Harvard Art Museum

After taking a bus and walking through Cambridge, I finally reached the Harvard Art Museum. After showing my tickets, I walked inside a large atrium where 40 or 50 art types were standing around talking.

They were selling soda and wine in a corner, and I guffawed. Then I remembered, in embarrassment, the tickets were free. 

So, I hid my guffaw. I walked into an exhibit on the first floor and on the wall in front of me was a big abstract painting by some Serbian artist from the 1940s. I thought “Wow, what fantastic colors!” This trend of me being very pleased with the art continued.

Harvard Art Museum
Harvard Art Museum. The museum has a wide collection of art from around the world. COURTESY OF DADEROT VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Each painting had a small descriptor beside it, telling me what period a piece was from. The descriptor told me what that Serbian artist set out to do that fateful day with his paintbrush and a mind full of ideas. 

Walking through the museum some more, I became even happier because they had Debuffets, Picassos and Van Goghs with such beautiful colors. The paintings reminded me of that one O’Hara poem. 

“Having a Coke with you is even more fun than going to San Sebastián, Irun, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayone…”

Then I thought “well, there’s a well dressed man selling cokes right there in the lobby for $6.99 — plus tip! Maybe I can have my coke and drink it too! Har har har.”

As we continued moving through the first floor I became more and more moved. I eventually had to choke back my tears like a fool. It was the cohesion of the colors, shapes and faces that made me cry. It all seemed so right. A perfect escape. I wiped my tears away and headed up the stairs to floor two. I passed a guard who — if I wasn’t mistaken — had earbuds in.

Floor two had older art — which means an orgy of Jesus and the Madonna and a bunch of weird looking people. Luckily, I am a product of a Catholic School in America, so I knew quite a bit about the Bible and could assume what was being depicted in the art scenes. 

“Ah,” I said to my girlfriend, “there’s Saint Paul receiving a vision from the holy spirit!”

“Is that so?” she said.

“Yes, and over there is 13-year-old Jesus talking to the wise men of Jerusalem.” 

After the Christian stuff, there were some Buddhist things. In one far corner there was a big rock taken from an ancient Chinese garden from the 16th century. I walked over to a guard and pointed at the rock.

“There’s no way that was in China.”

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