Saturday, June 25, 2011

Detour: Hopping Down Highway 89

If you travel the back road from Wickenberg to Prescott, up the Yarnell Hill, keep an eye out for this stone-faced amphibian -- a hop, skip and a jump past the small town of Congress. "Rocky" as he's affectionately called by the locals, has been perched atop a hill on the west side of Highway 89 since the 1920s, when a nearby homesteader grabbed her two sons and they applied a few buckets of bright green paint to the frog-shaped rock formation. Although the family has long since left the area, nearby townspeople maintain their lovable green mascot, much to the delight of travelers who continue to stop and pose for a photo with the enormous greenback -- including my Uncle Bill and I.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Art or Fashion? You Decide.

I'll be honest. I don't have the greatest appreciation for art. Spending hours in a museum looking at wild contemporary creations or classic paintings by famous artists, like Vermeer or Monet, isn't my cup of tea. However, on my first trip to the Phoenix Art Museum, I discovered that art isn't limited to the traditional mediums of canvas or clay. Fashion, and the collection of Ann Bonfoey Taylor, has its place in the world of art.

Billed as Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoy Taylor, the museum's featured exhibit was a stunning example of form meets function, with style and flair. Ann B. Taylor, who has no connection with the store that resembles her name, was not a famous fashion designer. Although she did for a short time design ski apparel, Ann was a unique American woman who had a passion for fashion, assembling her collection carefully. Whether dressed in day wear, evening wear or sportswear, Ann's wardrobe was both classic and sophisticated, but with a distinct style all her own. Ann's son donated his mother's extraordinary wardrobe to the Phoenix Art Museum, which will serve as the foundation of its fashion design collection.

Although I spent most of my time in Ann's "closet," I did venture into some of the museum's other galleries, including the Thorne Miniature Rooms, Latin American collection and the Modern & Contemporary exhibit. My favorite was the Western American collection, which had a section of works exhibiting the unique landscape, people and history of Arizona, including a painting by my favorite local artist Ed Mell. The museum also included a statue by realist artist Fredric Remington, but nothing from C.M. Russell, whose museum in Great Falls, Mont., I've had the pleasure of touring twice. Note to the Phoenix Art Museum: You should include the works of Charlie Russell.

While I may not be an art enthusiast, the Phoenix Art Museum was a great way to cool off in "style" on a hot Saturday afternoon in Phoenix.