2007-09-13: ART


Heidi_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Heidi and Nathan observe ART and aren't very good at it. Then they… don't discuss the future. Right now. But look, a butt-print.

Date It Happened: September 13th, 2007



It was sort of a planned trip, mostly for the boys, but Heidi had wanted to come alone, too. So, of course, she dragged Nathan; it was supposed to be a family thing, really, but there was a presentation for kids that Simon and Monty had to see, and the thing was scheduled to last a good couple hours, and after the puppy-dog eyes and the 'Please, mom! I promise I'll watch Monty!' Heidi caved, which left Nathan and Heidi alone.

In an art museum.

A room on the second floor - a rather large area, actually - houses the 'Modern' and 'Post-modern' art. Heidi prefers the normal stuff, but the problem is, she's not exactly sure when the presentation's going to end, and because it's by the modern art gallery, and she promised the boys she'd be waiting here when they got out… They're stuck here. At the moment, she's puzzling over an enormous plain white canvas with a brush of red right in the centre. "How much do you think that cost?" she asks idly

It could be worse. They could be watching the kids presentation thingy instead. Although, Nathan considers, as he glances at the white canvas sporting a blotch of red, that might have been a better alternative. He glances at the little plaque on the wall beside it. It reads:

'An enormous plain white canvas with a brush of red right in the center', by Riadan Marshall, 2005.

Losing will to live.

"At least five bucks," Nathan says, rather seriously, glancing at Heidi. "He wasted a canvas and tried to sell it off as art to cover the cost. They can't cost more than five bucks, right? There isn't a bar in this place, is there?" Where the could at least sit down and wait or something! But he glances around the open space, and for as far as he can see… modern art.

At least the plaque is descriptive. No one would know what it was if it didn't have DIRECTIONS attached. Rolling her eyes, Heidi moves onto the next painting, which is two lumps of black paint against white. They're aligned with the bottom of the canvas, so it really looks like someone sat in a black can of paint, then sat on the canvas. There's no way around the fact that the painting looks like a silhouette of someone's rear end. "You think they're laughing at us?" she asks of the painting. Really, people actually buy this stuff, and the artists must be cracking up all the way to the bank.

"A bar in an art museum?" Hm. Didn't she see something around the wall? She's sure of it. Taking Nathan's arm, she pulls him around to a statue of a butterfly - or is it a moth? Made entirely out of beer cans. "I think they used to, but someone needed it for art," she replies somewhat flatly. The art is behind red ropes - like anyone would try to steal empty beer cans. Maybe someone would knock it over in protest, though - so, probably best to keep the red ropes.

Nathan tilts his head to the side, observing the sculpture. "I guess you would have had to have that much to drink beforehand," he states. He twists his wrist to view his watch, and sighs. They've been here on what's bordering on far-too-long-o'clock, and Nathan's patience is slowly starting to wear thing. But at least his wife is as clueless and cynical to modern art as he is, so, arms still linked, he guides them to the next one.

Another sculpture, a clothes line. Four sweater vests dangle from the lines, each one dyed a brilliant magenta. "So when I'm Senator, I can make laws against these things, right?" he murmurs to her.

Hopefully Simon and Monty are having way more fun than their parents.

She will attempt to salvage this, though! They come here for culture, and dammit, they will get culture! "Maybe it's a statement about… How no one hangs their clothes up to dry anymore, and such bright colours… would… I really have no idea." BLEED IN THE WASH? Heidi shakes her head, biting her lip as she tries to come up with an answer to what these people were thinking. She has a degree in liberal arts, not fine arts. Though she'd hardly call this FINE ART.

"A law? I don't know. You're getting in over your head with that. I'll bet you that all the other senators have modern art hanging on their walls." Looking back at him, she tsks. After all, he can't pass laws without a majority vote, and he'll be hard-pressed to find a majority of people who will vote against contemporary design. Of course, the next painting the come to isn't a painting at all. It's a collection of newspaper clippings, glued onto a canvas. Each one says 'ILLEGAL.

"Oh they do?" Nathan says dryly, as they walk towards the newspaper clippings one. "Maybe I'll just buy the beer can moth statue so I can fit in. We can put it in the middle of the foyer and everything." Because that, that's culture. Coming to stand at this next painting - more of a collage, really - Nathan just eyes it. "I thought art was meant to be pretty," he comments. There's nothing really pretty in this gallery. Not that Nathan really has patience for a lot of art, even classical paintings and Grecian sculptures, the kind he'd expect, but at least that stuff would be identifiable and worth the space it takes up.

