I’m in the mood for some whimsy. And what better place to find the whimsical than Key West, Florida? I am not there. But, I have photos from the last time I was.
We went to Key West the long way. We drove from Columbus, Ohio through Shenandoah National Park over the Blue Ridge Parkway to Congaree National Park in South Carolina, to Everglades City, to Key West.
I am not one of those people who goes to a city and immediately wants to know where all the art museums and galleries are. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy art. But I’m easily overwhelmed. Even more so when the art is violent and bloody. There are entire eras of art that I prefer not to know about.
The Custom House in Key West might be the only art gallery I’ve ever gone to where I managed to walk through the whole thing and still felt so fascinated, I peeked in at an upcoming exhibit that wasn’t open yet.
What kept me interested was whimsy. If ever there were going to be a place with an art and historical museum full of whimsical wonders, Key West would be the place. Even before we made it inside, we were amused by the life-like sculptures outside performing day-to-day tasks ranging from sweeping trash to taking pictures. We kept getting confused as to who was real and who was art. I guess that means we were all art.
Inside, we found more life-like sculptures, all by Seward Johnson, of scenes from some of the most famous photos ever. Like the WWII guy kissing the girl at the end of the war. Or Marilyn Monroe with her white dress over an air duct in the Seven Year Itch. Can you tell who doesn’t belong in that image?
There were also several sculptures based on famous art. The girl with the pearl earring was there (not pictured) along with The Landlady (based on L’Arlesienne by Van Gogh) who was hanging out on the porch of the Custom House. She was even more amusing because of the plastic outdoor chair positioned on the porch next to her, implying that she had just been visiting with someone.
But, above all, my favorite sculpture was called “Day Dream.” This was a bigger-than-life sculpture of the Matisse painting called “Dance” but with the addition of an adolescent boy laying on the ground as the naked ladies dance in a circle above him. At first, I thought the boy was real, perhaps because there were real people going in and out of the sculpture as well. I thought it was rather bold of a guy to lay on the ground in the middle of a sculpture of dancing naked women. Turns out being bold was what the artist had in mind all along.