NYC Art Walk

Did an art walk with Amy and her classmates around New York last weekend, mostly in Chelsea. Her class took an early “Art Bus” up from school but we skipped that and took a train up to NJ and stayed with Amy’s family a night earlier, then took an NJ Transit train into the city in the morning.

It was delightfully foggy out; the Meadowlands looked almost picturesque.

Before the group arrived we plunged into Chelsea early to see some art on our own. I got the strongest impression from Beth Cavener Stichter’s “Come Undone” show at Claire Oliver Gallery: stylized animals of fired stoneware in strangely anthropomorphic poses expressing powerful emotions in contrasting states of aggression and vulnerability.

Beth Cavener Stichter, "Come Undone" show at Claire Oliver Gallery, Chelsea
Beth Cavener Stichter, "Come Undone" show at Claire Oliver Gallery, Chelsea

We also dropped by Danese to see Emily Eveleth’s paintings of donuts, and at George Billis I really liked Randall Mooers’ fruit-and-string paintings and Kenny Harris’ Tuscany landscapes.

The bus came late, delayed by standard NYC traffic, and we tarried on the High Line at 23rd Street waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. As we waited I sipped on a truly awful iced coffee from Joe.

W 23rd St, High Line

After the group arrived we hit galleries at a blinding pace. I can’t remember them all but I did make sure to check in to each one on Foursquare. By the end of the walk I had racked up Level 4 and 5 “Warhol” badges.

Most notably we saw Ai Weiei’s “Forge” at Mary Boone:

Ai Weiwei's "Forge"

I was also strongly affected by Gagosian’s exhibit of Richard Phillips, mostly in that the work made me feel like I had fallen into a particularly bad issue of FHM. Garishly huge paintings of swimsuit-clad actresses and loud slow-motion glamour films of Lindsay Lohan and Sasha Grey evoked modeling demo reels. If the idea was to produce a cultural critique of celebrity culture the show failed miserably, appearing instead as fawning, entry-level visual pablum directed squarely at the Hollywood crowd.

After the gallery walk we got some lunch at Chelsea Square Restaurant (I had the spinach salad, which was more like a bacon-and-egg salad with some spinach) and got on the subway to hit MoMA and The Met. Main to-do items at MoMA were Century of the Child and Quay Brothers. At the Met we paid one more visit to Saraceno’s Cloud City. Too late in the day to get tickets for entry, but the view was stunning anyway.

Saraceno's Cloud City View from Met Roof Garden

Before leaving for the night I was in the mood for some ancient history so we dropped by the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II and browsed Mesopotamian, Assyrian, Akkadian, and Cypriot artifacts.

Archaic Cypriot vase with two horses
Assyrian High Five

After Amy’s group had left, we ended the day at Ajisen Ramen in Midtown, where I had cold ramen noodles and a few slices of sake sashimi. Then, a train back to New Jersey.

A few notable items from church the next day: a pedal-powered merry-go-round for kids, and idle doodling in the church bulletin.

Church Bulletin Doodle

Then we headed back that afternoon. (I would have liked to stay longer but we don’t live near Union Station anymore so we need to get back to DC earlier to catch Metro before closing.)

Metropark NJ

So went last weekend. Full Flickr photoset here.