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"It's more about contemplating the notion of a being or a world that is beyond the one that I'm inhabiting."
82nd & Fifth invites 100 curators from across the Museum to talk about 100 works of art that changed the way they see the world.
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82nd Airborne Division
The 82nd Airborne Division has had its share of famous soldiers from Sergeant Alvin C. York to General James M. Gavin. But that’s not what the 82nd is really about. The real story of the 82nd is the thousands of unnamed paratroopers in jump boots, baggy pants and maroon berets, who have always been ready and willing to jump into danger and then drive on until the mission was accomplished.
The 82nd has become so well known for its airborne accomplishments, that its proud World War I heritage is almost forgotten.
The 82nd Infantry Division was formed August 25, 1917, at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Since members of the Division came from all 48 states, the unit was given the nickname “All-Americans,” hence its famed “AA” shoulder patch.
In the spring of 1918, the Division deployed to France. In nearly five months of combat the 82nd fought in three major campaigns and helped to break the fighting spirit of the German Imperial Army.
The 82nd was demobilized after World War I. For more than 20 years the “All-American Division” would live only in the memories of men who served in its ranks during the Great War.
With the outbreak of World War II, the 82nd was reactivated on March 25, 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana under the command of Major General Omar N. Bradley.
On August 15, 1942, the 82nd Infantry Division became the first airborne division in the U.S. Army. On that date, the All-American Division was redesignated the 82nd Airborne Division.
In April 1943, paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division set sail for North Africa under the command of Major General Matthew B. Ridgway to participate in the campaign to puncture the soft underbelly of the Third Reich.
The Division’s first two combat operations were parachute and glider assaults into Sicily and Salerno, Italy on July 9 and September 13, 1943.
In January 1944, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which was temporarily detached from the Division to fight at Anzio, earned the nickname “Devils in Baggy Pants.” The nickname was taken from an entry made in a German officer’s diary.
While the 504th was detached, the remainder of the 82nd was pulled out of Italy in November 1943 and moved to the United Kingdom to prepare for the liberation of Europe.
With two combat jumps under its belt, the 82nd Airborne Division was now ready for the most ambitious airborne operation of the war, Operation NEPTUNE-the airborne invasion of Normandy. The operation was part of Operation OVERLORD, the amphibious assault on the northern coast of Nazi-occupied France.
In preparation for the operation, the division was reorganized. Two new parachute infantry regiments, the 507th and the 508th, joined the division, Due to its depleted state following the fighting in Italy, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment did not take part in the invasion.
On June 5-6, 1944, the paratroopers of the 82nd’s three parachute infantry regiments and reinforced glider infantry regiment boarded hundreds of transport planes and gliders and, began the largest airborne assault in history. They were among the first soldiers to fight in Normandy, France.
By the time the All-American Division was pulled back to England, it had seen 33 days of bloody combat and suffered 5,245 paratroopers killed, wounded or missing. The Division’s post battle report read, “ days of action without relief, without replacements. Every mission accomplished. No ground gained was ever relinquished.”
Following the Normandy invasion, the 82nd became part of the newly organized XVIII Airborne Corps, which consisted of the U.S. 17th, 82nd, and 101st Airborne Divisions.
In September, the 82nd began planning for Operation MARKET-GARDEN in Holland. The operation called for three-plus airborne divisions to seize and hold key bridges and roads deep behind German lines. The 504th now back at full strength rejoined the 82nd, while the 507th went to the 17th Airborne Division.
On September 17, the 82nd Airborne Division conducted its fourth combat jump of World War II into Holland. Fighting off ferocious German counterattacks, the 82nd captured its objectives between Grave and Nijmegen. Its success, however, was short-lived because the defeat of other Allied units at Arnhem.
The gateway to Germany would not open in September 1944, and the 82nd was ordered back to France.
Suddenly, on December 16, 1944, the Germans launched a surprise offensive through the Ardennes Forest which caught the Allies completely by surprise. Two days later the 82nd joined the fighting and blunted General Von Runstedt’s northern penetration in the American lines.
Following the surrender of Germany, the 82nd was ordered to Berlin for occupation duty. In Berlin General George Patton was so impressed with the 82nd’s honor guard he said, “In all my years in the Army and all the honor guards I have ever seen, the 82nd’s honor guard is undoubtedly the best.” Hence the “All-Americans” became known as “America’s Guard of Honor.”
The 82nd returned to the United States January 3, 1946. Instead of being demobilized, the 82nd made its permanent home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and was designated a regular Army division on November 15, 1948.
Life in the 82nd during the 1950s and 1960s consisted of intensive training exercises in all environments and locations to include Alaska, Panama, the Far East and the continental United States.
In April 1965, the “All-Americans” were alerted for action in response to the civil war raging in the Dominican Republic. Spearheaded by the 3rd Brigade, the 82nd deployed to the Caribbean in Operation POWER PACK. Peace and stability was restored by June 17, when the rebel guns were silenced.