The whole gallery is open and uninviting, almost like a hospital in some regard; it has a cold feeling to it, like the gallery itself has been designed to match the detachment of the artwork. "The thing I don't get is that anyone could do this stuff." She looks at a canvas that's primarily red, with just a white streak down one side, and a thinner one down the middle. It's by Barnett Newman. And really, if they gave Simon and Monty a huge canvas and a paintbrush, they could probably do a better job.

"If you really want a beer can moth statue, I'll make one for you." Because Heidi, knowing the rough value of things, imagines that a beer can art statue would cost, oh, somewhere around a bazillion dollars. Roughly.

She bumps Nathan's shoulder, leaning against him briefly. It's not really a cultural experience if everyone's bored to tears, is it? "We need to do something fun next time, like a hockey game. Or the boys are always talking about monster trucks." Pause. "At least they have beer at those, huh?" She's just trying to accomodate Nathan. Really.

"Great, you do that. I'll help you get the supplies," Nathan says, in such a dead serious way that you really do have to be family to know he's joking. He unlinks his arm from hers only to drape his around her shoulders as they walk slowly through the brightly lit, hushed space, where people sort of shamble along like zombies and stare at, say, the butt-print painting for half an hour. It's a little strange, all around. "I wouldn't say no to monster trucks," he agrees. "Not that, you know, this isn't fun. I'm having fun." He pauses them in front of a display of three small TV-screens, each one playing the same footage of rushing water that's filled with soda and beer cans - what is it with cans? - and… it just loops. Over and over. "…why."

The only sign Heidi gives that she knows it's a joke is that slight smile that can only be seen in her eyes. "This isn't fun," she corrects him. They're doing it for the boys. Think of the CHILDREN! Who are probably not as bored as their parents are, here in this gallery of misery. They pass by a trio of red squares on the wall, that Heidi realises is part of the exhibit rather than part of the room decor. WHAT THE HELL.

Ah, but the video art. The all important video art medium before them! "That's amazing," she says, and she doesn't mean 'amazing' in a good way… She means it as 'how is this art, and how did it end up in a New York art gallery!?' Because… Seriously.

"You know, I talked to Peter the other day. I was thinking, now that he's back, we should re-plan that party." Someone only turns forty once in their life, after all, and with Peter gone, Heidi's birthday passed quietly. "Only reason I mention that is because we can bring the beer and get to work on that sculpture."

Just. It's water and cans. And someone filmed it. Why. Nathan just wants to know why, now, and he glances around to see if there is someone with a badge that states 'I work here, ask me why', but alas, there is no such person. He shakes his head minutely, and leads them off at a stroll once more, free hand sliding into the pocket of his steel-grey pinstriped suit jacket. Underneath it is a plain black shirt, no tie for this occasion, obviously.

"Well that's important," Nathan says, glancing at her as they walk and talk. "Sure, whatever you want to do." A pause as he turns something over in his mind. "Who were you thinking of inviting?" Because the friends they had before things started to get crazy, socialites and friends of the family, probably don't mix so well anymore with the people they talk to on a more genuine level nowadays.

"Oh, just a couple people. Doesn't have to be anything huge." Probably Elena, at least. Peter, of course, the boys, NATHAN, Cass, since they'd been planning that crazy spin-the-bottlegame before Peter disappeared. "We could still have it at the beach. It'll be colder, but there'll still be a nice view of the ocean." Rent a little beach house, get a few movies - something comfortable that everyone can enjoy. They can even bring Julius and Caesar along. It will be awesome.

Reaching up to her shoulder, Heidi takes Nathan's hand. "You talk to Pete since he got back?" she questions. She hasn't really asked - in detail - what happened while he was away. She's not sure she wants to know, anyway.

Leading them away from the can-water, she passes by a painting called 'X MARKS THE SPOT,' which is just an 'X' across a print of someone else's artwork.

So a friendlier get-together rather than the champagne and finger-food variety of party. Probably for the best. "That sounds perfect," Nathan says, lightly, and when her hand comes up to touch his, his fingers spread so as to link his with hers in a gentle hold. He sort of scowls at the painting they come across, veering them towards the open space of the floor, because the sculptures piss him off less, for some reason. At least they have some effort put into them. Like this— what is this.

It's a fish tank converted into a huge sort of snow globe - a snow tank, if you will - with an image of a town house in the winter. There's a slight whir as a long scroll of newspaper is slowly fed into a sort of shredder, more of a grater, that pulls newly cut up bits of paper into the tank, where a fan blows them around like fake snow. It's actually somewhat interesting, if more than a little pointless.

