For Valentine's Day this year, I purchased a membership to the Frist and booked both this Art After Dark experience as well as the Portraiture class that I blogged about earlier this week. I'm not sure if it's something the fella would have chosen for us, but I do think that he enjoyed our experiences.
We started our evening by sharing an appetizer and having a beer at The Flying Saucer - a very cool bar just across from the museum. We didn't have time to eat a full dinner, so an appetizer would have to serve us in the meantime. The fella let me snap this pic of him while we waited for our order. After a quick bite, we headed over to the museum for our Art After Dark experience. (This was a free opportunity that only required museum admission and registration; since I'd purchased an annual membership, we didn't even have to pay for admission. Parking was discounted for this activity at only $3, so I thought that was a deal too.)
Once we arrived, we waited for the rest of the group. I think there were about 15 people or so with our guide. At first, I thought we were going to walk through the whole exhibit and discuss the pieces, but our guide started with a 5-10 minute intro at the start of the gallery, then we headed into a single room for the rest of our discussion.
Sorry for not having pics of the pieces I'll mention, but photography was not allowed in the exhibit. For more info, you might check out their website. Once in the gallery room she'd chosen, our guide had us play a game where we chose one piece of art in this room to buy, one piece to steal, and one piece to burn - all hypothetically of course. After 5-10 minutes of wandering around and making our choices, we discussed briefly which pieces we chose for each. We were in a room that housed three tapestries, two portraits, and two landscapes. I loved the tapestries, of course, and chose a smaller, vibrant one to buy, a huge, rather muted one to steal, and a rather dull looking landscape to burn. (I'm just not a fan of landscapes as a rule and this particular one had very muddy colors in my opinion.) While not everyone shared his/her choices, a lot of us did, including me.
We had gallery stools to sit on for this portion of the evening, and the fella and I chose a spot in the middle middle - we're not people who like being in the very front or the very back. I have to say that I was THAT student in this experience. You know the one. I asked lots of questions, offered lots of feedback, etc. I was the annoying one - haha. The fella took it all in stride and didn't seem to mind that I was so obnoxiously participatory.
I might not have been the obnoxious kid in class if the piece that the guide focused on hadn't been the huge, muted tapestry that had been my absolute favorite. (So, really, it's all her fault.) I was mesmerized by the details she shared with us and could have talked about that tapestry, and tapestry weaving in general, for much longer than we had. I'd also just recently read The Lady and the Unicorn, a novel about weaving the tapestry by that same name that I saw last summer when I visited the Cluny museum in Paris. Reading that novel sparked several questions I had about weaving tapestries in general as well as the specifics of this particular piece. I was thrilled that my favorite piece was the topic of the evening and that I had so much to say about it. Again, the fella seemed to be happy to let me chatter away and just listen - gotta love that about him. :)
Our lecture/discussion lasted about an hour and a half, so we took another 45 minutes or so to walk through the rest of the gallery and check out the many beautiful pieces. Apparently, this collection has never been exhibited in the USA before, so it's quite a feather in the cap of the Frist Museum to have obtained it. After our stroll, one of the security guards was nice enough to snap a couple of photos of us outside the actual exhibition. This is the photo that I liked best.
Here's a look at the hallway as you enter/leave the museum. It's pretty neat in and of itself; it tells the story of how the building was transformed from the original Nashville post office into the museum.
Much of the building seems to be in its original state, including this very cool metalwork.
By the time we left, it was indeed dark per the name of the activity - haha.
I highly recommend visiting the Frist if you're ever in Nashville. If not, please make sure you go see any exhibits from the House of Alba in Spain. They've been collecting art for more than 600 years now, and it's an amazing group that I was able to view. I learned that the Alba family has a palace in Madrid. I don't know if it's open to the public or not, but I hope to at least be able to capture a glimpse of it when I visit Madrid this summer.