Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 25: Omaha

Day 25: Omaha

Walt put everything he knew about communication with images into the park, so it was very familiar.
John Hench

Pics: Hilton $10/day fitness center, many pictures from the Duncan private collection (note DB with Yayoi piece of Naoshima fame and yet another great Butterfield horse), U of Nebraska sculptures (starting with the Viola Frey figure, and including Serra and Roxy Paine) and utility box, pictures of Kaneko dango that THB and DB purchased, giant Kaneko head that THB and DB did not purchase, Hung Liu print under consideration for purchase.

Give the fitness center a go, it is a very nice one and still steep at $10/day. Breakfast of pancakes and sweet yogurt and fruit for THB and cereal for DB, included.

Then to what has to be the true highlight of the trip: 3.5 hours (including lunch) at the Duncan’s house in Lincoln. The sculpture outside the house is varied and very, very good (and well maintained, not easy for outdoor stuff), some of it site specific, some they bought and found a spot for among the 35 acres. Note the David Ireland chair in the midst of a vineyard, there is one outside of the E-ville Ikea too.

We then tour the house, which is packed with terrific pieces everywhere. The collection is mostly eclectic art objects, some paintings and large photographs, a basket collection (we have overlaps), video art, ceramics (mostly small, again some overlaps), few pieces of glass. My favorite piece is a soft, large kimono made of cloth playing cards sown (sp?) together; exquisite, subtle, and enhanced by a deck of similar cards framed nearby. We’ve gone from loft envy to collection envy.

Here’s the advertisement: these trips seem expensive until you realize that the tour goes places you could never go on your own, meet collectors that are way out of your league, and see art in special ways (e.g., with passionate owner, knowledgeable curator) that enhance the pieces beyond what mere rookies can do. And, often, as today, you get to eat a meal (they host!) in the midst of great pieces (the pic of the male figure was just to my right). Lunch: green salad, strawberries and pineapple salad, chicken lasagna, wine (just a touch), and yet another apple tart with whipped cream. Excellent, included.

Back on the bus, regretfully (very regretfully, you should see the stragglers having to be coaxed through the Albert Paley gates (not at all like the Paley Council Bluffs bridge enhancers from yesterday!), and on to the bus. Nobody wants to leave, and the Duncans are very gracious hosts, I think they would let us stay .

We head to the nearby U of Nebraska campus for a tour of the U’s art museum. It is all women, all the time, as they have chosen to highlight the women in their collection. Note the giant Viola Frey ceramic in the foyer. It is there only because of emphasis on women, at the Oakland Museum there is a huge Viola piece right at the main entrance to the art area, she’s a big local favorite, female or not.

Then we get a tour of the sculpture around the museum; note the group heading through the (relatively small) Serra piece. There is a stainless steel tree by Roxy Paine, who we saw when there was a big installation on the top of the Met last year.

Back to Omaha for a self-guided tour of the Kaneko warehouse, there are 4 or 5 couples roaming the aisles. After mulling over a number of pieces, we decide to buy an “elegant” small dango, mostly dark grey wash on top of black rectangles (see pics). Not an easy choice, we pick this one partly because it can go either at loft or beach, and partly because we’ve been so attracted to the white glaze background for so long, it is almost counterprogramming (our oval has the blue running dots on the white background). The giant head (see pics) is a) already sold and b) way too big for any space we have anywhere, anytime. We both love it, look for something like it smaller, doesn’t exist.

Dinner at Hiro 88 is optional, and the entire group opts for one last dinner with the Kanekos. Eclectic menu: half Japanese, half Chinese. Drinks, giant dark beer, edamame, gyoza, spring rolls and one pork cutlet (nothing like the cutlet meals we had in Kyoto, not too good), $80.

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