But three years later, the 82nd Airborne Division was again called to action. During the Tet Offensive, which swept across the Republic of Vietnam in January 1968, the 3rd Brigade was alerted and within 24 hours, the brigade was enroute to Chu Lai. The 3rd Brigade performed combat duties in the Hue-Phu Bai area of the I Corps sector. Later the brigade was moved south to Saigon, and fought battles in the Mekong Delta, the Iron Triangle and along the Cambodian border. After serving nearly 22 months in Vietnam, the 3rd Brigade troopers returned to Fort Bragg on December 12, 1969.
During the 1970s, Division units deployed to the Republic of Korea, Turkey and Greece for exercises in potential future battlegrounds.
The Division was also alerted three times. War in the Middle East in the fall of 1973 brought the 82nd to full alert. Then in May 1978, the Division was alerted for a possible drop into Zaire, and again in November 1979, the Division was alerted for a possible operation to rescue the American hostages in Iran.
On October 25, 1983 elements of the 82nd were called back to the Caribbean to the tiny island of Grenada. The first 82nd unit to deploy in Operation URGENT FURY was a task force of the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.
On October 26 and 27, the 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry and the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry, with support units deployed to Grenada. Military operations in Grenada ended in early November.
Operation URGENT FURY tested the Division’s ability to deploy as a rapid deployment force. The first aircraft carrying division troopers touched down at Point Salinas 17 hours after notification.
In March 1988, a brigade task force made up of two battalions from the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment conducted a parachute insertion and airland operation into Honduras as part of Operation GOLDEN PHEASANT. The deployment was billed a joint training exercise, but the paratroopers were ready to fight. The deployment of armed and willing paratroopers to the Honduran countryside caused the Sandinistas to withdraw back to Nicaragua. Operation GOLDEN PHEASANT prepared the paratroopers for future combat in the increasingly unstable world.
On December 20, 1989, the “All-Americans,” as part of Operation JUST CAUSE, conducted their first combat jump since World War II onto Torrijos International Airport, Panama. The paratroopers’ goal was to oust a ruthless dictator and restore the duly-elected government to power in Panama. The 1st Brigade task force made up of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, parachuted into combat for the first time since World War II. In Panama, the paratroopers were joined on the ground by 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment which was already in Panama. After the night combat jump and seizure of the airport, the 82nd conducted follow-on combat air assault missions in Panama City and the surrounding areas.
The victorious paratroopers returned to Fort Bragg on January 12, 1990.
But seven months later the paratroopers were again called to war. Six days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the 82nd became the vanguard of the largest deployment of American troops since Vietnam.
The first unit to deploy to Saudi Arabia was a task force comprising the Division’s 2nd Brigade. Soon after, the rest of the Division followed. There, intensive training began in anticipation of fighting in the desert with the heavily armored Iraqi Army.
The adage, or battle cry picked up by the paratroopers was, “The road home…is through Baghdad.”
On January 16, 1991, Operation DESERT STORM began when an armada of Allied war planes pounded Iraqi targets. The ground war began almost six weeks later. On February 23, the vehicle mounted 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers protected the XVIII Airborne Corps flank as fast-moving armor and mechanized units moved deep inside Iraq. A 2nd Brigade task force was attached to the 6th French Light Armored Division becoming the far left flank of the Corps.
In the short 100-hour ground war, the vehicle mounted 82nd drove deep into Iraq and captured thousands of Iraqi soldiers and tons of equipment, weapons and ammunition.
After the liberation of Kuwait, the 82nd began its redeployment back to Fort Bragg with most of the Division returning by the end of April.
Following the Division’s return and subsequent victory parades, the troopers began to re-establish some of the systems that had become dormant during their eight months in the desert. On top of the list was the regaining of individual and unit airborne proficiency and the continuation of tough and realistic training.
In August 1992, the Division was alerted to deploy a task force to the hurricane-ravaged area of South Florida and provide humanitarian assistance following Hurricane Andrew. For more than 30 days, Division troopers provided food, shelter and medical attention to a grateful Florida population, instilling a sense of hope and renewed confidence in the military.
On the 50th anniversary of the Operation MARKET-GARDEN, the 82nd again answered the nation’s call and prepared to conduct a parachute assault in the Caribbean nation of Haiti to help restore democracy. With the troopers aboard aircraft heading towards the island, the defacto regime capitulated, and the Division was turned back to Fort Bragg.
82nd Airborne Division paratroopers were among the first ground troops sent into the war-torn Kosovo region of the Balkans in Summer 1999, when the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment moved in from neighboring Macedonia. They were followed shortly by the 3d Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, who themselves will be followed by the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment in January 2001 as part of regular peacekeeping operation rotations.
