The current Salvador Dali exhibition at MoMA leaves one in a surreal state of mind. Everything looks slightly askew. Take this image for example; serene, beautiful and slightly strange. A composed unearthly background for a landscape of dead birds. The sign says Natural History but the mind begs to differ.
I fell in love with Ed Rucha's books in the 1960s. I bought several and my favorite was "Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass." I never paid more than a few dollars for each of them. Recently I parted with "Nine Swimming Pools." It was valued at $1200. That represented a lot of canvas, paper and paint to me. It just shows you, it pays to invest in art.
One of the joys in life is seeing new faces and meeting new people. The same holds true for art, these are two of the new faces I encountered at the Metropolitan Museum recently. It is such a large museum that even though I've been frequenting it for 50 plus years I always discover something new.
Continuing on the thread of language. I went to the American Museum of Natural History. I was looking at what is sometimes called "Primitive" art. If I looked at the same pieces from a perspective of emotional intelligence the balance seemed to shift. I was most struck by a mask in the hall of the Northwest Coast Indians. It had a series of interchangeable mouths that could change the expression of the mask. It seemed modern and fitting for today. After all, aren't we in an election year?
Recently I walked through South Street Seaport. I was astounded by how "mainstream" it had become. Ann Taylor to Foot Locker to the United Colors of Benetton, an alphabet of all the usual suspects. I didn't recognize it as New York at all. Last summer too, in Montreal, I saw the same alphabet. We all speak the same language and it's called "Universal Retail".
It was a relief to head for chinatown for some Shanghai cuisine. At least it's one part of the city, vibrant and quirky, still with it's own visual dialect. Art spoken here.
These were some of Eliasson's pieces that I really loved. Seeing them in the museum allowed you to experience the subtle transitions in the works. The clamor of the crazy New York river made it very hard to see the subtle variations in the changing patterns of the Waterfalls. Doesn't mean I won't go again, if there's one thing I know you have to make time for art.
O.K. The Waterfalls. Whether a monument, sideshow or other (like The Gates), it draws a crowd. It is hard to experience because of the river locations and the feel is more diffuse. It was most interesting to see other people grappling with the experience. Art up close, marketing opportunity (Panasonic) or tourist phenomena? The jury is still out. A better bet was seeing Eliasson's work at MoMA or PS1. You can still see it online. Take a virtual tour and save your nickel, no, make that ten bucks.
Susan Shaw is an internationally exhibited painter and photographer. Private and public collections include the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shaw is the recipient of two New York State Artist’s Fellowships and 2007/2009 residency fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center.
Kurt Hoss is a freelance photographer capturing the exuberance of
New York City for 35 years. A favorite project has been documenting life in south western Louisiana, culminating in two recent books, Going to Lafayette and Bosco Swamp.
Shaw and Hoss recently received an AVA gold award for video production, as producers of The Mermaid Parade.