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Collecting Memories

November 16, 2019



Hirschorn Museum, Washington, DC

My internet friends Kizz and Cindy inspired me to visit 100 museums. At the time they proposed this idea, I had visited about 40 museums in my lifetime.

Now I’m up to 91. (If you go to the link, keep scrolling down. You’ll get there). I’m thankful that Kizz and Cindy came up with this very fun challenge.

My mom started taking me to museums when I was a little kid. One early, memorable experience was at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The show featured kinetic art, which in the 1960s was something new and strange to us. When we got to a piece made of styrofoam blocks moving and squeaking together, the noise made me lose my damn mind and launch into a tantrum so epic that it is engraved in Davis family history. I vaguely remember someone doing a fireman carry to remove me from the building.

Despite that early mishap, I eventually made friends with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and have visited many times since. It is a very fine small museum, partially thanks to the wealthy who live in the area. It’s the first place I saw a Monet and an Isamu Noguchi.

That Noguchi sculpure gave me the experience that keeps me going back to museums – that feeling of completely relating to the work so I can feel it in all my bones and also simultaneously lose the experience of self, so the work takes me beyond ordinary reality. It rarely happens, but when it does, it’s like art heroin.

My most memorable museum experience was at the San Diego Museum of Art, where I was so captivated by a wooden Guanyin Bodhisattva that I lost track of time and myself as a separate being and took a trip through time and space and had a mystical experience of mind-meld with the artist, who lived thousands of years ago. It really doesn’t translate well into words. Mystical experiences so rarely do.

So let’s make a list.

Favorite Collection: California impressionists at Crocker Museum, Sacramento
Most Fun: Exploratorium, San Francisco
Closest to My Heart: Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, Santa Ynez, CA (has artifacts from my family)
Coziest: Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, Taos, NM
Most Enthusiastic Volunteers: National Heisey Glass Museum, Newark, OH
Best Gardens: The Huntington, San Marino, CA
Most Annoying Exhibit: Yoko Ono One Woman Show, MOMA, NYC (The SCREAMING!)
Most Inspirational: Bill of Rights at the National Archive, Washington, DC
Most Amazing Museum Overall: Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY


Harwood Museum, Taos, NM


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