When America was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush called upon the American military to fight global terrorism. 82d soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and the Central Command Area of Responsibility to support combat operations.
In June 2002 the 82nd Airborne’s Task Force Panther, comprised of elements from the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment and other 82nd units, deployed to the Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Task Force Devil, comprised of the 504th PIR and other 82nd elements, replaced Task Force Panther in January 2003, where they currently maintain the division’s mission until further notice.
In February of 2003, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), deployed along with the Division Headquarters to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Division conducted sustained combat operations throughout Iraq and the CENTCOM area of operations. In May 2003 the Division Headquarters returned to Fort Bragg. The 2nd BCT remained in Iraq attached to the 1st Armored Division and continued to conduct combat operations. The Division Headquarters along with the 3rd BCT and elements of the DIVARTY, DISCOM, Aviation, and separate battalions returned to Iraq in August of 2003 to continue command and control over combat operations in and around Baghdad. In January 2004 the 1st BCT deployed to conduct combat operations in OIF. The 2nd BCT redeployed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in February. The Division Headquarters was relieved by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Division in March of 2004 and the remaining 82nd forces in Iraq redeployed to Fort Bragg, NC by the end of April 2004. For the first time in two years all of the Division’s units were returned to home station.
In September of 2004, the 82nd’s DRF-1, 1-505 was deployed to support OEF 6 in support of JTF-76 and the Afghnistan elections. The TF redeployed in October 2004.
In December 2004, the 82nd’s 1-17th Cav, TF 2-325 and TF 3-325 deployed to Iraq in support of the Iraqi national elections. They started their redeployment to Fort Bragg in March 2005.
Today, as they have in recent deployments and throughout the division’s history, the troopers who wear the red, white and blue patch of the 82nd Airborne Division continue to form the cutting edge of the United States strategic combat force.
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Bodhisattva, (Sanskrit), Pali bodhisatta (“one whose goal is awakening”), in Buddhism, one who seeks awakening (bodhi)—hence, an individual on the path to becoming a buddha.
In early Indian Buddhism and in some later traditions—including Theravada, at present the major form of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and other parts of Southeast Asia—the term bodhisattva was used primarily to refer to the Buddha Shakyamuni (as Gautama Siddhartha is known) in his former lives. The stories of his lives, the Jatakas, portray the efforts of the bodhisattva to cultivate the qualities, including morality, self-sacrifice, and wisdom, which will define him as a buddha. Later, and especially in the Mahayana tradition—the major form of Buddhism in Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan—it was thought that anyone who made the aspiration to awakening (bodhicittotpada)—vowing, often in a communal ritual context, to become a buddha—is therefore a bodhisattva. According to Mahayana teachings, throughout the history of the universe, which had no beginning, many have committed themselves to becoming buddhas. As a result, the universe is filled with a broad range of potential buddhas, from those just setting out on the path of buddhahood to those who have spent lifetimes in training and have thereby acquired supernatural powers. These “celestial” bodhisattvas are functionally equivalent to buddhas in their wisdom, compassion, and powers: their compassion motivates them to assist ordinary beings, their wisdom informs them how best to do so, and their accumulated powers enable them to act in miraculous ways.
Bodhisattvas are common figures in Buddhist literature and art. A striking theme in popular literature is that of the concealed greatness of the bodhisattvas. In numerous stories ordinary or even distinctly humble individuals are revealed to be great bodhisattvas who have assumed common forms to save others. The lesson of these tales is that, because one can never distinguish between paupers and divinities, one must treat all others as the latter. In popular folklore bodhisattvas appear as something like saviour deities, a role they acquired both through the evolution of earlier ideas and through fusion with already existing local gods.
A particularly important mythology in East Asia is that of Dharmakara. According to the Pure Land Sutra, Dharmakara was a bodhisattva whose vows were realized when he became the Buddha Amitabha. Pan-Buddhist bodhisattvas include Maitreya, who will succeed Shakyamuni as the next buddha in this world, and Avalokiteshvara, known in Tibet as Spyan ras gzigs (Chenrezi), in China as Guanyin (Kuan-yin), and in Japan as Kannon. Although all bodhisattvas act compassionately, Avalokiteshvara is considered the embodiment of the abstract principle of compassion. Bodhisattvas of more localized importance include Tārā in Tibet and Jizō in Japan.
The Bodhisattva's Appearance
There are more than 30 iconographic representations of Avalokiteshvara in Buddhist art. These are distinguished by the number of heads and arms the bodhisattva displays, the bodhisattva's body position, and by what is carried in the bodhisattva's hands.
In some schools, Avalokiteshvara is thought to be a manifestation of Amitabha Buddha, who represents mercy and wisdom. There is often a small figure of Amitabha gracing the bodhisattva's head. This Buddha may hold a lotus, mala beads, or a vase of nectar. He may be standing, in meditation, or seated in a "royal ease" pose.
