Contrast

On a warm autumn afternoon, many years from now, two old men sit on a bench together in front of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. They are discussing the Jared Steinberg retrospective they have just seen at the museum.

Daniel, a short, pudgy man who covers his bald head beneath an old hat is grinning from ear to ear. Steinberg is one of his favorite artists and he can no longer contain his enthusiasm. “Man, nobody can paint the sky like that Steinberg could,” he says out loud. “I could sit all day and gaze at those sunsets and oceans. And those musicians… don’t get me started on those musicians. You could just feel the rhythm and movement from those paintings. Oy- what a beautiful show that was! I can’t wait to go back with my grandson to see that show again.”

Albert, his old friend since childhood, had made up his mind long ago about the dead artist and the retrospective did nothing to change his mind. “Ach! No way I’m going to waste my time on that garbage again. I think he was a putz! His paintings, with their skewed perspective… I mean they’re not even like paintings! They’re more like drawings with paint- with their squiggles and curly lines. I wouldn’t even call him a ‘painter’ really. I mean, Danny, if you want to see a great painter, take a look at Edward Hopper or even the old Renaissance painters, like Titian- now they could paint! This Steinberg isn’t even in the same league. I thought the show was very average… yes, very average.” He paused for a moment, looking over at his friend. In a slightly more relaxed tone, he continued, “Though, I sure am looking forward to that Caillebotte show coming up in December. Now that’ll be something to remember!”

As the words dissipated into the afternoon air, the two men sat in silence for a few moments after the exchange, contemplating their memories from the show with no regard to the contrasting opinions made by the other.

“It’s a beautiful day today, isn’t it,” Albert purposefully commented to change the subject.

“Yeah, it sure is,” replied his old friend. And the two of them got up and took a walk in silence, through Central Park.