Friday, July 27, 2012

Klimt-o-maniac and Other Faux Pas

Do you like to be reminded of your embarrassing moments? Obviously I do, otherwise this blog site would be much leaner. Being able to take a joke, be at the receiving end of repartee, is a trait to be cherished, so much so that the company I worked for included an analysis of one’s sense of humor, defined as not taking oneself too seriously, as part of its mandatory psychological test for all new hires.  

All that by way of reporting to you that this morning’s Weekend Arts section of The NY Times carried a 6-1/4” x 5” photo of Gustav Klimt’s “The Black Feather Hat (Lady with Feather Hat)” that is part of the Neue Galerie’s 150th anniversary celebration of the birth of the artist. The Vienna-born Klimt is remembered most for his stunning and somewhat haunting portraits of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the most memorable of which hangs in the Neue Galerie on Fifth Avenue at 86th Street.

How this tidbit of art news relates to my embarrassing moment centers on other Klimt paintings that hang in the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, which our family visited back in the summer of 2007. Enchanted by Klimt’s The Kiss, I wanted to point out a detail to Gilda. As a bifocal wearer, I’ve always had difficulty at museums gauging distances to paintings, no more so than when I extended my right index finger toward The Kiss. I accidentally, repeat, accidentally, touched the painting’s protective glass shield. Alarm bells blared. I jumped back, waving my hands like an umpire signaling “safe.” My family, especially Ellie who works for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was mortified. I beat a hasty retreat from The Kiss. 

My manual dexterity, like my eyesight, leaves much to be desired, so whenever I manage to fix anything around the house I consider that more than a minor miracle. So does Gilda. Currently, I’m on a hot streak. Within the last two weeks I fixed mirrored bi-folding doors of Gilda’s main closet (careful readers would deduce she has more than one closet) and replaced the electric timer for our outdoor lights. The last time I tried to stretch my winning streak to three, I flooded the basement of our first house. If you care to read about that sad enterprise, here’s a link:

Olympic Moment: Are you primed for the Olympics, beginning tonight? I can’t say I am. Not being a swimmer, I don’t relate to human fish knifing through the water, or doing somersaults on their way down from 12 meters above the surface. Nor do I get too excited about basketball. Or soccer. Or Greco-Roman wrestling. Or weightlifting. Definitely not weightlifting. 

The last sprinter that captivated me was Wilma Rudolph in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. I’m not a total snob when it comes to the Olympics. I do thrill to individual accomplishments, like that of Usain Bolt. But for the most part, over the next two weeks I suspect I will watch more Yankees games than Olympic moments. Tough choice tonight—opening ceremonies or Yanks vs. the hated Red Sox. Picture-in-a-picture, anyone?