Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stones in the River

The run-up to this photo will take a while, so first let's just talk about it, shall we?  This is the sculpture, Stones in the River, that lives under the stairs (I am not kidding) in the University of Michigan Museum of Art.  When I saw it last year, for the first time, I was stunned, partly because it is beautiful, and partly because it makes me think of Dad.  Every bit of it is wooden, from the hollow "stones" to the maple bench they rest on. 

Technically photography is forbidden in the museum, but a.) this is unfindable on the Web or on UMMA's website, and b.) no one was looking, and c.) I had my cell phone.  I suppose I could add, d.) I really want to keep this piece in my brain.  It's developed some kind of iconic status, possibly having something to do with a family history of woodworking and a longstanding fondness for rivers.

The art museum wasn't my intention today, because I've been there before.  It turned out well, though, because it's hosting exhibitions of Japanese kimonos and ceramics that were stunning.  I had no idea about the elaborate social language of kimonos, or the history of their beautiful lines, both in form and construction.  The item on the left isn't a kimono, but an haori, a short jacket that shares similar construction details.  There were also kimonos that featured Japanese tie-dying effects, called shibori.  Thousands of small ties make a fabric that looks as if it has been intricately printed.  They take months to make, and even though a shibori kimono would never be worn for a formal occasion, it can be more expensive than many formal kimonos.

My original intention was to tour the UM Natural History Museum.  That fell through because the city of Ann Arbor is using its federal money to make the streets around UM impassable.  After I encountered my third detour, I gave up.  I actually pulled into the bus parking lot for the museum, but didn't want to get towed, so I struck out for the library . . . only to have the same problem.  Sheesh.  The art museum has on-street parking, and that's how I wound up there, again.  I like Ann Arbor; it's not a big city, but it does have the University of Michigan, 66,000 students, all of them driving according to the customs of their state/country/planet of origin.  I was very glad to get back to the hotel.

Hank has finished his meeting, so we're packing up to head to Dayton. We're staying with Bruce and Shirley, delivering beans to Bill and Ann, and everybody will wind up as blog fodder.   Bwahahahaha. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore that piece, and I agree, it does sing a bit of Grandpa. I want to touch it... good thing I wasn't there. It just looks the way river stones feel...