Month: June 2009

Ryan Trecartin

Now that I have branched into videos, I can include a few of the youtube clips from one of the rising artists I saw at the Generational show at the New Museum the other day.  Here are a few of Trecartin’s videos.  Watch at your own risk!

This is some of the installation from the New Museum:

Just youtube “Ryan Trecartin” and you’ll find a mess of videos.  Fun times!

A soppingly wet day.

This morning, around 6:00 am, I awoke to a dripping noise.  I figured it was the day’s forecast rain, getting an early start, but decided to investigate regardless.  I headed into the bathroom, turned on the light, and discovered that it was also raining inside.  From the light fixture on the ceiling of my bathroom.  Not just a slow and steady dripping leak, but a fairly continuous drizzle of water from the light fixture onto the tile floor.

Confounded, a blinked a few times, opened and closed my mouth, and then went to my laptop to send an e-mail to my landlord.

I then returned to bed, hoping that the problem would resolve itself before I woke to officially begin my day.  I even had a lovely half-awake dream where the leak had fixed itself, despite the pouring rains from outside.

Alas, that was not the case when I awoke.  I e-mailed my landlord again, and then proceeded through my morning rituals: shower, hair, makeup, etc., all while dodging the mini-waterfall from the bathroom ceiling and placing several towels on the floor to soak up the mess.  The ceiling around the light fixture, by this point, had begun to take on a rather wet appearance, with the shadow of water emerging through the plaster.

I called my landlord around 9:30, and then opted to skip out on the first half of the intern group meeting which started at 10:00 to await her returned phone call and a possible resolution.  I received the call around 9:55, and my landlord appeared at 10:25.  Upon seeing the torrential leak she called the building’s management and started yelling at them to send a maintenance person over immediately as this was not a “little leak” but a flood-inducing torrent of water and doom.  She then hung up, told me someone would be on her way, and left to return to work.  I soon did the same, leaving my wet apartment to venture into the pouring rain that continued through the whole day, and managed to make the second half the intern meeting.  I missed the majority of the presentation by a representative from the publications department, which is a shame as that is an area of the museum world which interests me, but I was also interested in the apartment not flooding, and sometimes one must assess their priorities.  I was, however, present for another intern go-around: everyone re-introduced themselves and summarized the projects on which they had been working. Several of the interns, mostly in the Development department (guess I should’ve gotten a business degree?) had gotten to play at the Art Party last night.  They all looked a little tired.  Jealousy, sniff.

After the meeting I turned on my phone to find a voicemail from my landlord.  Maintenance had come, they’d examined the apartment and found no leak inside the apartment itself, and so they decided to break into the apartment on the floor above mine.  The douchetards (I’m sorry, I know that is not polite language, but I really have no other way to describe them) who live above me had and overflowing toilet which was, apparently, flooding their apartment and was the source of my flood.  Evidently this overflow had been occuring for a few hours, and the douchetards hadn’t bothered to tell anyone about it.  They had, however, placed a few garbage bags on the floor.  Because that really helps.  Idiots.  Anyhow, maintenance solved the problem and stopped the leak.  However, they had to remove the light fixture and therefore the light from the ceiling of the bathroom (luckily there is another light over the mirror) and the ceiling itself is a mess.  I have to wait a week for the ceiling to dry out, and then maintenance will come and fix the light fixture and re-seal the ceiling.  Epic. Fail.

During my lunch (yes I had the leftover Katz’s deli roast beef sandwich and it was awesome) I popped over to my apartment.  My landlord had come back and was actually cleaning EVERYTHING which made me feel incredibly guilty but I wasn’t going to complain.  If she wanted to mop and clean and sanitize the bathroom that was fine by me; I was going to do it tonight when I got home, but I’m glad she beat me to the punch.  Anyhow, other than the ceiling light fixture currently residing in the main room of the studio and the waterstains marking the bathroom ceiling , the bathroom is clean and dry and totally usable.  Crisis averted.

