A Tuesday Afternoon at the Galleries
Almost anytime, but particularly when the weather outside starts to get chilly, I'm happy spending an hour or two tucked away inside an art museum. Is it that museums just seem warm? I'm really not sure there's any logic to it. It's cold here though, and today I took an hour out of the afternoon to visit two of the art museums in New Haven.
If you want to get lost in a museum, you will need to hop on the train down to New York and visit the MET - an experience I certainly recommend. But if an hour spent soaking up paintings and sculptures seems like a good study break, there are a couple of galleries to visit within a 5 minute walk of the Law School - not far even on a chilly day - and admission to each is free.
I started off at the Yale University Art Gallery (artgallery.yale.edu), excited to see one of their special exhibitions. (This is the point where I should offer a disclaimer that I'm not much of an expert on art, though I do love wandering around in museums.) My first stop was "First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography," an exhibit of photographs from the collection of Allan Chasanoff. The exhibit featured a diverse array of photographers and some arresting images. The photographs contained visual distortions that aimed to challenge the viewer's understanding of what they were seeing. A body that appeared at first glance to be a landscape. A mirrored reflection that on second glance is actually a photograph of two almost identical objects. It was a thoughtful exhibit and thoroughly interesting.
I should also mention the permanent collection of the Yale University Art Gallery includes collections of art from Asia and Africa, an early European collection, and a modern and contemporary art collection, containing works by such artists as Picasso, Warhol, Pollock and Cezanne. The modern and contemporary art collection, my personal favorite, is closed for the month for renovations, so I decided to head across the street to the Yale Center for British Art (ycba.yale.edu).
I am drawn to the Yale Center for British Art, in large part, for the building itself. It is a modern building that captures the light with expansive windows, grey stone pillars and light pine walls. The gallery rooms are lined with internal windows looking down onto the floors below. It is really a lovely place to wander around.
The Yale Center for British Art contains the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside of the United Kingdom. On the top floor you can view a collection of British art before 1850, from the traditional portraits of men in white wigs and women in oversized gowns, to some stunning landscapes and beautiful old ships. The second floor houses British art from 1850- present, including a striking self-portrait of Vanessa Bell. The Center offers tours and lectures on select days, as well as concerts on Thursday evenings. I haven't made it to one of their concerts yet, but it sounds to me like a perfect way to spend an hour.