The Bass Museum
Our flight from Amsterdam arrived at Miami airport too late in the afternoon to visit the Bass Museum in Miami Beach. My niece whose wedding initiated our entire trip is a director there. But we managed to rise early and race over the following morning with an Uber giving us a few hours before our plane left for Key West. I was very curious to see where my niece wounded up following her move from Pittsburgh. It was a joyous surprise. I suppose I’m predisposed to wanting to be ‘moved’ by art, to be deeply soul-stirred by an artists expression. But I’m slowly learning that that expression can also be FUN, dazzling, original, creative, eye-opening and refreshing. That was the case at the small but exquisite Bass Museum in Miami Beach and we were grinning from ear to ear. I quickly noticed that the museum was seemingly run mostly by women and exposing primarily the work of women. Be that as it may, not only was the quality of the art impressive but also the Museum’s careful presentation and attention to detail. Of course we didn’t LOVE everything we saw but we were both head over heels with the work of Haegue Yang. Remember that name! Also the installations of Mickalene Thomas and Lara Favaretto were a pleasure to walk past and dance into.
Key West Wedding
Living far from home, when your country is torn in half by political turmoil can have its advantages. Especially when you are fully enjoying your life in your adopted home in a wonderful city like Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Emotionally I sometimes think of my family back in the States as if they are all packed into an area roughly compromising 25% of the state of New York (the size of the entire country of The Netherlands) and visiting with each other frequently and easily. But my nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters are flung out between Seattle, New York, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Taiwan (!) and Knoxville Tennessee. So it was special for all of us to be reunited in the balmy weather of Florida in February to celebrate my niece Sara’s marriage to her partner Erik. The only kink in the cable was the absence of the bride’s father, my brother Kevin. A car accident a month or so before the wedding left him with four broken ribs and a broken clavicle making the flight from New York a flight too far. But via FaceTime he did view the entire ceremony live. A memorable two days but far too short to really embrace those you love and who form your deepest, most natural connection in this life.
It wasn’t my idea. In fact I could never imagine myself going on a cruise. Originally conceived as a chance for my brothers and sisters to be together for a week after the wedding it eventually boiled down to my eldest brother and his wife joining Lili and I on the MS Nieuw Statendam for a 7 day Caribbean cruise. I have had connections with cruise ships in the past; my artwork hangs on the Queen Mary 2 and the MS Amsterdam but not on this spanking new ship from the Holland America Line. And it certainly wasn’t the boring misadventure I had always pictured in my mind. To begin with our room with a terrace was pretty comfortable. And the food was very, very good. We were even able to do our yoga in the sport school in the morning as we plowed through the azure blue Caribbean Sea. But the real saving grace was the ‘Music Walk’. Afternoons and evenings there was non-stop live music to be heard in a variety of linked venues on the 9th deck. From string quartets on Lincoln Center Stage, to soul-stirring, dance infectious blues artists at BB Kings Blues Club. Additionally, there were two pianists playing crowd-pleasing covers and a Rolling Stones Rock Café with a rock band booming out electrified crowd-pleasing covers. But for me the most unexpected gift from the cruise were my pre-dawn walks on the still chilly, sometimes wet and windswept outside decks as the night slowly surrendered to the warmth and light of day. There, often completely alone I reveled in the stark, raw, emptiness of sky, wind, rain and the startlingly deep, dark, immenseness of the surrounding sea. Paintings will be coming!