The bodhisattva often has multiple heads and arms, which symbolize his limitless capacity to perceive suffering and to help all beings. According to legend, when Avalokiteshvara first heard the suffering of the world his head burst from pain. Amitabha, his teacher, took the pieces of his head and remade eleven heads in its place. Then Amitabha gave Avalokiteshvara a thousand arms with which to ease all suffering.
The origins of the 82nd Airborne Division are tied to World War I when they were constituted in the National Army on 5 August 1917 and were organized on 25 August 1917, at Camp Gordon , Georgia as 82nd Division. Since the unit’s initial members came from all 48 states, the unit acquired the nickname “All-American“, which is the basis for its famed “AA” shoulder patch.
Through history, many soldiers went through the unit and one of the units most famous soldiers include Sergeant Alvin C. York, General James M. Gavin, Dave Bald Eagle (grandson of Chief White Bull), Senator Strom Thurmond (325th GIR in World War II), Senator Jack Reed, and Congressman Patrick Murphy (the first Iraq War veteran elected to Congress) and many others.
To honor the 1944 Waal assault river crossing made by the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 307th Engineer Battalion (Airborne) during Operation Market Garden in World War II, an annual Crossing of the Waal competition is staged on the anniversary of the operation at McKellars Lake near Fort Bragg. The winning company receives a paddle. The paddle signifies that in the original crossing, many paratroopers had to row with their weapons because the canvas boats lacked sufficient paddles.
World War II
The 82nd Division would gain its reputation in the next war. Recalled for World War II in March of 1942, the Division was re-designated as the 82nd Airborne Division the following August. The 82nd Airborne Division has become the first airborne division in the United States Army, before the 101st Airborne Division. During WWII the 82nd Airborne Division made their name through parachute assaults and combat jumps into Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, and Holland. At the battle of Anzio in Italy, a German officer gave the paratroopers one of their many nicknames when he referred to them as “those devils in baggy pants.”
U.S. paratroopers fix their static lines before a jump before dawn over Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944, in France. (AP Photo/Army Signal Corps)
Korean and Vietnam wars
The 82nd Airborne Division didn’t experience combat in the Korean War. They were shifted to the United States strategic reserve and rapid deployment force . In January of 1968, during the Tet Offensive, the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division was alerted and en route to Chu Lai within 24 hours.
82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam (Photo: XY)
The 82nd stayed in Vietnam for 22 months of direct combat. The All-Americans fought in the Hué – Phu Bai area, and then later fought heavy battles in the Mekong Delta, the Iron Triangle, and along the Cambodian border. The 3rd Brigade returned to Fort Bragg in December of 1969.
Peacekeeping and War on terror
As the most highly trained light infantry division in the world, the 82nd Airborne Division has participated in practically every potential combat deployment of the U.S. Army since Vietnam. They fought in Grenada in 1983, Honduras in 1988, the invasion of Panama in 1989, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and into Iraq in 1990-91, Bosnia in 1995, Kosovo in 1999, Afghanistan in 2002, and the invasion of Iraq in early 2003. As of 2007, elements of the 82nd Airborne Division are on rotation to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and Iraqi army soldiers board a Marine Corps CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter in Camp Ramadi, Iraq, 2009 (Photo: XY)
The soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division continued to support US operations worldwide including engagements against Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) in Iraq where the operational parts ere engaged into the program of the train and advise for Iraqi troops.
Fort Bragg Reservists Adopt ‘AA’ Patch Of The 82nd Airborne Division
Embroidered, backed in Velcro and steeped in 99 years of storied military history, the patch is simple.
A local Army Reserve unit, the 824th Quartermaster Company, formally adopted the familiar “AA” of the All American 82nd Airborne Division in a ceremony Saturday on Fort Bragg&aposs Stang Field.
The patch symbolizes the partnership between the unit and the 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade, which have been paired as part of an Associated Units program announced by Army leaders earlier this year. The program links 28 active and Reserve units based on geographic location and capability gaps.
At Fort Bragg, the program will allow the 824th&aposs parachute riggers to work more closely with those belonging to the 82nd Airborne. That will help fill a shortage in available parachute riggers, but also help ensure the Reserve soldiers remain ready to deploy, if needed.
That partnership won&apost officially start until next month, but Saturday, officials said the units were far from strangers.
Lt. Col. Jeremy St. Laurent, commander of the 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, said the unit began working with their active duty counterparts on a daily basis in April, and conducted annual training with the 82nd Airborne this summer.
In that time, they have ensured the 82nd Airborne Division has been able to continue to train, even as its forces have been spread around the globe for special training events.
At the same time, nearly two dozen of the soldiers have prepared for an upcoming deployment to support U.S. Central Command operations in the Middle East.
“They are not strangers,” St. Laurent said, calling them one of the best aerial delivery companies anywhere in the Army.
