Entries Tagged as 'New York'

The New and Improved New Museum

March 14th, 2008 · Comments Off on The New and Improved New Museum

img_4513.jpgOne of the absolute best parts of my recent gallery-hopping trip to New York was catching the inaugural exhibition at the new location of the New Museum of Contemporary Art (, which, in an effort to deliberately avoid the gentrified, domesticated art scene in its native SoHo, relocated to a purpose-built six story structure in the Bowery, a gritty district otherwise only notable for its Chinese restaurant equipment suppliers and smattering of punk-rock clubs.


The building itself is fantastic looking: from the street, its glass storefront blends in (to a degree) with the format of the rest of the shops, but it rises in a series of staggered boxes (lit by skylights) that create large, glowing “white-cube” style exhibition spaces inside. The space is quirky enough to be interesting, but these quirks are kept (in a very modernist move) very separate from the art img_4515.jpg(a contrast to the Guggenheim, for instance, which forces artwork to conform to its irregular spaces). These quirks include a bright green interior elevator, corrugated metal stairs (which match the metal sheeth of the building), and some bizarre elongated stairways.

sta_4535.jpgWe happened to go when the sky-room on the sixth floor was open. (This was an awesome way to see the city and a real “ooh-ahh” moment for a little redneck child like myself).

I’m devoting a whole presentation later this semester to the exhibition itself (“Unmonumental”), so I’ll touch on that in a later post.


The Washington Post

The New York Times

The New York Times raves about the architecture

The Wall Street Journal

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · art galleries · New York

Country Boy In The City (or “Gee, look at all dem buildins!”)

March 13th, 2008 · Comments Off on Country Boy In The City (or “Gee, look at all dem buildins!”)

img_4558.jpgOkay, here’s the scene: an obsessive art nerd (played by the plucky, intrepid Robert Lynn¹) goes to New York to check out the art “scene” for the first time, spending his final college spring break (painters gone wild!) visiting all the major galleries and museums. But wait! What if our hero turns out to be a flannel-wearing-redneck who has never been to a major city before!? Hilarity ensues in this classic fish-out-of-water story.

No, it’s not the description of a questionably green-lighted movie on an extended cable channel this afternoon², its what I did last week thanks to an undergraduate research grant. Besides the dirty subway and rude people, New York blew my mind, as expected. But I’ll let you just fill that in from every TV show you’ve seen and we’ll get down to the serious business of what I’m excited about:

cai.jpgCai Guo Chaing at the Guggenheim was a real sock-knocker-offer, but I couldn’t help but think about how awkwardly the work fit in the space (since it’s a retrospective, almost all of the work was originally site specific elsewhere). At best, the work was a gorgeous and impressive example of just how exciting high-budget contemporary art can be to all kinds of visitors, but at worst it was just derivative visual metaphors presented in the style of cheesy staged roller-coaster decorations (Frank Lloyd Wright’s balconies even force you to pass through them like a carnival ride). Undeniably, however, the video pieces and gunpowder drawings really had me engaged, beyond even the primal “Let’s Go Light Things On Fire!” element (which, by the way, can only do good things for art, as far as I’m concerned).

courbet.jpgSince Jasper Johns and Gustave Courbet are probably the two artists I’ve written the most about since coming to college, seeing their exhibitions at the Met was a pretty great way to encounter that museum for the first time (guess what: it’s big. like really big.). The Courbet was less exciting than I’d hoped—few of his major pieces were there (Stonebreakers is no longer extant and Burial at Ornans never gets loaned out) so it was heavy on early portraits and late landscapes (plus the obligatory naked lesbians). It was fun, though, to imagine walking through the show with Clement Greenberg babbling constantly about formal qualities and the birth of the avant-garde.

johns.jpg Jasper Johns Gray was more interesting to me–by redoing his work in gray, he takes his paintings from a shout to a stage whisper. Eerie and awesome. Fool’s House (left) was probably the highlight, but the whole show was full of work and little secrets I’d never seen or noticed before. [Update 4/27: I loved this show so much I shelled out fifty bucks for the catalogue, only to drill a hole in it for my recent sculpture The Most Valuable Things I Own]


Color Chart at the MoMA was really heavy on post-modern conceptualism (starting with the forshadowing of Duchamp’s masterpiece Tu m’, which I’ll be blogging about more as the semester comes to a close and my paper on it takes shape), including some fantastic work by Carrie Mae Weems and John Baldessari repainting a room for every day of the week. Come to think of it, polite and orderly color grids or squares were pretty ubiquitous. This was a gigantic contrast to:

THE NEW MUSEUM: (In fact, I was so excited that I’m presenting on this to the Spore Collective, so I’ll blog my exhaustive research as that draws near…

until then,



¹ whose only credits to date include peeing on a cigarette butt in a video art piece

² stars: 1/5

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · New York · sculpture · Uncategorized

Just Passing on a Hello from New York

March 11th, 2008 · 2 Comments

John Baldessari takes a moment out of making art for this important message:


I’ve heard a lot about New York in my 21 years of not visiting it, and last week, this country boy took it by storm. What do I have to say about it? Well, the buildings were tall, the people were rude, and the art was spectacular! It certainly lived up to expectations.

All tolled, I made time to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Jasper Johns: Grey, Gustave Courbet), the MoMA (Color Chart, Lucian Freud: The Painters Etchings, Directions in Art: 1970 to Now), the Guggenheim (Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want To Believe), the New Museum of Contemporary Art (Unmonumental), The Neue Gallerie (Gustav Klimt), P.S. 1 (WACK! Art and The Feminist Revolution), The Sculpture Center (Tom Burr: Addict-Love, In Practice Projects), The Drawing Center (Selections: Spring 2008, Sterling Ruby: CHRON), Deitch Projects (Noble & Webster: Polymorphous Perverse), Gagosian Gallery (Richard Artschwager), Gladstone Gallery (Andro Wekua: Blue Mirror), Matthew Marks Gallery (Nayland Blake: What The Whiskey Said What The Sun Is Saying), Spencer Brownstone Gallery (Martin Wohrl: Kontrapost), Luhring Augustine (George Condo: Christ: The Subjective Nature of Objective Representation), Metro Pictures Gallery, (Sterling Ruby: Kiln Works, Catherine Sullivan: Triangle of Need), Galeria Ramis Barquet (Sergio De Beukelaer: Format), Marianne Boesky Gallery (Kon Trubkovich), Charles Cowles Gallery (Jill Weinstock: Wear), Jack Shainman Gallery (Carrie Mae Weems) and a host of others.

Dear lord, I had no idea how absurdly comprehensive that list was going to turn out to be. Don’t bother reading the whole thing (I’d feel guilty about tell you that now, but I’m going to go ahead and assume you just skipped down here anyway.)

I’ll try to find time this week to piece together a look at some relevant highlights, including img_4445.jpg

and img_4669.jpg.

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · New York