August 18, 2012

Marquee Marc & the Philharmonic Bunch

Last Saturday, I had a fantastic day of art and culture with my dear friend Marquis McCheever. After meeting up at my house around noon, we hopped in the Santa Fe and headed over to the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor. Currently on display throughout the museum's two floors is a vast exhibit of the works of Marc Chagall. This boldly colorful and gravity-defying art drew in my eye the moment I stepped into the first gallery. Filled with symbols such as flowers (life) and roosters (virility), the museum's lower level houses a range of Chagall's work from some of his earliest pieces up to the very last painting of his life -- an image of Job, which he painted at age 98. As I browsed through these beautiful galleries, I found many ideas that keep recurring in Chagall's art such as circus motifs and crucifixion scenes. While standing in front of one of Chagall's more famous crucifix paintings, Mr. McCheever made an insightful observation about me: "I can tell by the way you live that you're a follower of Jesus, not a follower of the followers of Jesus." At first, it sounded like a bit of a paradox, but then I think I began to understand what he was saying. If someone sees me as reflecting God's love by example through actions and not by words alone, I'm very pleased with that and I have to take it as a compliment.

Le clown vert, 1970-75

Femme ane, 1927-28

Les maries au cirque, 1965

Crucifixion en jaune, 1975-80

La famille et le coq, 1978

Les chardons, 1931

Roi David jouant a la harpe, ND

Moujik rouge, 1960

L'ane vert au cirque, 1978

Le village fantastique, 1968-71

Maries au dessus du bouquet, 1970-75

Le peintre et son monde, 1969

Job, 1985

The upper level of the museum features several rooms of Marc Chagall's Bible etchings. These show well-known scriptures from the Old Testament depicted in marvelous works of art. As Marc Chagall himself explains: “The Bible is life, an echo of nature, and this is the secret I have endeavored to transmit."

"And Pharaoh said unto Joseph,
I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it:
and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand
a dream to interpret it."

~Genesis 41:15

"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him
in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked,
and, behold, the bush burned with fire,
and the bush was not consumed."

~Exodus 3:2

"And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord 
in the presence of all the congregation of Israel,
and spread forth his hands toward heaven."

~1 Kings 8:22

"Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine,
and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof,
and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines
saw their champion was dead, they fled."

~1 Samuel 17:51

"So David went and brought up the ark of God
from the house of Obededom into the city of David
with gladness."

~2 Samuel 6:12

"So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron;
and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord:
and they anointed David king over Israel."

~2 Samuel 5:3

"In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon
in a dream by night: and God said,
Ask what I shall give thee."

~1 Kings 3:5

In the evening, after Marquis had given me some much needed tech help with my wireless router, we were out again to Heckscher Park in Huntington. On the main stage, the Arts Council was hosting its finale for the 2012 series. The Long Island Philharmonic under the musical direction of David Stewart Wiley was giving a concert under the stars. As twilight began to ebb, I sat on the lawn with soda in hand, listening to music from Mozart, Beethoven, and Berlioz. Also on the program was "The Toreador Theme" from Bizet's "Carmen," themes from Star Trek, and selections from "The Sound of Music." As an encore, Mr. Wiley brought the children on to the stage to be guest conductors. I looked over at McCheever several times during the concert and I noticed that he had been brought to tears by the power of the music. When I asked him later about what he had taken away from this Saturday with the arts, he replied, "A feeling that I have no excuse not to go out there and do something productive for humankind. I was inspired, refreshed, revitalized with new vision toward the future." It was definitely a day of good vibrations. Cheers!

"He who guards his lips guards his life,
but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."

~Proverbs 13:3