Sunday, July 17, 2005

You only love me when I'm leaving.

The beauty of art has made me cry twice.

The first time was in October of 2001. I was at an event sponsored by my place of employ, USA Today, at the Art Institute of Chicago. They had a special traveling exhibit at the time: Van Gogh + Gauguin. I spent most of the evening at the check-in table and then trying not to appear too much like a starving person at the buffet. I was wearing my fabulous pink Jackie O suit. Eventually I was given leave to go through the exhibit. I wandered through, reading the details of Vincent and Paul's lives, watching as their artistic styles developed and changed, and enjoying being away from the control freak perfectionist temp who was helping me run things. Then I rounded a corner and found myself staring at the two Starry Night paintings. The lesser-known painting from before Paul left him and the famous swirly crazy one. Next to each other at eye level. And I stood there, frozen, for ten minutes, in tears. I didn't see any of the remainder of the exhibit on my way out.

Last night I had a slightly less profound experience at The Getty, this time not with visual art but with music. One of my very favorite bands on earth, DeVotchKa, played the Balkan Beats concert, part of the museum's Summer Sessions. (You can listen to DeVotchKa mp3s here.) They played my favorite song, "Queen of the Surface Streets" (QuickTime link). It was more gorgeous even than the recorded version, which actually means that they achieved the impossible. And it made me cry.