Musee Matisse -- 12/15/01
Note: This entry is labelled as being my December 15th entry because that's the day it describes although it was actually written early in the a.m. on the 16th. It was emailed from France to my Notify list and posted to my website upon my return home.

I managed to get in my museum visits on Saturday. I always enjoy visiting art museums on trips when it is possible. That's not always possible because these trips are naturally centered around work and I often find that my free time does not match up with the local art museum hours. It often turns out that museums only have daytime hours or close fairly early in the evening or that they are only open one or two nights. So I've never seen any of the cultural attractions in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and Raleigh. (I'm only being slightly tongue-in-cheek; those areas do have art museums.)

It was quite easy to find the general area I wanted but it became a major struggle to find the Musee Matisse itself. There were lots of sign pointing in that direction but none identifying the museum itself... I made a right turn, as indicated by a sign reading Musee Matisse [yes, I know, I've left out the accent marks]and did notice a monestary that my map had shown as being in the same neighborhood as the museum... and then saw another Musee Matisse sign pointing back in the direction I was coming from... so I turned around and headed back... until I came to the previous sign... and went back and forth... finally I parked in the monestary parking lot and set out on foot. Passed a park and saw a small sign (too small to read from a passing vehicle) that indicated you could get to the museum through the park (and, indeed, it was visible on the far side of the park, although not identified by any sign) but those gates to the park were all closed and locked... then another, smaller sign, indicated that visitors should use the entrance on the street from which I had turned into this street... so down that street and there was the start of some Roman-era ruins... and turning into that entrance I came upon a small sign directing that group tours to the museum should follow one direction and individuals a different path... and then I came to the museum... just one small sign by the front door to say that this was, indeed, the Musee Matisse. Twenty-five francs admission, about five or six dollars, quite reasonable... and then my only problem is that I am not really a bit fan of Matisse. *grin* In fact, I really only like his very early work, stuff from the 1890's... still, it was interesting to see works in real life rather than just as pictures in books.

Then I drove down to what I think of as being the mid-town area (please note, Nice is a fairly large city and is part of an even larger metropolitan area... many square miles of four to eight story apartment blocks, a few places even higher, but it does not have a high rise skyline such as might be found in downtown Pittsburgh, for example. I found a parking garage and wandered about in the Saturday Christmas shopping crowds... grabbed a sandwich at a sidewalk cafe... wandered about some more... then set off on foot for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. I found it... and then had to hunt for the entrance... Finally found it... twenty-five francs... and then went to see the "art" -- Okay, so I am not a big fan of modern art -- Or, as I described it to my wife: it was a large modern building that would be very nice if only they filled it with actual works of art instead of the stuff that was on display. I almost felt sorry for the security staff who had to spend their days surrounded by that stuff but I figured they probably got used to it. (Yes, I use the word "stuff" in place of more impolite language.

The curent "temporary" exhibit featured the works of Gerold Thupinier -- I had never seen any of his work before... and, I would not consider it a stroke of bad luck if I were never to see any of it again. There was another large exhibit (I'm not quite sure how much of this Thupinier was guilty of and how much was the fault of other "artists" -- the explanatory material was all in French) that consisted of pictures partly obscured with various pieces of duct tape. *sigh* The pemanent exhibitions included a huge area devoted to Yves Klein -- he's the guy who, about forty or so years ago, worked with living paint brushes; i.e., he splashed paint on naked women and then rubbed their bodies on huge canvases. (The process might, indeed, have been fun, but I can't say much for the results.) There were also a number of works by Robert Indiana and I actually saw one of his paintings that I liked: the letters of the word "LOVE" arranged on a square canvas, L in the upper left, O in the upper right, V in lower left, E in lower right... It was visually appealing.

Saturday night Sully and I went to a Chinese restaurant, kind of a change of pace from the Italian-French places we've been eating. I'm writing this on Sunday morning... our plan for the day to meet about ten a.m. and drive to Monoco. Our plans are flexible... we might also drive on another short bit and cross into Italy, just to say we did... or we might just spend our time in Monoco.

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