The Interiors

Fall clung to the buildings on a rainy and chilly day as I visited the High Museum.


With another year of Atlanta Pride, Halloween and the celebrations surrounding them finishing out October is was time for something more laid back as November began. Pride was the usual run of places from Blake's to Heretic and for Halloween I spent the entire night at the recently revamped Jungle which felt much smaller and darker with the new design. As I am still recovering from August's surgery I could not drink or dance so I spent more time sitting and having conversations than I normally would.


My head is still in orbit and my body feels like it is missing chunks cut out of me. But, as the doctor told me, I was strong enough to resume playing tennis again, though I have not played tennis in almost ten years. I am in a reflective mood assessing where I go next and not interested in chasing a bouncing ball.


I met up with a friend for coffee at Java Monkey in Downtown Decatur two days ago and we talked too late into the night. I went home and collapsed into bed unaccustomed to the new me. I felt older than thirty-nine years old and maybe it was because I had almost died at thirty-nine.


Yesterday at the High the perfectly manicured lawn stared back at me like AstroTurf outside the Richard Meier designed spaceship looking building with a welcome ramp waiting to take me aboard. No matter how many times I have returned here, this building will always make me a child on my first visit in 1985 when the building was only two years old. It is still cold, very modern and I do not much care for the exterior of it. I was there to view the Fast Forward: Modern Moments 1913-2013 exhibition that opened a couple of weeks ago.  It was compromised of art on loan from the MoMA in New York.



It is the interior of the building that I find exciting and interesting, much the same as what I value in friendships instead of outward appearances and status markers. Inspiring architecture, like art or music should represent and reflect back to us our own humanity even on the grayest of fall days or down times in our lives. And there I was to think of the interior, get inspired and sort life out.




This sculpture by Thornton Dial appealed to me and the use of the bright yellow.



I do not remember the artist behind this piece. I like how it was positioned in the space, visible through the entry, against the wall and underneath the ceiling. It looked like a crazed piece of broken fingernail.


I find that so often modern art is shiny and sterile like a decoration in a high-end department store. It seems as though it tries too hard to grab the eye, but when it does it cannot seem to keep it for too long. They are the beautiful strangers on the street or train that you catch a glimpse of, but will never speak and will forget steps later.


This painting by Alex Katz has a bench in front of it. I have sat there a few times and gotten lost in those trees over the years. This visit was no different and I sat there longer and went further into those woods this time.


I wandered away from the modern art and there was the work of Georgia folk artist Howard Finster. The bike is called the Gospel Bike (1980), that is actual sidewalk from outside Paradise Garden (1981), that's George Washington (1987) and Elvis at Three (1990) hanging on the wall.


His art was so acclaimed and first garnered attention in the 1970s. I remember seeing his art in the 1983 R.E.M. video for Radio Free Europe and that was my first exposure to his art. He became hot again in the 1990s and some of his art was used for album covers. 


Though I do not find his religious message appealing, I do enjoy his art. If life teaches us anything, then maybe we can learn to overlook what it is we do not like and find what we do like in something or someone instead. Humans should not view life through only a critical lens, there is a place for criticism, but it should not be the solitary perspective a person has in which to view the world. I dated someone that was always criticizing me, always negative and it was a miserable experience for me. Life is too short to be critical of everything.

In the permanent collection I saw this incredible bust from 1525 by an unknown artist. The expression of weariness and exhaustion was entirely realistic. I felt like him over the past few months.


What caught my attention was the lean and sexy body of the male depicted in this painting. It might have been the first time I was attracted to someone from a painting. The painting is from between 1650 to 1700, is called Amnon and Tamar and is by an unknown artist. It depicts a biblical scene.

After getting my lust under control, I came across this humorous painting. The female's hair looks to be wearing her instead of the other way around. I wondered if the model that sat for this painting had hair that looked like that or if the painter got carried away.

A rather dull and uninteresting Monet and maybe this is because I am not much of a fan of seascapes. I liked Monet more in the late 1980s and early 90s, but my tastes have changed over time.

My eyes traveled to the city outside. I had spent enough time in the interior for one day contemplating life, the art and the meaning of existence.


I exited and walked by a bronze cast of Rodin's The Shade (1968). It was gift from the French Government after the 1962 Orly Paris crash that killed much of Atlanta's cultural movers and shakers at that time. It was a crash that shaped the arts scene of Atlanta, possibly more than any one event.

As for my own crash earlier this year that I survived, it is unknown how it will define me in the years ahead. No amount of time in the museums, having coffee or celebrating events will illuminate the dark interiors for me.

*All photos by me, November 2012.