I think that every big city has one. I really have no research to back up my next statement, but I picture a sprouting metropolitan area saying, “We need to prove we’re just as cultured as any other of the larger towns in the United States!” So, what better way to prove sophistication and culture than a fine arts museum. Whatever the reason, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, or MIA, was founded in 1883 and moved to its current location in 1911. So, not only are the relics cause for pause and wonder, the building itself inspires a little awe.
I confess, I didn’t take in the entire museum. As a matter of fact, I missed the paintings and art on the third floor. However, I still perused a fair share of the museum and saw, at least, what I consider to be the most thought provoking pieces. I know others would disagree, and probably for legitimate reasons, but ancient sculptures and the like are definitely my cup of tea.
So on with my excursion through the MIA…
Its ten o’clock on a dreary January morning. The sun is veiled by clouds and, despite the unseasonably warm temps, I am feeling slightly flat for this day. I’m leaving my downtown hotel and pulling up the Minneapolis Institute of Art on my phone’s GPS app. I have decided to walk the mile towards the museum. There, I will meet my sister.
When I arrive, I’m a bit confused. The front, like many buildings of It’s type, harkens to the architecture of ancient Greece, with it’s pillars at the entrance and curious sculptures flanked on either side of a sizable concrete staircase. Naturally, I assume this would be the entrance. I discover that I am wrong.
As I almost reach the staircase, I find the ascent towards the pillars roped off. I’m a little dismayed, this building is absolutely monstrous and I’ll now have to hunt for a way in. I’m walking around the building when my phone chirps its familiar ringtone. My sister asks “Where are you.”
I think to myself, ‘Exactly where am I? The building is huge, I didn’t check the street signs when turning the corner.’ So I answer “Uhh…I’m at the museum and am walking around the building.”
“You’re walking around?”
“Yeah, the front is roped off.”
“Oh, I see you, turn around.”
I turn to see my sister striding the sidewalk about a half block from me. I put away my phone and wait. We then hunt for the entrance together. After we reach the end of the giant structure, we take a left and find ourselves in, what I consider to be, a bit of a courtyard. There, in a much more modern fashion, the doors to the Museum are waiting to be opened.
We cross the threshold and I’m searching for a reception area, you know, someplace where they take my money. My sister watches me surveying this area and asks, “What’s up?”
“Where do we pay?”
“It’s donation only.”
I’m totally fine with that. I confess, I didn’t research this place at all. I don’t know what’s here, I didn’t even know it was free. As a matter of fact, on my way to Minneapolis, I pulled into a Minnesota rest area and collected literature on points of interest in the city. This place, by name alone, sounded like a sure bet.
When we enter the large space of the first exhibits, after riding the elevator to the second floor, I’m a little underwhelmed. Here, paintings, many of which are products of the 1960’s, are spaced out on the walls. The area is fairly large and there is not really a lot here. However, as we find other, more curious works of art, like chunks of wood fitted together to form a collage, in the next gallery, I’m more interested.
After the more contemporary works, we find what I love about fine art Museums, or at least this particular fine art museum. Ancient works from Greek and Roman to Egyptian and Asian are in this area.
It seems, as I meander about, that this area can’t be fully appreciated in a single visit. There is just so much here. I absolutely love it, but I’m now a bit overwhelmed. I traipse from exhibit to exhibit, sometimes something catches my eye from another gallery and I wander off, leaving my sister wondering, ‘OK, where did he go?’
I simply can’t help myself, there is a lot of interesting works here. And many have survived a few millenniums and, god willing, will endure a few more. Passing these ancient relics, some sculptures very detailed and life like, causes appreciation for the world that came before us. Understanding of life, that far in the past, was a totally different understanding than today. Yet, some ancient philosophies and techniques are still adhered to in this very modern age.
After perusing many artifacts, and realizing that we should grab a bite to eat before Laurie has to pick up her daughter from school, I ask, “have you seen enough?”
“Sure, I’m fine if we stay or leave.”
“I kinda wanted to grab something to eat.”
“I’ve had my fill.”
We then check to see what is open for the lunch hour as we sit outside the museum’s own Café. I suppose that eating here would be nice too, but I want to experience as much of Minneapolis as I can in these two days. We find a spot and take off.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is a treasure trove of knowledge. I know that’s a pretty cliché statement, yet it holds true. I gained knowledge, especially in the hour or so I spent in the ancient arts section. I feel, as this place has many programs attached to it, that this is not only for somebody visiting, its a great centerpiece for the community. I’m pleased to have visited, and absolutely grateful that I have more money in my pocket for lunch, being that this place was free!