Paris | the louvre

The Louvre is definitely a place worth visiting... but only in the morning.

The last time I went to the Louvre, I only saw the outside and only in the morning.  Paris was one of the last cities on that first european trip, and after four weeks of seeing museums we were sick of seeing artwork and wandering museums.  On this trip with my cousin, Sam, she and I went to see the Louvre twice.  First to see it at night and then the following morning to actually explore the museum.

We arrived at the Louvre early in the morning and ate breakfast in line.  The line was quite short so we only waited maybe ten minutes to get in.  When we actually started going through the museum, most of it was considerably empty.  We took our time and looked at all the artwork.  Our first stop was the statues.  Paintings are kind of interesting, but I'm really amazed by these carvings.  How is it that people can make stone look so organic?  It's incredible.  I like that area the best.  By the time we reach the other parts of the museum, it was considerably crowded.  Being scared of crowds, I was not the happiest camper.  At one point a grown man pushed me and tried to knock me out of the way.  He pushed me so hard I would have fallen if not for the crowd of people behind me.  At that point I was done, so Sam and I took a break.

And then we extended our break.  I drank a bottle of Orangina and then a bottle of water. I was thirsty.  And it was extremely crowded in the museum.  Imagine going to sporting event and trying to exit from a single exit.  That's what it was like everywhere in the museum.  I kept on imagining getting trampled on if there was a fire.

There were a handful of pieces of art that were of some significance.  I saw the Mona Lisa, but I wasn't that awed.  To me, the statues in my pictures, like the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo, were much more interesting.

So there's a lesson to be learned.  Go visit the Louvre... it is worth it.  But go when it opens to truly appreciate it.


New York | Looking Through.

For anyone visiting New York I'd suggest visiting the MTA Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn.  The museum features actual subway cars that you walk through and explore.  I especially loved this part of the museum.  When I'm in any subway car (in a museum or actually in transit) I'm always looking through the windows at the ends.  I love the reflections and layers of images.  It makes me think a lot about life.... To get through life I must go through door after door to get to my destination.  In between me and where I want to get are other stages of life.  The end is in sight but there are life stages to go through first.  You can look at these life stages negatively like one might view the reflections as imperfections in these images, or you can take them on as positives that enhance the end experiences...  these end experiences being a successful business or a family or a home.  I'm rambling, but the true thing--the balanced person stays focused on the goal while savoring what's happening in the present.  I suppose this image just kind of made me think of this, a concept I'd like to put into practice here on out.  Maybe the things we think are bad are actually the things the make life so worth living...to feel the confidence of overcoming something or the appreciation of the good times.

Hope for the future, savor the present, whether good or bad.

The Long Lost

I am tremendously proud of my heritage and culture. Knowing that my family had to start from scratch when they moved to the states, I've become so proud of everything they've overcome and accomplished to make a great life for me.  I love to boast about all the things they've done.  My great grandfather who was the first to come to the states in the early, early 1900s and gained his citizenship as a result of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.  My family who is from Chicago and Detroit.  My mother who was born in Mississippi.  My grandfather who was in the Army.  My father who fought in the Vietnam War.  My aging grandmother who volunteers and helps the elderly.  My grandfather who was born on the day of the Harvest Moon (when the moon is red and huge in the autumn).  My great uncle who made House of Tsang Sauce.  And my great uncle, Dong Kingman, who was a famous watercolorist.

Over the years, my sister, Meredith, has searched for his books and publications, many of which are out of print.  I have always been anxious to see his painting in person.  I researched to find some his paintings but never could find them locally.  When my friend visited in September, he suggested we explore the MoMA in San Francisco.  I walked up the stairs to the first level of galleries and immediately spotted Dong Kingman's painting amongst all the other artwork.  I nearly screamed when I saw it.  After all the years of becoming familiar with his work, I was sooooo excited to finally see his work in person.  This was my relative!  woot.

(Below is his painting on display at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco)

This is what Wikipedia has to say about him

Dong Kingman was a Chinese American artist and one of America's leading watercolor masters. As a painter on the forefront of the California Style School of painting, he was known for his urban and landscape paintings as well as his graphic design work in the Hollywood film industry. He has won widespread critical acclaim and his works are included in over 50 public and private collections worldwide, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum; deYoung Museum and Art Institute, Chicago.

During the 1950s, Kingman served as a United States cultural ambassador and international lecturer for the Department of State. In the 1950s and 60's, Kingman worked as an illustrator in the film industry, designing the backgrounds for a number of major motion pictures including "55 Days at Peking" , The Sand Pebbles and the Hollywood adaptation of "Flower Drum Song". Over 300 of his film-related works are permanently housed at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciencesin Beverly Hills, California.

In 1981, Kingman made history as the first American artist to be featured in a solo exhibition following the resumption of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China when the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China hosted a critically acclaimed exhibition that drew over 100,000 people.

p.s. If you were wondering why his name isn't Tsang and instead Dong Kingman.... Kingman is actually the phonetic translation of his Chinese first name, and Dong is the translation of his last name.  (Tsang and Dong in english are the same in Chinese)  In Chinese, one's surname precedes the first name, thus Dong Kingman.

august adventure 17: museum mayhem.

Dance of a Nomad: Day 7, MET and Museum of Natural History, New York, New York I know it's not august anymore and neither am I still on my trip, but I always love to recap my trips.

Despite all my adventures in New York, I've never visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I thought it was too crowded and expensive (which I still kind of think).  I love museums, so I thought it'd be nice to visit anyways.  I chose the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Katy chose the Museum of Natural History.  Although both were filled with a bunch of old stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the museums;  I'm not sure I could spend more time there (we spent maybe a couple of hours at both).

I do, however, love getting lost in museums.  Here in the city (San Francisco, where I'm sitting in a coffee shop writing this post), I love the MoMA and the Asian Art Museum.  I think the Asian Art Museum is the most beautiful building in the city.  It's a former classically designed library with renovations and add-ons in a modern architectural language.  I would get married there if the whole forest thing doesn't work out for me.

Travel.

I've had the luxury and opportunity to travel to many of the places I've wanted. And although I haven't traveled completely by myself.... I have spent a lot of my time traveling alone. I almost take it for granted because I figure when people envy that I travel, I envy that they have jobs and stability. It's a win/win situation, I think.

Recently, I've really been convicted. My dad is likely to go to Sicily for work for three weeks. He'll probably be missing Thanksgiving. If you know my dad, he loves the holidays and being with family, so I know this business trip will be hard for him. He has the opportunity to look all through Sicily and even travel around Italy after the trip. The thing is... he doesn't want to travel alone, so although I know my dad would love to see all the sights of Rome, Florence, Venice... etc. he probably won't be able to because he wants to take in the scenery with some company. With that said... I wish that I wasn't traveling when he was, so that I could go with him so he could appreciate all of Italy. So sad... I know.

Just so you know..... my thirst for new things, musicals, the arts, museums.... it's all from my dad. I wish he could travel more.