Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 41/60: White River Jct to North Adams, MA

Misty morning. Not too cold. Umbrella not required. Visibility no good.

Since White River Junction is only ten minutes from Hanover, where Dartmouth is located, Dan decided we better check out their Hood Museum of Art. We were lucky to find metered parking a short walk away. Dartmouth is an Ivy League university, dating from the mid-1700s, and its large brick buildings have elegant, symmetrical architecture. The art museum is small and tucked away between two other buildings, but it has an attractive façade and fore-court. Something about the way they present their art makes it seem important and exciting.

Their European collection has good examples of second or third level artists, with a few exceptions, such as a decent work by Vigée-Lebrun. Not surprisingly, the American collection was stronger; a delightful little piece by John Sloan stands out. We made pretty quick work of this museum, our 25th on this trip.

Just down the hall was a cafeteria where we had lunch surrounded by students. The salad bar was good. The girls wear skirts that barely cover their bottoms, and then only when they stand erect, with knee high boots; or tights with boots; or skin-tight pants. Dan said the students looked like they took their work seriously; maybe that's right; no hi-jinx; no tattoos; hurried walks.

Then we dashed in a slight rain a short block to the Baker Library to see a huge mural sequence by Orozco. This was in a long wide study hall that offered acres of uninterrupted space for painting, plus some other walls. His theme was the history of civilization in the Western Hemisphere, starting from early myths, through the Spanish conquest, and the arrival of white people, and industrialization, and etc. This is a famous mural, and when we visited the Pollock-Krasner house, we learned that Pollock was influenced by Orozco and had seen this mural in the making. I wish I could tell you it was fabulous. It was certainly a fabulous effort, full of fury and bombast. I just don't like Orozco's style, much as I try; I don't like the way he applies paint.

When we got back to the car to make our two-hour drive, it was 3:30 and raining very hard. The first hour and a half on the freeway was very stressful driving, because of the high speeds and back-splash. When we turned onto a Massachusetts highway (Highway 2, The Mohawk Trail) to get across the mountains to North Adams, we had to drive more slowly and traffic was light. We really enjoyed the twisting mountainous route; the trees were golden and coppery mixed with dark evergreens. It was quite lovely despite the rain.

Dan had quite a nice meal at the restaurant at our Holiday Inn here in North Adams: flank steak done right, fresh green beans, mashed potatoes. Service was slow because they were under-staffed. We both worked with our photos and stuff. Dan watched a little of the Giants game against the Cardinals, which the Giants won 5-0.

No comments:

Post a Comment