First of all I want to take the opportunity to say that I’m back in Sweden safe and sound and I’m really sad to see on the news what is happening in New York and on the east coast. I wish all the best to the people there, stay safe!
On my last days in New York City I made sure the visit the museums that I had planned to see. That included the popular Museum of Modern Art, that had been pretty crowded last time I passed, so I had decided to skip it that day. On Friday afternoon the museum is free to enter, but knowing that I like to take my time, I was decided to be safe rather than sorry and went in the morning, and I’m glad I did, since the line to enter the museum was huge when I left. It was at the MoMA that I sadly found out that one of my favorite contemporary artists had passed away, two years ago, Louise Burgeois, known for her big spider sculptures that we saw in South Korea and Japan.
I was happy to see works by several artists that I like, for example two small works by Frida Kahlo and the notorious Punch and Judy by Bruce Nauman. While I was at the museum I started to feel very tired and cold, by the time I got back to my hotel I was sure I was getting a cold, so I decided to stay in and rest so I wouldn’t get worse.
On my last day in town, I went to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I had read in my guide book that it featured a “cutting-edge feminist arts center”, something I found very intriguing and right down my alley.
When I studied art history, I read about this work by Judy Chicago called The Dinner Party, and although I found it interesting it wasn’t something that had very much caught my attention. However, seeing it in real life, makes the whole difference, and I feel like my pictures truly don’t make it justice. This large installation features place settings for 39 famous women and was created by Judy Chicago together with a large group of volunteers. The goal was to “end the ongoing cycle of omission in which women were written out of the historical record.” Each place setting consists of an runner embroidered with the persons name and a plate, both containing symbols relating to her accomplishments. It’s a fantastic work to see and I was happy to see the names of several people that I myself admire, like the poet Sappho, the painter Artemisia Gentileschi and the mathematician Hypatia.
There was a temporary exhibition with works by Mickalene Thomas that I really liked, her works are often large collages where she re-stages themes and symbolism taken from traditional Western art. In this work she makes a reference to the famous 1866 painting L’Origine du Monde, an infamous erotic painting by the French artist Gustave Courbet.
In this work, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: les trois femmes noires, she refers to the 1863 painting by Édouard Manet Déjeuner sur l’herbe, one that I remember clearly from my art history class, since I found the contrast between the nude women and the well-dressed men a bit disturbing.
On my last evening, Halloween, Gabriele from couchsurfing and I went out for a small pub crawl, our first stop was this famous bar called Old King Cole where they supposedly make great Bloody Marys. Of course, I persuaded him that we should order one each, then I remembered that last time I had had a Bloody Mary (about 10 years ago) I was wasted and at the first sip of my drink, I remembered that I don’t like Bloody Marys. I only had about 1/3 of my drink while Gabriele did drink all of his pizza-tasting-drink, as he put it.
After a fantastic 10 days in New York, I woke up on Sunday to the news that a storm was coming to the city. I, who had my flight home at 19:30, was a bit worried that I would not be able to leave before Sandy arrived. In the hotel they assured me that flights would be leaving that day, so I headed to the airport and it was chaos. I managed to get on my plane, one of the last ones leaving New York City, since they closed the airport at 22:00.