Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Death Dogs at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo at the DIA

Greg and I have been doing a fair bit of museum-hopping lately. (See last week's trip to the Cranbrook Institute of Science.) Despite living in Ann Arbor for nearly 2 years - and nearby Belleville for over 2 - I have been to only one of the free museums of the University of Michigan, the Museum of Natural History, because it has dinosaur bones and my roommate at the time, Kimmy, really likes dinosaurs. I had heard of the art museum and the Stearn Collection of Musical Instruments, but never found time, or interested enough companions, to visit. (For a complete list of UM museums and collections, check this Wikipedia page.)

It somehow escaped my attention all this time that there exists the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. I love archaeology! And the museum is free. (Though, if you can, please make a donation at the entrance.) Greg had noticed banners all around town advertising a special Death Dogs exhibit all about the Egyptian god Anubis and fellow, lesser known jackal-headed deities Wepwawet, Duamutef, and more. We had to go.

The exhibit runs through May 3rd, so there isn't too much time left if you want to go yourself! The permanent exhibit was so absorbing that when we finally made it to Death Dogs, we were informed that the museum closed in 15 minutes. Boo!! We will just have to go back. The special exhibit was a bit small, but packed with information. Greg was disappointed we didn't get the chance to check out the gift shop, as well. Next time, we'll budget at least two hours. Maybe three, just to be safe.


Another show with a limited run time (until July 12th) is the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts. I learned quite a bit from this exhibit, too! I'd had no idea that the pair had such a connection to Detroit. During the 11 months the couple lived there, while Rivera was painting the iconic Detroit Industry fresco cycle, Kahlo suffered a miscarriage, which highly influenced her art. There were a few industrial themed pieces I recognized, but never knew that the industry portrayed was Detroit. (The Ford River Rouge Complex, specifically.) I was delighted by these discoveries! And surprised by the deeper connection I felt to the art and artists.

Strangely - at least we thought so - the DIA set up a taco bar. We stumbled upon it and decided to have lunch since they were also offering margaritas. The tacos were more or less like I used to eat in California with the addition of radishes. I am not a big fan of radishes, but they were good on the tacos. And the margaritas were top-notch! The festive decor and Mexican music were a lovely touch. I really could have sat there all afternoon sipping margaritas, then another hour or two weaving in and out of galleries. Alcohol and art were clearly meant to be together. We didn't have that much time, sadly.

I would love to see this repeated at future shows. Maybe a Polish exhibit with pierogies and vodka? A Jamaican show paired with jerk chicken and rum? I think there is an appeal here. Art, food, and drink. That's a party! 

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