Adventures in NYC Arts and Culture

I left off yesterday with lunch at the No Paparazzi Coffee Shop. Today we move on to the Arts and Culture part of Maggie and Lisa’s NYC Adventure.

Following lunch on Friday, we went to view the Frick Collection. The Frick is a really lovely museum, the art work, the architecture, the furnishings, all beautiful. Beyond beautiful, gorgeous, really pretty, some word meaning “as good as anything you see in Europe” pretty. Currently, the central exhibit is  Vincent van Gogh’s “Portrait of a Peasant”. The colors are vibrant and the paint is like waves on the canvas it is so thick.  Lisa and I watched a brief video about van Gogh’s process and thoughts on the painting and his communications with his brother, Theo, regarding the work and his life in Arles, France. We then went into the oval gallery and were greeted by the actual painting. It was awe inspiring to enter a room to see the painting the video had discussed in such detail. It is silly to use the word “awesome” at this point. I’ll use it later.

Look at that green! Van Gogh was experimenting with colors in this painting and they are still so vibrant.
Look at that green! Van Gogh was experimenting with colors in this painting, in this stage of his work. Photo courtesy of the Frick Collection.

I was taken by this portrait as well.  When I saw it, I immediately thought of Brigid’s best friend, Emma. And ta dahhhh! Lady Hamilton’s first name was Emma!

Lady Emma Hamilton by George Romney
Lady Emma Hamilton by George Romney. (I can’t get the hell away from the Romneys!) Photo courtesy of the Frick Collection.

The Frick is now one of my most favorite museums. The audio tour is free and quite helpful. The former residence of Henry Clay Frick, which houses the collection, is also a work of art. I’d put this on the don’t miss list in NYC.

On Saturday, while Lisa was at the baby shower at the Plaza, I went to the MoMA. NY’s Museum of Modern Art. Lisa highly recommended it to me. Let’s all remember that Lisa is much smarter and infinitely more mature than I am. The MoMA is not my thing.

Just. Not. My. Thing.

Munch’s (like Richard Belzer)  “The Scream” is on exhibit there. Seeing it is sort of like going to see the “Mona Lisa” in the Louvre. It’s mobbed and behind very thick glass. I did learn that the character in “The Scream” is not screaming himself, rather covering his ears for the scream of nature is too loud. One more reason why I don’t go out into nature very often.

My view of the Scream as printed in the New York Times.
My view of “The Scream” as printed in the New York Times.

There is a room in the MoMA with GIANT Monet murals of waterlilies, and they are bee yoo ti ful. There are some gorgeous Seurats if you are a fan of pointillism. I have visited a LOT of Impressionist museums and exhibitions in my life so this was nice but didn’t really hit me that hard.

Here comes the AWESOME.

Dear reader, I’m sure you are getting the idea of what is going on at this point in my trip. I’m alone in a large museum in New York City and I’m not really into the whole MoMA scene probably due to lack of supervision. I finish up the 5th floor and head to the 4th and wander around there for a bit. WHAM! Not like George Michael and Andrew Ridgely but Whoa Dude Awesome Art!!!

Awesome Art hit me like a punch in the gut. Like if someone punched me and I said, "OOF!" Just like that.
Awesome Art hit me like a punch in the gut. Like if someone punched me and I said, “OOF!” Just like that.

Just look at this ART!!!

The Voice by Barnett Newman. Photography by Maggie O'Connor.
“The Voice” by Barnett Newman. Photography by Maggie O’Connor.

This painting “downplays traceable signs of the artist’s hand.” So it’s just like looking at a canvas that hasn’t actually been painted. Right? Get it? “The broad expanse of white is interrupted by…a slightly darker white.” See how that “paradox….contradicts the silent mood of the pure white field.” Don’t you?  Ahhhh, Bach! (That’s for you Katie).

I’m sure you can imagine how I got rolling once I realized this was the next batch of art I was going to see. I’m not going to ruin it all for you but here are my favorites: 1) the big white canvas on the white wall with some darker white on it; 2) this pink piece of plywood;

The Absolutely Naked Fragrance, 1967 by John McCracken.
“The Absolutely Naked Fragrance”, 1967 by John McCracken.

It’s titled “The Absolutely Naked Fragrance”, duh. This one is so obvious I’m not going to bore you, my artly literate readers by explaining it to you. OK fine, I guess some of you are not as refined as I am. Pink Board = Nude Aroma. You’re welcome.

And finally!!! The pièce de resistance ….. waaaaitttt for it….

A Wall Pitted by a Single Air Rigle Shot by Lawrence Weiner.
“A Wall Pitted by a Single Air Rifle Shot” by Lawrence Weiner.

Yep, I can’t believe they even allowed me to take a photo of this one. You don’t get the full effect of the work from this picture. You don’t get the full effect of the work from anything anywhere because….BECAUSE “the work comes into existence at the moment [Weiner] articulates an idea with words….as Weiner states ‘The piece need not be built.” (My emphasis).

Ahhh, the art is there, you don’t even have to make it, it’s there because “the decision rests with the ‘receiver upon the occasion of receivership.” If I choose not to receive this art, then it’s not art. It exists because the words have been spoken but if I don’t receive it, no deal. Get it?!

Here’s some Receivership….Weiner is a Weiner.

On Sunday, Lisa and I went to the Morgan Library. This is another worthwhile stop. They had a wonderful Beatrix Potter exhibit, the sole written draft of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and many other fascinating pieces, including one of three Guttenberg Bibles owned by J.P. Morgan.

But the real masterpiece at the Morgan was “We Aren’t Eating At The Cafe” by Maggie O’Connor. What? I put those words in existence so just receive them, okay?!

20 thoughts on “Adventures in NYC Arts and Culture

  1. So glad you enjoyed the museums, Maggie. When my daughter was little, the MoMA used to open early on Saturdays about once a month, special for families, and for free! We’d go through the galleries and the kids were encouraged to participate in the discussions. It’s always a revelation to see the world through a child’s eyes and understanding! You’re reminding me I haven’t been to the Morgan in quite some time…xoxoM

    1. I do love NY so much and definitely got the most out of this weekend trip. It would have been fun to have a kid with me to look at some of the art….”what’s the old paintbrush doing here?” 🙂

  2. I should have been an ‘artist’.
    My favorite, ahem, piece was at the Guggenheim – where someone had unrolled gold gift wrapping paper on the floor. That’s it! Gold wrapping paper on the floor.
    I think it was called “Snicker snicker I can’t believe they bought it”

  3. Here’s what my husband and I do when viewing some “awesome art.” We have a fake serious conversation about the piece’s merit, the meaning, all totally bogus and as incredible stupid as the work of art. It only works when lots of people are standing around, also staring at the work. It’s funny how many will think we know what we are talking about. And of course we make it all up – that’s half the fun!

    PS: Stupid me. My sister works at the Morgan but did I think to suggest you go there? Nooooooooooooooo. Glad you popped in.

    1. I did strike up a conversation with a guy about the pink board but we were both mocking it. I will try that sometime, we have modern art in Portland. I might have to do a Portland Art Museum blog.
      I’m so glad we went to the Morgan. We had planned on going to the Main Library, I’m embarrassed to say that I have never been there, but it was closed for an event so we hustled on over to the Morgan….so gorgeous.

  4. Pingback: People and Places NYC « Someone Fat Happened

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