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  • stephenjrountree

Spotlight On My Favorite Places: The Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is a free museum in an industrial power building that used to power London with electricity and in my opinion and in that of the association of lame metaphor's still does.

Here's where I narrow my eyes at you, though, because it never fails that somebody you're with will walk into a modern art museum and say, “I just don't get it. I mean I could do that.”

Do you remember in The Devil Wears Prada when Andy scoffed when they were trying to pick out a belt and Miranda gave her that nice little dressing down about how her blue lumpy sweater that she wasn't taking herself too seriously in was actually picked out for her by the people in this room. Same thing, except with Freud.

So here's my theory of doing modern art. Well, actually, it's Albert Einstein’s theory, who said about Relativity that, “When you sit with a pretty girl for two hours you think it's only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it's two hours. That’s relativity.” And that, I add, is modern art.

The Tate Britain and its classical paintings is the pretty girl you spent two hours with. So now put your hand on the hot stove. I look for a piece to burn my subconscious in a way that makes me yank it away. Whenever this happens, whether it's your first painting and you question why the color orange extracted memories of your childhood, or if it happens on the fifth floor with a Monet’s Waterlilies, it's time to go.

Head for the top of the Tate Modern (floor ten of the Blavatink building), where an observation deck is about as close to the Empire State Building experience as you can get in London.

On floor six of the Boiler Room building there's also a cafe with beer and coffee and a directly-across-the-river view of St. Paul’s. Hard to beat that in the world.

The drink will help if whoever you are traveling with has not accepted the inevitability of modern art. If any artist tried to do a painting of the Madonna with a Halo and the Christ child, they’d be called a wanna be, at best, and more likely a prat, because it’s been done, by the best that ever did it. Art had to change. It’d been done. You’ll need a second drink when said individual, speaking of inevitability, repeats the tiresome phrase, “I mean, I could do that. I could paint that.” I’ve found it best to say, “You know what we should do? We should get some canvases and set them up by the Thames and try it,” and that usually silences the tiresome talking points.

If it doesn’t, what a fun evening with paint and canvasses by the Thames that would be.

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