28 June 2009

hommage à martín

I love the way NYC works. It has been written about. For example, there was an article a few years ago about how you know the newsstand and deli people but not the details of their life. You're both familiar, in both senses.

This morning, I told Martín at Silver Spurs that I was moving from NYC tomorrow. He looked like he wanted to hug me and he did wish me well. We don't usually say much beyond "the usual?" and "more coffee?" but when I went to the cash register, the guy there said "I hear this is your last Sunday with us" and shook my hand and wished me well. It's that friendly anonymity that is so satisfactory.

In the fall of 1997 when I had my nose reconstruction, I'd been going to the same newsstand for a couple years, buying the Times, and saying "Have a nice day" (trite, perhaps, but well meant). As the bandages lessened in size, the woman at the newsstand said "better?" and I nodded and said thanks. She didn't have much English but it didn't matter.

Leaving Silver Spurs this morning, the usual Sunday morning routine, I was overcome by the feeling of loss. Not bad loss, but sentimental for that friendly anonymity. I'll find my way in Alfred but I'll live there, at least in the short term, as an urban person: friendly but not needing to know every detail of your life. Generally, I'd just as soon talk about art, architecture, queer stuff, politics, sustainability, even religion.

27 June 2009

Yinka shown a rainbow

Though I could have stayed home consolidating the remains for Monday's drive to Alfred, I had to see the Yinka Shonibare show at the Brooklyn Museum. It opened on Friday, like, yesterday. It is wonderful but mostly not too surprising for me since I know his work pretty well. There are a couple videos on the first floor. I didn't give the first one its due and the gallery between the videos has a wonderful sculpture of 14 figures around a table with a map of the world. If you read the Times coverage, you know it's a map of the world and it's like they're dividing up the space. The video in the back gallery is wonderful: "Odile and Odette" or a black ballerina and a white one dancing in mirror image. Upstairs for the rest of the show: mostly the great figure sculptures but also the Victorian Dandy series and "The Victorian philanthropist's parlour." The parlour was new to me and I preferred the Studio Museum installation of the Fragonard lady in a swing.

After leaving the main exhibition galleries, I thought I'd stop in for a visit to the Moorish Room which I dearly love. Well, gosh, there was a Shonibare kid in the room, jumping rope. And in the Civil War dressing room, a child playing with a puppet. In the library from Saratoga Springs, a Shonibare boy was playing with marbles under the table. Love the intervention.

As I left the museum, I was overcome with thoughts of how it will not be as easy from Alfred to visit a show at the Brooklyn Museum so I'll just have to get my finances (moving is expensive!) in order and get down here "all the time."

Janet Linde lives across Eastern Parkway and we'd made plans to meet for coffee after I was done at the museum and she was done with duty at the food coop. We were sitting in the garden at Cheryl's when it started raining enough for the tree umbrella to not keep us dryish. We went inside to finish. Then as we left the restaurant, it was rainbow light and indeed there was a rainbow.

Over to the subway. When I was walking back to the apartment from the Christopher Street exit, there was another rainbow and a lot of Pride business in Washington Square. Even the goddess had on her Pride rainbow!

the day the movers came

Before the movers came (a few days earlier):

After the movers took most of the stuff away:

Now, all I have to do is finish consolidating the stuff that I'll take in a carload of precious things. Then, it's off to Alfred on Monday.

14 June 2009

do not cut bait, fairies in the garden

A couple weeks ago, a woman stopped to talk to me as I stood in front of Trader Joe's on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. I was waiting for Diana Mitrano, the woman was amused by my site-specific installation t-shirt that I got at the Whitney some years ago. She (Maitreya Levanchild) was to be in a performance of "What we can see from here" on the 69th Street Pier in Bay Ridge on June 14th. Today. The day started gloomy but brightened considerably. The performance was pleasant, colorful, appropriate.

I've been reading The language of landscape by Anne Whiston Spirn and it keeps reverberating. After the performance, I continued walking through the waterfront parks of Bay Ridge and came upon the rose garden. My third rose garden in a week! It is the season. Yesterday, Mac and I went to Jackson Heights for the annual Garden Tour. The gardens were mostly on the inside of blocks, surrounded by apartment buildings, mostly built in the decade before the Great Depression. We saw four of them and the gardens were quite different: one was quite overgrown and very pleasant on a summer afternoon, another quite formal with a baldaquino supported by Doric columns, another a simple center lawn with great trees (only one Dutch elm left). And of course there were some roses.

I had only just gotten back from Boston and the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management on Friday night. When I was in Boston, Bill Connor and I went to lunch on Thursday with Darin Murphy (School of the MFA) and Rachel Resnik (MassArt). On the way through the Fens to Thaitation, we stopped in the ... ta da ... Rose Garden! It was extraordinarily beautiful. The scent of the garden today in Brooklyn was stronger however; it must have been the breeze off the bay, blowing the rosy scent right at me. The Fens Rose Garden takes us back to the Spirn book wherein she talked about how one Boston neighborhood was asked for favorite places as they were planning their community garden. Yup, the Fens Rose Garden was at the top of everybody's list and became the inspiration for a public space within the neighborhood garden.

SEI went pretty well. I presented thrice on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with several others. I thought the flow was quite fine. On Thursday, Bill and I went to see the "Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese" show at the Museum of Fine Arts. It was extraordinary. The room of "Mythological Nudes" was dumb-striking, jaw-dropping, almost too overdressed but lovely. The Tintoretto "Baptism" was amazing and was installed next to a Baptism by Veronese, just one of the good comparisons in the exhibition. The comparisons were perhaps obvious but the installation really worked. After the Venice show, Fens walk, and lunch, Bill and I went home to make vegetarian chili for supper. It came out very nicely. Bill was the haut chef, I the sous.

Before catching a late afternoon bus on Friday, I went to see the Shepard Fairey show at the Institute of Contemporary Art. I really enjoyed the images and the words included therein. I was also very taken by the "Acting out: social experiments in video" show which included the wonderful Javier Téllez video of six blind people touching an elephant in McCarren Pool which I'd seen at the Whitney Biennial, along with four other interesting videos. After the ICA, I walked over to the gallery district on Harrison Avenue to see the Joe Fig show at Carroll and Sons.

So it all comes back to plants, e.g., figs. Part of the interest in all of these rose gardens has been that I have been thinking a good deal about what I'm going to do with the yard in Alfred. And if I were to win the lottery right now, I'd want to appropriate Ross Bleckner's studio building as created in miniature form by Joe Fig.