Art-o-Rama

My Bride had to spend Saturday conducting Christmas biz-niz so I took the girlies into the city and went gallery hopping in Chelsea. There’s an unusually robust selection of interesting exhibits up right now. This is all a part of my program to brainwash them into loving New York as much as I do. Plus, as any two-bit psychologist will tell you, I’m trying to be a better father than that poor, broken soul who raised me, which shouldn’t be too terribly difficult. The bar wasn’t set that high.

The first stop was the Mary Boone Gallery on 24th St. Two fine, new sculptures by KAWS are on display. This is ALONG THE WAY.

kaws-1

They’re 18′ high and made of wood. They look like two, sad Disney characters who lost their franchise, poor things.

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I’m not entirely sure what kind of wood he used but it’s polished and smooth with beautiful grain. The wood glows in the light that streams in from the skylights. This is the other sculpture. This is AT THIS TIME. Daughter improvised that pose. I didn’t direct her to do that. I’m a proud papa.

kaws-31

As with many of these pieces, I’m not entirely sure what practical application can be made. They’re enormous.

kaws-4

This is INSIDE OUT by Richard Serra at the Gagosian Gallery on 21st St. It’s made from his trademark curved steel walls. Here’s a shot from the catalog that gives you a proper overview of the piece.

serraYou can’t really see how expansive it is from the ground. I think they should provide a catwalk or something so you can view it from on high.

serra-a3

We went to a similar Serra exhibit a few years ago at the same gallery. This stuff never gets old for me.

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Surprisingly, the girls remembered the last exhibit and even the artist’s name. Mwwhahaha. It’s working.

serra-a4

I have to constantly remind the little one not to run her finger along the edge of the wall. The gallery is paranoid about the oil from your skin somehow degrading the surface. I suppose if enough people did it, it’d have an effect.

The David Zwirner Gallery on 19th St. is hosting I WHO HAVE ARRIVED IN HEAVEN by Yayoi Kusama. It’s a treat!

kusama-2It’s a series of inflatable stalagmites and stalactites that are illuminated from within. The colors slowly change.

kusama-3

You enter a small room, just a few people at a time–it’s a controlled entry– and are given one minute. The walls, ceiling and floor are made of mirrors, so once you’re inside and the door is closed, you get a reflection-within-a-reflection infinity effect. It’s quite disorienting.

“Listen…When you go into these exhibits, whatever you do, don’t touch the artwork, okay? DO NOT TOUCH THE ARTWORK.”

kusama-1

There’s also a brief film of Ms. Kusama reciting a poem. Again, she uses mirrors to effectively convey a infinite depth of view.

kusama-4

You’ll never guess what’s at the Gagosian Gallery on 24st Street? Another new Richard Serra sculpture! This is INTERVALS, a room full of steel plates in varying heights.

serra-b3

serra-b2

serra-b1

Also sharing the same gallery space is 7 PLATES, 4 ANGLES. Plates stand toe-to-toe and are arranged in a “V” shape.

serra-c2serra-c1

Again, who am I to criticize, but it’d be awesome if they provided a view from on high.

The total cost of admission to all these galleries:

$0.00. Nothing. Nyet. Zilch. Right this way, sir. Null. Gratis. Complimentary.

Is this a great town or what?

We also paid a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 12-Year Old Daughter is on a Greek mythology kick and she had an insatiable need to see marble Gods and Goddesses. I won’t include photos of those, but I’ll leave you with this magnificent curio.

eyes

Ready for this?

PAIR OF EYES. Bronze, marble, frit, quartz and obsidian. Greek. 5th century B.C. or later. Huzzah.

39 thoughts on “Art-o-Rama

  1. Once again, I dips me lid to you, Sir! For all sorts of reasons, but mostly (I suspect) for being such a great father.
    Also, of course, for showing us “your” NYC. How you see it, what it means to you, why you love it.
    Thank you.
    Think you might have a good argument for mezzanine levels, too. 🙂

    • During one of the gallery tours I was thinking to myself, “This would make a pretty interesting blog post.” So, in addition to trying to be a better father and enjoying the art myself, I am also driven by my desire to feed my blog. I serve many masters.

  2. The Japanese lady’s stuff look very psychedelic. Next time, you should let your daughters walk through it while listening to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds on headphones. Maybe take them to see Yoko Ono afterwards…

    • Actually, we SAW a Yoko Ono exhibit at one of the other galleries! Funny you should mention it. It was one of her wishing trees where you write a wish on a card and tie it to a tree. I guess the theme for the day was matronly Japanese artists.

