Travel broadens perspective and deepens understanding of home. Sounds like a boring platitude, but it’s true. I love traveling. The people and things I see, discover and encounter when I travel all inspire my fiction. Unfortunately, I can’t travel every time I want an adventure, so I have to explore turf closer to home. This usually means traipsing through some art galleries or visiting one of the many museums in New York.
Art inspires me, but it’s not a straight-ahead 1 + 1 = 2. It’s more like a magic trick, with distractions and illusions. Art shakes things up, changes perspectives, and upends the status quo.
Seeing something new—even if my immediate response is negative—is always exciting. Gallery hopping can be disheartening, if you have talented artist friends without gallery representation, but once you get beyond the craziness of the art business, it’s fascinating to see what is deemed worthy of attention and what gets ignored.
I’m often surprised by new responses to works I’ve known forever. The painting hasn’t changed, I have. So the dance we do—the dance of art on a wall and person in a museum—changes. Looking, really looking, at an “old friend” often yields unpredictable gifts—a line of dialog, an eccentric character, a beautiful word…
In the last few weeks I’ve made a point of having art adventures outside my usual. I spent a few hours at The Morgan Library, to see a lovely special exhibit of Warhol’s books. Early in his career when he worked in commercial design, he created wonderful book covers and began to make “handmade” books with wit and humor. I breezed through some of the other shows, but lingered in the extravagant library and Pierpont Morgan’s famous study. It’s irresistible! Impossible to enter without imagining paying a visit to drink brandy and smoke cigars before J.P. Morgan donated this extraordinary library to the city.
In July I’ll be back in Amsterdam and will return to at least two amazing museums—The Rijksmuseum and The Van Gogh. With each visit to the Rijksmuseum, I manage to find corners that are “new” while visiting some favorite rooms. As for the Van Gogh… I never know what will shake loose there. It’s inspiring! Then it’s on to Spain and the Prado!
In the meantime, more inspiring adventures close to home.