Saturday, September 02, 2006

cooper-hewitt & wadsworth

Yesterday was supposed to have been my last day at my summer job, but it in fact turned out to be the previous Friday. So, it has been 8 days since I stopped working.

You'll all aware that during the past three weeks I have an issue regarding the nature of spleen. The first imaging scan showed some kind of suspicious activity, but the second test was absolutely clean. The ambiguous, uncertain nature of the entire process made me very uncomfortable during the early part of last week. My feelings of fear and nervousness became pretty serious during that time. I was really on edge, because again just 6 months after having completed the transplant, I felt like I was back in yet another precarious situation which placed me face-to-face with my own mortality. My mind was racing all over the place as I contemplated the all the worst-case scenarios. One result of all this worrying and soberness was that I felt that I was unable to stay at the law firm another week as I had planned originally. I felt like my world was caving in upon me and I had to find some distance from everyone and everthing. So, after speaking to my therapist about all the stress that the uncertainity about my spleen had caused, I decided to make Friday, August 25th my last day.

And to be honest, I feel a lot more relaxed now. Because work is over now in addition to the fact that I was able to open up to my therapist and share all the worries that had holding me down recently, I feel considerably better. Since work ended, I hadn't done anything of attention until Friday. On Friday, I went to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in order to check out the exhibition, Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape. I found it to be a superb exhibition. I learned a lot about Winslow Homer, about whom I knew some things but I feel more knowledgable now about his manner of art, influences, and how is style of art differed from the more grand Hudson River School art and what it said about post-Civil War culture and society.

Yesterday I took the bus to Hartford, CT where I visited the Wadsworth Atheneum with a UChicago friend, Rob. Going on there right now is American Splendor: Hudson River School Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum. The Wadsworth Atheneum has one of the best collections of Hudson River School art in the nation and it has been a long time desire of mine to visit it. When I learned in the NYT many weeks ago that this exhibition was going on I told myself that I had to see it before leaving for Chicago and since I had nothing going on yesterday, I thought it was the perfect time to fulfill that promise I made to myself. Now I had seen most of the Hudson River School paintings in the exhibition in various American landscape books that I own prior to going up there yesterday, but it's quite different seeing them in person. They're really spectacular. They were many paintings by Church. Perhaps the most spectacular one there by him is Coast Scene, Mount Desert (Sunrise off the Maine Coast).

It's truly amazing. Photos don't do it justice. There were awesome examples by Albert Bierstadt, another of the Hudson River School stars. This particular exhibition was what drew me to the Hartford yesterday, but also took some time to look at some other areas of the museum too. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to check it all out in depth but I was able to see what I went there for and a little bit more.

Looking at all the enticing landscapes portrayed in the paintings can only make one want to head off somewhere to travel, which reminds me of an NPR story: The Disappearing American Vacation


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