As promised, I will be sharing more casual streams of consciousness this year on FLUX., but even with something deemed ‘casual’ I need to put some structure in place or else I will ramble on for days. I thought it might be interesting to periodically write over lunch during one of my routine visits to my ‘second office’, a nearby coffee shop.
60 minutes. Nothing fussed over or over-polished and undoubtedly riddled with broken links and grammatical errors. And when my mug is empty, and my sandwich reduced to a pile of crumbs, I’ll know it’s time to put my pen down.
Over the holidays I treated myself to an extended vacation back home in New York. I grew up in Westchester and my family continues to hide in the woods a little farther north. So very wise. While my parents are a stones throw to Dia Beacon, they are also strategically situated on the Metro North Harlem line which takes you directly into Grand Central.
It’s strange visiting NYC at this point in my life because somewhere along the way I became a tourist and I’m reminded how long I’ve been in Massachusetts. But just when I think I’ve fully gone soft, something primordial kicks in and I’m back to unabashedly jay-walking and assuming an assertive gait.
But maybe that’s just Darwinism. After all, it’s always Paper Boy Sunday in NYC–there is inevitably someone dressed as a grim reaper, a rogue breakdancer, a tornado and flame juggler, all on one city block–it’s a place where you can’t afford to not be firing on all cylinders at all times. (see also: hungover)
Which reminds me, don’t ever let a friend convince you that a pitcher of sweet tea made with bourbon is a good idea.
Yes, even if the bartender gives you a bendy straw. It won’t end well.
(my favorite accomplice)
Before I get into my NYC art crawl favorites, I have to say that on this particular visit I actually missed Boston a bit. It’s nice sometimes to be a lone soul on a city street, or to have tea-grabbing in an urban center be a <10 minute activity rather than a 45 minute ordeal. Or maybe I’m just old. Yes, it is probably that.
But on the flip-side, the energy in New York is infectious, and when I go to the MoMa or the Whitney, where half a day disappears in a blink of an eye, and my breath is continuously taken away by sights and sounds I’ve never experienced before, I am reminded why millions flock to Gotham.
The new building is incredible. If you haven’t been (opened last May), the museum has prime real estate at the Gansevoort Street terminus of the Highline in the heart of the Meatpacking District, there is even an elevator that brings you down to the museum’s entrance. It couldn’t get easier. The marketing major in me would love to know what % of their new audience results from this Highline overflow.
I breezed through the top floor which was a modernist jazz exhibition (not my cup of tea), did the balcony thing x3 (no selfies), and visited a few of my favorites from the Whitney collection..
George Bellows, Dempsey and Firpo
Creamy skin. Given the scale of the work and the viewer’s position in the gallery, you almost feel compelled to reach out and lend a hand.
Franz Kline, Mahoning
Joseph Cornell, Celestial Navigation
Kay Sage, No Passing
Kay has always been one of my favorite painters and I can’t put my finger on why. Her work just resonates with me. It probably has something to do with the mood, her biographical yet barren dreamscapes, color choice, composition, relation to Tanguy (in art and life) and I like to think about the influence they had on each other.
The Westreich Wagner Collection (on view through March 6, 2016)
Aside from falling in love with everything, a few favorites..
Bernadette Corporation, Creation of a False Feeling
Christopher Wool, Untitled 1990-91
Christopher Williams, Rollerstacker
Reena Spaulings, Danica
Anne Collier, Cut
And then there was this (not part of the collector exhibit)…
Rachel Rose: Everything and More
From the NYT:
“It’s still early for best-of-year list making, but best début of 2015 is a lock: Rachel Rose’s transfixing video “Everything and More,” conceived for the Whitney at the invitation of the sharp curator Christopher Y. Lew. The non-narrative collage, on view through Feb. 7, combines footage that Rose shot of a space-station research facility, of a vast crowd at an E.D.M. concert, and, in her studio, of low-tech galactic abstractions. (Imagine a drifting Milky Way that involves real milk.) The soundtrack sifts together wordless vocals by Aretha Franklin (extracted from “Amazing Grace”) and a recording of the American astronaut David Wolf, talking to Rose on the phone about the pleasures and perils of space. The result is an ecstatic epic about gravities, literal and figurative, which unfolds onscreen for eleven minutes and orbits in the mind’s eye for days. When Wolf describes earth as “a jewel floating in blackness,” it’s as if he were describing Rose’s piece itself.” (via)
It’s an 11 minute film, and I must have watched it loop 3 or 4 times. Absolutely brilliant.
Every time I visit the MoMa, I manage to discover something new. And on this go around, many of the conceptual works captured my attention. And even less sexy, the curator in me was enamored with their exhibition layouts. A design survey had its wall text projected rather than stuck on with vinyl (cool liz!), and even seeing the way spaces themselves were structured in the museum–subtleties in angles and strategic partitions that gently guided viewers in the direction the curator intended. Truly an art in itself.
Feng Mengbo, Long March: Restart
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Toronto)
Dieter Roth, Literature Sausage (Literatwurst)
“Between 1961 and 1970 Roth created about fifty “literature sausages.” To make each sausage Roth followed a traditional recipe, but with one crucial twist: where the recipe called for ground pork, veal, or beef, he substituted a ground-up book or magazine. Roth mixed the ground-up texts with fat, gelatin, water, and spices before stuffing them into sausage casings. The source materials included work by authors and periodicals that the artist either envied or despised; they run the gamut from lowbrow illustrated tabloids to well-regarded contemporary German novels to the works of Karl Marx and the influential philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.”
Maria Martins, The Impossible III
^my new favorite.
Edward Kienholz, The Friendly Grey Computer- Six Gauge Model #54
Best materials list: “Motor-driven assemblage: painted aluminum rocking chair, metal case, two instrument boxes with dials, plastic case containing yellow and blue lights, panel with numbers, bell, “rocker switch,” pack of index cards, directions for operation, light switch, telephone receiver, doll’s legs” more info on the work here
Picasso Sculpture Exhibit (on view through March 7, 2016)
And I paid a visit to my old friends in the garden..
Katharina Fritch, Figurengruppe
The Frick Collection
I must have visited the Frick when I was very young since, for some reason, my memories of the collection blended in with every other historical building I didn’t appreciate as a child. Luckily on this visit in adult form, I was able to meet up with a girlfriend who works at the museum and gave me a general lay of the land. (Learn more here) She also reintroduced me to..
The Fragonard Room
Just. wow. I’ve always had a soft spot for Rococo, and Jean Honore Fragonard in particular. In passing daydreams I have visions of being an art history teacher someday and his work would definitely be included in my syllabus. I love all of the symbolism, and ‘scandalous’ trysts and courtly love. From looking at his work in textbooks and as jpegs for so long, I had forgotten that his paintings are actually huge, wall-sized panels that exist in someone’s former home. And fortunately for us, that home is open to the public.
Take a Virtual Tour of the Fragonard room here!
There is so much more to share about my visit back home, and my subsequent return to Boston, and First Fridays, oh, and I need to write about Beacon New York in an upcoming Make a Weekend of It post..I love it there, the town feels like magic..and..
TIME. -curtsy- ♥