May 19, 2014 – The girls and I thought it would be a good idea to prepare ourselves for the gallery showing by studying the work of other famous photographers. In order to impress Dumpling Longfeather on her technical and artistic verve, we need to know what we’re talking about. Charlotte suggested we go back to the library, but I’m not ready to see Miss Eunice – Terror of the Bibliotheca quite yet. So Sawyer proposed that we hop in the truck and head north to the Currier Museum of Art. I thought this was a brilliant idea!
We pulled into the parking space shortly before noon. The woman at the admittance window was busy with a school tour so she waved us on to fend for ourselves. Addie grabbed a map from the information stand and began to set a navigational course for our adventure. The photography exhibit was located on the second floor but we stopped along the way to admire the Dutch and Flemish masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. I saw dogs and goats and people without clothes, but no chickens. We turned the corner to enter a room that was lit by a single hanging light focused on a large piece of canvas that was painted blue. A few women stood before it nodding while a gentleman in a suit rubbed his chin with his hand as if he were trying to understand what the painting was about without saying so out loud. Wilma walked up next to him and gently tossed her pocketbook against his leg.
“Where’s the picture in the painting,” she asked when the gentleman looked her way.
“Excuse me?” he replied, clearly still in deep consideration.
“The picture,” Wilma continued. “There’s just a blank canvas painted blue. Is it a hidden picture? Do we need to get closer before we see something? Did the painter forget to finish this one? Where are the people and animals? Where’s the scenery?”
The man shifted his weight, uncomfortable with Wilma’s line of questioning.
“This is a Masterpiece!” he exclaimed.
“A Masterpiece of what,” Wilma pressed.
“Why, of… I DON’T KNOW, ALRIGHT!!” he bellowed before turning in embarrassment and leaving the room.
One of the women who had been nodding at the print started to laugh.
“Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t know what it’s all about either. I’m going to the gift shop.”
One by one the rest of her party left the room.
“I don’t understand,” Peaches remarked. She walked closer to the canvas and tilted her head. The rest of us followed suit; first to the left, then to the right. Nothing. It was a big square piece of canvas painted blue.
“Hmmph!” Addie remarked reading the placard next to the painting.
“It says here that this piece is called, “Rush”. It is a modern interpretation of water, the life force of the universe. It’s by an artist named R. U. Plucking. Hey, that’s funny. Are you plucking?”
“The artist might be good with a paintbrush, but he or she should know that water is actually clear, not blue.”
“Well, Hap, maybe that’s why it’s an interpretation,” Sawyer reasoned. “Maybe it’s to make people think and wonder.”
“I’m wondering, alright,” said Wilma. “I’m wondering where the pictures are. This isn’t a piece of art; this is a piece of…”
“Excuse me ladies,” a deep voice resonated behind us. It was a security guard. “This exhibit is closing for a private viewing. If you don’t mind I need to ask you to move ahead to the next gallery.”
We were more than fine moving along but I made a mental note to research, “Rush” online when I got back to the coop.
We were very excited as we hit the grand stairwell that would take us to the second floor where the photography exhibit was being held. But before we could place one foot to a step, a cleaning man raced ahead of us and started looping yellow caution tape around the handrails.
“I’m sorry, folks” he explained hurriedly. “Some man just tossed his cookies upstairs so we’re blocking off the second floor exhibits until we can get him out of there and clean things up. The café is open if you’d like a bite to eat while you’re waiting.”
“Why don’t we come back later in the week,” Charlotte suggested. “Let’s head over to the diner for a nice slice of raspberry pie and a hot cup of tea.”
We all agreed to come back another day. As we were getting into the truck we saw the gentleman from the room with the blue canvas leaving the museum. His hair was disheveled and his tie unknotted. He was wiping his brow with a white handkerchief.
“I bet he’s the one who got sick upstairs!” I said.
“I bet it was from staring at the painting that wasn’t really a painting,” Wilma grumbled.
“I guess we all need a serious course on art history if we’re going to impress our new friends in Canada,” Sawyer sighed.
“Or… we could just come up with phrases that make it seem like we know what we’re talking about,” I suggested.
“Brilliant!” said Wilma.
“To the diner!” Addie charged.
“To the diner!” We echoed, and our thoughts immediately switched to spinning stools and delectable sweets.