my city was gone

I had free morning in Cleveland so I borrowed my sister’s car and drove to the Cleveland Art Museum. It has a world-class collection but, unfortunately, most of it was in storage because of a massive renovation project. They’re building a new wing and most of the museum is still closed off. There was a special exhibit of artistic luxury goods from Fabergé, Tiffany and Lalique that I didn’t really care about. Just a handful of galleries from the permanent collection were open.

Most of the paintings I wanted to see were all packed away. I began visiting the Clevo Art Museum decades ago—soon after I got my driver’s license—and seeing those paintings feels like visiting old friends again.

None of the modernist paintings were on display, but I did see Stag at Sharkey’s by George Bellows, which is one of my favorites in their collection. I think he mixed testosterone into the pigment for this one.

sharkeys1

Also on display was one of J.M.W. Turner’s The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, a nightmare drawn from the event he witnessed.

turner1

I left the museum and drove down Euclid Avenue into downtown Cleveland. Euclid is the main artery into the city and many of the businesses were closed and boarded up. I have a strange tendency to become emotionally attached to a city (see any of my posts about NYC) and it made me sad to see the city of my youth in such dire straits.

I had meant to take I-71 back to the hotel but the freeway entrance was closed and I somehow wound up heading down W. 25th street. It was such a mess. I passed a building with a sign out front that read Plasma Services and there was a long queue of people waiting to get in that stretched out the door.

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