Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

Externalised Memory

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Overdoing the AAAaaaaaaaaaaart
Einstürzende Neubauten
maxcelcat
Tuesday in New York. Tuesday last week. Yay, I'm now only eight days behind in my blogging! :-)

Tuesday last week... I did waaaaaay too much Art. The executive summary: I went to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, you know, the spirally one. And in the afternoon I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art! A gallery so large most people take a few days to look at it properly.

The Guggenheim was great, I really felt like I was in New York when I was there, since it is uniquely a New York building. It's actually not a big building, and was very busy indeed. I took the lazy route, and took an elevator to the top floor and walked down the spiral.

The main exhibition was, appropriately, about Frank Lloyd Wright, the chap who designed it. It being some fifty years since it was opened. They had lots of original drawings from the process of creating the museum itself. Plus lots of drawings and models from his other projects - most of them unrealised.

And, frankly, its a good thing some of his unbuilt projects never saw the light of day - some of them were uuuuuugly. Some of them were cool, but a lot of them looked like Modernist nightmares which would have aged terribly. Lots of spheres and planned cities and the like.

The Gugg also as a permanent collection of impressionist and post-impressionists pictures, which I found hard to process after the rest of the place. I did glance quickly through, but now I can't recall a single picture that I saw.

The Gugg, and indeed the Met and lots of other galleries I visited in the US - museums too - suffer a bit from museum-shop-itis. Many of them have a shop on each floor, or even one attached to every major exhibition. The Natural History Museum in Washington being a particularly bad offender!

Next I moved on to the Met, once I realised it was more or less around the corner... Getting to that side of town was fun, I got on a bus for the first time in NY, which took me through Central Park over to the East Side, Fifth Avenue and the like.

Then... The Met. I do have one great advantage when it comes to art - because I was an art school student once and I have seen so much art, I'm very good at dismissing whole areas and whole genres and periods very quickly. I have little time for 14th and 15th century European art, for example, or anything to do with iconography. I do try and wander through as many rooms in a given gallery as I can, just in case I stumble across something important.

At the Met, this helped me a lot, but I did still miss at least 40% of the place, including the gallery shop - where I usually stock up on dozens of cheap postcards :-)

I did however greatly enjoy the modern art section, they had some more Rothko's, and Pollack's and various other interesting American painters. I was also very impressed by their collection of suits of armour - although I don't quite see how they belong in an art gallery.

And indeed, here was something interesting I spotted in the modern art area:


They other exhibition they had on which I was keen to see was a retrospective on Francis Bacon, a very interesting and disturbing English artist. They retrospective was actually due to open to the public the next day, but there was a "members of the gallery" special preview on when I turned up at the door. And I talked my way in, merely because I was all the way from Australia!

It was very, very interesting to see so many major Bacon paintings in one place. Including, notably, one from the National Gallery of Victoria which I'd seen dozens of times before! Also very interesting was some of his source material and debris from his studio, including many photographs, some covered in oil paint. I do hope this exhibition tours a bit.

After that I think I went to visit Grand Central Station, which was another very impressive building. Then I joined my hosts, including my new little friend Yasmeen for Sushi. Yasmeen was very insistent that I sit next to her!

And I wonder why I was tired after my time in NY!

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That's funny, I used to be dismissive of iconography, but now find it fascinating. Same as I used to dislike modern like as a child, but later learned to appreciate it. Now I just need to make it to the National Art Gallery to look at some old European paintings.

I'm not sure I'll ever appreciate iconography, unless I see some good Russian stuff I guess.

I like my art non-representational :-)

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