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Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Met

In Manhattan on February 27, 2009 at 11:16 am

The Met could a blog all to itself, so I am just going to touch on some basics that people may or may not know. The Met is located on 5th Ave at 83rd street and is a huge structure with one of the most amazing art collections in the world. It is so big that I am often very overwhelmed by the whole thing. But I’ve just discovered one very crucial detail that makes the Met manageable – it’s FREE (well there is a suggested donation, but for all intents and purposes it’s free). You can see the Egyptian section, you can see the sculpture garden, you can see the Impressionist room but you don’t have to see them all in one trip. Especially if you live on the Upper East Side, this is a great way to see one of the best art collections in the world without devoting a whole day to the endeavor. 

 

Don’t let this museum scare you away. It is so well worth it – and you can’t take a trip to NYC without stopping by. 

National Museum of the American Indian

In Manhattan on February 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm

So this is a little off topic but this is one of the best museum in NYC that no one visits: the National Museum of the American Indian. It’s located right at the tip of Manhattan in the Financial District in the old customs house. It’s a wonderfully beautiful building and a bit of history right in itself. 

It is part socio-historical museum, part art museum, and it really celebrates a crucial and oft ignored part of American History. 

It is well worth a subway ride downtown (which is really really quick – and I know because I live down there) and you’ll get a walk around Battery Park, a FREE entrance into the museum (since it is a Smithsonian institution), and a lovely glance into the financial meltdown. I would highly recommend this place and maybe we can start a trend and get people to go here more often. 

Bermuda Glass-Blowing

In Tropical Locations on February 20, 2009 at 10:08 am

So I was in Bermuda for the long-weekend (thus, the long silence on this end) and came across some interesting art and museums. While this isn’t a museum in the strictest sense – in that there is no admission, no tours, art is for sale, etc. – it is still VERY cool and something I’ve never seen before. 

You walk into this large factory-like space down at the dockyards on the west end of the island. I discovered after seeing the space that this was infact an old ship workshop. Someone, with the help of monstrously large pulleys, would hoist a boat into this space and hang it by the rafters. They’d then make repairs, etc. on the boat until it would then be lowered down again and set to sea. Anyway, this space clearly hasn’t been used in this way in quite some time. There is now a glass-blowing “factory” (if you can call two women blowing glass a factory) here. I’ve never seen glass blown before so this was particularly cool for me. We sat there for maybe 30 minutes watching these women create an elaborate bowl in a mix of colors. They had two HOT (and I mean 2700 degrees hot) kilns and a bunch of sticks lying around. Somehow they managed to use all this to create some pretty fancy dinnerware. 

Now the pieces are more utilitarian than artsy so I don’t want any of you to be disappointed if you’re looking for some really conceptual work, but the skill it takes to make these things is pretty fantastic. I would highly recommend check this place out if you ever find yourself in Bermuda (and I hope that you will because it is such a fantastically beautiful place like I’ve never seen before – we’re already planning our return).

Whitney Museum

In Manhattan on February 12, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Another of the biggies in NYC. The Whitney is a museum for artists – they focus widely on very contemporary and upcoming artists. It is a place for artists to go to see the best of the best contemporary art. It is a museum for all those people who are tired of seeing lots of modernist, dada, and Warhol art. It is a museum for people who are really looking to expand their thoughts and understanding of what it means to be art. 

While I’m not always a fan of the Whitney it is certainly a “discovery” sort of place. You’ve got to be patient, be prepared to see some trippy, wild, weird, and sometimes not wholly enjoyable stuff. But its worth it when you do finally find that gem. 

Alexander Calder’s Circus has been on view for quite some time. Last chance notice for anyone looking to see it still. It closes on Feb. 15. 

MOMA

In Manhattan on February 9, 2009 at 11:08 am

Now I know that everyone and their mother loves the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) so I was quite hesitant to write about it. MOMA certainly does not need a review from me when it gets more publicity than it can shake a stick at. But….and this is a big but…I went to MOMA this weekend. It wasn’t crowded, I didn’t want to pull my hair out, the exhibits were fair but not fantastic, and I had a really good time. 

My best suggestion for MOMA is NOT to go at 5.30 on a Friday evening. Target sponsors Free Fridays and New York City flocks to get around the hefty $20 admission fee (and this, friends, is not suggested). If you actually want to see some art and hang around the museum for a while it is worth getting up early on a Saturday morning (we were there right as it opened at 10.30) and paying the fee. There were few people around, benches were available, we could actually see the art – as opposed to jumping up and down trying to get a glance of whatever new installation is around.

I saw a great Jasper Johns exhibit of his late works on paper, a photo exhibit by Paul Graham, the Marlene Dumas exhibit of works on canvas and paint (which was painfully depressing and a bit too deep for Saturday morning). On the whole it was a lovely way to spend a weekend morning, crowd free.

Museum of Art and Design

In Manhattan on February 6, 2009 at 11:34 am

The MAD Museum or the Museum of Art and Design opened its doors on its new building at 2 Columbus Circle in September of 2008. 

If you are feeling a bit warn out from the high intellectualism that much of contemporary art requires (which I often am), check out this place. There are pieces of furniture and design which are beautiful and a delight to see but don’t require the same sort of brain power and powers of intellectual appreciation.

Here are the opening hours:

Wed. – Sun. 11:00 am to 6:00 pm 
Thurs. 11:00 am to 9:00 pm 
Closed Mon., Tues. & Major Holidays

Noguchi Museum

In Queens on February 2, 2009 at 9:59 am

Isamu Noguchi was a prominent Japanese American design and sculpture artist who worked steadily for six decades. Some of his work is has been mass produced and can be seen in design stores like Room&Board but he also did stage design work for Martha Graham productions and other sculpture works.

The Noguchi Museum was opened in 1985 by the artist to display his work. He was very much opposed in his life to being displayed in traditional museums like MOMA where he work might have been shown. In order to get around his quarrels with these institutions he decided to create his own to his standards – he could thus display his work in any way he chose. The museum is the first to be opened purely for the purpose of displaying a single artist’s work.

The museum is currently located in Long Island City, Queens and housed in 13 galleries in a converted factory building and included a beautiful garden with sculptures within it.

This museum is unusual in a city with so much great art but very little focus on this intersection between art and design. Noguchi was a singular artist in this sense and is appreciated as such. I would highly recommend that anyone who comes to New York City see this museum. It is well worth the trek out to Queens (it’s not really a trek – Long Island City is the first stop over the bridge, but we are Manhattanites, afterall, and many people are too lethargic to get to all the exciting places outside of Manhattan).