2018 Summer Road Trip – To Detroit

We started with breakfast at Grumpy’s Cafe which was on the “we don’t give people straws” train. Their bathroom had a large display on how eschewing straws would save civilization and that it was a sign of Western decadence or something. Great. Not having a straw cuts down my ability to consume the normal 9 liters of diet cola I like with a meal so they may have had ulterior motives. After breakfast, we parted with our hosts and continued to Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland is a rustbelt town that has far more culture than its current population would otherwise need which is to say the museums are pleasantly devoid of people. Outside the Cleveland Museum of Art is a Rodin that someone tried to “vandalize” by planting explosives at its base. The  vandal succeeded in damaging a foot.  The club-footed copy of The Thinker is easily my favorite version now. I consider it a meditation on how unflappable the properly intrigued or oblivious can be.

The Cleveland Museum of Art has a fair amount of American art from the colonial period to early modern. The thread of America becoming America was undeniable albeit through a specific White Anglo-Saxon lens. I hope that’s a chain of progress we get to add a few more links to. The Cleveland Museum of Art was also hosting Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors which started…the day after we left. This marks the fourth time I’ve managed to not get tickets, arrive right before, or arrive right after the exhibit has started. I should probably go to the Mattress Factory. The collection of Dutch art is impressive and I’m not sure why. I wonder if there’s a kinship across times between two cultures who at their peak had thriving middle classes. I hope Cleveland does again.

The rest of the collection is top notch and even better when you consider it’s less than its peak population in 1950 (390K from over 900K). The dividends of concentration are the shows of industrial wealth we call centers for the arts. I know of no such analog coming from the as-rich-per-person-on-average splotches of the suburbs. I’d gladly give up a lawn to have access to Leger and Picasso. Cleveland architecture is distinct and borrows from Beaux-Arts and Art Deco through more contemporary styles and each building does a good job of fitting. The square around the art museum is a well arranged but quirky dinner party.

We departed Cleveland and stopped at a strongly endorsed bakery near Oberlin College. Eh. Off to Detroit. Our hosts met us there with slightly-fancier-than-they-normally-have wine in a box and we caught up. The evening ended on an air mattress and its gradual deflation. Another not-quite-working air mattress.

This post was made on 2018-07-26 and is backdated.