Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Santa Fe

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe is surprisingly small, only eight rooms, if I remember correctly, and it's easy to think that there must be more to it, especially for eight dollars. (Indeed, as I was leaving, a man with a broad drawl asked an attendant, "Darlin', is there more someplace?") That the most arresting pieces in the museum were Alfred Steiglitz's photos of O'Keeffe only added to the disappointment.

I tired of Santa Fe after about six hours, so I left. I couldn't find the real town among the Navajo blankets and ceramics and women's clothing stores. The Jean Cocteau Theatre is closed. The Ghost Ranch Presbyterian complex had cut-rate Klaus Oldenburg imitations outside, complete with bright red cherries. The river had no water, but the promenade was still picturesque.

It occured to me that Santa Fe is a honeymoon city, a beautiful place for quiet self-indulgence in a shaded courtyard or hotel room with a breeze on the curtains.

Let me tell you what the city felt like: a traveling carnival, a movie set, Southwestland. Like a paper-maché city; or a computer simulacrum. As if I could find a special door to take me to Florence, or Tomorrowland, or Cinecittà, where the actors may be dressed differently and speak differently, but the soil beneath is all the same.

1 comment:

Johann said...
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