President’s Message – July, 2019

You may not be that person that builds vacations around your latest architectural fixation. The one that drags your family to see the brand-new cultural building when everyone else is perfectly happy relaxing at the hotel pool. I am that person. And my family knows it. When the kids were younger, they went along for the ride. Now that they’re older, they have more opinions – and the opinions mostly revolve around what they DON’T want to do. So, unsurprisingly, when I came home from work last month and told the family that I had scored tickets to an amazing, private, modern art museum, and I had scheduled a whole day around it, the kids were less than enthusiastic. Way less. The negotiations that ensued over the following weeks were intense, but in the end, the kids agreed to go, and I didn’t have to buy anyone a puppy to make it happen.

On what felt like the hottest day of the year, two weekends ago, we drove down to visit the Glenstone Museum. Although free, the museum has timed entry, which means that the experience walking the vast grounds is quiet, peaceful and very personal. The museum itself is exquisite, both architecturally and artistically. And the more time we spent there, the more inquisitive the kids became about the architecture as well as the artwork – asking about the mysterious location of the air diffusers and the enormous size of the glass panels. Luckily for us, the docents are just as versed in the architecture as they are in the artwork. The highlight of the museum for all of us was the central outdoor courtyard where the kids took dozens of selfies and marveled at the aquatic life.

At the end of the day, sweaty, sunburnt and exhausted, my daughter asked to visit the gift shop for a memento. She flipped through books on Michael Heizer and Jeff Koons, pointing out the balloon dog sculpture as her favorite piece of artwork. She settled on a postcard. Appreciative of her change in attitude, I turned to my son. Unimpressed with the merchandise, he wanted to get home as soon as possible. He insisted that the next time we signed him up for a family trip without first consulting him, he would, in no uncertain terms, NOT go.

I’ve been thinking about the museum and its powerful spaces, both indoor and outdoor, since. The other night, driving home with my son, I was recounting how much I enjoyed the afternoon there. Predictably, I heard silence in return. He was in the back seat, out of view, so he could have had his headphones on or been reading. After a long pause, he spoke, starting softly but getting louder as he continued, “I really liked the movie (a mesmerizing film by Pipilotti Rist), but I think my favorite part was seeing ‘Collapse’ (an outdoor steel Heizer sculpture).” For the rest of the car ride home, I listened to him list his favorite things about the museum. Apparently, he too, had spent some time thinking about that afternoon. I haven’t told him this yet, but he has a few more family outings coming his way this summer. And I’m convinced, that eventually, he’ll appreciate those as well.

This summer, I hope you’re taking the time to explore the opportunities around you, finding some hidden gems, and sharing them with your family and friends. The payoff may take a while, but who knows, you may get them hooked too!