clean by the gluttonous reality.

Yoichi Ohira, Calle di Venezia N. 10–Casa rossa Vase, 2008. Hand-blown, cut and polished glass murrine, 11 ⅝  x 6 ⅛  x 5 in.
It's free.  The Nelson is free and the weather is going to be fine.  Drop in.  Say "hi."  Go just to see the cricket cages.  Picnic on the grounds among the Moores if you can.  You don't visit every book on every shelf when you go to the library.  You don't see every movie on every screen when you go to the theater.  Go.  Savor it.  Leave wanting more.

All images of the Venice. 3 Visions in Glass exhibit, at the Nelson now through August 15th.  Mark your calendar for July 16th to hear Catherine Futter, the Curator of Decorative Arts, lead a discussion on the exhibit.  I had the opportunity to walk through with her.  The pieces are beautiful, but I was drawn in, again, by knowing the artists' intents.  

All images courtesy of Barry Friedman Ltd.