I had no interest in hitting the crowded stores to buy things I didn't need or want. Instead, I took a friend up on an invite to visit MoMA. Getting there is very easy for me...actually it's a walk in the park. This is what I saw as I was leaving Central Park.
While I waited in the crowded lobby (I was impressed to see so many people choosing art over commerce), I took this photo of The Brown Sisters display. Forty group portraits of the sisters - one each year beginning in 1975 - taken by Nicholas Nixon who is married to the eldest sister. All the photographs have been shot with an 8x10 camera on negative film and silver gelatin prints. I had scene this work online before but while I was checking them out in person I was thinking how lucky it has been that they are all still alive and able to get together once a year to pose for the portrait. Below is my interpretation of the wall of Nixon's photographs.
When my friends arrived we (including Pumpkin) went up a bunch of escalators to the 6th floor where the Matisse exhibit was housed. The photo on the left was the line of people waiting to be let in on their 'timed ticket'. Fortunately, my friends are members and had VIP passes so we walked right in. It was great to see so many Matisse originals in one place. The photo on the right is of me looking at the massive cut-out and Pumpkin hamming for the camera. There were no photos allowed in the exhibits so I have no idea who took the picture or how it ended up in my possession.
After Matisse we dropped in to the Robert Gober exhibit. I had also seen his work online but that did not compare to the trippyness of being in multiple rooms of his original works. I cheated on the 'no photographs' with in the exhibit because I was inspired whilst I was in one of Gober's rooms and looked up - none of his works appear in this photograph.
By the time we left the museum it was already dark. After a hot chocolate (it's cold here now) I began my walk home and ran into my first feel of the Christmas season...is it really that time already?
While waiting for a light to change, I was standing next to a homeless man with a push cart full of tattered flattened bags. It was cold out and I noticed he wasn't wearing a coat...just a sweatshirt. I asked him if he was cold and if he had a coat. He said he had a coat but he had given to another homeless guy. Then he said, "Maybe I should go and get it back."
A couple of days earlier, I had pulled a coat out of my closet and put it in a bag to drop off to a charity. It was in perfect condition, just too big for me. Without thinking about it, I told him I had a coat I could give him. We walked together for a couple of blocks, learning that he was born in New York and had been on the streets for seventeen years, then I had him wait nearby while I picked up the coat. He was grateful for the new coat and let me take a photo of him and it was nice to know who would be wearing my coat.
While this was a small gesture on my part, it reminded me that it truly is better to give than to receive.