I went to the Clark Art Institute yesterday with my Green Cities class, to see the Van Gogh exhibit and explore the grounds. It was extremely crowded, because it was the last day of the exhibit, and that was frustrating. I learned an important thing about myself: as far as I'm concerned, it's not worth the incredibly moving experience of seeing amazing art in person to then deal with the whiplash of frustration when someone walks directly in front of that art and plants themselves in the way to get a closer look at a different fucking painting.
Still, I'm pretty excited to have discovered a new favorite Van Gogh painting, one I'd never seen before: Pine Trees at Sunset. I've attached a picture here, but another discovery I made in the context of this trip is that internet pictures of Van Gogh pieces are categorically untrustworthy. None of them capture just how blue the trees were, but apparently one of the most common images of this painting is one in which they're, like, color-corrected to yellow. The sky is all a kind of brown-orange, too. It's awful. I didn't attach that one.
(On reflection, I wonder if those were accurate pictures taken of the painting before a restoration at some point. Either way, the blue trees in the real painting are beautiful, and the brown/yellow trees in that image are boring and sad.)
This painting is normally in the Netherlands, so I will probably never get another chance to spend time in a room with it, which is a shame because it nearly brought me to tears and I would love to see it without visual obstructions or auditory gunk (which is what I'm calling the non-quiet conversations I overheard about how Van Gogh's work isn't really any good if you get close enough to see all the brushstrokes).
Yesterday was a strange mix of incredible and frustrating experiences. I'm really glad I went; I just wish that basically no one else had had the same idea that day.