Museum Note:
Hockney at MMA
2 February 2018

¶ I made it. I got myself to the Museum this afternoon, and took in the Hockney show. It had been a while since my last visit — to the Museum, I mean. According to the little Field Notes book that I keep in my bag, the last time I went to the Museum was in April of last year. The point is not that I finally made myself go, but that I finally felt free to go, and explaining that will have to wait for another time, because I still don’t understand it. In fact, I felt free to go yesterday, and almost did, but there were things, especially things pertaining to this Web log, that I knew I had to see to and didn’t want to postpone, so I stayed home. I wasn’t worried that the feeling of freedom would pass — again, I don’t know why —  and right after lunch, I hailed a taxi. 

It’s true that the Museum lies well within walking distance, for someone accustomed to walking. I don’t want to get into why I’ve become unaccustomed to walking; it’s enough say that I’ve been getting back in the groove, slowly but surely. It seemed prudent to save my steps for the Museum itself, not for getting there. At our last meeting, my rheumatologist actually laughed, and then immediately blanched with embarrassment, when I complained (in an amusing way, I like to think) that all I see when I go for a walk is dull grey sidewalk. In order to see anything else, I have to come to a complete standstill, as the doctor perfectly well knows. Walking around the Upper East Side has become an extremely same-old, same-old proposition, something that I hope my gentle readers never experience. However, since I’m not in fact obliged to walk to the Museum, alleviating the boredom of walking there has nothing to do with that odd sense of freedom that befell me yesterday. 

I didn’t go to the Museum with the intention of seeing the Hockney show. I might easily have taken in the show next door, the Michelangelo. I do hope to see the Michelangelo show before it leaves, but it wasn’t the right show for today. For one thing, it’s necessarily dark — all those five hundred year-old drawings! Hockney’s big, bright and colorful canvases were the thing for today. Oh, that portrait of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy! I’d never seen it in person before. Nor had I seen Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, an even more famous picture; but the Isherwood/Bachardy panel was worth a pilgrimage. It really does have to be seen at full size. Isherwood’s head, turned toward his companion’s, is entirely acquiline, more a glare or a stare than a glance. Bachardy looks genial and pleased about something, and totally unaware that Isherwood is being an impocerous. And at the same time, I couldn’t take my eye off the white, white sock on the writer’s right foot. 

On my way out, I stopped in the gift shop to by an engagement calendar. I have been keeping track of appointments — all of my engagements are with doctors — on the iPhone, which is super, except that I’m too old to learn how to consult the calendar app while I’m actually on the phone. No can do. Realizing that I would have to buy a book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, this far into the New Year, they’re 70% off! What better reason to hibernate all the way through January and make no appointments until February! I’ll try to bear that in mind next year. 

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