Capt. Hung Truong, commander of the 824th, was one of the first to don the 82nd Airborne patch. He leads the roughly 120 soldiers of the unit and previously said he expects more and better opportunities to train to come from the partnership.
“We&aposre riggers and we pack chutes and guess what, the 82nd jumps all the time,” Truong said. “This relationship works out well for us. It just makes sense.”
The 824th Quartermaster Company includes parachute riggers, drivers, food service workers, mechanics and supply troops.
Standing on Stang Field, outside the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum, they wore their maroon berets and bright red rigger ball caps.
At the order “Don patch,” the formation erupted with the sound of tearing Velcro as the soldiers reached into their shoulder pockets and affixed the 82nd Airborne patch to their uniforms.
According to officials, the “AA” patch is nearly as old as the 82nd Airborne Division itself.
The unit was created in 1917, comprised of troops from a wide variety of backgrounds. They included immigrants who could barely speak English, but also soldiers from every state – 48 at the time.
That earned the division the nickname “All Americans” and soon, its soldiers were sewing the “AA” onto the unit&aposs original patch – a red square with a blue circle in the middle.
Soldiers have worn the patch in every conflict since World War I.
Col. Matt McFarlane, the 82nd Airborne&aposs deputy commander for operations, said the patch shows that, no matter active duty or Reserve, the soldiers are one team.
Spc. Ronald Turner provides overwatch protection from atop a hill while other members of his platoon search a village in Mianashin, Afghanistan Oct. 1
He said similar patching ceremonies have taken place with other units in the Associated Unit program, with Reserve and Guard units adopting active duty patches and vice versa.
“The importance of today&aposs event can&apost be overstated,” McFarlane said. “We are one Army.”
More than a decoration, he said the patch is a symbol of the unit&aposs history.
“It symbolizes a lot,” McFarlane said. “The lineage of this great division brings a lot to what we do every day. We look towards our history as we prepare for the future.”
The Bodhisattva Maitreya , Late 8th century A.D.
The earliest surviving Buddhist images in Southeast Asia, dating from the fourth and fifth centuries A.D., were the bronzes brought from India and Sri Lanka by merchants and monks. The first locally made images date to the sixth century and demonstrate that regional styles were already developing. One of these regional styles is represented by a group of bronzes unearthed in 1964 in the base of an abandoned temple in the village of Prakhon Chai, in northeast Thailand.
This graceful sculpture is one of the largest and most beautiful of the hoard. The four-armed bodhisattva—one of the divine beings who put off their own final nirvana to assist mankind—can be identified as a Maitreya, the bodhisattva of the future, on the basis of the small stupa (a venerated Buddhist structure) located at the base of his coiffure. The four arms indicate his divinity and represent a multiplicity of powers. Very different from the typical Indian bodhisattva images, which are dressed in skirts, flowing scarves, and abundant jewelry, this figure has a slender, bare body, clothed only in a short garment covering the loins, in a manner more characteristic of Cambodian art. The scanty clothing, lack of jewelry, and unkempt hair indicate that this sculpture represents a bodhisattva-ascetic, one who practices austerities in order to attain spiritual enlightenment.
Art Is Long? So Are the Lines
Last weekend was immaculate, a pair of sunshine-splashed days when the breeze and the light combined in a way that told every winter-worn New Yorker that spring was finally here. In short, it was just the kind of weather when you want to stand in a 90-minute-long line inside a musty old building to see a bunch of old doodles.
O.K., admittedly, the doodler in question is Leonardo da Vinci, but after a weekend full of attempts -- some aborted, others just annoying -- to view the city's current roster of blockbuster museum exhibitions, one can get a little testy, not to mention downright skeptical of the transformative power of art.
The challenges are myriad for someone lacking critic credentials, membership perks or a friend on the board. Take the scene outside the Museum of Modern Art, Queens, for example, where those longing to get a glimpse of ''Matisse Picasso'' are asked to line up on a rough strip of sidewalk outside a vitamin warehouse and occasionally dodge the 18-wheelers pulling into the neighboring envelope factory.
Then there's the American Museum of Natural History, a sign-starved labyrinth where, if you're looking for the exhibition on Vietnam's history and culture, you might want to pack a compass between the museum's Central Park West entrance and the mysterious Gallery 77 -- host to the ''Vietnam'' show -- I got lost four times, a frightful journey that would have been completely impossible without my rudimentary knowledge of the English language. (Foreign tourists be warned.) And there's always the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home not only to ''Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman'' but also to ''Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting,'' which, while also popular, isn't quite as crowded. Then again, neither's the subway.
Each of these exhibitions, of course, is a victim of its own success. At the Met, officials said this week that the Leonardo exhibition, which closes on Sunday, had logged in more than 350,000 visitors, a record for a show of drawings. The museum will stay open until 10 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday to accommodate the enormous -- and enormously patient -- crowds hoping to see the pen work of the old master. Similar surges in attendance were occurring at the Modern and at the Guggenheim, where Matthew Barney's latest exhibition has also been drawing large crowds.
