A Modern Visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Two of my very favorite things to do are 1. Look at Art and 2. Anything Free. Therefore, the first Sunday of every month at the PMA is an especially glorious day for me, as I can combine my two loves and feel intellectually fuller because of it. Technically a donation is required before you can enter, but as long as you have as little as a penny with you then you are [metaphorically] free to squint and tilt your head at the Surrealists, chuckle at Picasso’s playfulness and fantasize about starring in the most recent Game of Thrones episode whilst checking out the Arms & Armour section.

I spent the entirety of June’s Sunday visit in the modern wing. It’s the best for human interaction, because there’s always bound to be a guard who will follow you out of the video room and say, “Now be honest, do you really think that that’s art?” Even if you stay quiet whilst wandering the whimsical walkways of the first floor, you can keep company with Dali’s Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War), Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Pollack’s Male and Female, Warhol’s Four Jackies, and many more strange and interesting pieces ranging from paintings to sculptures to crayon on wall.

My favorite section is that of Cy Twombly. The American fellow was known for colorful abstract scribbles on huge white canvasses – hence, his “Fifty Days at Illium” room at the PMA. Each board represents an aspect of that epic Illiad story we Temple kids get to read in Mosaic II. Twombly’s version of the story features messy phallic symbols and heroes’ names scrawled in pencil. Maybe his style won’t suit everyone, but I prefer paintings that offer evidence of the person who created them. It would be difficult to look at The Fire That Consumes All Before It and not picture Twombly covered in red goo, smearing his hands all over the canvas like a genius five-year-old, grinning as he lumps on the balls of paint that will dry and three-dimensionally represent the gore of battle.

If you can’t get to the museum on first Sundays, look in your PEX Pass for a ticket for free – FREE! – entry. All regular student admissions are reduced, too. Check out http://www.philamuseum.org/ for details on upcoming exhibits!

Spoiler alert! The Cy Twombly room looks like this, but bigger.

Fifty Days at Illium: The Fire That Consumes All Before It

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