Thursday, January 19, 2012

NYC and the New Museum

We arrived in NYC this morning at around 8:30, after a night of maybe three hours of sleep. more like 2ish. The flight was empty, just a few investment banker types snoring in their suits with their iPhones in their ears. We touched down at laguardia, ferried to the terminal, hailed a cab, and made our way to the apartment we're renting for the weekend in the west village. We couldn't meet the owners until after noon, so we went to a bakery I stumbled into last year and ate breakfast and sat and chatted for an hour or so. We paid the tab, grabbed our bags and walked out into soho to find some graffiti.

We've been to all the major museums, many galleries, and alternative spaces in NYC over the past several years so this year we decided we wanted to see some of the street art. We created a scavenger hunt for some of our favorite artists, places, and styles. We're not the terribly adventurous types so we are staying at street level to look for stuff. More on that later though.

We met the people we are subletting from, got the key and the tour, and finally set our bags down. Then we rested only a bit before walking to Greenwich to have lunch at Mary's Fish Camp.

It was crowded as hell in that tiny place with loud music and hipster types running around and stuffed into a window row of tables. The server pulled out the table so I could sit down, then pulled out the chair so mindy could sit. There we sat elbow to elbow with 2 girls who seemed like imported new locals and an old couple of tourists. Mindy had a lobster roll and shoe string fries and I ate the oyster po boy and slaw. The lobster was super succulent and the fries were delicious. The po boy had a bit too much tobasco, but was wonderful nonetheless. We then hucked our way back to Bowery to check out the New Museum to see Carsten Holler's "experience."

Hahaha how fun! We knew a bit of what to expect from this show as we've read quite a bit about it. It is an art play land! They sawed through 2 floors of the space to install a slide that takes you from the 4th floor to the second, there is a mirror carousel, a psycho tank, and other playable pieces.

We started of course with the slide. We had to put on a "community use" helmet which freaked mindy out, but the novelty of playing overcame her fear of grossness. she went down first and only took 2 breaths from the top to the bottom. How do I know only 2 breaths? Because she let out 2 very shrill screams as she took the 5 second trip to the bottom. The docents and guards laughed with me, as I'm sure they've had screamers go down the slide before. Everyone was entertained. I rode next, but was much less entertaining. Mindy did set a trend however, as several of the followers screamed their way to the bottom as well. We landed on the 2nd floor where the majority of the rest of the interactive works were. Flashing fluorescent lights and neon reptiles greeted us and began their assault on anyone with epilepsy or a heart condition. Then we stuck our heads under the fish tank and perused through the other "do-this-task-and-get-this-response" games. Then we went down stairs and checked out a pair of $1500 "upside down goggles". walked or rather tried to walk with them but could not. It was so disorienting that I found myself stumbling with every step. So for the sake of not buying the upside down goggles, I carried them with me the rest of the show rather than wear them. Then we checked out the uninspiring paintings in the "experimental" space next door. Like I said uninspiring.

I found Holler's idea of interactive art quite akin to my own. He is a minimalist and that aesthetic helps his audience "experience" the work by not being confronted by something other than a proverbial play land. I am not a minimalist but the interactive nature of "play" achieves the same type of audience reaction. Something I think I learned from Holler's piece is that "play" is an aesthetic and interacting with one's audience can be achieved whether you are present or not. You can really get a sense of someone's personality and psychology by playing with the stupid little things he/she creates. And these days the most notable thing about art seems to be the person who makes it. The presence of absence, in that sense, is notable in that you can really interact with something/someone that is really missing. what a unique vision and an awesomely entertaining show. The show comes down on the 22nd, and I'm so thankful I got to play.

Now mindy and I are sitting around waiting for 9pm when we go eat at Molta Mario's restaurant just down the block from where we are staying.

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