And while standing in line for everything from sushi to bleacher seats is a proud New York tradition, once you actually get to the works themselves, the current queues can make the process of looking at art -- usually a solitary, silent act of observation -- a little less than satisfying.
''You either have to get in the very front, in which case you get pushed, or in the very back, in which case you can't see,'' said Cynthia Herrington, 24, an interior-architecture student who waited an hour and a half to see ''Matisse Picasso'' on Sunday. ''It's not like you can stand in front of a painting and wait. You'll get trampled.''
That may be a slight exaggeration, but Ms. Herrington has a point. In a weekend of taking in the city's major art exhibitions, I encountered epic lines, velvet ropes and repeated confirmations that membership does indeed have its privileges. Oh, yes, and some of the most beautiful stuff I've ever seen.
One of the few advantages in taking in the current surfeit of big shows is that most of them, at least, are in the same basic area: the Upper East Side. The two exceptions are the Museum of Natural History, which is a quick jaunt across Central Park, and the Modern, which is temporarily exiled to Queens. More on that later.
The weekend's tour began on Saturday afternoon at the Whitney, at Madison Avenue and 75th Street, and went uptown -- and downhill -- from there. Approaching the museum, I saw my first line of the day and instantly recognized it as that old staple of many museums and that old bane of many museumgoers. Yep, it was a high school field trip.
Luckily for me, the school was small and polite enough so that after a modest 10-minute wait I found myself on the Whitney's fourth floor looking at a giant projection of a man in a starched shirt. The shirt in question was the first work in ''Scanning: The Aberrant Architectures of Diller & Scofidio,'' a retrospective of the city's most cerebral husband-and-wife architecture team.
The exhibition, laid out over seven rooms, offers 21 pieces by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio in a variety of mediums, and all with distinctive descriptions in the text panels about abstract art. To wit, an exhibit showing corporate logos apparently also illustrated ''the slippages of identity between immediate recognizability and total arbitrariness.'' Whatever you say. It just looked like the Phillips 66 sign to me.
But at least at the Whitney you could get close enough to the works on display to read the placards. The Whitney, in fact, with its expansive rooms and efficient elevators, maintained a nice balance of few enough people to see the art and not so few to get creeped out by being alone with that big starched shirt.
Not so at the second stop of the day, the Met, at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, where at 2 p.m. the steps in front were already full of weary-looking art fans, and the line was running out the door. Little did I know, this was not, by any stretch, the really long line.
Part of the reason for the waiting game around town is perfectly prudent security is heightened everywhere, particularly at popular public spots like the Met. And sure enough, bags were being checked in force on Saturday.
Once inside, actually buying a ticket wasn't that tough. It came, however, with a mental-health warning from the girl behind the counter. ''The wait for 'Leonardo,' '' she said, ''is about two hours.''
Sure enough, there on the second floor, were some 800 people standing in a line that snaked from the entrance of the Leonardo exhibition, down the hallway past the sculpture of Perseus with the head of Medusa, through the Arthur M. Sackler gallery, past a pair of stone bodhisattva heads and out past the Ming vases, the Ming plates and probably a couple of other Ming heads I missed.
All told, the line probably ran some 1,000 feet from start to finish. The Met's docents were doing their best to keep the crowd occupied, handing out sheets of biographical information on Leonardo (born 1452, mother was a poor farm girl, loved long walks on the beach, etc.) and smiling a lot.
''We've been on line for 50 minutes, and we had to wait to get the tickets,'' said one woman named Mary -- no last name, she insisted, perhaps for fear of being booted off the line. ''I thought with the weather like this . . .'' Unfortunately for her, she thought wrong.
Once inside, the crowd was equally dense around the master's works, some of which are exceptionally small. To help people examine the detail, the Met is selling magnifying glasses for the low, one-time-only price of $12.99. (I also sighted at least one man with what looked like his own binoculars.) But the magnifying glasses also had an unintended effect, often slowing the natural flow as visitors peered extra intensely at the works.
There was no line to get into the Met's sister exhibition of the portrait masters Velázquez and Manet, but the crowds were also formidable, as was the struggle between those wearing audio earphones and those not.
''It looks like Napoleon,'' I heard one non-audio-tour visitor yelling at a friend with headphones on. ''The EM-PER-OR!''
By the time I left the museum, the line to get past security stretched out the door, down the steps, past the fountain and into absurdity.
My next stop was the Guggenheim, where the American wunderkind and former J. Crew model Matthew Barney is in residence. Considering Mr. Barney's hipster cachet, I wasn't surprised to find a claque of some 40 stylishly dressed fans waiting behind a velvet rope to get in. It could have easily been a scene from a TriBeCa club, if it hadn't been 3:15 in the afternoon at Fifth Avenue and 89th Street.
