I've grown up being taken to museums everywhere I went. A Vermeer on display at the Hague captivated me. So did the small square pink canvas I watched being painted by an artist on the streets of Montmartre over a decade ago and brought home to display on my bookshelf where it sits still, a study on a staid flower-arrangement enlivened by the violent sunflowers I watched him slash on as an inspired afterthought. An aquamarine image of lotuses (my favorite flower; my namesake) hanging by our table at a restaurant became a birthday gift one year, and it hangs on my bedroom wall alongside the oil painting made for me by a close friend of a vintage Barbie doll with my black hair, red lips and an icy gaze.
So, when my parents invited me to accompany them to the High Museum one night to see the new Modern Masters: Picasso to Warhol exhibit, I couldn’t decline. I put on a black dress and my favorite shoes and met them in the city. I had been to the museum countless times before, but this night was a little unusual. The museum was closed for the evening, and we were attending a private event. When we walked up to the entrance, there were men wearing suits and women wearing black dresses like mine scattered throughout the room. I meandered through the museum's galleries (which seemed to have grown in the absence of crowds) holding a glass of red wine and nibbling on potato gratin and roast beef.
The array of paintings was extensive. Picasso, Matisse, Warhol’s Marilyn portraits and soup cans, Pollack’s 1A, and a progression of Mondrian’s deconstructed landscapes, among so many others. A dossier took us through the exhibit and it was wonderful to be in the empty museum with all the time I needed in front of each piece.
I went home. I was faced with some spare time and lingering images of the exhibit. I decided to bake cupcakes.
I delivered them the next morning, but not before quizzing my friends. I posted pictures of each cupcake to Twitter challenging my followers to guess their respective inspirations. My friends are impressive—answers were immediate, enthusiastic, and accurate.