Thursday, February 2, 2012

A day with Rembrandt

  Its 8:46 am

Good morning...looking at a slightly grey looking day here in SE Michigan. Still pretty decent for the most California like winter since I have been in Michigan. Yesterday was just beautiful,a perfect day to go on a outing and that is exactly what Lori and I did yesterday.
   But I have to comment on something,we always watch Fox 2 for our news here in Detroit. Pretty much hands down they do the best job in covering the stories in Detroit. The other stations also do a excellent job but Fox 2 just has the better journalists overall in my opinion.
 So every morning while Lori is getting ready for work and I make her lunch and tea,we have the TV on. And we have started noticing that Derek Jeter really seems to watch the news when the health reporter Deena Centofanti is the screen. As soon as she is either on or starts her report,he either runs in the room or stops what he is doing and starts staring at the TV. At first we thought this was a mere coincidence but after seeing this happen 6 or 7 times,we are convinced Derek is really listening to her. He doesn't have a reaction for anyone else on the TV.  Just wanted to share that.....I know,my cat is goofy.
  So yesterday was FINALLY the day that we would traveling to the Detroit Institute of Art to see the Rembrandt exhibit of his "Faces of Jesus".
  We had made plans to see this many times but either a work schedule change,Lori's well being or the show was sold out had hampered us from seeing it so far. We got our tickets online as to ensure our entry and away we went.
   The drive to Detroit was very quick. We had a full tank of gas and our trusty GPS unit to guide us in a timely fashion. The downstairs parking was closed off so we decided to valet park our car (well worth the 10 bucks) and go in. We saw several tour buses either parked or pulling in. This exhibit has turned into a monster showing and the most successful in the DIA's history. Record crowds have turned up with many churches and groups all attending the show.
 Quite honestly,I don't think anyone saw this happening as the crowds were huge for each showing. The biggest problem was the space the exhibit was designed for was much to small to handle the each group,even with the DIA limiting the groups to 175-200 people per show.  Because the exhibit space was created weeks if not months before the showing,the DIA could not expand the showroom in time and because the drawings and paintings are only there for a limited time,they cannot delay or extend the show (but I'm thinking they will due to the great demand).
   Our tour started at 11 am. The exhibit was broken into 14 stops where you could put on headsets and listen as the DIA's director and several Rembrandt experts explain the art.
  Looking at Rembrandt's works and thinking of what is considered art today is like comparing the Wright Brother's plane to the F-22,even trying to compare is simply a waste of time. The art created by Rembrandt,Monet,Cezanne,etc is simply awe inspiring,the colors,subject matter and depth of feeling plus technique is just amazing. I can sit and stare at the masters and almost feel that I'm in the picture or smell the bronze being cast. I look at someone like Koons or Pollock and just come away so utterly unimpressed. Don't get me wrong,the art is pretty...but it has no heart,no soul and is incredibly over rated. I mean I can put some paint on Derek's paws and get the same level of depth of any modern artist. But just because I can,doesn't make it art.
  Lori said she once went to the Guggenheim in New York,walked up the stairs and saw that someone had taken a stuffed goat,dashed some paint on it and they considered "high art". Yeah,okay....its why we never go see a modern or minimalist type of art showing.
  But back to the Rembrandt show...the different ways he drew Jesus throughout his life is remarkable,from stern teacher early in his drawings to warm and thoughtful at the end,Rembrandt really seems to have really seen Jesus for who he was. And when he met some of the small Jewish community and was able to use a young man as a model,he really captured what Jesus most likely looked back when he was among us.
  Some of the drawings/etchings wee so small,you had to really get get up close and personal to see just how wonderful the details were. I mean,you can see the full facial expressions on paper not much bigger then a large postage stamp. To think of the many hours sitting there drawing in most likely not the best light at times...
 The showing also had many different pieces that Rembrandt's students also drew and placed them side by side so you could see how they each saw the same man.
  The DIA also included several silent video packages showing how Rembrandt lived,loved,created and later died. The tour generally lasts about 90 minutes and ends in a small bookstore created especially for the exhibit.
  Afterwards we walk around the DIA talking about the show. Lori was feeling a little hungry so we decided to leave and have lunch. We decided on the Traffic Jam and Snug on Canfield which was about a mile away from the DIA. Now while Lori had been there in the far past,it was my first time there. We also wanted to go check it out because Guy Fieri of the Food Network's "Diners,Drive-Ins and Dives" had stopped by last year and did a segment there.
  The place was pretty empty after the lunch rush so we got a table and had a nice lunch. The food was pretty good on my part but Lori didn't like her burger too much. The place was very old and was Michigan's first brew pub and is the smallest licensed working dairy in the state today.
  On the way out to the car,we saw a pair of small shops called NEST and City Bird which are owned and run by a brother and sister,Andy and Emily Linn. We met Emily in her store which she called NEST and it was very cheerful with small home deco items being offered as well as several local artists having their crafts being sold.
  City Bird was right next door and it was a larger place with a little variety including some very cute t-shirts which said "Say Something Nice about Detroit" and a little vending machine where you could legally buy 1 squire inch of land in the D for 12.00 bucks. We didn't see anything that we didn't need (but if they sold some local band music,I might have) and headed for home.
  It was a lot of fun and sure raised our moral that is for sure....

To learn more about NEST and City Bird:

And if you are in the Detroit area:

and want to a good place to eat at:

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