I had a lovely day in Detroit today. Only a few glitches.
Started out at the Detroit Institute of Arts. I firmly believe that a museum should trumpet loud and clearly when one of their most important artworks is not on view. I’m thinking of, perhaps, a splash page or a sign at the door. You know? Something like, "If you had planned on seeing THIS VERY IMPORTANT WORK, you might be disappointed, but . . . " I remember years ago when I visited the Art Institute of Chicago, there was a large poster at the vistors’ desk that said Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks was in a traveling exhibit and, therefore, not on view.
Such was the case today at the DIA. I so wanted to see Whistler’s Nocturne In Black and Gold (Falling Rocket) (left). Sadly, the DIA is under renovation and the Whistler was nowhere to be seen. They told me to come back in 2007. Hrumph! Huge disappointment. Especially for someone who has made it halfway through the laborious text of the infamous Whistler vs. Ruskin trial in A Pot of Paint.
I was, however, mesmerized by Diego Rivera’s awesome murals. They even brought me to tears and it’s been a long time since an artwork has done that. Anyone near the area must spend time with these. (Thanks, Philip!)
I very much enjoyed several pieces in the Islamic section: two gorgeous bowls and a cobalt glass “rose-water sprinkler.” Also, a wonderful Donald Sultan, which isn’t on the DIA Web site. (Big pet peeve with the Web site. It lists the titles of the works rather than the artists’ names. Another hrumph!)
After the DIA, I visited the Cranbook. More on that later.
Images, top to bottom: Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (Art Institute of Chicago); James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold (Falling Rocket) (Detroit Institute of Arts); Diego Rivera, south wall of Detroit murals (Detroit Institute of Arts); Rose-water Sprinkler (Detroit Institute of Arts).