Date 42: Critiquing the Cantor
Taking your date somewhere to impress her with your skills is one thing, but taking her somewhere where her skills can impress you might be even cooler.
While on the lookout for low-effort date options at the tail end of littlestar's schooling (which is now, blissfully, complete), I noticed that the Cantor Center had a potentially cool-sounding exhibit titled "From Pop to Modern." The content sounded interesting enough, and the promise of commentary not just from a curator but also from the artists and the people donating the work suggested it would be the kind of out-of-the-ordinary museum-going experience littlestar might appreciate. I also had the ulterior motive I hinted at above, as littlestar's background in art makes museums about a thousand times better. It's not just that she knows the artists and the surrounding history, although she does, but she can also comment on which things are easier or harder to do, and let me know just how impressive some of the work really is.
At the same time, she's not taken by everything, and that certainly adds to the overall charm of the experience.
We paused at the entrance to spend some time with the crazy sculpture that looks very much like it's a giant horse made of driftwood, but instead is a giant horse made of metal pieces that were molded off of driftwood and then painted very realistically to look like driftwood. Seriously, we hung out and started at that thing for quite a while. It's good to be able to share your amazement at how much something can look like driftwood with someone.
Once we found our way to the Pop to Modern Exhibit itself, we quickly acquainted ourselves with the color scheme that actually divided the art-associated commentary into four categories - curator, artist, donating individual, and student response. As it happens, you really only need to pay attention to the first and sometimes the second one, but the third and fourth were, well, interesting.
Recalling that littlestar is not necessarily automatically taken by all art, one might not be surprised that we spent a lot of time at this exhibit in a solid state of bemusement, especially when the more underperforming pieces were accompanied by glowing, and slightly overblown, praise by the people who did the donating (or the one student who thought a questionable sculptor was one of the greats of the last century). It's fun to stop in front of a giant, brown canvas and have her share your lack of engagement with it.
Eventually, we settled down in front of the work of the shockingly talented Peter Milton. I think we both could have spent even longer there, being in turns amazed by the images themselves and the process and imagination behind them. For us, this was the major reward of the trip together, and we spent a long time pointing things out, reading the explanations together, and being generally and comprehensively amazed.
Afterward, we escaped from the various silly pieces filled with the happy hum of this good stuff (and a few other things that were also pretty cool) and wandered off to have some dinner.