Friday, July 4, 2014

Get Some Beauty In Your Life

Growing up, there were no art museums in my area. The closest one was the Terry Redlin Art Center in Watertown, and if you get a chance to visit it, I highly recommend it. I
particularly enjoyed his "America the Beautiful" series. And while the Terry Redlin Art Center was wonderful at the age of 18, I wanted something more. I wanted to see a museum that had different exhibitions moving in and out. I wanted to see history through art. I particularly wanted to see some Renaissance paintings.
   When I moved to Tulsa and discovered the Philbrook Museum of Art, I knew that I would have my chance. Monet? Heck yes! Renaissance? I was so there!
   My father and his girlfriend came to Tulsa to visit and that was the first thing we did - visit the Philbrook. Some history -
the Philbrook was built as an Italian Renaissance house for oil magnate Waite Phillips (the guy who founded Phillips 66). He gifted his house and its 23 acres of land to the city of Tulsa as an art center in 1938. And it is an expansive, glorious 72-room mansion. The beauty and detail that are present are stunning. The fountains are gorgeous. And the gardens? Might as well be walking into Eden.
   Unlike the teeny museums in my area of South Dakota, this one charged $9 admission. A small price to pay, but I have to admit I balked at it (even though my father's girlfriend picked up the tab) because I never paid admission to a museum before.
   We made our way through, going from room to room, but I lingered in the rooms with the Renaissance artwork. Never had I seen such beauty. The details and the colors brought the paintings to life! There was no Rembrandt. There was no da Vinci, but the works were still stunning. And I fantasized about having some Renaissance art hanging on the walls of my home.
   When I went into a room with sculptures, I paused at what I initially saw - a bust of John the Baptist - his head on a
platter. It was morbid, but not grotesque. It had a cold beauty to it and that image is what stuck with me - out of all of the artwork present. My father seemed a bit bored and he hurried toward and lingered in the Native American section. Of which some works by Oscar Howe were present. (The link is to the Scherr-Howe Arena in Mobridge - just put that in there as a plug for my hometown.) But, my dad is not exactly a lover of modern art and there were many of those in that section.
    If you have an opportunity to go to an art museum, especially one with revolving exhibitions from different eras, I suggest you take it. If there are no such museums in your area, wait until you get to a larger metropolitan town. Is it exciting? Absolutely not. But, it is peaceful, beautiful and a way to get some more culture into your life. Your adventures in life do not always have to be exciting. Sometimes they just have to be beautiful.

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