The tradition of me and James galivanting around town together in search of our ideas of local treasure dates back almost 20 years. Mouths agape, we calculate this together among Rebecca Sexton Larson’s “Man Made Cloud” photography exhibit in the Meta B. Brown Gallery.
Our day at DFAC began with a “window seat” overlooking P.A. Kushner’s phenomenal “Now. And Then” exhibit from the Palm Café. I arrived a bit earlier to instant mouthwatering once I saw the soup of the day: Cream of Brussels sprouts with bacon infused crème fraiche? Yes please! And I’ll take that with Chef Robert Masson’s homemade bacon BLT, please. James chose the harvest-like chicken salad and blood orange iced tea to which he added a dash of simple syrup.
Lingering over lunch in the atrium provided time to catch up on this and that before taking in all the fall exhibits culminating with a G-rated romp in the David L. Mason Children’s Museum’s interactive experience, “Zootopia.”
The Art Center is buzzing with visitors, students and faculty coming and going. It all feels very vibrant. Hopeful. Inspirational. What a beautiful environment to spend the day with a dear friend or family member or lover.
We begin with Beasts and Burdens featuring the mural size drawings of Adonna Khare and glass vessels by Christian Zvonik. James is drawn to the smoking giraffes. “I love the knot that they find themselves in,” he says before speculating about what they are smoking and that if it’s ‘the good stuff’ that might explain how the giraffes got all twisted up. To support his theory, he points to two giraffes’ expressions of contentment.
Christian’s glass vessels are catching the natural light as we move around them. We are surrounded by chimpanzees floating on disappearing icebergs and this is the kind of exhibit you can visit 30 times and pick up on new fascinations every single time.
Next, we promenade to the Spirit Animals show in the Rossi Family Gallery where we joke that we caught the Llama “mid-crunch,” James said of her pose. Looking at a rich, striking painting of the Bulls of Andalusia Spain (one of my personal favorites) led to a discussion of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises which conjures memories of bulls for James.
The Spirit Animals walk gives way to the student murals where we “take a roller coaster ride” and meet an unsavory looking fellow. “The club gives him away,” James insists, “the fangs notwithstanding.” Terrified to our core, we move on to explore “Anne Hieronymus: Envisioning the Particular,” which you simply have to see to believe.
We’ve spent meaningful time together all along our journey at DFAC and as the day draws to a close, Zootopia calls. Inside, the fantasy landscape thrills with animals and blacklights. My imagination runs wild but not wild enough it seems as I find I am struggling to make sense of how to use certain interactive platforms.
“Toys aren’t made for adults,” James informs me as he watches me trying to figure out how to do stuff to no avail. Meanwhile, he looks like a rock star on the Stop Animation machine.
In any case, we agree it takes the freedom and courage and imagination of a child’s mind to figure out the best use for these objects. We make do with the green screen and dinosaur building.
Story by Leslie Joy Ickowitz
Photography by Leslie Joy Ickowitz & James Burgos