  3. Yes, the Kusama is crying out for loud dance music and plenty of e and acid. I’m going to hire her to do my room makeover for my NYE party (hah…I wish!)

    I like Serra too–there’s something serious and unaffected about his work.

    • While walking around the Kusama piece, I was thinking to myself that I should come back next week and smoke a big fatty before going in. You have to stand in line to see that piece. It’s pretty popular. Hence, the one minute time limit.

  4. There is something about Greek eyes. One of our presenters Claudia Winkleman is half Greek and she has them.
    Was amazed at the actual size of the Disney creatures; alone they look small.
    I expected the metal thingys to be grey – as in the B/W photo. Is the colour rust? I mean have they rusted?
    Great exhibition. Lucky girlies.
    Great

    • My daughters occasionally protest about being in so many photos but in addition to a recorded memory, I need them there to give scale and size to the art.

      I don’t know why the catalog cover sports a B&W photo. The curved pieces are actually a beautiful oxidized orange. The other slabs are gray, as seen in my pics.

  5. I love the wooden sculptures. I’m just not entirely sure what I’d do with them. Can’t carry them up four flights of stairs to my apartment, that’s for sure.

    • NONE of these pieces are practical on any level! Seriously…when they’re created, who is the targeted audience? Is it museums, who are probably the only people who could accommodate something like this? No matter…they’re beautiful to look at.

  6. I kind of have fallen in love with those Disney-like figures. I cannot get over how HUGE they are…And it was great to get that perspective on ALL the ART with your adorable daughters standing near all of them. I agree, it would be great to see an overhead view of all of these things….LOVE the Kusama’s…..So imaginative….One Minute! Gee, not a lot of time, is it…But I can see why people want to see them…..I love that you are giving your girls such an eclectic education, and….that NYC has so much to offer. How lucky for them you live right there.

    • I don’t think the photos are truly representative of those KAWS sculptures. The wood grain is so rich and there was a golden glow where the sunlight hit them…I should probably carry a proper camera instead of my phone but I’m too lazy for that. I plant my daughters in front of the art, not so much to show them off, but more to provide scale. I suppose I could just as easily ask one of the girls at the front desk to stand in front of the work…I hope my shoving the city in their faces doesn’t backfire! They could grow to hate the place.

      • I think it is the Wood that I am attracted to in those enormous figures. Considering you don’t think your camera showed the grain to it’s best advantage—-Now, I wish I could see them even more……I loved the grain I could see….and the shapes are really Beautiful
        Speaking as a child of Manhattan—-I am SOOOO Grateful to my parents for exposing me to all the great things NYC has to offer, culturally and Artwise—-especially The Theatre…..And just from the pictures of your girls, they look like they are eating it up like candy! And the times they spend with you doing these very special outings will stay with them, forever! Just my opinion, my dear.

      • I like that they’re intentionally distorted Disney figures. I wonder how the lawyers out in Buena Vista allow this sort of thing? It’s obviously derived from copyrighted material. In the end, the city might not be for them. It’s certainly not to everyone’s liking. But the exposure is important.

  7. I don’t think they will ever hate their daddy/daughters day. The only memory I have is the Pro Football hall of fame-far cry from all the fun you have with them!
    Good job at being a DAD you most certainly have surpassed my expectations.
    MT

    • I had absolutely NO expectations whatsoever! Imagine how shocked I am! But let’s not kid ourselves…I’m taking them to something that I, myself, enjoy tremendously. Is it any different than dad taking us to the football hall of fame? Not so much.

    • Thank God it’s free or they’d never be exposed to it. The reason they don’t get to see more concerts and plays is $$$$. That stuff is crazy expensive out here.

  8. I normally find something of interest and delight in your museum finds UB, but on this occasion I can see nothing that floats my boat enough for me to want it! However… did you notice the extremely macho looking expansion supports (best seen in pic #4).

    I could see these finding their way to our little hideaway in Alcudia, quite easily. Please keep these posts coming sir, they are always a great source of culture to me.

    • That’s the conundrum and the beauty of art. It’s all so subjective. What a horrifically dull world we’d live in if the same dinner pleased everyone. That’s why the invented menus. In Twelfth Night Malvolio says, “Please one, and please all.” But he’s the fool in the story.

  9. Aw, your girls are lucky! And it is TOTALLY working if she is posing next to the sculpture like that– that’s the sign of a true art afficionado. I would know.
    If there’s anything my parents did right (okay, there were several things I guess) it was taking us to art museums and to the theatre. You have to feed their souls like that.
    I love the BIG art. I can’t wait to make it back to NYC in 2014.