After a 15-minute wait outside, I entered the Guggenheim and waited about the same amount of time to buy a ticket. As a general rule, these exhibitions aren't cheap. For nonmembers, admission at the Met is $12, as it is at the Museum of Natural History and the Whitney. ''Matthew Barney'' will cost you $15, and Matisse and Picasso are asking for $20 out in Queens. There are discounts, of course, for students and the elderly, and some of the museums have an evening period when you ''pay what you wish.'' One note: you might have to wait in line.
While crowds were the problem at the Met, the Guggenheim was more airy, with visitors spiraling up the museum's ramped five-story atrium. Mr. Barney's exhibition, however, presented another challenge, one of focus. With a giant overhead video display showing five movies similtaneously and various ambi-sexual sculptures jutting out at every imaginable angle, visitors to the Barney show should take care not to be tripped over by other transfixed and profoundly confused visitors or mistakenly bumped into by big-time modern art. During my 45-minute stay, I was twice trundled over by video-addicted Barney fans and once nearly romantically entangled with something resembling a giant plastic epiglottis. Children, especially those with vivid imaginations or clumsy feet, are probably not advised to go.
From the Guggenheim, I rushed across town to the Natural History Museum, at 79th Street and Central Park West, the famed dinosaur palace. After forking down my money (there was a line, but at this point, I didn't even notice), I entered to try to find the ''Vietnam'' exhibition.
I couldn't, however, find any signs for said exhibition. So I asked an information attendant, who responded that ''Vietnam'' was ''on the first floor, downstairs.'' Which was confusing, but I went along with it. Then, he added, somewhat cryptically: ''Look for the giant canoe. Gallery 77.''
After getting momentarily distracted by Asian mammals, I stumbled my way down a flight of stairs to the first floor. Still no signs. I asked another Natural Historian. He explained it was straight ahead and to the right.
Which led me to the Museum Store. Asking there, I was told it was through the Hall of Biodiversity and to the right. Which led me to the closed Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. I asked someone else. I was told it was through the North American Forests exhibit and -- you guessed it -- to the right.
Finally, following these instructions and after getting stuck somewhere in the Warburg Hall of New York State Environment (near the rapturous ''Rotation of Farm Crops in Dutchess County'' exhibit), I finally saw it: a really big canoe.
My adventure had finally led me to Gallery 77, in a somewhat grim foyer off the museum's 77th Street exit. (Note: it's only an exit. You can't enter.) But my time wasted had left me with only a few minutes to peruse the exhibition before the museum's 5:45 p.m. closing.
Sunday dawned as bright as a blossom. My goal was simple: Long Island City or bust.
Like the Leonardo exhibition at the Met, ''Matisse Picasso'' at MoMA QNS, on 33rd Street in Long Island City, has been a record breaker. In the interest of organization, the Modern has parceled out many of the available tickets in advance sales, leaving spur-of-the-moment museumgoers to their own devices. That's not to say you can't just walk up and get in. But it will, no matter what, involve a wait.
After several inept skirmishes with Ticketmaster, which charges extra for its service and shipping, I discovered no advance tickets available for Sunday. So I decided to try my luck at the box office.
I was not alone. After a quick jaunt on the N and 7 trains, I found myself at the low-slung blue warehouse -- positioned between a check-cashing station and a vitamin warehouse -- that is currently housing the Museum of Modern Art while its West 53rd Street home is renovated. The Queens annex is still a work in progress as I approached around 1 p.m., I saw two men stenciling the name of the museum on a big blue wall.
There were also about 100 ticket holders standing in a ticket holders' line stretching past the vitamin depot and a dozen or so more on the less-influential ''please, is there a ticket?'' line.
It was here I met Ann and Frank Klamka, a 60-something couple from Flushing -- she's a teacher, he's in welding supplies -- who had decided that morning, what the heck, let's go see some art.
''I just decided on a fluke,'' Ms. Klamka said. ''I thought: 'Nobody knows where Queens is nobody knows where the museum is. We'll just walk in.' ''
What the Klamkas discovered was that arriving at 1:15 p.m. on a Sunday meant the earliest you could get in was 3:30. The Klamkas decided to stick it out. 'ɻut there isn't even a bookstore nearby to browse in,'' Ms. Klamka said.
''We could go check out the warehouses on Queens Boulevard,'' suggested her loving husband, deadpan. ''Or we only parked four blocks away,'' he added with a mischievous look.
Indeed, for others less lovey-dovey than the Klamkas, I discovered that there were pitiably few distractions during the wait on 33rd Street. There was an ice cream truck and the occasional unruly tractor-trailer taking envelopes away from the envelope factory. The New Thompson's Diner next door is tasty enough, and there's always the lovely view of the subway station.
