Coat Versus Museum

Taking myself on a date to the Nassau County Museum of Art has become an at least annual routine. On the docket this time: Heroines of Abstract Expressionism and FEM, and also the Manes Center for the first time with the promise of a juxtaposition of works from the Manes collection.

The real focus of the day did not turn out to be art, however. The focus of the day turned out to be how many times I needed to be told I was not allowed to hold my coat. My options were to wear it or to check it. No coat holding allowed.

I made friends with the first security guard right away because I said Good morning to him, and he then directed me towards the wall where I could read about the exhibit. See? Friends! I then checked out the beginnings of the exhibit, at some point sliding my coat off. I’d made it halfway around the room when my new friend moseyed on over and explained I couldn’t hold my coat. Ah, okay! I looked around at all the artwork on the pedestals throughout the room. I got it. I put the coat over my shoulders and kept going.

The next room and the hallway are always brighter, and the starkness of the white walls behind whatever art is hanging offers a stunning contrast. I struggled to keep my coat on my shoulders while simultaneously taking pictures. The struggle is real, friends.

In the back room after the one-person-at-a-time hallway, I found myself not only climbing into my coat but wrapping it tightly around me because this room was an ice box.

The art on the second floor offered a more contemporary and different mood. There’s also a bathroom up there, so I took advantage of being the only person on the second floor. Upon coming out of the bathroom, a new security guard found me. She told me to put my coat on. Seriously, I was out of the bathroom for two seconds and she was all over me. I looked around as I put my coat on. Unlike the first floor, there was literally no artwork that I could accidentally bump into, and I was literally the only patron there. At least I was giving the guards something to do in a fairly empty museum.

I made my way to the Manes Center. No one was there yet, so I hung out by the front doors. The security guard from the first floor of the museum showed up and opened the building. Fast friends, we two! Another patron came in behind me, and we waited in the front hall while the security guard went to put the lights on.

There was a light issue. He couldn’t get them on. There was a lot of flicking of switches and moving from room to room. The woman who works the front desk showed up and also couldn’t get the lights on. Flicking. Switching. Room to room. Then suddenly, all the lights popped on at once. They promised juxtaposition, and we got a light show to boot! They apologized profusely, but really, what was there to apologize for? It’s not like there was a huge rush of a crowd anxiously trying to ram the doors down.

Manes is loaded. Or was loaded. I don’t know anything about him other than he is/was an art collector and his collection includes Warhol and Lichtenstein. The center also includes an art library that is chock full of every book about art imaginable. No one gave me any instructions about my coat, so I took it off and carried it around just because I could.

Outdoors was still a little brisk so I didn’t go for the long walk around the grounds, so I’ll take myself back on another art date for the next exhibit in warmer weather. No coats and outdoor art is always a fun plan.

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