Tuesday, July 1, 2014

the city

A few quick thoughts after a brief moment of reflection on a recent trip to New York City:

  • There are lots of interesting ventures and projects being formulated in the city; interesting work being made, smaller galleries and dealers that are holding artists and patrons at full attention.  Certainly my views on what these things are may not be the same as other artists and patrons, but I was most impressed by the galleries on the lower east side*.  I wasn't, of course, able to see everything, and spent most of my time in Chelsea and LES. 
  • I met a number of amazing and kind people in five days.  I had discussions and conversations that I would not have ever expected--the type that both energize me and make me thirst for having more discussions like that here in Des Moines.  Ky Anderson, Jason Rohlf,  and Molly Merson are just a few of the people I got to talk with.  I was able to meet people heavily involved in art in the city as well as talk to artists about the history of New York City.  
  • To state the obvious:  there are some amazing museums in New York City.  I still can't believe that I saw as much as I did.  I did not see the Koons exhibition at the Whitney, for reasons that should become clear if you read other posts.    
  • The city is a subset of the art world, and its relationship to the greater art world is an interesting thing to think about.  I would have guessed New York to be far ahead of the other cities that I have seen but can't say that I totally understand that to be true; while it is certainly more feasible to be an artist making a living off their work in the city there is still the problem of rampant gentrification, soaring real estate prices, income disparity, and other issues that face parts of the art world in the U.S.  I bought Martha Rosler's Culture Class and hope to learn more about some of these relationships.  
  • New York is a rugged place.  We tend to relegate rugged to "nature" and that which is outside of the city, but one only need to go to New York to understand how that term can be used.  Though the terrain is man-made, it is still a difficult, trying, and natural example of an urban center.  It made me realize, once again, that the city has its own ecosystem and I, as much as I am secluded in the woods, am either functioning well in the ecosystem or functioning poorly.  The more difficult it is to function well, the more "rugged" a place is, in my mind. 
  • I had a really odd experience eating at Momofuku Noodle Bar.  I have a lot of respect for David Chang, and thought the food was good; but it was strange to have read his book, hearing him talk, and thinking about his place in food (or the business of food) before the actual aesthetic experience.  I will write more in the future about this disconnect, particularly as it relates to the generally exploitative nature of mass media and what it did to my aesthetic experience.   
St. Paul's Churchyard, Manhattan

*This might seem conflicted as I was there, in part, to talk with a gallery in LES about an upcoming exhibition in October of this year.  If this conflict annoys you, take what I'm saying as that I'm incredibly happy and honored to be working with a gallery in LES (rather than other areas with higher grossing galleries).