At the Mint.

I have a friend who prefers to take vacations by himself. He’ll fly in somewhere  and just drive around, finding his way at his own pace. No need to worry about matching someone else’s interests or expectations.

That’s exactly how I feel about going to museums.

Last night I went to the Mint Museum in Charlotte which is (I learned) the oldest art museum in North Carolina. They have some nice collections — ceramics, pre-Columbian artifacts, some European art. There was an exhibit of incredible pottery by a man named Herb Cohen. I don’t have a camera that will do justice to his work, but you can see some pictures on the Mint’s website.

There were more people at the museum than I expected (way to go, Charlotte!) but with the exception of one very chatty group of ladies, it was still very quiet and serene. I spent a couple of hours just drifting around from one thing to another. I usually prefer objects to paintings — things that are or were meant for use in real life.

I’m not very well trained in art appreciation. When I go to museums with other people, I spend a lot of time saying things like “Wow.” Whoa.” “I wonder how they did that.” When I go by myself, I can keep my awe to myself (where I’m more articulate.)

As a person surrounded by a more commercial world, I’m inspired by people who’ve made a decision to dedicate themselves to the creation of art, or to the artful creation of everyday objects. What a bold and brave way to live your life.

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I published this earlier, but I have something to add. Those chatty ladies at the museum bothered me! I’ve probably thought about them as much today as I have about the art. The worst offender was wearing a sparkly jacket and basically reading the information about the pieces from the cards on the wall and then loudly rewording the information for her friends. Lady: quiet down.

A museum isn’t church and it isn’t a library, but it does seem like a place for more quiet reflection. Appreciate what you see, talk about it (if you would like to) with your friends. But for the love of pete, don’t share your thoughts at a volume that can be heard three galleries over.

The same thing holds true for public transportation, restaurants, etc., and for people on cell phones anywhere. You should be able to do and say what you like. But I don’t need to hear all of it.

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