02 April 2009

nose jobs and turkey vultures

You're feeling a little overwhelmed. You know you have to sort out the detritus before you can really get on with your life but it's early April, the sun is shining. Spring fever sets in ... hard!

I went out to get the paper and check to see if my state tax refund had been deposited as the website had indicated it would be. No April Fool's joke there. But with book in hand, I thought a little reading on the waterfront would be just fine. Since I usually just walk West on Christopher Street to the waterfront, I decided to shift a bit South and ended up getting to the Hudson at about Carmine Street and kept walking South. I did stop and get a coffee at the food court at the Winter Garden and then sat for a while and wrote in my journal. Realizing I wasn't too far from the Skyscraper Museum, I stopped in there to see the current show on Hong Kong skyscrapers. I don't really like the space; it's over-decorated, not that you asked me. The small shop is quite nice but I resisted buying the Jane Jacobs biography or anything else.

Over to Broadway for the walk North. When I got almost up to Canal, I shifted over to Church Street to visit apexart which always is showing something interesting. Imagine my surprise and deep emotions at finding that their current show was "I am art: an expression of the visual & performing arts of plastic surgery" curated by Anthony Berlet, M.D. Having gone through a "staged nasal reconstruction with forehead flap and cartilege grafting following Mohs resection of skin cancer," I was overwhelmed. There were also more cosmetic nose jobs and fixes of clept palates. Before and after pictures. The videos are not for the squeamish. I'm glad I was anesthetized during my procedure. Is it art? Soon after my operation, I was at an opening at the Whitney Museum branch in Stamford, Connecticut with several others from the Whitney in Manhattan where I was then moonlighting. We were looking at one of the pieces when I hear "beautiful work" to my left. The observer, a retired dermatologist, was indeed looking at my nose reconstruction, not at the art work on the wall.

After leaving apexart, I could hardly keep it together as I walked home. My main thought to myself, however, was: get over it, you could be dead. Quit worrying about all you have to do and go do something.

A little further up Greene Street, the door for Location One was open so I went in. What a contrast: Laurie Anderson's "From the air: two installations." There are two darkened chambers. One has a white circle on the floor with a speaker above. The texts are barely audible but soothing in a Laurie Anderson sort of way. The other chamber had a projection of "From the air" about Anderson and her dog. She talks about getting away from her downtown space for periods of quiet and walks with her dog. She describes a visit to northern California where they are staying in a hermitage where monks bring food every few days but otherwise they're pretty much alone. Anderson has heard that rat terriers are capable of learning 500 words and she wanted to experiment. As she walked down to the ocean from the hermitage, the dog would scurry about looking for hazards. Turkey vultures appear one day and, all of a sudden, the dog realizes that it is prey and must now look up as well as around. Anderson makes an analogy with 9/11 and the fact that things will never be the same again. As expected, pretty powerful stuff.

That sure filled the brain and soul with lots to think about. As I continued up Greene Street, I passed someone sitting on a stoop talking on a cell phone and realized it was my art hero, Nina Katchadourian. Whiz by, whistling inside, stopped at the grocery store and came home for something to eat. A bit of nourishment for the body to go with the soul's food.

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