Saturday, December 31, 2011

Village People

Winter break is always a wonderful period where I have no sense of time. Part of this eschewed sense of time, though, is due to the fact that everyone tends to leave their holiday decorations up till past New Year’s. This year in particular, I didn’t realize New Year’s Eve had arrived until about 10 o clock in the morning when I suddenly figured that maybe I should make some plans. 

Today turned out to be such a nice ending to the year. I had brunch at Sant Ambroeus over on West 4th in The Village. I had apple cinnamon pancakes with honey syrup and let me just tell you they were some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had. The second they arrived at our table, the entire room was redolent with apple cinnamon-y goodness. If I had my own perfume I would want it to smell like that. While I was having this scrumptious meal, I spotted Lou Reed who was sitting directly right in front of us!!!
Sant Ambroeus; 259 West 4th Street, New York, NY; 212-604-9254.
After doing some essential cookware shopping and being more than mildly starstruck by Lou Reed, I went to Monk Thrift Shop. Nestled right off of 8th street, it’s a wonder that Monk has managed to stay relatively undiscovered over the years. The first thing I notice when walking into Monk is the intense incense smell, which wafts all the way up to the clever ceiling fixtures—that is, the entire ceiling decoupaged in old records for sale. Below the records are racks and racks of clothes—the same racks where today I found a collared sweater for $30 with embroidered ice skaters all over it. There are also lots of cute hand-drawn signs all around the store that add to the fun, kitschy vibe. Although it’s on the pricier side for thrift, one of these signs mention getting 25% off when you donate, which is always good.
A Safari Mickey Mouse backpack, you now know you need.
Is a safe way to judge if a thrift store is legit by whether or not they have , had, or ever will have Troll merchandise?
Monk Thrift Shop; 175 MacDougal Street, New York, NY; 212-533-0553.
And, now, a series of photos where my hands look really awkward…

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Monday, December 12, 2011

This Is What Life Looks Like Strung From The Ceiling

 Guggenheim Museum; 1070 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128; 212-423-3500.
My drawing and painting class at school took a field trip to the Guggenheim Museum to Maurizio Cattelan’s last exhibition before his retirement from the art world. I am sad to say I was unfamiliar with his work before going to the exhibit. But from what I've learned, Cattelan is the ultimate prankster, going toe-to-toe with Banksy, eschewing the line between art and performances pieces. Some of these past pranks have included a locked gallery with a “Be Back in 5 Minutes" sign and a room with simply open window, with a dangling rope attached to it for the illusion of escape. But this time Cattelan has really out done himself. Typically, artists who do a retrospective of their life’s work, display it in chronological order. However, Cattelan took a much more schizophrenic approach. In this exhibition, entitled, All his entire culmination of work is strung from the skylight at the very top of the Guggenheim, with pieces completely out of the order in which they were first made. In this sense, it gives them new meaning to fit into a larger understanding of his style of hyperrealism.

Every step you take in the spiraling museum, you get a new perspective of Cattelan’s work, allowing new secrets that Cattelan has meticulously hidden in his work to unfold in front of you. Cattelan’s playful-cum-eerie aesthetic is sprinkled throughout the exhibit with sculptures of an elderly woman inside a refrigerator, JFK’s coffin, lots of pigeons, a skull flower pot, an enlarged shopping cart, a splattered Pinocchio, bunny ears that stretch the length of the entire museum, a tombstone that had soccer scores on it, rubber boots imprinted with a face, and a tiny squirrel sitting at a desk. My favorite parts of the exhibit where the mechanical sculptures. One of these included a replica of the Guggenheim Museum elevators that actually light up and opened and closed, as well as a slightly Chuckie-like child, who if you wanted him long enough, actually moved to play an audible drum sound.  Plus, there were lots of images of Pablo Picasso and Cattelan himself throughout to signify the fine line between artist and ego maniac.
 A wall of Maurizio's heads
 Truth be told, artists say they are going to retire all the time and jump back into their projects only a few years down the line. Andy Warhol did it. Amanda Bynes did it just last year. So who really knows if this will be his last show? But if Andy and Amanda are any example, I have faith this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.
Exhibit Through January 22, 2012
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