The Arts Seen in NYC (Central Park Edition)

Well the Missus and I trundled down to the Big Town over the weekend and say, it was swell . . . weather.

It’s not so much that what we caught at the museums was bad. But what we caught outside of them was so much better. (We’ll get to that in a minute.)

On Thursday we hit the American Folk Art Museum for Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum. It was . . . smart.

Then we saw Act One at Lincoln Center, which was kind of hokey but featured terrific performances in multiple roles by Tony Shaloub and Andrea Martin.

Friday we went to the Museum of Art and Design (which the headscratching staff increasingly doesn’t get) for Re:Collection and Multiple Exposures: Jewelry and Photography. They were, well, smarter than we are.

Then we went to Central Park. And sat. And say, it was swell.

We watched two herons glide and swoop and disappear and reappear and perch and push off for parts unknown. It was a great show.

From there we swung by the Museum of Modern Art to see Gauguin: Metamorphoses, which wasn’t as great a show because we always thought Gauguin was a one-trick painter. Others beg to disagree (see the Weekly Standard’s take by Daniel Goodman here.)

But we did like Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988 at MOMA. So there.

Later we went to the New-York Historical Society to see Bill Cunningham: Facades.

In 1968, photographer Bill Cunningham embarked on an eight-year project to document the architectural riches and fashion 87624d_CunninghamModelsNYCoCourthouse_0history of New York City. Scouring the city’s thrift stores, auction houses, and street fairs for vintage clothing, and scouting sites on his bicycle, Cunningham generated a photographic essay entitled Facades, which paired models—in particular his muse, fellow photographer Editta Sherman—in period costumes with historic settings.

Let’s just say this: Cunningham + Editta Sherman does not = Cindy Sherman.

Better to take in the NYHS exhibit The Black Fives, which “covers the pioneering history of the African-American basketball teams that existed in New York City and elsewhere from the early 1900s through 1950, the year the National Basketball Association became racially integrated.”

Then back to Central Park, where we ambled through the serene and melancholy Strawberry Fields, “a 2.5 acre area of Central Park that pays tribute to the late Beatle, John Lennon, singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist. John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono lived in the Dakota Apartments adjacently located to this area of the park. It was here, walking into his home, on December 8, 1980, that John Lennon was murdered and shot dead.”

Imagine that.

Saturday we went to the Jewish Museum for Masterpieces and Curiosities: Diane Arbus’s Jewish Giant. It was, well, smaller than that.

Then back to Central Park, where we sat and listened to a kickin’ jazz band, wandered up to Belvedere Castle, and saw a disproportionate number of red-headed people.

Ginger snap!

Since we were in the neighborhood, we moseyed by The Met to catch Charles James: Beyond Fashion, an exhibit celebrating the “wildly idiosyncratic, emotionally fraught fashion genius.” That was swell. (See this New Yorker piece by Judith Thurman for further details.)

Finally, pay-what-you-wish-night ($22 admission fee? seriously?) at the Guggenheim for Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe.

We really liked it, and Jonathan Galassi’s New York Review of Books piece will tell you why.

But we’d still rather be in Central Park on a beautiful spring day.


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4 Responses to The Arts Seen in NYC (Central Park Edition)

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    As you get older, John, the time in the Park will consume more of your time.

    So…you came home to rest up for your next trip, eh?

  2. Curious how many red-headed people is a disproportionate number.

    • Campaign Outsider says:

      According to Yahoo, “less than four percent of the world population has naturally red hair. That is less than two percent in America.” I’m pretty sure we saw more than two in a hundred Central Parkers.

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