Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Minneapolis... and Ballroom Dance

You know you haven't had any caffeine when... you try using a Hudson News receipt to board a flight. That's right, I am not a morning person, and me in public without caffiene at 7:00 in the morning is either not pretty or hysterically funny depending on your point of view.

In any event, I got to Minneapolis not long after 8:00 (local) this morning and don't actually meet the client until 9:00 tomorrow. I've changed planes in Minneapolis a few times, and actually left the airport once but didn't have any spare time. Today I saw the city.

Started at the Mall of America. 10:00ish on a Tuesday morning is not when it's in its element. My inital reaction was "Eh, it's a mall. It's not even really that big. Ok."

Then I made my way over to the Northwest Airlines History Centre, which is run by retiree volunteers -- it's pretty small, but for an aviation/technology geek they had some cool stuff; I just wish I could have gotten my hands on some of the documents in the cases to page through them and see how much different things are. Also saw my first two teletype machines in living life. I thought it was cool.

From there I found my way to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts which was almost overwhelming in scale and had no clear path that would take you to each gallery; at the Cleveland Museum of Art I get lost in my thoughts... here I just kind of got lost. I'm still not a huge fan of African or Asian art, but the MIA has a respective collection of Asian art, and their iAffrica experiemntal gallery is the first African art exhibit where I've actually felt some connection and understanding of the art and its background.

As I progressed through the galleries, I hit some "period rooms" which were interesting for their context; and, predictably, the pieces I most enjoyed were in the modern/contemporary/impressionist galleries. Here, like at SFMoMA, it was interesting to see companion works to works in the CMA collection -- and it was fun to play the "Oh, that looks like ______.... oh, it IS ______!" game -- especially with the Leger piece.

I could go on, but suffice it to say that it was an enjoyable experience. I was also interested to learn the Marcel Bruer, who I knew as a "Brutalist" architect (in fact, the architect for a few buildings in Cleveland, including an earlier expansion at CMA) had done some furniture design as well.

After leaving MIA I drifted to the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and it turns out that they offer reciprocity to CMA members. The collection -- or at least the portion of the collection on display in the galleries is far from huge, but it is impressive and pretty right on for my tastes.

I spent a brief time exploring the Sculpture Garden but the weather (there is actually snow on the ground here) and my clothing did not lend themselves to long periods of contemplation. It's definitely a worth-doing-in-the-Summer thing.

And finally I drove to Rochester, MN and checked into the hotel. End of day 1; I don't think that there will be anything blog-worthy for the rest of this trip so the next you will hear from me will be after Saturday evening's Orchestra performance.

But, before I go: I finally cashed in a gift certificate for ballroom dance lessons that I've been sitting on. I had the first lesson last night and it went remarkibly well. I only stepped on the instructor's foot once, and generally speaking (as long as I can keep my left and right foot straight) it was a successful endeavor, especially considering that I have never attempted anything resembling dance before.

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