Last week while visiting my family in Cleveland, I treated the girlies to two diametrically opposing forms of entertainment. As I’ve stated previously, it’s important to expand their tiny little minds by exposing them to high art, but it’s just as important to keep them grounded by sampling the more visceral forms of fun.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has a kick ass, world class collection. Their special exhibits will also whoop yo’ ass. The museum recently had a major structural revamping. The results are spectacular. Currently on display in the new, humongous, light-filled atrium is Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. Twelve bronze sculptures represent the Chinese zodiac.
I saw this exhibit last year when it was mounted around the fountains outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and am happy to make their acquaintance again. They’re playful and a little bit nightmarish. The detail is extraordinary.
Do you know your Chinese zodiac symbol? I’m a bore. Oh…excuse me…I mean a boar. Daughter the First is a snake.
Currently on a five-year loan is Damien Hirst’s Bringing Forth the Fruits of Righteousness from Darkness. These beautiful cathedral windows are made of…wait for it…
Butterfly wings. For real. He bred the butterflies specifically for these works. A lot of people think Hirst is a joke and I agree, he can irritate. His Spot paintings are idiotic. But I also think this guy can really turn out a spectacle. I still think his great white shark in formaldehyde was a scream.
My bride explaining to Daughter #2 that Degas was laughed at for painting dancers tying their shoes instead of dancing.
Here’s another special exhibit to die for. Damián Ortega’s The Blast and Other Embers. It’s a suspended sculpture of found objects and tools. Every object emanates from the center outward. Its shape looks globular from a few paces back. Beautiful.
They only allow ten people at a time into the “glass box” space. Any more would spoil the effect. The sculpture has an opening in the center that allows you to walk through it.
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A few evenings later, I dragged their now-cultured asses to the premier event of the Cuyahoga County Fair: the demolition derby. Do you guys know what a demolition derby is? Have you ever been to one?
For the uninitiated, some wildly spray-painted, beat-up cars with their windows knocked out drive into a ring and then repeatedly smash into one another until only one is still running. It’s awesome. There are a half dozen races, all segmented by car size, my favorite being suburban minivans. Here’s a clip of the compact car division.
If you’re having a hard time viewing the video, it’s a lot of this:
Of course, something went horribly wrong.
The girlies were actually pretty freaked out about the fire. At the :16 second mark Daughter #1 says:
“Daddy! I want to leave now!”
“No it’s not! It’s going to blow up!”
“No, it won’t.”
Then, of course, a giant flare-up at :27 seconds. Probably the gas tank.
Again, for those without video:
My brother, brother-in-law, and I, along with the rest of the toothless clods in the grandstand, couldn’t stop laughing. Fathers of the year. It probably wouldn’t have been quite so funny if one of the drivers had crawled out of the wreckage engulfed in flames.