Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Of Hopper, Hockney, & Irwin

Hopper 3D, Flatiron Building, 2013
Hopper at the Flatiron Building
I'll get to who Irwin is in a few minutes but let's start with Edward Hopper whose exhibit I went to see yesterday with my friend Kate.  The Hopper exhibit was the draw for a visit to the Whitney Museum -- a place that I had never set foot in until yesterday.  I haven't been much of a museum goer in my years of living in NYC despite managing to visit museums in pretty much everyplace I travel to (most recently making a stop in Seattle with the express purpose of seeing the Chihuly Museum (some photos from that visit are in Vacation Mode).

This seems to be changing.  I'm even a member of the Metropolitan Museum (or was -- I think I have yet to renew).  What I liked about the Whitney is that having gone to see the Hopper exhibit, I was not too exhausted to visit the other floors and partake of their treasures.  I also liked that they allow non-flash photography for non-commercial, personal use (although they do note that there may be exceptions to this rule in their visitor policy).   That is a very cool policy and allows for some sharing of experiences which is, to my mind, what art is all about.
Sketch for Gas (1940), Edward Hopper, Whitney Museum 2013
Sketch for "Gas" (1940)

Edward Hopper:  The weekend's Hopper extravaganza actually started with a stop to see the 3D cutout that the Whitney had mounted in the exhibit space at the base of the Flatiron Building (the photo above).  Kate and I are of two minds that they didn't commission someone to imagine the painting in the reverse of the perspective Hopper chose.  I was in favor  of a painting on the other side of the cutout but am beginning to think that she is right.  We are both in agreement that we love how the "real" buildings filled out our photos.  The color in the above is of the painted side and the B&W is of the unpainted back of the cutout.

Young Boy & Edward Hopper Gas (1940), Whitney Museum 2013
Photographer at Work
Memorializing "Gas"
As for the Whitney exhibit, it was just heavenly showing as it did his artistic process.  As someone whose roots are more in the writing side of things than in the visual arts, I've never put much thought into how a painter might move from a sketch or an idea to a painting.  I've been to other exhibits where sketches are juxtaposed with the final painting but can not remember an exhibit with so many sketches related to a single painting.  Hopper would often sketch just a small portion of a painting as well as plotting out the whole painting.  The results?  Art in and of themselves.

David Hockney:  Sadly, Mt. Fuji and Flowers is perhaps the only Hockney painting that I would recognize on sight (maybe because I am pretty sure it was covered in my Art History 101 course in college).  I've always liked his work but just haven't run across a lot of it in one place.  I am going to have to watch out for him in the future.  The Whitney has his multi-channel video, The Jugglers, on display and i thought it was pretty extraordinary.  I'll leave it to the real art critics to dive deep into the piece.  For me, it just made me smile and want to watch the whole thing.  Kudos to Hockney for creating a piece that draws us in and wants us to watch it again, and again, and maybe even again.

Robert Irwin:  While on our way from Hopper to the 5th floor gallery, the elevator doors magically opened on the fourth floor of the Whitney and we caught a glimpse of a seemingly empty, very quiet room.  We bookmarked that we would stop back in to see what it was all about since it was obviously an exhibit (how else to explain the guard and the quiet museum goers).  It was!  In fact, it was a reprise of a 1973 exhibit at the Whitney by Robert Irwin, Scrim Veil -- Black Rectangle -- Natural Light.  I am wishing I had stumbled upon this a bit earlier in its run (it closes this Saturday and I doubt I'll get back before that happens) as it is one that I'd like to see on a day where the outdoor light is a bit more in transition as the interplay between the light and the art is what this piece is all about.  That and the silence.  There is something about this room that causes people to speak in hushed whispers if they even speak at all and so the room is almost silent.

I hope that this piece finds a permanent home in the "new" Whitney that is being built downtown.  I think it deserves one.

