Saturday, 10 November 2012

I Will Never Be An Art Critic.

Today's city trip was a little different and while I went with good, cultural intentions, I ended up exploring the underground tunnel system, getting some breakfast, then walking around Hermann Park for the majority of the afternoon, discovering the Japanese Gardens, the Tiffany's Bridge, and the lake. In the Houstonian sunshine, it was flawless. It's hard to believe that such a beautiful place can exist in the 4th largest city in the States. I headed into a new area of Houston too, heading into Montrose to the Rothko Chapel, the Menil Collection, and an opening at the Sicardi Gallery (owned by a friend of the family).

The Rothko Chapel, whether you're religious or not, is a feature of Houston's art scene which is not to be missed. When the Menil collection was established (a gallery with art donated from a private collection owned by two philanthropists - the Menils), this particular part of the gallery was commissioned and completed by the artist Mark Rothko. It is an electronic device free zone, and is completely silent. Religious texts are provided if you feel so inclined, and the atmosphere is impenetrable and sobering in the centre of the city.

Just wandering through Montrose, I found a local record shop where I treated myself to Simon and Garfunkel's 'Wednesday Morning 3AM' vinyl for all of $3.00, and a bakery who had served George Bush, Sarah Palin, and Bill Clinton, among others. I was very impressed, especially when I bought a cookie for just $1.00. I was similarly impressed when I quite literally stumbled (damn my two left feet) upon a huge Obama Murial! Needless to say, I stopped the first unfortunate passer-by I could find to take a photo.

After navigating myself half successfully from the Muriel to West Alabama Street, I had a wander around the Menil Collection which was really great. I have seen more art in the past two months than I have maybe ever? So much art. There was a great exhibition to celebrate the gallery's 25th birthday that featured letters of gratitude from various artists (all of whom seemed farely eccentric) including Andy Warhol, which was surreal to read. To follow this, in the evening, we went to an opening of Gabriel de la Mora's work at the Sicardi Gallery in Montrose, which was lovely and I really enjoyed. Modern Art is something that I struggle to understand, and it's safe to say that I have seen enough modern art recently to help persuade me further to never, ever be an Art Critic.

Looks remarkably like Washington..
Hermann Park - stunning.

The Japanese Gardens.
Rothko Chapel - unfortunately photos are not allowed inside.
Forever stumbling across cool shops.
Who me? Politically biased? Don't be silly.
Obama needs you to fight racism, homophobia and the econmic crisis.
In the Arcadian Bakery.
Outside the Menil Collection.
In the Sicardi.
Between city visits, I've been helping lots with the kids and taking up residence in the local Starbucks, cycling the 5 miles there and back with ease. I also returned to the Elementary school to help out some more, and attended the Veteran's Day concert which was great. But, being British, you can imagine how awkward I felt when the audience were asked to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance AND the nation anthem. Safe to say I mouthed what looked like words and tried not to look to shifty.

Veteran's Day, which takes place on Sunday, is the American equivalent of Rememberance Sunday, and while we don't have poppies or wreath laying, it's still a well respecetd day on the American calender. Anyway, my cycle ride is beautiful and gives me time to appreciate where I am and how this is all really happening. I'm becoming more and more nostalgic about my time here as it progresses, as I realised that I have only three weekends or so left.

Plans have been finalised for NYC and this time next month we'll be back in Baltimore after our long weekend in the Big Apple. I am comforted by the knowledge that I will always have a home here and am welcome back, but I will miss the family so much. But hey, I'm thinking too far ahead and not focussing on the exciting things at hand, such as our weekend away next week where I am going to Austin and San Antonio, and how soon Thanksgiving and our trip to Louisiana is! I still have tons of exciting things to look forward to, including Air Soft guns and Paintballing. Yes, you did read that correctly. Me. Paintballing.

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