Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cheese puffs by the X. (Saturday Adventures, 4)

Last Saturday's adventure was titled, after the fact, "Let's See If We Can Break An Art Museum's Rules And Also Stumble Into Something More Interesting." It began with a longheld dream of mine: To face the ultimate challenge of taking Mr F and Mr Bunches to an art museum... and not strap them into the stroller or other restraining advice. Could I supervise two constantly-moving nearly-four-year-olds in the face of millions (?) of dollars of art (?)... let's see.

Well, of course I could. I can do anything. Hate to spoil the surprise for you. But the fact that I'm typing this up means I didn't get arrested or sued or anything, even though I did sneak a picture of one of the artworks that was on display, taking advantage of a loophole in the Museum's rules.

We walked to the museum from the car, with me opting, as I said, to let the Babies! walk instead of being in the stroller that they're getting way too big for. We made it to the museum without incident, and even through the whole first floor, which had a tempting display of PVC pipes worked into a giant, 10'+ tall sculpture that Mr F really really wanted to climb.

I kind of wanted to climb it, too. After that, we went into the room where the face on the giant video screen yells at you if you get too close to it -- I liked that better than some dumb $100,000,000 Picasso, but Mr Bunches hated it. Then we cut over to the exit area for a drink of water from the bubbler (that was the highlight of the museum for both boys, until we reached the roof.)

While standing outside the display area, by the bubbler, I snapped this photo:

That's "Ten years and one day," a display of polaroids of the artist's face over that period of time, and you can't see them closely, so take my word: it's fascinating to just browse through the photos and see all the facial expressions and outfits and mysterious babies being held and the range of emotions -- with browsing being all we could do because we were en route to that bubbler.

The museum's rules say you can't take pictures of the artwork, but that you can take pictures in lobby areas and exits if the artwork isn't the primary focus of the picture but is incidental. So I was actually taking a picture, there, of the edge of the doorway on the left of the photo.

We then made our way to the second level, going up the great glass staircase. I had to carry Mr F, who doesn't like heights any better than I do, while holding Mr Bunches hands, and that made me nauseous - -going up a transparent staircase in the midst of a bunch of windows while precariously balancing Mr F and using my free hand to walk Mr Bunches made me worry we were all going over the edge. After that, we took the elevator.

The second level's art didn't inspire the Babies! much, or me, except for the display of seeds. Those were a pile, and boxes, of seed packets that were actually packets of something else, something that I think was inspirational but I can't exactly recall what it was. I liked it, but couldn't stay to contemplate it long because Mr F wanted to pick up the packets and I was pretty sure that wasn't allowed.

Then it was the elevator to the roof, where we ate cheese puffs and drank milk in the company of an X:

That's Mr F, picking up pebbles to throw. I'm not exactly sure where Mr Bunches was in that picture. (Don't tell Sweetie.)

After about 45 minutes of lounging and looking at Madison rooftops, we headed back down. I got, from outside the glass, a snapshot of the staircase. You can see where it wouldn't be a lot of fun to carry some kids down it:

Mr Bunches (pictured) really wanted to walk down it. I insisted on the elevator... which, since we were going down, should really be called at that point a de-elevator.

We did pause inside the lounge to look out at the scene. Again, not totally sure where Mr Bunches was when I snapped this picture of Mr F:

From there, we were going to head back to the car, but we took a right turn instead of a left and wandered into the hallway that connects the Museum with Madison's Overture Center. There's an underground passageway:

Where Mr Bunches liked to walk while Mr F tried to record some local history in a photo-booth type thing that was set up to record local history. (Really.) I'm not sure what he recorded, but I'm sure someday historians will marvel at the story he told them.

The Overture Center turned out to be amazing. Not only was there artwork all over the place, but there was a free folk music concert going on, the building is neat to walk through, and there was a convention of people talking about a fish or something. (We didn't take part in the convention.)

There are several levels, and windows looking out on State Street. Sorry about Mr F's smudges, Overture people:

And on one level, there's a little lounge where people were just hanging out. We joined them for some relaxation:

Mr Bunches, there, was alternating between watching the street and the World Cup soccer game that was on the TV in that lounge. If I lived closer, I'd go there every morning to just hang out.

There's a central area in the Center that lets sun stream down. It makes for incredible light-and-shadow effects:

And they have art that so far as I know you're not prohibited from taking pictures of, like this origami mosaic:

That's all folded paper squares. Here's a close-up:

We wandered past that and down around the other staircases and past the giant picture windows:

Back up to the Farmers Market and the car, where Mr Bunches paused to listen to a string trio:

He seemed to like the cello the best. I'll have to get him one.

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