After work I came home and made myself a quick dinner, and then returned to the Whitney for a panel discussion regarding the question Why Does Art Matter Now?  The panel was facilitated by a filmmaker/physicist named Peter Gawosan (I think, his last name was sort of garbled) and included choreographer Elizabeth Streb, physicist Lisa Randall, pollster/social scientist Nate Silver, and one of my favorite contemporary artists, Vik Muniz.  I actually wrote a catalogue entry on a Muniz piece in the Ackland collection for the Cultural Politics and Contemporary Art show which was up early this spring.

Muniz's "Prometheo," from his Pieces of Junk Series from 2006, based on Titian's painting of the same name.
Muniz's "Prometheo," from his Pieces of Junk Series from 2006, based on Titian's painting of the same name.

All the panelists answered questions regarding what they did when they found themselves creatively stuck, and how their work crossed boundaries and had a larger effect on society.  Muniz talked a lot–not that that was a bad thing, mind you.  Silver was a snobby pompous liberal who is the type of man who gives liberals in general a bad name.  Randall, I think, was out of it because she was extremely jet-lagged.  She had just come from Paris, where her opera about physics had just had its world premiere at the Centre Pompidou. Streb was insane–she has her dancers do ridiculous things with their bodies, like throw themselves against sheet glass to achieve unnatural motion, she doesn’t believe in choreographing to music, she calls her kind of dancing “pure movement,” and she also refers to the everyday motions of a normal person as “camouflaging gravity.”  She also showed a video of an elephant bouncing on a trampoline.  I’m not entirely sure what that had to do with anything, but it made the audience laugh.

Also, here is a clip of a bunch of Streb’s work, set to HORRIBLE music, ignore the music:

First video post!  Anyhow.

Muniz did show footage of how he created some of his works using garbage–not the same series as the work on which I wrote, but a series focusing on a group of individuals in Brazil who live and scavenge among a giant trash heap.  He photographed some of those individuals, and then recreated those photographs–on a massive scale–with the very garbage on which they survived.  This massive image was then photographed from above (presumably how he created his Pieces of Junk series) and then sold on the market.  All the proceeds from this series, called Pieces of Garbage, went to benefit those living in squalor.  Muniz photographed seven or eight people, all of whom attended the opening of his show.  He says three of them never returned to the wasteland, and that the others have become representatives and organizers for the benefit of their group.  There is a Portuguese word for the people, I believe it is something like castadores, but I may be wrong.

Anyhow, I stayed through all the Vik Muniz stuff, but left a little early because the talk was running about half an hour late and I really wanted to get to the gym.  Now I’m home, very tired, and very much hoping that tomorrow will be dryer than today.

Field trip!

First: congratulations to my dear friend Phil!  He got accepted into the advanced workshop for BMI.  So proud yay!

Continuing…

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.

Look how rare and red that meat is; I only ate one half of the sandwich, the other will make an awesome lunch tomorrow.
Look how rare and red that meat is; I only ate one half of the sandwich, the other will make an awesome lunch tomorrow.

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.

Continuing to eat my way through Manhattan…

Okay y’all.  So I can’t go to a museum every day, or see a show every night, or do new and exciting things about which to write every 24 hours.  What I can and do do daily, however, is eat, and sometimes I eat awesome things.  And so, on days when I am not enriching myself culturally and blogging about it, I will enrich myself in a culinary manner and blog about it.  And I will provide you with pictures, and food porn.  Today, there is much food porn.

I was meeting up with a friend in Midtown for dinner, and so headed down early to get tickets for my sister and me to see Hair on Sunday.  Serious Eats New York, one of my favorite New York food sites, is obsessed with the food scene in Hell’s Kitchen, and so I decided to try one of the major obsessions on the site: pizza bianca from Sullivan Street Bakery, on 47th between 10th and 11th.

