Working in Chelsea for a few days.

Today was the first of three days which Theresa and I will be spending at  the Chelsea-located off-site Whitney storage, which is a trek.  I have to take the 6 to 51st street and then transfer to the E.  I get off at 23rd and 8th but then have to walk about twenty minutes to the storage location proper.  Not fun.

Art storage, I have decided, isn’t really made for people. Whitney’s I liken it to a cave.  Of wonders.  It is windowless and freezing but full of art treasures that you cannot touch (like in the cave of wonders).  Also, no food or drink whatsover which means that by 1:00, when we took art, I was thirsty and starving.  You can’t even sneak a swallow of water in the corner near your bag.  It is really hardcore.  Oh, also, no sitting–I was standing by a high table for most of the work day.  That, combined with the trekking around the lower West side of Manhattan that occured after work, means that my feet hurt.

Theresa and I are inventorying drawings this week.  Since we are not allowed to handle the works (nice to know they trust the interns, right?) we are paired with a “real” person who goes through the boxes of drawings and reads the object numbers off to us.  We then record the object numbers according to their box and locations.  Exciting, right?  This is what I did for most of the day, while standing on the hard concrete floor in the 60 degree windowless sad cave.

I hit up the nearby Halal food cart for a much-needed lunch break.  This was my first non-hotdog street meat experience in NYC (I can’t believe it either) and it was actually delicious.  Grilled and spiced chicken over yellow rice with a side salad and lots of white sauce.  I really don’t know what white sauce is, but I loved it.  I didn’t take a picture (because I was eating with some people I’d only just met and I didn’t want them to think I was crazy) but that is probably for the best–it looked sort of goopy but tasted amazing.  We took our food to one of those little pier/parks that overlook the Hudson, and ate while enviously watching people on excursion boats and non-workers lazing in the sun in bikinis.  Not fair.  Especially since we had to return to the cave.

Also, on a final note about work today–it was additionally crazy because of technology issues. Insanity all over the place, evidently.  Hate.

Anyhow, we finished a little early because we are rockstars–also, the storage unit closes at 4:30, so that’s also awesome.  I left the cave around 4:15 and decided to wander around the nearby Chelsea galleries for a bit.  I picked 24th street to explore and roamed in and out of several galleries.  The Andrea Rosen gallery had a really interesting show of John Currin drawings–evidently he has a large breast fetish, which is unsurprising even though I have never seen any of his works in person.  Metro Pictures had a group show of artists I like, including Mike Kelley and Tony Oursler.  Susan Inglett Gallery had a really fascinating show of the media response to Lynda Benglis’ ArtForum advertisement and Robert Morris’ chains-and-helmet Castelli-Sonnabend poster, both of which appeared in 1974.  The show was a collection of letters to the editors, newspaper clippings, media snippets and other ephemera.  Also the name above mine when I signed the guestbook was Paula Cooper, which made me wonder if said Paula Copper was the actual Paula Cooper whose gallery housed Lynda Benglis’ show in 1974.  I wish I’d had the time/patience to read every one of the articles/letters/etc. displayed in the show, but a survey of the collection was extremely telling and offered me a lot of amusement.

Next door to Susan Inglett was the Mike Weiss gallery, which featured the amazing work of Liao Yibei.  I had never encountered the artist’s work before today, but he’s definitely on my list of people to watch.  He creates really beautiful stainless steel sculptures that are shiney like a Koons but which lack the smoothness of Koons’ works.  The works fuse Asian imagery and military imagery and American imagery and the sculptures are incredibly whimsical and are just astounding to look at.  I took some photographs (I really try to limit my art photography to three dimensional works) so you can see for yourself.

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Shiny/funky/cool right?

Post gallery hopping I decided to walk and walk and walk down to Bleeker Street to try to find the Marc by Marc Jacobs Accessories store because, well, Marc Jacobs for fifty dollars or less?  Yes.  I took the High Line downtown, because it makes walking the city more bearable, and walked through the Meatpacking District and window-shopped the likes of Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.  I decided to take Hudson down and down and down and luckily for me it collided with the top of Bleeker.  And right near the top of Bleeker, in a cluster, are the Marc by Marc Jacobs stores (I think there are three or four).  I actually shopped at the main Marc by Marc Jacob store because it had most of the same merchandise as the Accessories store without the crowd and cluster.  The Accessories store was a badly-planned, crowded, merchandise-stuffed madhouse filled with Japanese tourists who had their suitcases with them.  Evidently they could not wait to shop Marc Jacobs, even though I am pretty sure they have Marc Jacobs in Japan.  Seriously.  Anyhow, some of the stuff was really adorable: $16 charm necklaces and $9 totes and $5 lipstick compacts and $6 rings…Marc Jacobs for the masses!  Or, rather, for the recession-era masses!

I continued down bleeker to Murray’s Cheese Shop (a winner of a cheese store; they call their employees mongers, as in cheesemongers, how cool is that?) to try their melted sandwich bar.  Actually I had an internal debate between said sandwich bar and pizza at Keste before deciding that a five dollar sandwich was the more frugal choice.  Anyhow.  The Murray’s sandwich bar is as follows: you pick your bread, you pick your cheese from a long list of fancy cheese, and then you customize it with meats/vegetables/spreads/odd condiments etc.  We’re talking from as simple as chedder and roast beef on white to prosciutto di parma and fontina on health loaf with quince paste.  After you pick your ingredients a Murray’s worker assembles the sandwich and then warms it in a sandwich press.  As you can imagine I was overwhelmed by the choices so I decided just to go with one of the non-thinking choices offered by Murray’s: the French Onion Melt.  Yes, a french onion soup sandwich–tons of melted gruyere and sweet carmelized onions on wheat bread.  The sandwich was amazing–like french onion soup without all that annoying broth, and the sweetest gushiest onions captured in tons of melted fresh fantastic gruyere.  So good.

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SeriousEats also suggested that I get one of Murray’s Munchies (pre-packed but delicious little candies), in particular these little s’more-like thingers–s’mores but with an added bonus of a dulce de leche layer.  I’ll let you decide whether or not I enjoyed mine.

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I ate my mini-picnic in the park at the intersection of Bleeker and 6th Avenue, then caught the nearby E train back uptown.  It was almost 7:00 and I was super-tired from spending the entire day on my feet.  Tomorrow I go back downtown and then end my day with God of Carnage and maybe a visit to the Richard Avedon show at ICP.  I predict another long and tiring, but uber-exciting, day.  Times a’ticking, and I still have much I want to do!

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