Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lincoln in Jacksonville: Day 2: The Cummer Museum

It seems that I will, perhaps, finish this project early; considering that it was a short project to begin with, this is [knock on wood] quite a good thing. I'm trying to decide if I change my ticket and fly home on early or if I leave the flights as-is and write the company a check for the last night and vacate. I'm leaning towards vacating, especially since I realized I have a "Free Night" certificate that expires shortly. Anyway...

To understand why I was so nervous about this particular project, particularly since it seems like it should be relatively simple on the outside I'd have to start talking about things I can't really talk about*. But it worked; I needed to make surprisingly few tweaks and the parts I was most nervous about worked perfectly.

Tomorrow we do final testing and I'm not expecting anything to pop up.

My contact here, it turns out, majored in studio art history. I asked him if there was anything nearby I should check out if time allowed... and he promptly provided a list: The Cummer Museum, MoCA Jacksonville, and MOSH (not a pit, as it turns out, but the Museum of Science and History). As luck would have it, The Cummer was open until 9:00 tonight and I wandered in that general direction. After nearly giving up trying to find a parking space**, I found myself walking in. And I found that the museum is free from 4:00-9:00 on Tuesdays. Score.

Being primarily a contemporary/modern art fan The Cummer's fine collections don't really cater to that taste, but nonetheless it was an enjoyable visit. The galleries were uncluttered, the layout logical. While the facility is relatively small, but I didn't feel there was a shortage of art to view, and there was quite a bit of visually appealing art. (I have a list when I get home to check against works on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art...several pieces triggered an "Oh, that looks like..." reaction)

A particular highlight, though, was "Collectors' Choice: Works of art from Jacksonville Collections", exhibiting works that have been lent to the museum from the collections of local collectors along side a short biography of the collector who owns the work. As interesting as the art were the collectors' attitudes on collecting: Why they collect, how they got started, etc. Each was interesting, and I probably could have spent all evening copying them down, yet one collector summarized by quoting "Ars long, vita brevis" (Art is long, Life is short). Thinking about it...wow. In galleries here and at home, one can see art created mere months ago or dozens of centuries ago. The works touched by artists who's hands are long gone, by societies far evolved, but the art is preserved as a tangible link to the short lives behind us and the generations in front of us.

(The Wikipedia article quotes the entire maxim as "Art is long, life is short, opportunity fleeting, experiment dangerous, judgement difficult"...how true, how true...and all the more reason to spend an extra day in Jacksonville while I'm here.)

I'm still a bit partial to the Cleveland Museum of Art, however.


*- A shame, as this is one of my more challenging projects technically and one I'm quite proud of. These particular changes were amazingly intricate, which is really the primary reason I'm actually in Jacksonville to start things up.
**- Sign of how adjusted I've become to northern urban centers' emphasis on Pay-To-Park: I am immediately skeptical of parking anywhere that doesn't include paying an attendant cash or taking a ticket.

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