Posts Tagged ‘museum of modern art’

Culture Vulture/Photo Diary: Bleach and Barshaa in Bushwick, Miro and Matisse at MOMA

February 24, 2019

Friday night my friend Dave and I ventured deep into Bushwick to see a show with no publicity that I learned about from the TodayTix app: Dan Ireland-Reeves’ play Bleach. It propelled me to the Wilson Ave. stop on the L train, farther into Bushwick than I’d ever visited before, and into a performance space called Tyler’s Basement, next-door to a tiny shop selling CBD products made from hemp.

Tyler’s Basement is named for the one and only character in the play, which is performed immersive-style — meaning that the audience (limited to 10 people) sits on chairs and sofas in the studio apartment occupied by Tyler, who’s in bed under the covers as we arrive. When the lights go down, he wakes up, gets up out of bed naked, and proceeds to pull on tighty-whities while launching into the tale of his life as a sex worker, an escort, a gay hustler, an existence haunted by a recent outcall that turned scary. When we checked in at the all-purpose box office, kitchen, and stage manager’s booth, friendly Jake Lemmenes asked us to turn our cel phones off and inquired as to whether we consented to being touched by the performer. The audience — 9 gay guys and one woman — gave our consent, and indeed 4 or 5 of us had some close personal contact with Eamon Yates, who performed the role this night. (He alternates with Brendan George to do 14 shows per week.) Although the plot and the story stayed pretty predictable, Zack Carey did a reasonably good job of staging the play, managing locations and the passage of time with surprisingly sophisticated lighting cues (also run by Jake Lemmenes). The show runs through March 10.

While we were in the neighborhood, we made sure to scope out a local eatery and found ourselves at Barchaa, a Peruvian fusion joint that just opened last summer. Doing pretty well, judging from the full house on a winter Friday night . We were the only gringos in the house and enjoyed grilled octopus and quinotto (risotto made from quinoa) along with cocktails, greeted warmly by the owner Kelvin, who said the staff is a mixture of Dominicans, Venezuelans, and Colombians.

On my commute, I listened to Marlon James being interviewed by Gia Tolentino on the New Yorker Radio Hour — good stuff!

“The Hunter (Catalan Landscape”)

Saturday afternoon, after our respective workouts (he at Training Lab boot camp, I at the West Side Y), my husband Andy and I roused ourselves from weekend afternoon sloth and spent an hour wandering through the Museum of Modern Art, checking out the members’ preview of a delightful show (“Birth of the World”) of works by Joan Miró as well as “The Long Run” (a show focusing on late-in-life experimentation by established 20th century artists like David Hammons, Joan Jonas, and Joan Mitchell) and the selections from the permanent collection currently on display.

“The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers”

“The Escape Ladder”

“Personages, Mountains, Sky, Star and Bird”

“Portrait of a Man in Nineteenth Century Frame”

I’ve always enjoyed Miró’s quirky, surrealistic work, and the pieces included here are quite delightful. It’s always interesting to see the early figurative work of artists who went on made their marks with unmistakable signature styles — like Duchamp, Rothko, Pollack, and so many others, Miró started out relatively conservatively before he busted out with the distorted swoops and shapes we recognize at a glance now.

Among the permanent collection, I revisited a canvas that always draws me in, James Ensor’s “Masks Confronting Death” (above, painted in 1888! but resembles some of Hopper’s more impressionist pieces).

And I relished several Matisse paintings that didn’t immediately scream “Matisse,” including “The Piano Lesson” (above) his “View of Nortre Dame” (below), which for some reason reminded me of Joni Mitchell’s song “Two Grey Rooms.”

Looking up a video of that song, I came across this information (from the liner notes of The Complete Geffen Recordings) that I’d never encountered before. Oh, Joni, how we love you so!

“It took me seven years to find words for it. I kept thinking, ‘This thing wants to be written in French,’ and I had to find the right story for the mood of it. It’s a very dramatic melody, full of longing. So, I finally found a story in some magazine about a German aristocrat, a homosexual and friend of [Rainer Werner] Fassbinder, who had a lover in his youth that he never got over. He lost track of him for many years. One day, he discovered that his old flame was working on the docks. He moved out of his fancy digs and into a couple of dingy rooms that overlooked the route where, with his hard hat and his lunch pail, his ex-lover walked to work. He lived to glimpse him twice a day, coming and going. He never approached him.”

Culture Vulture/Photo Diary: springtime in New York

April 8, 2018

The Spring Culture Season blossoms forth!

March 30God’s Own Country on DVD (I didn’t love it the way many others have — the central relationship seemed more schematic than plausible to me).


March 31Cabaret Luxe at Lot 45 in Bushwick, inspired by Weimar-era German club performance, with maitresse of ceremonies Dorothy Darker…

leather-lunged diva Dee Dee Vega backed by punk klezmer rock band Amor Obscur…

and burlesque performers Lewd Alfred Douglas…

Divina Gransparkle…

and Deity (pictured below with the entire cast).

April 1David Bowie Is at the Brooklyn Museum, fun immersive experience.

While we were there, we strolled through the ongoing exhibition “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas,” with its eerie kachina dolls and awesome thunderbird masks.

Afterwards Andy and Tansal and I had lunch at Kiwiana in Park Slope, which serves all New Zealand cuisine, including the irresistible dessert known as pavlova.

