Friday, April 01, 2011

If it’s Tuesday, it must be SFMoMA

Anyone who travels overseas in search of great art experiences knows the disappointment of arriving one day after the big survey show ends or finding the one art museum that closes on a Wednesday when everyone else in the world closes on Monday. But as bad as these occasional blips are, consider Colin and Anne McCahon and their famous 1958 visit to the United States. This trail of disappointment comes from Gordon Brown’s book Colin McCahon: artist

Arriving in San Francisco they were told that a fire at MoMA in New York meant that the museum would be all but closed when they visited, in Philadelphia they discovered that the Barnes collection would not admit them and, to top it off, the Art Institute of Chicago was rebuilding and most of its collection was in storage. Finally, a planned visit with Betty Parsons was stymied when the famous dealer took off to Europe days before the McCahons hit town. 

Despite of all these obstacles, the couple managed to visit 68 galleries in just over four months at an exhausting rate of nearly two museum visits a day every day of the trip. Lucky some of them were closed.