Here is Ed Levine’s review of the bakery, which is what prompted me to march across town to try it.  And here is his review of the pizza bianca.   Two dollars will buy you two very large slices of the pizza bianca, which is served at room temperature in the store.  Twenty-five dollars will buy you an ENTIRE PIZZA BIANCA, which is six feet long and one foot wide and will serve a mess of people.

So I trekked out to Sullivan Street Bakery and bought myself a slice (or two slices to be exact, but I only ate one, and the other is sitting in my refrigerator to be eaten tomorrow, maybe for dinner, with some eggs and salad, that sounds delicious).  The two thick slices were served to me in a little waxy bag.  I sat on the little wooden bench outside the bakery and ate my pizza bianca, and it was delicious.

I could not wait to eat it before I took a picture, hence the giant bite marks.
I could not wait to eat it before I took a picture, hence the giant bite marks.

It was pretty awesome.  The dough was light but really nicely chewy, and flavored gently with olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary. Occassionaly I would get a big bite of sea salt or rosemary, which was really really awesome.  The pizza also left a lovely, ridiculous powder on my fingers and around my mouth, which I’m sure looked ridiculous to passersby.  I tried to use napkins copiously.  Anyhow, I really enjoyed my simple, well-made pizza bianca, and am looking forward to eating the second slice tomorrow.  And then going back to Sullivan Street Bakery in the future to try their other varieties of pizza (margherita, potato, mushroom, etc.) and maybe their sandwiches, and then maybe to buy a loaf of their pullman multi-grain bread.

We shall meet again, Sullivan Street Bakery, oh yes, we shall meet again...
We shall meet again, Sullivan Street Bakery, oh yes, we shall meet again...

So after consuming my after-work/pre-dinner snack I got up, brushed the crumbs off my dress, and proceeded to wander around Hell’s Kitchen, gazing at the restaurants I hope to try while I am here.  I want to try the soy-based soft serve and desserts at Kyotofu.  I want to try the empanadas at Empanada Mama.  I want to try the Druise cuisine at Gazala Place.  I want it all, and I want it now!

Pre-theatre dinner in Hell's Kitchen, here I come!
Pre-theatre dinner in Hell's Kitchen, here I come!

I walked through Hell’s Kitchen into Midtown proper, and headed to Le Parker Meridien, where I was meeting my friend at The Burger Joint, the odd, but famous, little seeming hole-in-the-wall burger place in the lobby of a fancy hotel.  I am not kidding, really: there is the lobby, and then a weird little hallway with a giant flourescent burger and an arrow pointing into a doorway, and then a tiny little room with a counter and lots of tables crammed together and lots of people and ketchup bottles.  It was sort of amazing/ridiculous.

A view from my seat at the Burger Joint.  Many Bothans died, to bring me this seat.
A view from my seat at the Burger Joint. Many Bothans died, to bring me this seat.

I’m not really huge on burgers, but since burgers are all this place serves, burgers I had.  My burger was pretty good–I’m sure if I loved burgers I’d say it was awesome, but all I can say is the bun was nice and soft, the meat was perfectly cooked and juicy and tender, the cheese was nice and salty, and my inner carnivore was satisfied.  My fries were less good but were still crispy.  My friend got a milkshake which looked yummy, but I decided to forego the milkshake and have a Diet Coke, because obviously that would cancel out the calories from the burger and fries.

Mm, look at all that burger and fry grease.
Mm, look at all that burger and fry grease.
A burger, with some cheese, and some ketchup, nice and simple.
A burger, with some cheese, and some ketchup, nice and simple.
A bitten burger, and some fries and ketchup, and some grease.  Awesome.
A bitten burger, and some fries and ketchup, and some grease. Awesome.

So if you like burgers and fries and milkshakes, and are serious enough about this enjoyment to brave crowds and fight for tables (evidently mostly at dinner, I hear it is less crowded during the day and non-dinner hours), check out The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien, at 56th between 6th and 7th.

And because I can’t leave art alone for too long, I leave you with one last picture of fries, courtesy of Claes Oldenburg:

Fast food, Oldenburg style.
Fast food, Oldenburg style.