Art for Life’s Sake

Sweet Sixteen, Hannah Wilke, 1977

Another day of Saint Louis tourism, began with a walking tour of the Shaw neighborhood, in particular Flora Place, where Alice and Chris last lived in Saint Louis. Adjacent to the gardens, we actually parked in the garden’s lot, where I found the shadiest of parking spots to comeback to the car to, when the day had gotten hotter. Miniature fairy dioramas seem to have become a thing, with dozens of them setup, up and down the street. We viewed their former home, which still looks rather nice. The grounds all along the boulevard were extremely lush, perhaps too much so, because the mosquitoes soon found me and I had to beat feet in order to avoid being bitten. I soon left sauntering Chris and Anne far behind. The inevitable aftermath of drinking a couple of cups of Starbucks cold brew only further sped me on my way. Eventually, they caught up with me at the garden’s new, temporary visitor’s center.

We toured the garden, in the ever-increasing heat. This summer’s origami there was still ongoing. Unfortunately, many of the other attractions were closed for maintenance. Still, we saw plenty and there was still plenty left unseen, before the siren song of the hunger games and thoughts of a repast began preying upon us. Lunch was at the City Diner, our go to greasy soup on South Grand. After lunch, we headed north on Grand Avenue to the Grand Arts District. All this talk of Grand reminds me of the first Saint Louis centric joke that I ever heard, when I first moved to town. Did you hear about Popeye when he came to Saint Louis? He went down on Olive and thought it was Grand.

In the arts district, we first toured the Contemporary Arts Museum, followed by the Pulitzer. The Contemporary’s exhibit featured some 20+ artists in a show entitled Stories of Resistance. The Pulitzer’s show featured a retrospective of the feminist artist Hannah Wilke (1940-93). We were kind of arted out after that, so I gave everyone a bit of a driving tour back. We dropped Chris off at his hotel for a bit of a siesta and then headed home to do the same. We’ll regroup tonight, for a fancy birthday dinner for myself, how cosmopolitan we’ve become.

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