At 6:45 p.m., the five of us walked to the Musée d’art, Nantes’ art museum that had just reopened after a five-year renovation and expansion project. Every Thursday, the museum is free from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. We are rarely on time in my family but my parents take art seriously and no one wanted to miss the late-evening visit.
Mark was so excited he almost ran all the way to the museum. Just as well—it was a very chilly evening and we weren’t dressed for fall weather considering it was fucking August.
Before we entered, my parents paused briefly, almost with emotion, as if they were reconnecting with an old friend. They went there so many times as young art students that they could probably walk around the long halls blindfolded and still find their way to their favourite art piece.
Although, come to think of it, walking through a visual art museum blindfolded probably defeats the purpose.
“I’m so ready for it,” my dad said. “I can take it. I can take contemporary art. Bring it on.”
“Do NOT make fun of it,” my mom retorted. “At least, no in public.”
“I’ll do my best.”
They both aren’t fans of contemporary art, especially the self-centre, pretentious kind (is there any other kind?). I tend to agree with them. At one point, a toilet bowl is a toilet bowl, not “the luxurious fossils of our civilization”.
The first giant installation in the patio was interesting. The artist, Susanna Fritscher, hung a single 350-kilometre-long transparent silicone thread creating a long maze. The effect was fairly confusing as you had to find the “doors,” i.e. openings without the thread.
Then we moved on to ancient art, 19th-century art and more modern artwork. We agree on Chagall and Kandisky’s genius and predictably, also agreed to hate contemporary art.
Two hours were too short to see everything. As we walked out, I realized that thirty-four-year-old me was enjoying a visit to the museum with my parents much better than when I was four. Times have changed…