Sam and I met up with Tran yesterday after dimsum and made it into the New Museum without having to wait on line; thanks to tickets provided by Tran and the nice ladies manning the entrance who allowed us to slide in. That was fortunate because I would have been pretty peeved if I waited on line for the pieces making up the Unmonumental Exhibition. Not only were the pieces unmonumental, they were unrefined, uninspired, and most importantly underwhelming.
Designed by Japanese firm Sanaa, the New Museum offers up a run of the mill interior gallery space highlighted by a slightly unnerving set of stairs in the back, great for days without many people milling about, awful for a crowded opening day. The museum serves its purpose by taking a back seat to the pieces they exhibit, but for the Unmonumental exhibition, I wish the architects had done more to stimulate me when perusing the interior. The perforated aluminum clad exterior is striking, especially when set against a bluebird sky. Wonder when some idiot will try to scale it. I want to toss magnets at it. The rooftop terrace offers great views of lower Manhattan with a limited viewing of the north, befitting of the museum's mantra to focus on the edgy creativity, new ideas, rather than the established scene up north and in SoHo and Chelsea.
Anyway there were a few passable pieces, if you visit, take a look at Urs Fisher's pieces, one which reminded me of Zelda/Link. Another one to watch out for is Marc André Robinson's Myth Monolith, which reminded me of some of Cai Guo-Qiang's pieces except the tigers were swapped with chairs.
Disappointed, I left to pick up a replacement wall control unit for my Minka Aire Artemis while Sam, Tran and some of her friends spent additional time viewing the video installation. When I got back, we went around the block towards Sam's car, on the way, Sam glanced into one of the buildings and pulled us all in. Turned out to be Chelsea-based Lehmann Laupin's satellite gallery. Currently exhibiting? None other than Do Ho Suh (I'm always tempted to call him SoHo Duh). First saw his work back in 2005 (the piece is actually from 2001) when he constructed an entire apartment interior out of nylon and stainless steel tube. Also thought his army men side table was brilliant. Might have to borrow that idea.
Anyway, the piece on display was called Reflection (image to the right is the same piece but in a prior exhibition, different gallery) and it was the first time I ever saw his work up close. It's even more amazing because the execution is flawless. Maybe it was the contrast from the stuff found at the new Museum that added weight to Do Ho Suh's piece. Compared to his apartment piece, it looks like he's tightened up his style, the fabric isn't so droopy anymore. The title Reflection not only describes the piece literally (two arched gates made of nylon and stainless steel tube reflecting each other on a sea of matching fabric), but also conceptually. The gate it is modeled after is the same gate located at his childhood home in South Korea.
While at the gallery, we spoke to fellow viewers and met a person starting up Monster Hoodies. Tran was enamored with the hoodie so I thought I'd give it a shout out. Looks very crafty, even more so than the scroll-bar scarf I'm rocking. Another viewer also showed us a clipping from the NY Times which highlighted a walking tour of a few galleries in the LES. Didn't have the time to really check out the other places, but I better do it soon before the exhibits change.
Amazing. I was born and raised in the area (Broome and Allen) before moving into Brooklyn and then Jersey. Things were different back then. The area looks the same, but beneath the covers everything has changed. Go visit!
Banksy is coming back to NYC! Actually, he's here now, until the end of the month. Vanina Holasek Gallery in Chelsea.