Robert Irwin, Scrim Veil -- Black Rectangle -- Natural Light, Whitney Museum 2013
 Scrim Veil -- Black Rectangle -- Natural Light (Whitney Museum 2013)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Midtown Reflections

Last weekend, I wandered around midtown -- starting near the 59th street bridge and ending up over by Bergdorf's.  It was one of those days with fluffy white clouds floating against a blue sky.  The kind of day where buildings sheathed seem to disappear into the sky.

Queensboro Bridge Ref;ectopm. NYC
Queensboro Bridge Reflection
Roosevelt Island Tram, NYC
Roosevelt Island Tram Progression

420 East 61st Street, NYC
420 East 61st Street North

GM Building Reflected in the Apple Store, NYC
GM Reflected in the Apple Store

Solow Building, NYC
Solow Building

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Big Yellow Trucks

Earlier this week, I posted a piece on GeriPal -- Remembering David Solomon -- about one of the great champions of improving care for older adults.  It was a serious piece about someone who I adored and respected.  David recently passed away -- at home surrounded by friends at the age of 90.  I will miss him.  It took me a long time to sit down and write that post but once I did (sit down that is), the piece just flowed out.  Some would call it writing from the heart.

This piece is not so serious nor did it take me so long to sit down and write it.

It's about yellow trucks.  Just two of them to be exact but they are looming large in my photographic truck collection -- beating out the red truck that graced my Junk Yard  Heaven post and the rusted truck that graced one of my early posts -- One Man's Junk.

Big Yellow Truck, NYC DOT, Blocking the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge, Manhattan side
Big Yellow Truck Blocking the Entrance to the Queensboro Bridge 
Maybe it's because these yellow trucks are still working and they are a LOT bigger than the other two trucks.  Maybe it's some desire on my part to own a truck at some point.  Not that I'm a good driver of trucks mind you.  In fact, I sort of suck at driving trucks.  In a nutshell, they always feel a bit too big to me.  That feeling results in my needing a really big parking lot to park in so I can go far, far away from the other cars.  This creates opportunities for exercise but can also forestall some shopping expeditions because the parking lot is too small and I might have to -- gasp -- back the truck up.

I am expecting to own a car again at some point in my life.  Hopefully by the point in time that I do, the car will be able to totally drive itself.  What the heck, they have cars that can find a space and then parallel park for you right this minute.  I have heard tell that there are cars that can do all of that AND  you don't even need to be in the car!

Tweety Bird Truck, Ice Road, Coldfoot, Alaska, Summertime
Ice Road Trucker at the Coldfoot Stop (Summertime)

This post -- which started out to be about yellow trucks mind you -- has forced me to face the grim reality that living in NYC is a little bit like living under a rock when it comes to cars. What ever happened to the woman I used to be -- the one who owned a Mazda RX7 (adored the rotary engine) and who sometimes played tag (metaphorically that is) with Porsches on the I-91 corridor between Cromwell and Hartford, Connecticut.  The woman who subscribed to Car & Driver and had friends who owned 'vettes?

I guess I've moved on in life -- at least until I actually need to own a car again.  NYC is all about public transportation, taxis, and walking.  In other words, why spend money on a car (here, payments, insurance, and parking add up to a mortgage payment in other cities) when there are so many other cool toys out there?

Now where did I put that those copies of National Geographic Traveler and Popular Photography?

Ice Road Truckers, Coldfoot, Alaska, Summertime
Ice Road Truckers - Coldfoot, Alaska in Summertime

Friday, August 16, 2013

Queen Anne's Lace: Adventures in Photo Editing

No words.  Just the same photo edited in #aperture and #snapseed.  

Queen Anne's Lace #queenanneslace #aperture #centralpark #conservatorygarden #nyc
Lightly Edited (#aperture)

Queen Anne's Lace #snapseed # queenanneslace #centralpark #conservatorygarden
Very Edited (#snapseed)

See also:  Playing with Snapseed