April 5Yerma at Park Avenue Armory, Lorca’s play adapted and directed by Simon Stone with a ferocious cast led by Billie Piper and Brendan Cowell (below, photo by Sara Krulwich for the New York Times) and a spectacular set designed by Lizzie Clachan.

April 6Wild Wild Country on Netflix, the riveting six-part documentary about how rural Oregon dealt with the sudden emergence of an Indian sex guru (Rajneesh, aka Osho) and his community of devotees in their midst.

April 7Isle of Dogs at Cinépolis in Chelsea — we loved it.

April 8 — Museum of Modern Art. Final day of the Club 57 show. Ann Magnuson put out the call for a closing day party, so the basement of MOMA thronged with senior citizens who once upon a time were the hippest and grooviest of East Village clubgoers, along with plenty of excited visitors too young to have seen the club back in the day.

This delightful cartoony Kenny Scharf painting (“Escaped in Time, I’m Pleased,” above) prepared me for the colorful figuration all over the Tarsila do Amaral retrospective, with its inquisitive-looking critters and its theme of anthropophagy.

And upstairs a rich, heady, comprehensive survey of rigorous conceptual artist Adrian Piper, with its witty dada performative moments (I loved the idea of the humming room, very Yoko Ono — and I love that a security guard stands by whose job it is to make sure you’re humming when you enter the room).

 

Culture Vulture: Robert Rauschenberg at MOMA

June 3, 2017

(click photos to enlarge)

Friends from London were visiting so I took them on a stroll through MOMA’s new show “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends.” We lingered over cappucinos and cookies in the cafe so closing time crept up on us before we’d even gotten halfway through the exhibition. I will go back again and again because few artworks I’ve ever seen in person make me as sick with joy as Rauschenberg’s combines, and this show has a whole bunch of them, some classics and some I’ve never seen before, like “Short Circuit.”

I love that the show revolves around Rauschenberg’s collaborations and friendships with fellow artists because they’re so central to his life as an artist. Check out this great photo he took of a young young Cy Twombly.

I’ve never been a big Jasper Johns fan, but I loved this piece, “Target with Four Faces,” especially knowing that the face is that of the late performance artist Rachel Rosenthal.

And then there’s just the whimsy of this little corner of the men’s restroom.

 

Culture Vulture: Jane Siberry and Pablo Picasso, together again

February 8, 2016

ulysses purse

Great double feature Saturday night. Andy and I saw Jane Siberry at Joe’s Pub — his first time seeing the deeply idiosyncratic Canadian singer-songwriter, my umpteenth since 1986 when I reviewed her show at the Bottom Line for the Village Voice. Not unusually, it was less a concert than a performance art piece with almost continuous spoken-word commentary that periodically blossomed into songs (part singing, part speaking), several of them from her latest album, Ulysses’ Purse. She surprised the gathered faithful by mentioning that this would be her last recording. Ever? Ever? Hard to believe. But now that she’s making her own records, paying all the costs for recording and marketing, I can imagine that the tediousness of all those details could wear a person out. The new album is lovely, her best in years, with gorgeous string arrangements (and a delicious cameo appearance by k.d. lang).

Afterwards, we headed to the Museum of Modern Art, which stayed open until midnight to accommodate last-minute visitors to the extra-good show of Picasso Sculptures, which closed on Sunday. I’d seen the show twice and really wanted Andy to see it. He was glad I nudged him about it. We enjoyed the festive energy of MOMA under these circumstances, in addition to the pleasures of the artwork. This time I paid special attention to Picasso’s endlessly inventive way of depicting not only eyes but also genitals.

2-6 picasso anatomy drawing2-6 picasso woman with child2-6 sheetmetal womanhead2-6 stone head

Culture Vulture/Photo diary: Picasso Sculpture at MOMA

November 8, 2015

(click photos to enlarge)

If you have an hour to kill in midtown between now and February 7, 2016, you could give yourself no better treat than to take a walk through the show of Picasso sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.
11-4 intro to picasso sculpture
The sculptures Picasso created are so free and fun to look at, so simple and so sophisticated at the same time. It makes sense that he was turned on by African and Oceanic work he saw at an ethnographic museum in Paris — many of these pieces remind me of the vivid masks and ritual objects you can see in the Michael Rockefeller collection at the Metropolitan Museum. I especially loved tracking the faces, which are so simple and varied and often comical.

11-4 head of a woman11-4 woman with leaves closeup11-4 vallauris ceramics vase bull owl11-4 standing figure with dots11-4 picasso goat skull and bottle
These drawings (part of a series called “An Anatomy”) reminded me of Roz Chast cartoons.

11-4 an anatomy series
I also had a look at the show by Lebanese multimedia artist Walid Raad, which has two parts, one of which occupies the museum’s central atrium (below) and is called “Scratching on things I could disavow.”

11-4 walid raad atrium11-4 walid raad wall collage11-4 blood drip walid raad
It’s an intriguing, complicated, dense, somewhat impenetrable Borgesian conceptual work involving fictionalized artifacts reflecting real contemporary events. I’m not sure it’s really possible to grasp the work without attending his lecture-demonstration “walkthroughs,” which occur many times in the course of the week. I’ll have to go back for one of those.

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