    • *I’m* the one who’s lucky! They’re receptive to this stuff and it doesn’t seem as though my endless prattling on about the art bores them. If it does, they’re doing an excellent job of faking it. I’ve mentioned this before but if you’re living just a stone’s throw from any major metropolitan city and don’t expose your kids to the arts, you’re being negligent. I don’t pretend it’s for everyone, but they should see this stuff at least once.

      Let me know if you want any tips/suggestions for your trip to NYC. I am at your service. I am proud to boast that I have helped many a blogger enjoy this town.

  10. i would join that dance party – i’m a sucker for pop-art colors and lights and mirrors! and i would have a terrible time keeping my hands off the wood [there, i gave you a bunny shot!] and the steel…

    you are doing it right, this fatherhood thing. and i do believe your daughters enjoy posing a bit. they’re growing up…

    • Actually, I thought about you when I was running around all these galleries. Thought it’d be something you’d find of interest. I’ll wait to see if Chef chimes in on your “wood” comment.

      [Off topic. I saw the new Conor McPherson play last night. Do you know his work? Pretty typical contemporary Irish theater. One man is beat with a hammer. Another is stabbed to death. In between, lots and lots of laughs.]

  11. As a dad, you are indeed a force to be reckoned with! So important to take our kids to these sorts of things – and the fact that art galleries are free is just mind blowing, isn’t it? Just I love Chelsea – did you eat in that area as well? I’m desperate for tidbits of my old town…don’t you love when we call New York a town?

    So funny when you remark about the practical application of the KAWS pieces – as if art ever needed practical application. Ever.

    My son is also completely obsessed with mythology – is your daughter reading the Rick Riordan books, or does she like the actual non-fiction Greek mythology? My son likes both.

    Yes, we are brainwashing them. Yes, it’s working. Yay, us!

    • We had a lovely lunch at The Half King. Do you know it? 23rd Street just west of 10th Av. Fun fact: The Half King is owned by Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm, among others. They hold literary events every Monday night that I used to attend, back in the good old days.

      Rick Riordan! My daughter keeps reading those books over and over and over. Her happiest moment this year was when that second Percy Jackson movie opened in August. We should form a support group.

      • Yes, I know the Half King!!
        How old are your girls? When we hang in the city, we usually meet up with my bestie and her 7-year-old daughter. That’s who we went to the Turrell exhibit with. I’m wondering how a whole group outing would play out…my son, surrounded by pretty, art-loving girls…

        Little Dude did read that series over and over, but now he’s onto a different Riordan series at the moment. They could babble on about demi gods and the like. Might be fun.

      • That Turrell exhibit was fantastic, wasn’t it? Here’s the post I did on it with some nice photos, even though you weren’t permitted to take any. I’m a rebel.

        The daughters are 7 and 12. I’ve had a few blogger meet-ups and they’ve all turned out really well. What could possibly go wrong?! Riordan is a whole world unto himself. Hugely successful.

    • The inflatables are a huge hit. We had to wait in a line and were restricted to one minute to give everyone a chance. I saw a story about them on CNN yesterday. So now it’ll be impossible to get in. They should extend the exhibit through the spring…I believe the resemblance to Mickey Mouse is intentional. How could it not be?

  12. Oh, man, I’m dying of envy here. I love Richard Serra, but I think the illuminated stalactites/stalagmites take the prize.

    • The Serras were great but you’re right, the Kusama piece took the blue ribbon. I think part of the impact was that you were only allowed in the room for one minute. It was kind of a big tease. Just as you’re getting used to it, you’re tossed out. It created a desire to see more and you know what they say…leave ’em wanting more.

  13. The eyes are the clincher, sure enough, but the size and vastness of the wood and the stark beauty of the heavenly color and the cool of the gray steel all say art can be great. Thanks for coaxing me toward the click, Mark.

  14. Plates and angles make my head hurt. The Disney-esque characters would make me sad, although the wood is pretty. And inflatable stalagmites look like a drug trip. Art is certainly subjective.

  15. Pingback: Disembodied | Loosely Analogous

  16. I wonder if I restrict my ability to write by not being exposed to things… after all, you only get so much traction on the asphalt that leads to the coffee shop and then spits you onto the highway towards the next big town, there to get the same coffee, breathe the same shit. Step on the same mix of asphalt. I love the Kaws stuff, that is just amazing – thanks for pointing me in this direction.

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