Some of you may know that we spent the week after Christmas in Southern California. Eight days. Across the country. With a 5-year-old and 10-month-old. It was quite an adventure that, oddly, has us all ready to travel again (for a shorter period of time). Mr. M is leaning toward Pinehurst so that he can golf and I can spa, but I don't think that would be very kid friendly, no matter how we spin it. We have managed to produce at least one intellectually curious child (time will tell with number two). Of course, if you pump him full of sugary treats he goes completely berserk and will make you want to put him in a straitjacket with duct tape over his mouth (did I just say that?). However, even in that frenetic state, there are two things that will snap him to temporary attention. Live music or an art gallery. I'm not making this up. It's very odd, but true.
One day last week while we were at The Cheesecake Factory in Beverly Hills for lunch Mr. M had the brilliant idea (after both of us had ordered off of the reduced calorie menu) that we should all order chocolate cake. Jr., who had behaved perfectly through our meal, looked at me with pleading eyes. Just a few minutes before I had declared, "I'm on vacation! I'm having a glass of wine!" so it felt hypocritical to deny him this treat. Fifteen minutes later, we were walking out of the door, dragging a bouncy, wiggling boy behind us who was now sporting a brown goatee. It was time to walk it off.
As we turned off of North Beverly onto Rodeo, Jr. made a request.
"CAN WE GO SEE THE NICE MAN IN THE UNIFORM BY THE STORE WITH THE GOLD JACKET!!!???"
He was referring to the security guard at North Rodeo with whom he'd had a five minute conversation about race cars the day before. They had giggled together outside of a menswear store that had a blazer in the window that Mr. M had been drooling over. We headed that way to find a different security guard, and as we whisked Junior away before he audibly showed his disappointment, we happened upon Galerie Michael.
We entered and suddenly Jr. was silent. We went upstairs and were approached by the Director of International Affairs, Richard Rice, who immediately sent Jr. on a calm and wide-eyed scavenger hunt for paintings that contained animals. I pushed the stroller through, admiring the Rembrandts and Dalis, enjoying listening to the delight of my now subdued preschooler. Then we were introduced to senior art consultant Lynn Marks, who showed us the surprise of the day.
It turns out that Galerie Michael represents Alexandre Renoir, the great grandson of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In case you didn't know, the Renoirs have been quite busy over the past century or two. Since Pierre-Auguste there have been two actors, a film photographer and two visual artists. Alexandre, born in 1974, resides in California where he produces paintings of brilliant vision and thought-provoking colors. One can stand in front of his work and lose oneself in his interpretation of impressionist painting. We lingered for quite a while taking it all in, and Jr. remained quiet and engaged until the second we walked out of the door (and the sugar monster returned). This may be cause for scientific study. Does art appreciation in children counter the effects of sugar on the bloodstream?
In September Galerie Michael will be hosting an exhibition of Alexandre's work. Visit their website often for details as they arise.