We spent the day after Thanksgiving at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. There were a number of art and music activities for the day to engage the senses, but the kids were content to make their usual round of visits to the farm animals, taking a hay ride, and then a hike up the Drumlin.
It was a perfect day for it!
Bluegrass band by the fireside = peak cozy.
There were several shovels carved out as art work.
To celebrate my birthday on Wednesday, I played hooky from work and paid another visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This time I was accompanied by my lovely wife Susan!
As aficionados of Dutch Golden Age art, we made our way first to the special exhibit Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer. The name is misleading as there is only one work by Vermeer and a handful by Rembrandt. This is not a bad thing as a number of their contemporaries painted some excellent scenes of of 17th-century Dutch life. Jan Steen stood out as a favorite of mine. Art was unusually popular among all income levels in the Netherlands of that era, although not usually art as fine as that on exhibit. The exhibit is arranged to show art depicting the upper, middle, and lower classes each within their own gallery, with a fourth gallery collecting works that show the different classes interacting. Sebastian Smee has a great review of the exhibit in today’s Boston Globe that focuses on the social effect of the exhibit.
Photography was not allowed in the exhibit, so below is a list of my favorite works in the exhibit:
If you look at these paintings on your computer, make sure to zoom in on all the tiny details. The curators on the audio guide were particularly ecstatic about the brushwork.
After finishing that exhibit, Susan picked out a small but spiffy exhibit of American ceramics from the 20th century and then we wondered among the Art of the Americas gallery where we stumbled on a few surprises.
Paul Revere Pottery of the Saturday Evening Club, made in Boston by Sara Galner. Iris vase (1913) and Daffodil vase (1914).
Mickey Mouse vase and Underdog vase by Michael Frimkess and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess. Note: Nov. 18 is also Mickey Mouse’s birthday.
Native American (Acoma) ceramics – Seed jar (2002) by Sandra Victorino and Seed jar (2001) by Dorothy Torivio.
A pile of laundry? No, it’s December (2013) by Cheryl Ann Thomas.
John Singer Sargent captures boyhood, from a portrait of Robert de Cevrieux (1879).
John Singer Sargent captures girlhood, a detail from The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882).
John Singer Sargent captures Italian model Rosina Ferrara in A Capriote (1878).
Meta: Paintings of paintings hung salon style that are hung salon style.
Super-Meta: A painting of the gallery hanging in the gallery. Warren Prosperi, Museum Epiphany III (2012).
Photograph of the gallery from approximately the same angle as the painting.
Medea (about 1868-80), deep in plotting, as envisioned by William Wetmore Story.
Childe Hassam’s view of Charles River and Beacon Hill (about 1892).
My absolute favorite painting of Boston, At Dusk (Boston Common at Twilight) (1885-86) by Childe Hassam
Susan really liked The Fish (about 1890) captured in stained glass by John La Farge.
On Sunday, as a pre-birthday activity, my family & I visited the North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield, MA. While the kids weren’t so into out (excepting the nature play area which was a lot of fun), the scenery was quite beautiful on a mid-Autumn afternoon. There were two loops to walk: one through Woodlands and one that circled a meadow and lead throught the phragmites to the North River itself. Here’s a sampling of my best photographs from the outing.
This week’s song “America Says Hello” is a caustic broadside fired at the hegemony and militarism of my native country by New Zealand’s The Chills. I’d never heard of the band before this week, but they had much success in New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s with their jangly-guitar rock style reminiscent of R.E.M. Their new album Silver Bullets sounds musically like it could’ve been released 25 years ago, and sadly the political and environmental messages in the lyrics sound like not much has changed since 1990. An excellent album, worth a listen.
After a long absence, song of the week returns with “Put a Flower in Your Pocket” by The Arcs, a side project of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The always excellent podcast Song Exploder breaks down the song.
Beer: Worker’s Comp Saison Brewer: Two Roads Brewing Company Source: 12 oz. bottle Rating: *** (7.3 of 10) Comments: This beer is cloudy, golden, and bubbly with a pleasant grainy, musty barn aroma. The flavor is sweet and spicy with hints of citrus, grass, and banana. It’s refreshing with a light mouthfeel. A classy take on the saison.
Beer: Coffee Milk Stout Brewer: Stone Brewing Co. Source: 12 oz. bottle Rating: ** (6.5 of 10) Comments: Charcoal black with a thick cream head. The smell, appropriately, is like freshly-roasted coffee beans. The coffee flavor isn’t strong but this is definitely a well-balanced stout, smooth and sweet. The head dissipates rapidly and leaves no lace.