We’re Baaaaacck!

Early, early last Saturday morning we flew away from the sweltering midwest heat to California — Monterey and San Francisco, to be more exact, for a big family reunion and few other side adventures. Here’s a view of the Bay Bridge as we drove across it on one our art-seeking side adventures in Oakland. More photos of art, knitting, flowers, and family to come…

Sand Drawings in Mexico

When I saw Pigeon Master’s drawing for Illustration Friday, it reminded me of this photo I took in Mexico a couple of years ago. We were standing on a bridge looking over a beach where the river met the ocean and looked down to see a young girl, all alone and still wearing her school uniform.

She was drawing in the sand with a stick, and she covered the beach with houses, bugs, cars and people. I was surprised that she could draw so well on such a big scale, and at the same time strangely inspired by the thought of the beach as a huge blank canvas washed clean each day by the ocean.

What Did I Buy?

Now that I’m back in procrastination mode, I thought I would spend some time listing things I bought while I was in New York.

1. Twenty-two different polka-dot fabrics at B&J Fabrics. Plus two batiks and a Japanese ikat.

2. Several art books:

  • Christo and Jeanne-Claude by Jacob Baal-Teshuva
  • Raw Vision: Outsider Art Sourcebook
  • A book about Howard Finster 1916-2001
  • Artists & Prints: Masterworks from the MOMA
  • Ruth Duckworth: Modernist Sculptor

3. Technically I also bought these in NY, but I actually I looked at them at the museum and then went back to the hotel room and ordered them to be shipped to my house because I was tired of dragging books and fabric all over the place:

  • Tim Hawkinson, catalog from the Whitney
  • Red Grooms, The Graphic Work

4. Original art from the Art-O-Mat machine in the basement of the Whitney. It reads Contents: One original, all natural drawing by temperamental illustrator, Ashley Holt, shredded beyond recognition with a toy surprise.

5. A warm hat at the American Folk Art Museum. Necessary for walking around Central Park in freezing February.

Last Days in New York

Finally back home after many delayed flights, I’m trying to decompress and absorb all the art we have seen. Unfortunately my appetite still doesn’t realize that I’m not walking 40-50 blocks a day…

We spent Saturday traveling to Dia:Beacon, a huge museum that’s about an hour and half by train from Grand Central Station. A revamped factory, it opened in 2003 to house the Dia collection of art. No photos allowed. My favorite was the Andy Warhol room, but the Richard Serras were impressive, and the Michael Heizer was powerfully creepy. Overall I loved the warm feel of the “daylight” factory museum, but probably won’t return since the exhibits are permanent. Above is an ‘illegal’ photo taken inside a Serra spiral sculpture.

Russ had been spending each evening taking photos of The Gates after dark, something he really has a talent for, but I was too thin-skinned to venture out in the 17 degree weather for several hours.

On Saturday though, we met some friends from Springfield for a quick visit of The Gates, and then had dinner at a Korean Zen vegan restaurant on 32nd Street called Hangawi: a vegatable shrine in another place and time. I had some weird salad made from a root flown in specially from Korea. The food was great, and we finished off with yummy little rice mochi cakes dusted with coconut.

Sunday was our last day, and we entered Central Park from 72nd Street on the west side. We climbed to top of Belvedere Castle to look out over the park.

More Art in New York

Feb. 22, 2005: I added some art links that I just found to the post below.

Another great day in New York. Russ had meetings, so I was free to roam around on my own.

I visited the American Craft Museum (now the Museum of Art and Design, but I like the other name better) for a really nice exhibit of Ruth Duckworth’s ceramic sculpture. The only thing that bothered me was, every one of her pieces was called “Untitled.” I once had a poetry mentor who told me to never leave a work untitled. He said it would be less likely to be published since editors like to put titles in the table of contents. I was wondering how you would even catalog art without names. But Ruth has such a rich vocabulary of forms that I guess names are really unnessary.

Then across the street to the American Folk Art Museum. It’s a tall and skinny museum with a rustic facade, right next to the MOMA, so I stopped back there again and bought some more heavy art books.

Richard Heinrich is a sculptor on the board of ISC, and he hosted a cocktail party for the board in his studio/home in Tribeca. Of the few apartments that I’ve visited in New York, his is the one I would most like to live in. He has a whole floor in his building with several bedrooms, an open living room with a big skylight and wood stove, a very cool kitchen, and a really big sculpture studio right off the living room. I found this on-line interview with Richard Heinrich that shows more of his work and studio.

Then we all went downstairs to the Della Rovere, a restaurant on the first floor. During dinner Charlie showed me his photos from Vietman, Cambodia, and Thailand. I had thought Mary and Charlie were forever lost in the Tsunami of 2004 since they were on a two-month Asian trip when it hit. But happily they are alive and well and ready to host a curry party in Chicago to show off their thousands of slides and photos.

NYC Garment District

After messing around far too long with my blog because the archives weren’t working right, I took off to explore the NYC Garment District. I seem to make every trip I take into a mission and this time it was to find fabric.

This is not new. Last fall I took a cab all the way across New Orleans to find the only quilt shop in town, and I wasn’t disappointed. The woman working there told me, “We like bright colors here” and she was right.

Today I had polka dots on my mind, and so I took off walking with Paula Nadelstern’s list in my hand. I knew I was getting close when I saw the big button.

I already knew where I was going, but stopped into the big button kiosk to see what they would say. “Most dense concentration of fabric stores in the world is right on that block, 39th street between 7th and 8th.” I would later find out they were right, but for now I walked in the opposite direction because Paula says on her list that she always starts at B&J.

I’m glad I had that list. B&J is on the second floor of a non-descript building called the Fashion Center and there’s no way anyone would suspect it was there. Twenty-two polka dot fabrics I found that I liked, so it was just a matter of getting them cut.

Next it was off to explore the most densely populated block of fabric stores in the world. I walked by dozens of stores but didn’t have time to go in any, not that I wanted to. I was already happy with my polka dot collection, and so I hailed a cab to get to the MOMA.

The Museum of Modern Art has been completely redone, and for all the hype, I was a little disappointed. The architect has designed the building to “disappear” behind the art, but I thought they could have used a few bright quilts on some of the blank walls! I also got cold feet whenever I had to walk across one of the many catwalks with glass walls because my fear of heights kicked in in a major way.

I liked the Architecture and Design floor and made special note of some hanging methods for displaying rolls of fabric. The print gallery that I had read about in the NYTimes was excellent, and so was the fact that I could take photos of some world-famous paintings by some of my favorite artists such as Chagall, Kandinsky, and Gaugin.

Over all though the MOMA lost out, because I enjoyed the Tim Hawkinson show at the Whitney much more.

Visiting Christo’s Gates

Yesterday we experienced Christo’s Gates in Central Park twice. Once before a lunch with the ISC, and then second time, after dark.

In between we visited a fantastic exhibit of Tim Hawkinson at the Whitney (with a quick trip to the basement to buy something out of the Art-O-Mat machine), stopped by an Antony Caro gallery show, and had dinner in the back room of the Pearl, an oyster bar in Greenwich Village.

I’ve got more photos and comments about of all these things, so please visit Experiencing Christo’s Gates.