MIA for two hours

I used to spend entire days at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts when I was a freelancer. Not only did the museum offer free Wi-Fi, it was also usually quiet as a tomb. Plus, there was something so inspiring about gazing at those priceless paintings as I looked for just the right word.

So this afternoon I felt as if I’d come full circle when I visited my former “office” with my colleagues. It was wonderful to experience my old haunt through new eyes.

The highlight today was Facing the Lens, a collection of images about photographers. Some, such as André Kertész‘s moody self-portrait, were predictably artful.

Others were striking in their originality—especially when juxtaposed on an otherwise barren wall.

But I got a special kick out of the montage that displayed various photographers’ I.D. photos. I’d never thought of my passport and license photos as art before …

I took a few shots of Yoshitomo Nara’s whimsical Your Dog

… and of Chuck Close‘s unbelievable self-portrait. I can’t decide which is more astounding: The realism he conveys with his relatively spare brush strokes, or the enormous size of his canvases. I stared at this one until the docents came to check on me.

Then, it was off to my old favorites. I make a point of visiting the Veiled Lady every time I’m at the MIA. No matter how many times I see her, my mind can’t grasp that her gauzy veil is made of marble.

Almost directly across from her is another masterpiece. The eyes of Cordelier’s The Algerian always draw me in. He looks to me as if he’s lost in thought, perhaps dreaming of a distant home.

After a couple of hours I had to leave, unfortunately. I had a friend’s dog waiting at home … and I needed to get ready for a long day of shooting tomorrow. But even after I left the museum, I was still seeing art. Like this message that someone scrawled into the once-wet cement:

“I’m immortalized.” Isn’t that the purpose of art, in the end?


  1. ‘“I’m immortalized.” Isn’t that the purpose of art, in the end?’ I think you’re right. There comes a time in our lives when we stop worrying about what people think of us and start wondering how we’ll be remembered; or even IF we’ll be remembered. I’m going out to look for some wet cement now. Bye 🙂

    • No need to find any wet cement, Xpat — I think you’ve *already* created quite a beautiful legacy through your writing and gorgeous photography (not to mention your son!). 🙂

  2. Very cool. Thanks for taking me along as you toured some intriguing art. From your title, I saw MIA as missing in action–and what a great place to go MIA but the MIA!

    • I’m glad you got the double-meaning of MIA. I titled it that way because my afternoon at the museum meant I was MIA from work. 🙂

  3. I wouldn’t mind being MIA at the MIA. Amazing work with marble on the Veiled Woman. I’d never seen that self-portrait of Close before. Interesting. Cordelier really captured The Algerian, looks like I’m looking at the man instead of a sculpture. Impressive stuff!
    Thanks for taking us with you to the MIA.

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