Nathan just frowns at it, then glances at Heidi at her question. "…yeah, we've talked," he answers. "A couple of times." Thoughtful, he brushes this thumb over her fingers. "What about you guys, as he said anything to you?"

Nothing fancy - she's not in the mood for fancy. Maybe at some point in her life, she was fascinated with the parties Nathan's family could have, but she's getting older, and playing dress up isn't quite as fun anymore. She came from a farm family, after all. Maybe if she'd grown up surrounded with pretty sparklies, she'd be more willing to make everything a banquet.

"See, there should be more like this," she says of the snow tank. Yes, it's interesting, though it gets monotonous after a while, like all art. How long, after all, can someone watch shredded newspaper? It's marginally more interesting than watching paint dry.

"I found him looking for a gift bag for Elena," she says. "I teased him a little, told him I was glad he was okay. I don't think he wants to tell me what happened, though, and…" There's a pause as she looks at a dribbled paint canvas. That's interesting, too, in its own way… Then she heads over to a glass case with some smaller sculpture. "…I don't know if I want to know all that, Nathan. I worry about you guys enough as it is. All I know is that it wasn't particularly good."

But it's even more interesting than watching paint that's already dried, in Nathan's book. Still, he makes no protest when they move along, not really looking at the items on display anymore. He's too deep in thought for that right now. "I don't want to worry you," he agrees, but he seems unsettled, in a way. Perhaps he'd been gearing up to talk with her about it. "But… there might be some things we should cover." As soon as he says that, he regrets it, and makes a dismissive gesture with his free hand. "I don't know, yet, I haven't thought it all through. This whole future thing is over my head." Which is true, but he's certainly lying about having not thought it through. He has. He just hasn't made any decisions yet.

Heidi doesn't want to shut Nathan out… She just figured it'd be best if she didn't drill him or Peter about it - plus there's the old saying that what you don't know can't hurt you, right? Still holding his hand, she gives it a squeeze. Honesty's been a big part of their relationship lately, and it's only been recently that Heidi's really started to trust Nathan again. There were issues in the past, small tests that she set him up to fail - like telling the kids he could fly. She realises that now, though.

Trust goes both ways, though. If he wants to talk to her, she's there for him - she wont deny him that. "When you're ready," she says quietly, looking down at what looks to be a mass of randomly melted metal in a twisted shape that isn't at all appealing.

Jesus, how do you get ready for 'so honey, I might go insane in the future'? Especially when that drags with it quite a few details that Nathan would be happy to omit from the story, for Heidi's sake. For his own sake, also. He gives a barely audible but agreeable "mm" at her quiet offer, turns his head to kiss her temple, and— leaves it at that. Because he's not about to go into it when they're standing in front of a metalwork sculpture that resembles a sea creature that's been run over by a car.

One that drives underwater, obviously.

Moving on.

"I guess we can't expect Pete to go to the future and come back to tell us everything's a-okay, just keep doing what you're doing," Nathan adds in a lighter tone as they wander— more or less back to where they started, and he glances at his watch again. C'mon, kids, get bored with the— the puppet show or whatever it is you're watching. There'll be hot chocolate in it for you, Nathan promises.

Maybe he'll tell her, maybe he won't. However it works out— "I'm here," she says when he kisses her, gives his hand another squeeze, then lets it go so she can lean over to get a better view of the back of what of the glass-encased sculptures.

But they're back near the brush of red paint in the middle of the canvas again! After awhile, it's possible to see shapes in it! "It's kind of like looking at clouds," she mutters to herself. And luckily, it seems like they're not going to have to stare at it for too much longer.

Simon, dutifully guiding Monty toward the room they're in, waves as he sees his parents. They both look tired. Monty's even rubbing his eyes a little, as if he'd fallen asleep. "Well, they've inherited something," she whispers to Nathan as the kids approach - namely, the fact that no one in the family can appreciate art, it seems.

Nathan snorts a little at Heidi's comment, moving over to greet the kids as they approach. "No child of mine won't appreciate modern art, Heidi," he tells her, sternly, reaching out to take Simon's hand who starts to look a little daunted at the idea of being made to look at MORE art, especially boring GROWN UP art. "Come on, guys, let's go check out the butt-print painting."

Simon perks. "There's a butt painting?"



Nathan shrugs at Heidi, and goes to steer his sons to go and appreciate some culture.

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