But the video does not include the voice that the museum-goers are hearing. Maira Kalman — who is an interesting author/illustrator — is saying lord knows what. I can only guess from the hints given in the article:
Her narration proffers personal thoughts about art and unexpected aphorisms on mortality.Tell me one!
And the video plays only one song, "Stayin' Alive." That has some "aphorisms about mortality" in it: "Life goin' nowhere/Somebody help me, yeah." More importantly, "Stayin' Alive" mentions the New York Times: "We can try to understand/The New York Times' effect on man."
And woman, it's only fair to say, as this marchin'-through-the-museum bunch is overwhelmingly female.
You know, you can also get an early-morning NYC workout by walking briskly outdoors...
To work on the upper body, carry a paint can.
Paint, ah... Back to the museum.
I'm saying that the video of the museum workout is unlike the real experience described in the text because it lacks the voiceover narration and because it plays only one song. It does appear that "Stayin' Alive" is the kind of song that is played: Elton John is cited in the text.
I don't know which Elton John. One of the peppier ones, I bet.
Maybe: "Crocodile Rock." Maybe "Crocodile Rock" as they are passing one of the museum's many representations of crocodiles, though the article never suggests that the music lyrics are keyed to the visual experience.
Quite the opposite:
The workout, with its pop-rock playlist and jazzercise-y moves, successfully removes any pretense or affected erudition. For one, talking is prohibited. (Kalman, at one point, narrates, “I really hate talking about art.”) And the constant disorientation disallows for higher cognitive thought to occur.So the one quote from Kalman — "I really hate talking about art" — undercuts the promise of "unexpected aphorisms."
I don't really mind people walking briskly through the vast spaces of the Metropolitan Museum. It's good to get the message out that it's one of the best places in the world to take a long indoor walk.
You don't have to look at the art, except in passing, the way you glance into shop windows when you power down the sidewalks. Big museums get very tedious if you think you need to pause and gaze reverently at every piece of art.
I don't mind if the museum lets some people for special off-hours activities. It needs to build its audience and to remind us to come back and relive its grand spaces.
You could make the Metropolitan Museum of Art your regular "workout." A long, brisk walk is good whether you're in some special organized group or not.
Just don't bump into people. Don't annoy people.
And don't knock into the art. When I saw this article, that was my main concern. You shouldn't be thinking I'm getting a workout! while barging around and swinging your arms in the vicinity of artworks.
Since we didn't get any aphorisms on mortality and you've stayed alive until the end of this post, I will give you a photograph I took in the Metropolitan Museum a while back:
Quite a lively sarcophagus, no?
And here — your final reward — an unexpected aphorism:
Yes, man is mortal, but that would be only half the trouble. The worst of it is that he's sometimes unexpectedly mortal—there's the trick!