On Art And Apes

The Saint Louis Art Museum held a grand opening celebration this weekend for its new wing so naturally where else would you find the Roy clan?

We opted to go Sunday morning under the theory that most of  the god-fearing people of St. Louis would be in church or eating lunch somewhere after lunch. Also, it was a cool, overcast day with showers a constant threat. So those seemed to be optimal conditions for spending the day at Forest Park.

But no. Apparently word got out that I was going to the zoo/museum and by the time we arrived the RRoy St. Louis Freebie Festival Imperative (Question 24 in the F.A.Q.) was in full effect. Everyone in St. Louis converged on the area to make the parking experience a living hell. We eventually made it to the Living World parking lot and were one of the last cars to pull in before it was declared full to capacity.

Made our way to the Art Museum and checked out the new exhibit area which was quite nice. Large space, very airy. The first room featured Byzantine art which The Wife enjoyed. The rest of the space was mostly modern art. More than once along the tour we were confronted with the question: This is Art?

As we all know, 10 percent of modern art is art, 90 percent is a scam perpetuated on snobby suckers by  the art establishment. Seriously, rocks piled up in a circle is art? I don’t usually read the informative panels that accompany art, but it’s always fun to read them in the modern art section because instead of the usual historical information you find on these panels, the modern art ones try to explain to you why it’s art.

There was one pretty cool room dedicated to Pop Art, with a Warhol and a couple of Lichtensteins. It also had a really impressive, life-like sculpture of a Playboy Bunny. Now that’s art.

After wandering around modern art for an hour it was time to go back to the old wing and admire the Monets and Van Goghs before leaving. We hit the hospitality tent afterward for free popcorn, drinks, pencils, dum dums and bubbles. Stay classy, Saint Louis Art Museum. There was an art festival going on in the parking lot (no wonder we couldn’t find a place to park) where The Son painted on a fan and we got more freebies. Because you can never have too many frisbees.


From there we walked back down the hill to the zoo. Got our picnic lunch out of the car and chowed down before checking out the animals. The good thing about going to the zoo on a cool, overcast day is the animals are actually out and active. The bad news is — rain.

We avoided the rain for the most part but it finally caught up with us at the Jungle of the Apes. We found decent shelter there and normally that would be a bad place to wait as the apes are never out. In the many times we have visited the Jungle of the Apes since it opened, we have never seen an ape in the facility. Until today. Five chimps walked in a circle around the site, occasionally stopping to play on the ropes. Even the orangutans were out. And I had become convinced there were no apes at the St. Louis Zoo.

Many other albums were out and frolicking. Normally all you see the lions do is sleep — if you see them at all — and today they were playing with a ball in the pool. It was a surprisingly entertaining day at the zoo. Usually we just go there for the walk and an occasional animal sighting.



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