Finally, I was ushered inside with the rest of my 3:30 p.m. brethren and found a clean, cement-floored space with all the hustle and bustle of a very busy airport. Here I encountered another line, this time for the purpose of checking our tickets, and a particularly ominous sign warning that there were no bathrooms beyond this point.
After another ticket check, my companion Lindsey and I entered the first room of the exhibition to discover about 100 people crowded around a half-dozen paintings. ''It's just this room that's bad,'' an usher said. 'ɾverything else is better.''
Part of the crowding problem comes from that most well-meaning and eager-to-learn variety of museumgoer, i.e., the audio-tour zombie. Following a taped set of instructions, audio-tour listeners often seem to float in a hypnotic trance from painting to painting, eyes focused, ears tensed, peripheral vision limited.
Dodging their transfixed audio-driven ballet, we found ourselves in the second, and largest, room of the exhibition, where the crowds, true enough, were less intense. Unlike ''Leonardo,'' ''Matisse Picasso'' is filled with large, expansive canvases, which have the effect of allowing more people to take it all in.
And what an amazing thing to take in: as we moved from room to room, all crowded, none stifling, we watched Matisse and Picasso in their own dance of imitation and influence. Angular nudes and floating goldfish led to lavender bellies and blue-souled dancers. I didn't even care when we somehow jumped from 1907 through 1914 to the end of World War II. (Nothing much could have happened in that period anyway, right?)
Finishing the show, I even did something I hadn't dared before: I doubled back, taking in a second view of ''Las Meninas, After Velázquez'' and ''Large Reclining Nude.''
Leaving the show, I felt that profoundly full feeling of having seen something swell. Of course, there was a little room for dessert: in a room off the main exhibition, there were a couple of nice paintings that no one seemed to be paying much attention to. There were no lines, no crowds, not an audio tourist in sight. Just a starry sky by some guy named van Gogh. I took a look and went home.
The Fifth Precept in Theravada Buddhism
Bhikkhu Bodhi explains in "Going for Refuge" that the Fifth Precept can be translated from the Pali to prohibit "fermented and distilled liquors which are intoxicants" or "fermented and distilled liquors and other intoxicants." Either way, clearly the guiding purpose of the precept is "to prevent heedlessness caused by the taking of intoxicating substances."
According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, violating the precept requires an intoxicant, an intention to take an intoxicant, the activity of ingesting the intoxicant, and the actual ingestion of the intoxicant. Taking medication containing alcohol, opiates or other intoxicants for genuine medical reasons does not count, nor does eating food flavored with a small amount of liquor. Otherwise, Theravada Buddhism considers the Fifth Precept to be a clear prohibition of drinking.
Although Theravada monks generally don't march around calling for prohibition, lay people are discouraged from drinking. In southeast Asia, where Theravada Buddhism dominates, the monastic sangha often calls for bars and liquor stores to be closed on major uposatha days.
The Army's 82nd Airborne is preparing to use a Marine vehicle for airdrops
For what's likely the first time in history, the Army's 82nd Airborne Division is having Marine armored vehicles modified for airdrops as the paratroopers consider adding the vehicle to their Global Response Force toolkit.
Last year and earlier this year, soldiers with the 82nd Airborne's 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment conducted simulator training with Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, hands-on driver training at Camp Pendleton, California, and maintenance training at Fort Lee, Virginia, said Capt. John Moore, a spokesman for the division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
The paratroopers like the Light Armored Vehicle 25 for its lighter weight — compared to the Army's Strykers — and superior firepower as compared to what they have on hand at the division, Moore said. He declined to comment on the number of vehicles or airdrop testing but did say that the airdrop ability would be a "significant capability increase."
The 82nd is part of the Global Response Force, with units ready to deploy to contingencies around the world on short notice. Under the mission, a battalion-sized element must be able to deploy within 18 hours, with others following soon after.
The LAV is an eight-wheeled vehicle that weighs 31,000 to 38,000 pounds, depending on the variant. The models being tested by the 82nd Airborne have a 25 mm gun. The vehicles also use a three-person crew and can carry an additional six troops, according to General Dynamics Land Systems data.
The Marines have sent four LAVs for testing and training by soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said John Myers, the deputy program manager for the Marines' LAVs. Three other LAVs are at General Dynamics, the private company that produces the LAV and Stryker, where they are being modified for air drops, he said.
General Dynamics Land Systems has already delivered one of the modified LAVs and expects to have the other LAVs ready in the next few months for a scheduled air drop, likely at Fort Bragg, in November, said Michael Peck, director of the company's Enterprise Business Development.
This is the first time Peck knew of, he said, that any military client requested the LAV be used in an airdrop. But the company did its own successful airdrop tests of both the LAV and the Stryker in the early 2000s.
No clients had made requests for the modifications until now, Peck said. Most of their foreign nation clients use the LAV variants for homeland defense and don't have a need for airborne operations.