Can’t stop looking


There is something about monumental architecture that strikes the deepest chord in the human heart.  Cathedrals, state capitols, palaces – we cannot stop looking.

A subset of monumental architecture is almost-monumental architecture: regional museums,  1920s movie houses, urban main libraries. 

This picture was taken in Tampa, which has brilliantly set several of its museums around a grand sweeping plaza on its river walk.  The most stunning of those is the Tampa Museum of Art.  Saying that this museum makes a great deal of its small footprint is like saying that Santa does a fairly good job with Christmas.  Perhaps the easiest way to explain it would be to say that it packs a wallop.

The artworks on display are few in number and modest in impact (and also you are not allowed to photograph them – sigh, tapping foot).  You can explain it in modernist terms:  it’s a lot of concrete and some windows.  But the concrete is beautifully sleek and silken, and the windows are either huge expanses of glass or harmonious sets of rounds.  (Sets of rounds are a theme, in fact – see this earlier image of Molly Porter’s purse on the museum balcony.)  It’s all so rhythmic – just being in there is exhilarating.  This space rushes past modernism and reaches into the deepest, most universal part of you. The space, not the art, is the star, it is that which rules, and that’s fine with me.

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