saw the “Americans in Paris” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art yesterday, in
honor of our houseguest, Kim’s camp friend, who’s visiting from France. When we left, I was in a bad mood.
the matter?” Dan asked.
don’t want to see another portrait by John Singer Sargent for as long as live.”
I’ll never have one, so what’s the point? It’s like going to a restaurant and
ordering the most delicious thing on the menu, and then the food comes, and
after one bite, the waiter takes it away.”
don’t see the correlation.”
correlation is that I can’t stand looking at a painting for a few seconds.
People kept walking right in front of me the whole time. I need to take the
paintings home to enjoy them.”
do realize that that’s not allowed.”
and I think it’s selfish on the museum’s part.”
droll, no?” said the French boy.
we should go to a few galleries next weekend, and find a painting that’s
actually for sale.”
only want those paintings.”
about a poster of one of the paintings from the exhibit? You can put it in your office.”
please. I want an oil painting, not a
piece of paper.”
French boy was tapping Kim on the shoulder at this point, and making the
universal hand motion for crazy.
funny because you hardly ever mention this intense desire you seem to suddenly
have for paintings.”
because I typically avoid museums. What’s the point?”
right. There is no point-in your
case. Museums are for people who know
how to share.”
then it occurred to me that I’ve always had a problem sharing pictures of any
kind. I guess there’s something about reproduced images that brings out the
worst in me. I have pictures of Dan and my kids all over my dressing room
mirror. They walk in and out of this
room constantly and I hardly gaze up at them. I’m too busy staring at their pictures.
When someone in my family, like my sister for example, looks through my
collection of family photos and says, “Oh, look at this one of my niece and
nephew! Can I have it?” I instantly try to talk her out of it.
really want that one? Don’t you think
Kim looks a little sad in that shot? She’s practically crying. And look how crooked Jesse’s tie is. You should probably just leave it here, so I
can throw it away later.”
then there are the old, torn, black and white photographs of my parents, and my
grandparents — particularly the ones of my mom when she was a teenager. The
glamorous, glossy photos of her standing beside her twin sister, both in their
satin sweet sixteen gowns, and the ones of my mother smoking a cigarette, in
her fur coat. I’d never be able to part with those. Kim once found them and put
them all around her room with scotch tape. I almost passed out.
no, honey, you can’t hang these up!” I said, carefully lifting up the tape.
“They were processed at the turn of the century, and must lay flat for at least
another two hundred years, or else they’ll turn yellow.”
hate this about myself. I hate how possessive
I am about pictures of people who are still alive. I see these people every day, up close, in person, making all
sorts of faces. Photographs show only
one facial expression, one that the actual person rarely makes in real
life. Why do I feel so strongly about
making sure nothing happens to photographs of people I love? I guess it’s because I’m afraid of losing
these people, and, if nothing else, I’ll always be able to look at them,
looking back at me.
of course, doesn’t explain my desire to take home paintings that don’t belong
to me. There’s no explanation for that really, other than that I just want to