19 June 2010

"closed": too early, soccer

It took me quite a while to get going yesterday but I still made it to downtown Manhattan too early for galleries to be open. They mostly open at noon. And ApexArt was playing the Slovenia-U.S.A. soccer game so I didn't go in to see the "Men with balls" show. Artists Space was closed for installation but I did finally get into Leslie/Lohman for "The great LGBTQ photo show" but didn't see any photos that really knocked my socks off. Oh, it's worth visiting.

On to Mercer Street Books, a fine used bookstore near NYU. Getting a bit hungry, I went for the extravagance of a crepe and glass of pinot noir at Shade, a very satisfying lunch. I did hear the guys next to me speculating on the referee in the Slovenia-U.S.A. game. If it wasn't too late or installation, it was soccer but the day was fine altogether.

The Lil Picard show at Grey Art Gallery was on the list so I stopped in. I wasn't familiar with her work and the show is a trip down memory lane, with early postwar and work from into the 1990s. The brochure or wall text included some interesting words about her attempts to be part of the scene but finding the Cedar Bar boys not at all congenial. That is, they just wanted pretty young things, not thinking and acting women. Reminds me of Jo Schaffer's description of visits when she was an art student at Brooklyn College; the girls got to sit in the back row and observe but mostly weren't part of that scene. Thank heavens, we've mostly changed.

It was also interesting to see the drawings of Picard's husband on his death bed in Saint Vincent's Hospital. The last dated drawing in the set was dated June 14th, almost the anniversary.

I ran a couple more errands in the neighborhood and then took off for MoMA PS1 for the "Greater NY" show. Perhaps my favorite moment was the performance in the basement where the artist was putting gold foil on the boiler, using his sweat as adhesive. He was passively standing, brush in hand, on a ladder doing something on a palette. He passed the brush over his neck and then picked up a piece of foil with the brush and applied it to the boiler. Rhythmic and slow-moving. The piece was called "Skewed lies/central governor: a collaborative performance with Saul Melman" by Aki Sasamoto. Among the other works that I liked were Leidy Churchman's paintings, Conrad Ventur's video installation with disco ball, Bruce High Quality Foundation's pedestal exchange, and "Let's face it; we're all queer" (one of the images in A.L. Steiner's "Angry, articulate, inevitable"). Ismail Randall made some interesting mountains out of magazines (sculpted stacks of Vanity fair) in a piece addressing the U.S./Mexico border. Michele Abeles's fine photos had great titles, e.g., "Man, shadow, table, fan, rock" and "Number, fabric, man, hand, rock, icons, cardboard, potatoes."

After I'd done about enough art in GNY, I went to the bookstore and then ordered a cafe au lait. Then, I checked the watch: it was almost 5:30 and I was supposed to be in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn by 6:30. Well, the coffee got drunk more quickly and with less reading than it might have been. Good old 7 to Q however did get me to Cortelyou on the same train that Heidi was on. We went to The Farm on Adderley for some yummy food, with their specialty being local and small-farm stuff. The service and setting were too Manhattan (pretentious) for Heidi's taste but the food was good.

I definitely am of the "eat to live" rather than "live to eat" school but have noticed that these NYC posts from the last few days have all talked about food. The restaurant options in Alfred and environs are definitely thinner than in New York City but the Collegiate Restaurant which has been closed since last fall's fire in the Alfred business district should be open in its new space by the time I get home. Not fine dining, but darn fine food in a friendly atmosphere. When Heidi visits Alfred, she will probably be satisfied that the food and service are a good match.

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