Art Day

So I went up to NYC last weekend for the express purpose to see art. Saturday was the last day the Tom Sachs “Work” show was up and I needed to see that. In addition I wanted to see the Carsten Holler “Experience” show at the New Museum. And I had learned a few weeks ago about the Maurizio Cattelan: All retrospective at the Guggenheim and had to see that since it could be the last time to see his incredible work.

Saturday was the official Art Day and by the end, by body was hurting like crazy from all the standing and walking (see previous complaints about back) but it was so worth it (mostly). Here’s a bit of a rehash for you…

I came up Friday night right after work and rolled in to Penn Station around 7:30 or so and as soon as I made it up to 8th Ave. I was super happy. It’s amazing the jolt of energy and joy that I get when I set foot in the Big Apple. I really feel overjoyed when I’m there. It’s just such a wonderfully magic place and it’s truly the best city I’ve ever been to. I was so happy I shot this goofy video on the street when I arrived.

My friend Sara lives about 2 blocks from the station so I walked down along 8th to her building and soon was up in her awesome pad unwinding. Soon after we made our way to a place I’d been wanting to try for a while now called Mark Forgione. I will do a yelp review at some point but I’ll just sum up by saying that it was an excellent experience except for the Foie Gras (which I’d never tasted in my life and never have to again) which may have been awesome but I had no frame of reference. Meeting the chef was pretty cool too. He was hot. I had kind of a crush on him instantly.

So after the amazing meal we went back and passed out. I was tired as hell after a long week. Saturday, got up, took a shower and ‘hit the bricks’. Our first stop was a place called Murray’s Bagels in Chelsea. (yelp). Simple place and spectacular bagles and spreads, etc. So far we were 2 for 2 in the food department.

Then it was down to the B train to head up the Guggenheim. We came up at 86th Street and walked across central park to get to the east side. I love the park. I’m always amazed at how filled it is with people. There’s that New York energy again! Anyway.. we made it to Gugg and I was psyched to finally get to see some of Cattelan’s work in person. I was not let down in any way.

This show is a retrospective of all of his past works and shows. His work is just insane and amazing. Some examples are here. But he says he’s retiring and after 5 years of back and forth he agreed to do a retrospective of sorts at the Guggenheim and this is it. It’s the most amazing mobile/collage I have ever seen. It takes up the entire hall of the Guggenheim and contains work from all of his famous shows (including all of the images from that link I posted above).

The show is amazing. As you walk up the Guggenheim ramp you see more and more things. It takes up about 100 vertical feet and there are so many surprises along the way that it takes you forever to get to the top. But you don’t care since it’s so visually exciting. You don’t have to believe me.. Check out the review in the Times which isn’t overly positive but points out how huge and deep the show is.

I loved this show and what makes it so interesting to me is that before now I didn’t know the history of all the pieces. They stood up fine on their own. But now, looking things up in their real context makes them even more powerful. It’s fun learning the history after having seen the pieces. I literally wanted to spend a week there in the gallery. You should go to this now (its up for another month) because it is history and this guy is amazing and you may never see his work again.

We then headed downtown to see the Holler show. By the time we got down to Chinatown we were starved and walking around looking for something to eat. I had this craving for noodles but we were having no luck finding anything that looked good. So of course I went to google and typed ‘noodles’ into my map. Up came this place called Cocoron (yelp) since it was about 3 blocks from where we were. It looked good to me and I declared that as our destination. We almost didn’t find it and once there we were told that there was a 20 minute wait outside in the cold before we could sit down inside but I had a good feeling so we waited. It was cold and my hair was looking awesome so I refused to wear a hat lest I would mess it up and I would get less looks and smiles from women. Remember, it’s better to look good then to feel good.

Ok, that really makes me sound shallow and douchy. But if you know me you know it’s a joke. Mostly. I mean, I never get looks on the street in Philly but in New York I do from time to time and for me that’s huge and makes me all fuzzy inside so I tend to dress better here and again, it’s part of my NY experience and I love it so no fucking hat! Damn the cold!

It turns out that being cold was a plus since this was going to be the kind of meal that is twice as good when you are chilled since it does such a wonderful job warming you up inside. This place. Oh man, this place was the most perfect lunch for the moment. It helped that the food was simply amazing : Best noodles I’ve ever had. Again, I plan to yelp this at some point so you can look there. But if you are ever downtown in NYC and you want a good noodle joint. This is it. In fact, even if you don’t like noodles, this is still the place. It’s scrumptious.

Three amazing meals and a great show under our belt. Next up was the Holler show which I’ve been wanting to see for a couple of months now. I was more than psyched. I mean how can a show that has a 2 floor slide in it be anything less than fun? Do you want to know? Well for one thing, having a huge line to get in to sign a waiver form and then another line to slide the slide and then having the slide let you out in a room filled with blinking lights that made me feel more violent then I have in ages. And then in that room heading into an ‘experience hallway’ that felt like a rip off at some circus sideshow that really had little or no actually interesting experiences.

Well, there was one. There is this cool looking salt water tank that you get naked and lay in. I saw a cute girls ass as she was getting ready for her shower. That made me somewhat happy. But overall this show was painful in many ways. It really kind of sucked and I was really let down a whole lot. The NYT reviewer had some similar experiences (particularly to the flashing light room) but seemed to like it. Oh and there was a 1 hour wait for the goggles. Skip this crap.

Oh. I didn’t mention that I was totally down for the flotation tank and we just made it in time to do before they cut off the line it but it was 5pm and it seemed like we’d end up missing the Tom Sachs show (that closed at 6pm) which was the reason I was in NYC to start with, so we skipped it and ran the 2 blocks to see Tom Sachs.

So lets talk about Tom Sachs. He is one of my favorite artists and I’ve posted many times about his various shows. For example, Space Program (here and here) and Waffle Bike. But I learned about him late and didn’t get to see any of his shows. All of my connection with him has been through books and photos and videos. Never in person. I knew this current show was just going to have some old stuff and just a taste at that but I didn’t care. I needed to see Toms work in person.
I was super happy I did. The gallery was unpretentious and nice and quiet and empty. We were able to just wander around with no distraction and we took some photos of work and by the top floor I was able to play with a super cool work called the James Brown Listening Station. It’s basically an all in one stereo with Klipsh speakers and a McIntosh Amp built in with a turn table a bunch of records. I stepped up and put on some Stevie Wonder and sat in one of the kevlar ikea chairs and just marveled at how awesome it is to be encouraged to actually touch real art. (well, I’m pretty sure we were allowed to touch it).

Anyway I’m looking forward to TS’s big followup show to Space Program. That is going to be serious stuff and I can not wait for it.

All in all, this was a really great trip. Thanks to Sara for putting me up and being an awsome companion.

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