Saturday, November 03, 2007

Travelogue: Modern art and failure of biological clock

Time flies at express speed when you are engrossed in something interesting; the Museum staff were informing people that it was closing time. I had skimmed through almost everything in the museum but didn’t have time to read what was written on the slides near the exhibits. The counter where I was given the headset had closed earlier and only now did I realize that they told me to return the headset by 3pm! I lost twenty minutes trying to locate someone to hand it over to and collect my passport copy.

I was back out in the streets by 4:30pm and decided to stroll over to the Guggenheim Art Museum – Dad told me that it was a famous museum. I had never ever been to an art museum before and having nothing else to do I hopped in. They were closing in about 40 minutes but I didn’t feel that I would need more than 20 minutes to rush through the museum. The place was under renovation and a couple of halls were closed. The halls were arranged on a corridor which went upwards in spiral fashion. The structure of the place was good. Photography was strictly prohibited in the museum.

What I first saw was exactly what I had expected to see – art that I couldn’t comprehend. Some lines, circles and geometric shapes which they call abstract art; I really couldn’t appreciate it; the good thing in the museum was that here also there were some guided tours at particular timings. There were also a few guides available in each hall to answer queries. I asked a guide as to what all these paintings meant and he curtly answered that this is abstract art; the artist draws something that they visualize mentally and try to convey it symbolically. It is hard to arrive at a particular meaning.

Ah well; I strolled over to the next hall which was marked as Italian paintings hoping to see some similar shapes. But the paintings here were simply breathtaking – easy to comprehend and beautiful. Nature, the common man working, protests and revolutions – everything looked realistic. There was a variety of paintings on each topic and every piece looked awesome – the shades, the choice of colours, portrayal of reality etc.
There were two halls with these paintings – I liked many of them and even took a second look at them. I wanted to spend more time in these two halls with the guides to learn more about the techniques used but unfortunately the museum was about to close. If you’ve never been to an art museum before then do check it out at least once; you might just discover that you like the place!

I was back in Times square for dinner – had a burger and milkshake. I took the 9pm bus. The most fascinating clock which somehow almost always used to wake me up before my bus stop failed this time. It has happened very rarely in the past and this was the first time in US. I woke up to see an unfamiliar surrounding. I had absolutely no clue as to where I was and there were hardly any passengers in the bus. The darkness outside didn’t help either – but I spotted a highway board which said “To Patterson”; Patterson was the last stop for the bus and I remember Wreet telling me once that it is miles away from our home! I frantically pulled out the bus route I had in my bag and tried to assess my options; there was a bus from Patterson back to New York at 10pm. I could get down in one of the intermediate bus stops and wait for that bus or I could go in this bus till the other bus terminal and then board the return bus. The thought of waiting in the roadside bus stops while it was pitch dark wasn’t comforting. I decided to hang on till the bus terminus.

And oh boy; a shocking surprise was awaiting me…