An experience at the MFA

My friend Taylor and I stood dazed in a giant marble nexus, where there were doors and signs leading to the Museum of Fine Arts. It was packed, and it was Thursday. Art students stood in lines and held oversized pieces of paper and looked around nervously. I tapped one on the shoulder. He was a short kid with very long hair.

“Hey, you know my grandfather was Van Gogh?”

“Impossible,” he said, “Van Gogh had no children.”

“You’ve got no imagination buddy.”

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | Graphic Artist

“Of course not. I’m an art student.”

In the center of the MFA, there was a large atrium full of well-groomed men with well-trimmed beards wearing tuxedos. Many wore glasses to demonstrate their shrewd artistic intelligence. 

Large women wore light blue dresses and held purses and flitted their eyebrows while they talked. Taylor and I strode headlong towards this grisly crowd. 

There was a cacophonous sound coming from one end of the atrium. Five men — smiling and dressed in black — sat looking around beating on large, African-style drums. Before them stood a powerful looking woman wearing a large red dress. 

The woman sang. The men beat their drums. All together they were tremendously loud. The sound absolutely filled the room, all the way up to the absurdly high glass ceiling and back down again. 

Still, the tuxedo and dress laden Bostonians conversed over small metal tables. God knows how and if they heard each other. The whole thing reeked of falseness. Everybody was smiling too much, they were dressed too nice and the music was atonal.

Nobody seemed to mind that. Fine art grabs a man’s deepest sensitivities and holds them in a vice. It’s only respectful to at least dress up and act civilized for the occasion.

On the second floor, there was a party happening. More well-dressed people milling around drinking cocktails that are brought by smiling, elegant waitresses. 

Enough about the people. It’s an art museum, after all.

Once you get past the crowds you’ll eventually find yourself in an exhibit. Usually it was portraits that consisted of fat, ugly Europeans and their families looking stupid. You could spend an hour seeing portraits. They have so many — for who knows what reason. My guess is to fill space — plenty of the building is empty. Maybe this explains the four or five parties happening on a Thursday.

Sooner or later you’ll end up in an African exhibit. Which is always good. A tribesman from the center of Africa is more often a better artist than the college-educated one. But don’t tell this to your brat friends. 

At some point, Taylor and I walked into an orange colored room. The walls, floor, ceiling and artwork were all orange. There were three people already in the room. They were wearing black and arguing about something. As we walked by one of them noticed us.

“Hey you guys,” he said with a big stoned grin, “what color is this room, orange or dark-sienna?”

“I’ve worked at an art museum. I know dark Sienna when I see it,” his half-wit friend chimes in.

Both of them stare at us, the forcibly appointed judges. 

Museums attract the most obnoxious, obstinate suburbanites. The types who feel at home walking through random art exhibits, pausing to muse at a particularly interesting artwork, as a camera goes off behind them. Sooner or later they’ll join the tuxedo and dress orgy going on in the big marble atrium.

Leaving — when the time finally came — was another hassle. We walked through countless empty, sawdust smelling exhibits before we finally found an exit.  

Outside it was cold, dark and unfamiliar. Unwittingly, we’d taken the auxiliary exit. 

Taylor — as part of her CFA assignment — had to write about two pieces of art.

“You should write about that Roman’s ballsack,” I suggested.

“Ha,” said Taylor, “I think I will.”

Anyways the MFA is free for BU students. Just show your ID to the nice people in the ticketing area.

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  1. Truman – sorry to hear your experience was a poor one – try again – soon. Snarky remarks echo in the museum denoting an extremely judgmental attitude -yours.
    Parties and gatherings are set up to encourage contributions – and sponsorships – starting earlier in younger generations – nothing wrong after two years of dressing in pandemic sweats to have a try at wearing other outfits, trying to remind you that outward appearances have barely anything to do with the actusl resl perdon you are ctitcising. Part of good journslism includes actual verbal encounters with those in attendance – it relates in a far better understanding !
    Civilization is reflected for better or for worse within museums – artifacts and creations by individuals have merit and inform.
    I majored in painting at BU CFA so the additional dnark in invalud compsridons with traditional craftsmen and the tribal shaman or elder? Why?
    My students from very underprivileged backgrounds, all first generation in my ancirnt art history course had never viewed the MFA – but I also pointed out gargoyles and pediments in their own neighborhoods -art & life instructs and offers to share ideas with us! Maybe my Haitian student might seek a career as a future architect? A Dominican student informed me of ancient drawing in island caves – we learn from one another.
    Stereotyping art and the art experience only tells me you need to dig in and discover what there is to inform us and helpbus create a more vibrant future.
    I am so old – my profesdor Philip Guston was subject of a huge show at MFA! Pick up “Boston Modern” by Bookbindercto learn of real conflicts between MFA and war time museum school graduates – such as David Aronson, founder of the visual art program at BU.
    Try doing a tad of research orcelse give your assignment to someonecwho may find something of value to say!

  2. Sorry for typos – hope you can figure out my simple message – next time more proofing but I just flew in from Greece where I was thrilled to rosm through – MUSEUMS !!!!