51 NYC Met Papoose

After her, up walked a young Asian woman and a rugged man with a papoose in which a tiny baby slept on his chest. The man had earnest blue eyes, and wore a diamond stud earring. His thin lips pursed above a firm, blond-stubbled chin. The diminutive woman had flawless skin and wore her hair in ponytails. She was from Tokyo; he was from Louisiana.

"I was [in New York] for a conference," he explained, "and we extended our stay so we could see some museums."

She declared, "Hopper's one of my favorite painters. It's the light and the drawing. You know it's him. And that's a really hard thing to do. His human figures are more like landscapes, like mountains and trees."

He countered, "I like Edward Hopper because there's a static, cool quality, a lack of passion, even when you're looking at something that's full of life. He freezes the moment perfectly. In the lighthouse one, it looks like August, which is a good time of year, but also I'm feeling, 'Summer's going away.' There's something darker coming. It's funny because August is so oppressively humid and hot; people are just desperate for summer to end. And it's more like there's an eagerness and anticipation that in October there'll be a respite."

"There are times that you look at how light plays against different objects at certain times of the day, and you isolate. You say, 'Oh my god. I would never believe that if I saw that in a painting, yet there it is in actuality.' I mean, there are times that I look at the sunset, and I think, like with that sunset section in the painting [Lighthouse at Two Lights], 'My god, there's green and purple and everything sitting side by side.' And yet there it is."

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