Day: June 25, 2009

Dan Graham Opening

Plus an addendum from last night.  I was so tired last night post Twelfth Night, and so pleased by the production, that I neglected to post one of the night’s major negatives: people, mostly men, on their blackberries checking and writing e-mails all around us.  People.  You are at the theatre.  It is just for a few hours.  If you cannot disconnect from your phones for a few hours then go home and stop bothering the rest of us with your glowing screens.  One of the guilty parties, who sat directly in front of us, was checking his e-mail in full view of his kids.  Way to set a good example, dude.

Rude behavior in theaters has been getting a lot of publicity lately via Patti LuPone’s second outburst toward a texting audience member during a performance of her solo show.  This is the latest in a thread of entries on the NYTimes Artsblog about Patti, her outburst, and readers’ reactions, both positive and negative, to her behavior.  One general thread, regardless of whether or not the reader applauded La Diva or called her a raging megalomaniac, was an agreement that audience members are ruder than ever, and that people need to turn off their phones and cameras and just enjoy the damn show.  I agree (I also think Patti rocks, so there).  The end.

So today: work, rain, egg salad, humidity, work.  The Dan Graham retrospective opens tomorrow, so the press were getting their first look today.  Downstairs the Persol club (here’s an article on Lou Reed and that which went down, evidently AMAZING people were there, last night was a night I wished I had two of me!) was disassembled (the weird exhibit remained) and an orange-colored Dan Graham lounge was assembled.  I left work at my normal time, ran home to clean up (and to see the superintendent installing an air conditioning unit, evidently he spent about seven or eight hours in here fixing things, which is absurd) and then met Phil at a Turkish restaurant at 3rd and 81st called Beyoglu, which specializes in mezze.  Accordingly, we ordered a vegetarian sampler (a spread of mezze including hummus, babaganoush, tabbouleh, a yogurt dip, a red pepper dip, and spinach sauteed with garlic) and a chicken appetizer which was some sort of spread which involved walnuts.  The spreads came with delicious fresh-baked puffy sesame studded bread that was hot from the oven and fantastic.  So much food, however; Phil and I failed to conquer.

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Our spread of food.

The vegetarian sampler.
The vegetarian sampler.

After dinner we walked back to my apartment to drop off a few things, and passed quite possibly the most amazing wrought-iron doorway in the history of doorways ever.

Enter, the dragon.
Enter, the dragon.

The Dan Graham opening started at 7:00.  We arrived around 7:10 and it was already fairly crowded.  We skipped the reception in the basement and went to the fifth floor to see the retrospective.  Luckily we beat the crowds–by the time we left the exhibit the galleries were packed.  I was really compelled by the exhibition and am looking forward to the opportunity to returning when the galleries are less crowded.  I love what Graham does with space and time, and how he plays with those concepts using mirrors and videos.  Phil and I especially had fun in a room involving cameras, mirrors, televisions, and a startling time delay.  The exhibit also features a lot of film, using the original super-8 reels and really old-school equipment, which I love. If you enjoy art that allows you to play, and art that screws with your head, check out the exhibit.  Here are a few shots of the retrospective:

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I wish I could tell you more about the crowd.  The craziest outfit I saw was a gold hyper-sequined tube dress with huge shoes and huge hair.  I also saw a tight-lipped lesbian couple with dark lipstick, short dark hair, dark outfits, and the most bizarre glasses I had ever seen.  I passed them several times, and they neither spoke nor smiled.  Maybe they were robots.  Phil and I visited the permanent galleries and the Oldenberg show, both of which were far less crowded than the Dan Graham show (naturally) before heading downstairs to the reception and to the Persol show.  The Persol exhibit is ridiculous: all black, with lots of mirrors, and black and white videos with swanky people in swanky cars in a swanky countryside talking about how art is made from a blank canvas.  Utterly ridiculous.  Also, rotating sunglasses suspended from mid-air:

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Phil and I sampled the lackluster food (chicken skewers, stale popcorn).  He had a glass of wine, I had some Pellegrino.  We ran into some girls from my department, an intern and an actual paid employee (yes those exist), and we talked to them for awhile.  And then, at 8:55 promptly, the lights were turned on and the party was over.  Really Whitney?  You are really going to kick us out at 9:00?  Guess so.  These, alas, are my only other pictures from the reception.  Phil actually took a lot of pictures of the night, and I am hoping to borrow his pictures.  If I deem any suitable, I will include them in a future post.

Extremely pink flowers.
Extremely pink flowers.
With the artsy folk.
With the artsy folk.

Phil and I, lacking a party, decided to make our own party for two at Pinkberry.  And then, because we are old, we called it a night.  I arrived home just as the super was cleaning up, greeted the newly installed air conditioning with much happiness, and then settled in for the night.

I am eagerly anticipating tomorrow, as Jon arrives.  I will try to post while he is here but will make no promises.  Still, I am devoted to you, my dear readers, so I will endeavor to give you some content as the weekend progresses.  In the meantime, I look forward to reading reviews of the Dan Graham opening tomorrow, and am amused to have experienced my first New York art party-thing-whatever.