Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Whirlwind Trip to NYC and the Art Galleries!

My friend Kelly and I took a day trip yesterday to NYC. We had SUCH A GOOD TIME!! It was stunning weather- I would say mid 80's- and $55 round trip on a deluxe coach? You can't beat it! We spent the afternoon visiting the Chelsea District, oggling at gallery after gallery of... well... interesting artwork. Modern contemporary... abstract... not exactly our type, but it was fun anyway. We had lunch at the Empire Diner right near the galleries (root beer floats TO DIE FOR... the rest of the food was so-so).

This was a church we passed had an amazingly artistic fascade.

A few galleries in the district opened right out into the street (we visited 27-23rd Streets between 10th and 11 Avenues). Many others were in multi-floor studio buildings where we took really, really scary old grate-door elevators operated by bell-hops and explored floor by floor.

An interesting exhibit of abstract pumkins.
Later, after the galleries, Kel and I went to Chinatown... we were on the hunt for purses. :o) We both ended up with fantastic buys (striped purses of the same style, but hers was black and white striped and small, and mine was colorful stripes and large- I have too much junk for a small purse!) and she also got some wall-art for her daughter. I got a skirt from a Nepali vendor (which was wierd... two Nepali vendors in a sea of Chinese stores!). We had dinner at Mr. Tangs, a nice clean restaurant at the corner of Mott street and ....? (street running parallel and north of Canal). Kelly said the spring rolls there were the best she had ever tasted in her life. I had dumplings... they were, of course, delish. :o)

We left Auburn at 5:30 AM, and got to the city around 11. We lunched and did galleries till about 3, went to New York Central Paper in the East Village (I got BEAUTIFUL Lotka paper for printmaking! They had so much paper, I could have stayed there for hours... sigh), then swung down to Chinatown to shop, shop, shop and have dinner, and then Times Square to pick up Juan Valdez coffee for Kelly's husband... we then DASHED downtown to catch the bus at Herald Square at 8:30 for a long drive home... got back to Auburn around 2 AM.
It was too short a trip, so we are planning another one!

These are some of the postcards and brochures I picked up from the galleries we visited. Perhaps the most "interesting" was Heide Hatry. You can see the postcard of her Madonna-esque sculpture postcard in my photo above. She makes disturbing sculptures out of something (clay?) and then drapes them with Pig skin so their face skin looks real, like human skin- pores and all. The curator at the gallery told us that Pig Skin most resembles human skin and that the eyes of her sculpture are real pig eyes. If you want to see more of her creepy work, click the link above... yikes. I mean, not just the pig body parts but... wierd. She also had a "peep show" in the gallery area where you had to look through a hole cut into a curtain and there was a video of one of the heads with it's mouth moving (claymation?) making orgasmic moans. Kelly watched another video in the back of the gallery that I missed that was equally wierd. We were laughing about that show all day!!!! It was just SO out of this world!!!!
We saw a lot of abstract art - not my thing- and we saw, surprisingly, several pornographic shows. I was a bit surprised. I mean, I know I'm a prude but still... what is the point of making a wall-sized photo-realistic oil painting of a penis ejaculating on a photograph? Or a wall-sized oil painting of a bride giving a bj to a guy while being ejaculated on by a bunch of other guys?? Is that really necessary? WHO would hang something like that in their living room? Was the point of the show to be disturbing? I don't know, I was too embarrassed to go to the curator's desk and ask. We also saw a show called "Kids Gone Wild" which we thought would be about children throwing food or something but it was photos of teenagers banging each other, jacking off and stuff.... ugh. To ME, the line between art and porn had been crossed, but...I don't know. I'm a definite traditionalist when it comes to art. We saw several shows of computer art which was not really my style, or Kelly's style either--is that art, or is it tracing an image and then calling it your art? If you take a photograph, trace it on a computer and add a filter in Photoshop does that make it art? One gallery had a pile of grass clippings in the middle of the floor- is that art? How? If it involves sewing, does that make it art or craft? But I guess that is the purpose of modern art, and I am too stodgy with my ideas to understand it. Or want to try to understand it, LOL.
Art is so subjective and so... personal. What I enjoy, other people may not. What other people consider art, I might not. I guess that's what makes art so great... the diversity.... the way each person interprets an idea that is swirling like a tornado in their mind, taking that idea and making it real.

My favorite shows were "AutoMythography I" by African American artist Mequitta Ahuja. Her drawings (especially those in pencil) were fantastic- and the way she exaggerated the hair of her subjects blew me away-! My favorite image was "Fount" (if you scroll down to the bottom of the link you can see it)-- two African Americans facing each other across 4-5 panels but swinging their heads.. their hair exploding and intertwining into one... so cool.
I also enjoyed abstract forest/nature images by Gerald Monroe. Can't find a good link unfortunately but I enjoyed how he could SUGGEST a forest, a garden, a blooming tree without having to depict it in a photorealistic style.
Next trip I am definitely going to see the Cloisters. Traditional art. Religious art. Good ol' fashion stuff. Do the Fuller Building of art galleries in Midtown. And, of course, go back to Chinatown. I am CERTAINTLY not a girly-girl type of person, but one can never have too many purses. :o) Kelly wants to see Central Park and she is interested in Coney Island (I used to live in South Brooklyn, so Coney Island is one of my favorite places)... maybe this summer?

1 comment:

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi jen!
oh my goodness!
what a fabulous day!