pinkleader (pinkleader) wrote,
pinkleader
pinkleader

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MFA Visit

Catherine, Tammy and I flew up to Providence on Wednesday night, picked up our rental car and drove to the hotel to hang out and chat a bit before snuggling into bed.

Thursday morning dawned nice and early and we got up, moving, and had yummy waffles for breakfast before getting on the road to be there close to the 10am opening of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
We were parked, got our tickets and ready for the sights by 10:30am. (BTW, don't hesitate to use your student ID or AAA card to get a slight discount at the ticket counter.) Since our appointment to see textiles behind the scenes wasn't until 2pm, we decided to see some of the exhibits and the general collections on display. First I resolved to see the Walk This Way exhibit on shoes, because, hello, I'm a shoe junkie. Then we found out that the exhibit wasn't just cases in a room to look at, it was more like an Easter Egg Hunt all over the museum. At first my instant-gratification-self was disgruntled at the lack of immediacy, but then I grew to love the hunt. They did have a map of the museum with a rough code showing where each pair was, but you still got the joy of finding them and finding out why they were placed in that particular location. So, needless to say, we got to see a lot of the museum that we likely wouldn't have ventured into except to hunt down shoes. It was so much fun, and we got to see so many different types of shoes and decorations, it was worth the trip. From Marilyn Monroe's velvet Delman sandals to a pair of 1630's men's tall boots, a pair of sleek black Manolo Blahnik Campari's to Venetian chopines from around 1600, they were all so amazing. Bliss! Luckily you can also visit (tour) the exhibit online and see the shoes, but you miss the thrill of the hunt and the context they are placed in. On display until March 23rd, if you can, go see it.

Another fun exhibit was the Ed Rossbach Fiber Art collection on display. Apparently this guy learned all sorts of random fiber arts from needle-lace to basket-weaving and took inspiration from the extant examples to make his interpretation on them in a modern theme. I confess I was fascinated from the first glimpse of the room. This guy was either messed up, did lots of drugs in the 60's, or is so beyond the rest of us in creativity that we can't fathom sober what possessed him to get from point A to point B. Possibly a nice combination of all three. He did reproduction 17th century silk brocade and woven plastic trash bags. He's done knotted netting with a wool rug-like pile and weaving a fabric of raffia and found ribbons with discontinuous warps and wefts. Much of the exhibit is also online and available for touring, but not all of it. And they displayed his works alongside extant pieces. Beside his cotton-rayon needle-lace Mickey Mouse is lovely extant 17th and 18th century bobbin and needle-lace lengths. The netted fabric with a face on it is displayed beside an extant 7th century Coptic textile showing the tapestry woven decorative medallion still surrounded by a fine woven linen in green with lovely bands of woven in cream trim. Being the history geeks we were, we were greatly interested in the historical objects, but it was fun to appreciate his modern takes on them as well. 

After seeing the Fiber Art exhibit and seeing half of the shoes, with side distractions of everything from Van der Weyden to Monet, we eventually made our way down to the cafeteria to grab some lunch before heading off to meet up with Hillary Kidd of the Textile and Fashion Arts department to go see us some late 16th century to early 17th century embroidered and knitted accessories. We were able to poke around and see the details on two men's night caps (43.250 polychrome) (43.251 black and gilt), three coifs (43.248, 43.249 and un-numbered), a doll coat made of two coifs (38.1386), a bodice back (60.560), a pair of leather gloves with embroidered cuffs (43.411a-b), a knit and embroidered pair of gloves with colored lace (38.1354a), some knit gloves with embroidered cuffs (said to have belonged to Cardinal Richelieu) (38.1357a), and an embroidered Italian apron (43.1034). Needless to say we had a very fun two hours looking at the various pieces, the various details, similarities, and differences, materials and gauge, etc. We could have stayed there forever, but eventually, after taking quick notes and lots of eyes full, we headed back out as Ms. Kidd had a presentation on fund-raising to deliver. Obviously I can't post pictures online, but I did take a few for private research and would be willing to share for study to those who ask.
*UPDATED: accession numbers from my notes added...

After the two hours of trying not to drool, we headed back out to the museum to shop a bit in the gift shop, track down the rest of the shoes, look at lots of more stuff, etc. before admitting that our feet were killing us and abandoning ship. I would like to note though that I was very happy to check both my coat and my heavy bag of purchases so as to not have to tote them around the museum with me. Hooray for coat and stuff check.

Sadly I neglected to have a good Boston map on me and the GoogleMaps directions were confusing so trying to Zen drive my way back to the hotel was a hopeless failure. First I headed one way on Massachusetts Ave only to say it feels wrong and to turn around for a very very long way back to the hotel. Sigh. Yes, I was headed the right way to begin with. But we did get to drive through some cute neighborhoods, past Harvard, Cambridge, and finally gave up to ask for directions from folks who were equally lost, to then ask a very nice homeless lady who gave me great directions (so I gave her a $5) and we got to drive past Tufts University before finally making it back to I-93 and eventually to our hotel. At least we were sitting down for the drive. And then, I had to choose what I hoped would be the quieter of two restaurants only to choose the one with good food and really really bad karaoke. 
I.... did it MYyyyy waaaaayyyyy......  and we really wish he hadn't.

The ultimate lesson is; wear comfy shoes to museums, take a good map when driving in unfamiliar territory, if you do venture forth without a map-happily enjoy the view, don't let Gen pick the restaurant, and contact the museum well in advance to see the hidden collections items because it is truly worth it.
Tags: adventure, costume, museum
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