This really is a crazy world we live in. Saturday, we went to the museum and then a movie. My girlfriend wanted to see an Annie Leibowitz exhibit, which I found thoroughly mediocre. It was advertised all over the place, and you had to pay extra to go see it. Meanwhile, tucked in a corner of the museum with barely any signage were fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as other artifacts found with them.
Let's do the Leibowitz first. I am of the opinion that photography does not belong in Fine Arts museums. Especially pop-y stuff like naked pictures of Cindy Crawford, or Drew Carey on a unicycle. It is jarring to see it juxtaposed with the Rodan sculptures or Monets. It is a very modern art, and despite being able to acknowledge the excellence of composition of many photographers, I just don't think it has the same heft as a Dutch Master. Maybe I'm a classicist and didn't even know it.
Second, how weird is it that the freaking Dead Sea Scrolls (only one of the most important finds in antiquities) were tucked in a lost corner? How does the Palace of Fine Arts not trumpet the fact that the Scrolls are in the house? I just think it's funny that we were surprised to see them there. The exhibit was amazing, by the way. Seeing the newly unearthed finds (many of them more Pagan than Christian in appearance – a lot of anthropomorphized animals, etc.) was incredible. The fragments of the scrolls were even more impressive, and the translations and other signage talked about the importance of the scrolls. I had not really put them in perspective, and this exhibit helped a great deal.
All in all, any day when you can see the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Thinker, San Francisco's sign guy and the semi forgettable Forgetting Sarah Marshall is an interesting day.
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