A Magical Day: Art in Bloom and the Matisse Exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Last Saturday Tim, Julia, and I each headed in a separate direction: Tim to New Ulm to visit family (where he recorded chorus frogs singing on his smart phone), Julia to dance with the Mexican Ballet Folklorico at Carleton’s Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Weitz Center for Creativity, and I? I had a rare day all to myself, and I chose to spend it at the magnificent Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Old Entrance MIA MIA May 2014 Exterior

MIA, Art in Bloom (2014)

MIA, Art in Bloom (2014)

Art in Bloom, MIA Entrance, 2013

Art in Bloom, MIA Entrance, 2013

On the drive to Minneapolis, I listened to two lectures by Professor Mark Conner (The Great Courses) on Shakespeare’s history plays (and two more on the way home–sheer bliss!) When I arrived, I immediately got a ticket to the Matisse exhibit. I had been hoping all spring to see this. In 2007, when Julia was at a conference in Baltimore, we were able to see these works, originally collected by the Cone sisters and now housed in the Baltimore Museum of Art. They made a deep impression on me, particularly as the collection is broad (prints, collages, paintings, sculpture, photographs, drawings) and deep (reflecting a decades long relationship between Matisse and these sensitive and loyal collectors.) I was also bowled over by Art in Bloom last year. This is a true annual extravaganza each spring, when floral artists are invited into the galleries and create ephemeral arrangements of plant materials inspired by timeless works of arts in the permanent collections. Last year, that visit was the catalyst for completing a long poem I had been working on since 1993–it just poured out. This year, I was keen to see how others had been inspired by the marvelous holdings of my favorite museum. MIA Leslie Art in Bloom 2014 Here I am, just inside the original entrance, masquerading as a work of floral art. And here are a few of the arrangements I saw as I wended my way to the Matisse exhibit. There are two works of art I always visit when in the museum: Lady Tashat, the inspiration for my poem, “Lady Tashat’s Mystery” and the jade Poets’ Mountain (that also features in my poem.)

Poets' Mountain (2014)

Poets’ Mountain (2014)

Poets' Mountain

Poets’ Mountain

MIA Poet's Mountain 2013 Above is the floral version of the Poets’ Mountain from 2013. Both are so different and so evocative. MIA Art in Bloom 2014 Lady Tashat MIA Caronnage

MIA Floral Stairs

 MIA Staircase

With all the lushness of Art in Bloom, I was ready to appreciate the visual exuberance of Matisse.

Matisse Cover

 MIA Matisse Inspires 2014


MIA 2014 Photo of Matisse

The work of Matisse reproduces well. I was excited to see the original of the print I had in my college dorm room so long ago.There really is NO substitute for seeing the original works, which is a big part of why this show is so exciting. (The other part is the succinct but rich curatorial commentary, both written and auditory.) I am grateful for the MIA’s policy of allowing non-flash photography, because it allows me to give a suggestion of the riches that you’ll find in their galleries.

Here are a few views of “The Yellow Dress”, along with a photo of the written commentary.

MIA Matisse 2014 The Yellow Dress Big

MIA Matisse 2014 Detail 2 The Yellow Dress

Detail, "The Yellow Dress" ( Matisse)

Detail, “The Yellow Dress” ( Matisse)

 MIA Matisse 2014 Card The Yellow Dress

POST-MATISSE, POST-MIA The effect I always feel, that of heightened visual sensitivity, after leaving a museum was doubled or tripled after this latest visit. Here are a few photographic bread crumbs marking my trail home from the stairs to the parking garage and the view from the roof to my own kitchen. MIA Post Matisse IV MIA Post Matisse IV MIA Post Matisse IIMIA Post Matisse I MIA key tag

Have you been able to see the Matisse exhibit yet? If not, it is definitely worth a special trip. You have until May 18, 2014.  Visit the website for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts–www.artsmia.org— to learn about the newly extended hours. Consider splurging on the audio self-guided tour–it was very well done.  ENJOY! You will certainly be inspired.


3 thoughts on “A Magical Day: Art in Bloom and the Matisse Exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

  1. What a mix of media – I love the laying down person with flowers! Wow. And to see Matisse live and in person – what a rich experience. So glad you took advantage of that open time. Just along the theme of museums and modern art…if any readers are ever within a stone’s throw of Bentonville, Arkansas, the Crystal Bridges Museum and grounds are fascinating. Currently a Modernist exhibit with very different pieces from the like of Matisse among others. It’s the Paley Collection from the MFA and I think it’s headed home from Arkansas. But the permanent collection there is very interesting. All American artist that ranges from Colonial portraits of somber souls to Roy Lichtenstein. Not too big and a very easy place to visit. It made me contemplate what art I would put in a museum should I be in that position. Still thinking about that but I know I’d want an Art In Bloom exhibit! Thanks for sharing this, Leslie.

  2. Hi Jan,
    How interesting about the resemblance to your mother. I was taken by so much in this work. Don’t you think that the hat resembles a painter’s palate? I do! Leslie

  3. Oh my stars. The only complaint I have is I wasn’t there to see the art and floral art in person. The Yellow Dress really touched me because the model looked a lot like my mother as a young woman. So glad you enjoyed your day and wanted to share it.

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