Friday, October 12, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Twenty

Paul Newman, 1964
Photographed by Dennis Hopper
We set out as a family today to see Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album at the Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum. This was my first time at the museum. I hadn’t seen Dennis Hopper’s found photographs and only know him for his film work so I wasn’t especially excited to see the exhibit as much as I was to see the Gropius-Bau.

For Nicholas to come along, this outing was perhaps more expensive than some of the others—expect the zoo—but I was able to get a reduced rate being a student. They let Lennon in for free. The museum is beautiful with an ornate outside fa├žade that had clearly taken some damage in WWII. Two decapitated statues, covered in suet, standing sentinel at the entrance.

Lennon was in his stroller and as soon as we walked into the Hopper exhibit and slowed things down to look at the photos, he was ready to get out and crawl around. Nicholas tried holding him for awhile but then just let him crawl through the exhibit. He charmed all the museum guards, luckily. I would say the only complaint people might have—and it’s perhaps a big one—is that Lennon was talking loudly and continuously. We hurried through.

Martin Luther King, Jr., 1965
Photographed by Dennis Hopper
Hopper’s lost photos are beautiful. He was at the epicenter of hip and had access to some beautiful iconic artistic scenes of the 1960s and 70s. I was excited to see his photos from the New York avant-garde performance scene—maybe before its figures became iconoclastic.

Niki de Saint Phalle (kneeling), 1963
Photographed by Dennis Hopper
We barely made it out of the Hopper exhibit in one piece and there were definitely elements I breezed through for the sake of my son. Unfortunately, we had also purchased a ticket to the Mythos Olympia: Kult und Spiele in der Antike exhibit on the first floor. I knew Nicholas would be interested in this as a historian. Lennon had no interest whatsoever. We began together in the first room of the exhibit and quickly decided that we should go through one at a time, taking turns hanging out with Lennon in the museum foyer. I raced through first.

There was a man with his two middle school aged daughters viewing the exhibit with the audio guide and headphones. I would have appreciated the audio guide at this exhibit, which essentially is a collection of artifacts from the ancient Olympia shrine in Greece. I always try to engage with genuine interest in this kind of exhibit: I want to be transported to the ancient time of the artifacts. Today my enthusiasm waned pretty quickly, however, looking at the small bits of metal and stone behind glass. I think the audio guide might have helped me stick with it for longer. Of course the exhibit has lengthy descriptions of the artifacts and statues all over the place that I didn’t have time to read, worried about Lennon. I realized that were I to do this day over, I would have come alone, purchased the guide and strolled for hours in both exhibits. I also look forward to taking Lennon to museums when he’s old enough to share that experience with me.

After a cookie and a drink, Nicholas and Lennon finally made their way through Mythos Olympia. Our take away was that Lennon was unequivocally too young to take to museums. 

Source for Dennis Hopper's photo's found here.

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