Sunday, December 2, 2007
It is not often I choose to be in the hottest spot in town and raise the age average just by being there. Last night after an annual dinner with my college buddies (Bœuf bourguignon, shooting pool, sipping port, and spinning vinyl 70s albums) in the burbs, we got a ride from our friend Len to the opening of the New Museum in downtown Manhattan. After waiting on line at 2 a.m. for free standby tickets, we were in.
The coat checker looked at us and said "you're up late, aren't you?" Did she say that to anyone under 30?
The inaugural show, "Unmonumental," celebrated collage, found objects, and unusual juxtapositions, such as a crotched yarn dumbell curving into a clay grip or glowing fluorescent tubes piercing sofa beds...
The dealers were long gone, but the crowds when we were there had to be 90% emerging, as in young, artists. The people--dancing and laughing--were more fun to watch than the artwork, much of which fell into the art school project camp with a few notable exceptions. I loved the Louise Nevelson (sans black spray-paint) inspired fountain of chair and loveseat frames, the 7 points-of-view video story (tip your hat to Rashômon), and the slowly melting life-sized naked wax woman candle--haven't we ALL had days like that.
Jim noted that even if you didn't like a piece you had to admire an obsession that makes an artist sew thousands of buttons onto a mattress.
I made friends with a trio of artists who desperately wanted some gum so I shared my Orbit mint mojito with them and we bonded. I was yelled at by a museum guard for taking their photo as they stood in front of the elevator doors. "She must be new, they are all new, you should be able to take a photo of your friends when there is no art showing," said the guy. We all chewed our gum vehemently in agreement.
On the top floor a man served bags of red candy and all down the stairs red hots and Swedish fish were ground into the new white floors and a thousand eager finger prints grayed the doors... Target, a huge sponsor, somehow made their red logo artsy and cool in the skylight lounge.
Len, who works with museums, was delighted with the architecture--open with skylights--and mission, "there is no permanent collection, you know," he gestured, "ephemeral pieces like the melting wax woman drive traditional curators and collectors crazy."
We got to bed by 4 a.m. When we finally crawled out, the first snow had powdered fire escapes and rooftops.
Jim and I with our bags of red candy
Len with Target logos