I came home last night after four great days of art on the road. On Tuesday, after Tai Chi, I drove to Columbus. As I drove through Washington PA, about an hour out, I realized I had left my carefully researched driving instructions at home. As often happens to me, I was trying to carry one thing too many. This wasn’t a big deal, but it meant I didn’t get to one of the exhibits and I had to call Jan for more directions. I wanted to go to two places in Columbus, the Riffe gallery and the art museum. Gallery closed at 4, I arrived in Columbus at 3:40. If I had the directions I would have made it. I went directly to the museum, noted on the map, and spent an hour walking around. Small but nice, with lots of artists I knew about but hadn’t seen in many years, in other words, they are not fashionable. There was a large exhibit about George Bellows, a Columbus native, and Elijah Pierce, an Ohio folk artist.
I drove another hour after I left the museum and got off the highway at Kings Island, where I stayed in a largely empty motel. I suppose they are only busy when the amusement park is open. I wasn’t particularly happy about staying there, but I was tired and it seemed like I was in the middle of nowhere. Had dinner in a restaurant I would not recommend. I thought I had eaten in one of them at Gettysburg that was quite acceptable, but maybe I was remembering a different place.
The next morning I went to the Cincinnati Art Museum. When I drove there last fall I did not take the time to look at anything but the Japanese print show. This time I walked through most of the museum. Their featured show was Andrew Wyeth, which I didn’t look at. Another featured show was Richard Pousette-Dart. I’m still thinking about it. The most interesting thing I saw were two works classified as folk art, by L. A. Roberts, an unknown artist. The work found in a Cincinnati neighborhood called Over-the-Rhine.
I really love that museum: beautiful space, a good collection, very pleasant. And they devote a lot of space to Cincinnati artists. I really began to think about this compared to the Art Institute. It’s a world class museum whose only connection to the city is made by the Chicago collectors who donate work. I don’t know if they show any Chicago artists, certainly none are featured; there are no Chicago rooms, as there are Cincinnati rooms. That stimulated a lot of thought about art, with the Pousette-Dart challenging me to think about abstraction. Maybe someday I’ll come to terms with all of it. One of the artists showing with Jan, Carolann Freid, does conceptual installations, another facet of art that I feel needs more thought from me.
In the early afternoon, I got to Georgetown, the important part of the trip, and went with Jan over to the gallery for her artist’s talk. I spent a lot of time looking at the show and came back a second time, on Thursday. I wish I could go again; it’s a good, thought-provoking show. Several of Jan’s friends were already at the gallery. I’m pleased for her that she is getting so much attention. The artists’ talk was open to the public, but was actually scheduled for an art class from the college. The students were expected to ask questions as part of their grade, so there was a somewhat lively discussion after the talks.
Carolann Freid, the conceptual artist, had a lot to say about her part of the show. Ann Leader, ceramist, is into process, particularly accidents within process; her forms easily drew me in and I enjoyed her work.
Jan’s work is really two-fold: mostly serious photos taken with infrared film, and a hilarious story board about the difficulties of moving 17 cows. The work is easily accessible but slightly mysterious. I really loved it.
We went to a photography show in Lexington on Thursday: Kodachromes from the WPA projects. Most of these were shot in 1938-39 by the same photographers who shot the black and white you often see. These were taken shortly after Kodachrome became available; good stuff. Returning to Georgetown we looked at the Japanese Garden
and the Jacobs collection at Georgetown College. The rest of the time we ate and talked. Lots of art, lots of talk, lots to think about.