Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Art Weekend

Art pals for many years!
I had so much fun this weekend, exploring the Whitney Museum in its new location in the 
meatpacking district on Saturday and then on Sunday participating  in the Art Walk in Paterson's Historic District in the old silk mill buildings. Having absolutely no artistic ability myself, I appreciate how others are able to view the world in fascinating new ways. Not that I always "get it", but I especially like the whimsical side of modern art. And, yes, sometimes I can't help but think the artist is trying to pull one over on us. (The minimalism of a painting of one or two solid colors brings out my cynical side)

Jersey City in the background
It was a beautiful day and the best part of the Whitney experience is the interplay between inside and outside. You start out taking a huge elevator to the 8th floor (looked like it could easily fit a few cars) and then proceed downward floor by floor. On the top 4 floors there is access to outdoor areas with different views of the city than you are used to. Is that the Empire State Building popping up in the background? Wow, the Highline begins right here at Gansevoort Street.

Installation of chairs called 'Sunset" as seen from above.
The exhibit was called "America is Hard to See" and was drawn exclusively from the museum's own collection. You proceed in chronological order from favorites like Georgia O'Keefe and her vagina flowers to the chillingly lonely streetscapes of Edward Hopper, to the soft plastic 'sculptures' of Claes Oldensburg. We saw his FagEnds- otherwise known as cigarette butts.  Alexander Calder's circus which was previously tucked away in the basement of the Madison Ave Whitney has a lovely open setting. The Circus is paired with a video of someone actually playing with the figures- moving the bike rider along, fluffing the lion's mane, giving the tightrope walker a push. Andy Warhol weighed in with a coke silk screen and then there were many unfamiliar artists like Marisol's Women and Dog wooden scuplture and some angry AIDS and antiVietnam works.

Since the "108 who die every day from breast cancer in the US alone" is never far from my mind, I spent a little time watching the video of Viet Nam military deaths accompanied by a picture of each soldier and background music of the pop song Bye, bye, love...Bye bye happiness. Moving and poignant.

Looking down on the lower end of the Highline as seen from the Whitney

Lunch was a New York classic - eating a Sabrett with sauerkraut and mustard, while sitting in the area with fluorescent green chairs actually under the Highline. We were tired, but took a short walk on the Highline. I don't remember the trees at that end of the walk being so tall!

Photo of the mural at Alexander's
Sunday, I decided on the spur of the moment to
hop in the car and go the Paterson Historic District near the Great Falls.The Sunday paper had run an article that the iconic mural which graced Alexander's Department Store at the intersection of routes 4 and 17 from 1961- 1992 had most of the 280 separate panels available for viewing. Each abstract panel seemed like it could stand alone, but together they told a story. I remember as a kid coming down to visit my grandmother and thinking it was just so cool to have what looked to me like a stylized map of the world in a shopping center. We didn't have that in upstate New York!

Parking for the Art Walk was free at the Paterson Museum and I was blown away with how big the
show was. My friend Lydia's son was exhibiting and I naively thought I would just run through a few rooms and easily find him. Not so! The art factory occupies several of the old mill warehouses and buildings and there was art around every corner and up each narrow staircase. One sign directed weary visitors to use the freight elevator, but I had visions of spending the very warm afternoon trapped.
One of the many factory buildings

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Will Brady Original
Luckily, just as I was ready to leave, I ran into Lydia and family on the stairs as they were going up and I was slowly descending. It was hot!  Will's work was displayed all the way at the end of a big room on the top floor. Talented guy and I hope he keeps at it!

Friday, June 5, 2015

That B & B feeling

I'm trying to make my vacation last by replicating a bed 'n breakfast. It doesn't take much really. I bought some shelled walnuts, grapefruit spoons and flowers.  Voila! My favorite meal of the day (which is sometimes eaten twice a day) was immediately upgraded.

I have to admit I am rethinking the grapefruit spoons. I remember my grandmother having one for her half grapefruit served on the summer bungalow porch, always with a maraschino cherry or at least red jello in the center.

Are my grapefruits just juicier? Everytime I poke the serrated edge of the spoon into a grapefruit section, I get squirted in the face or chest. So I still use a knife to loosen the sections, but daintily use my special spoon to get every single morsel out.

Gary may be enjoying the new additions to his coffee mug and tshirt collections, but I am perfectly happy with my breakfast. It does seem that the pastry chef is missing. Perhaps she'll show up next week.