First: congratulations to my dear friend Phil! He got accepted into the advanced workshop for BMI. So proud yay!
One of the many perks of being a Whitney Intern is getting to visit and have tours of other institutions with a contemporary art focus. Essentially, we get to go on field trips; I haven’t been on a field trip in like, seven years y’all. Today our field trip took us down into the Bowery to see the New Museum’s exhibit (and, evidently, inaugural triennial) The Generational: Younger Than Jesus. The show, encompassing the three main floors of the museum, includes work by fifty artists from twenty-five countries. The one unifier among these artists is that they are all under the age of thirty-three (get it?)
I had conflicted feelings about the last show I saw at the New Museum, the Unmonumental show with which they opened their new building in late 2007. While there were a few pieces that resonated with me, I felt that the curators had crammed a lot of work into an awkward space, and that none of the works really had the ability to breathe and exist fully within that space. While the Generational show was less crammed with works, I still felt that the show lacked focus. Again, there were a few pieces that really struck me, and there are certainly many talented young artists who were represented within the show. However, the New Museum curators, I feel, are still trying to figure out how to utilize the awkward gallery space. Hopefully over the next few years the institution will start to find an identity and will learn how to better manage the art within the space.
Anyhow, a bit on the pieces and artists which really struck me. Emre Huner had a beautiful animated video piece with surrealist, apocalyptic images. Guthrie Lonergan’s appropriations of myspace intro videos was amusing and indicative of the general youtube/internet video appropriation theme which ran through much o fthe show. Jakob Julian Ziolikowski, a painter, exhibited a giant gorgeous detailed canvas which was really phenomenal in its intricacy.
Chun Yun had probably the oddest piece in the show: a bed in which an actual person sleeps. A group of paid volunteers, all women, takes turns sleeping in the bed on various days. They take a sleeping aid when the galleries open and sleep until the gallery closes, when a security guard wakes them. I was really startled when I first saw the bed, because I couldn’t tell if the woman was real or a wax figure–and then she moved. The piece is meant as a commentary on the use of the female figure in art, and it reminded me of the wax anatomical figures used in old science museums in Italy.
Ryan Trecartin, a rising artist and youtube star, had two giant rooms with ramshackle installations, which played loops of his really bizarre, really hilarious youtube style videos which featured cross-dressing and people in odd makeup talking in exaggerated valley girl and/or gay boy speak.
The collective AIDS 3-D created a shrine to OMG: A monolithic pillar with the letters OMG written on it in lights surrounded by candles. While that piece was hilarious and people of the Gossip Girl generation can easily connect with it, I don’t think it will stand the test of time and, according to the German intern, most people who aren’t American wouldn’t understand it.
The exhibit doesn’t allow photography, so if you want to see any of the images check out the New Museum’s site, which I linked to above.
We were given a tour of the exhibit by a friend of Diane’s (hi Diane!), which just verifies that the art world is TINY and everyone knows everyone else. The tour only lasted an hour, and we were allowed to linger in the museum as long as we wished. I connected with a few other interns, Alicia in Registration, Katherine in Public Relations, and Jake in Marketing, and we explored the museum a bit further. We then left the museum (Katherine headed back uptown to finish up some work and to get ready for the Whitney’s Art Party, which she had to work at–can’t lie, I’m a bit jealous) and grabbed some lunch at Katz’s Deli. New York institution blah blah etc. whatever it is awesome deli food although I think I might like Second Avenue Deli better–although Second Avenue doesn’t let me put cheese on my roast beef sandwich. Which is what I had, by the way–I was going to get pastrami but someone in front of me ordered roast beef. It looked delicious and it was delicious.
We left Katz’s, bearing leftovers, and Jake headed back uptown. Alicia and I went on an adventure to find the Marc by Marc Jacobs store. After a bit of marching around SoHo we finally figured out that the Marc Jacobs store is in SoHo while the Marc by Marc Jacobs store is actually in the West Village. Fail! I did have a bit of success with some gifts at the Kid Robot store and then extreme success with some strawberry ice cream from the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck (if you ever see one, stop and get some ice cream, it is fabulous, I have never had a bad flavor, though I do wish that the strawberry flavor had had little chunks of strawberries). No pictures of the ice cream–apologies for that, it is hard to eat, walk, and photograph at the same time. We also made a detour into the Mango store, where we looked, but did not touch/buy–a difficult feat, the clothes were adorable.
By that time it was nearly four, so we decided to end our SoHo adventure. We parted ways to head home. The rest of my evening was fairly uneventful: short nap, leftover pizza bianca from Sullivan Street Bakery and eggs for dinner, and an epic workout. Not a bad day. Back at the Whitney tomorrow, with a panel talk involving VIK MUNIZ(!!!) tomorrow night.