There is something very innocent about ice cream in July: the way the heat and sunshine slowly melt the round scoops; the way a quick turn-lick tidies up the sweet, dripping confection
Ice cream makes sense. Summertime, wandering down the sidewalk, hoping not to sweat-drip as your ice cream melt-drips, sculpting it back into submission against the heat. It’s easy.
There is a childlike joy that comes when you miss a drip and it races down the side of the cone – trying not to disappear into the waffle texture on the way down. It marks your fingers, implicating you in the not-quite mess. Now your skin smells like sunscreen and tastes like sugary warm days.
You work your way through the treat – it becomes a game: twist the cone as you bite it down, try to keep too much from melting over the edge, eat your way to the bottom point of the cone (the best bite).
When you later wash the last bit of creamy stickiness off your fingers (finding that licking it off is ineffective) there is a moment of passage – as fast as that drop slipping down the side of the unwrapped cone – from childhood back to reality, back to the heat of a July afternoon.
Happy National Ice Cream Day!
Currently on view at the Guggenheim in New York is show “Visionaries,” featuring works by Kandinsky, Picasso, and more. Perhaps my favorite was a Calder called Arc of Petals (1941). It was like a 3D Miro. It was like standing in a windstorm among blossoms – as the title suggests. The piece was more than the scupture itself – it was also its shadow. Peter Pan would have loved it, the way the metal pieces and their dark counterparts were free to move, but never to move alone.
While that was the show I came for, it was another unexpected encounter that won the day.
Off the rotunda, a sampling of Brncusi sculptures are being shown. The centerpiece(s) of the collection are three wooden creations: not-quite-totem-poles, not-quite-figures, not-quite-recognizable… Adam and Eve, The Sorceress, and King of Kings.
Next to these three sculptures were three other things: little girls. Sitting in front of the pieces – smaller than them already, but even more so when hunched over their notebooks – were three girls probably between the ages of 3 and 7. Each of them was intently focused on their work. Their heads went up and down as they looked and drew and looked again. The littlest one was initially drawing a face, but eventually switched to match the older two, recreating King of Kings on the page in front of her. She kept stealing glances at the drawings of her companions. They shaded and lined and compared. Repeat.
As I stepped closer and watched for a moment, I thought of myself. My first museum memory is of sitting in front of a huge totem pole at the Denver Art Museum, drawing and looking and occupying the dim room with the dark carpet and just being there.
There must be something about kids and big sculptures. If you let them, they really want to look.
“Visionaries” is on view until September 6, 2017
“Brancusi” is on view until January 3, 2018