MoMA closing and related museum stuff

MoMA shut down for renovations in June, and will be closed until late in October. I still have a MoMA membership, but hadn’t gotten in to see it much lately, so I really wanted to see it once before it closed. I made it in, on June 15, the last day that they were open to the general public. (June 16 was a “member day,” and I wanted to go in for that too, but didn’t make it.) I’m glad I went in. The museum was pretty crowded, but it was fun.

The Times had a few good articles about the closing, including this general overview, which links to a few other articles. This one about staring at Starry Night for 30 minutes is light (and mostly pointless) but kind of fun. And this one, where the Times talked to a bunch of random people who were in the museum on the last day, is also pretty good. I identify with the guy from NJ who says “I’ll sit in front of a Pollock for 20 minutes.” Me too!

I’ve been curious about what they’re going to do with some of their more famous works while the museum is closed. I’ve had no luck in finding any information about that online though. Starry Night, in particular, seems like something that probably shouldn’t just go into storage for four months. I thought maybe they’d loan it out to another museum, but I’ve found no indication of that. (There’s an exhibit called Van Gogh and Britain at the Tate in London right now, and it has Starry Night over the Rhone, but that’s not the same as Starry Night. Looks like a great exhibit though!)

Or I thought maybe they’d set up a mini-MoMA pop-up at MoMA PS1, but they’re not doing that either. The Frick will be moving into the Breuer building while they’re closed for renovations, in 2020. I kind of thought maybe MoMA would do something like that, with PS1 or another space somewhere, but I guess not.

I also haven’t gotten in to the Met in while. I’m interested in their new exhibit Apollo’s Muse, which is an exhibit about the moon, tied in to the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. (There’s probably a bunch of cool stuff going on related to that anniversary. I should do some more internet searching and make some plans.)

Notre-Dame follow-up

Just some links to more information about the Notre-Dame fire, from the NY Times:

I need to find the photos from my high school class trip to France, and see if I have any good ones of Notre-Dame that I can post here.

And one link from MIT Technology Review: This digital scan of Notre Dame offers hope for its restoration after the fire. I haven’t had time to read the longer article that’s linked in the MIT one, but it looks interesting.


Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris Catches Fire

This is breaking my heart. I have fond memories of visiting Notre-Dame back in high school, when my French class took a trip to Paris. And, in college, I took a class in medieval art and architecture, which got me interested in the subject, and set me on a path of learning more about it, in other classes and on my own.

I know that so many worse things have happened in the world over the last few years, but this one is just hitting me hard.

I see that, in the most recent updates, it looks like most of the structure has been saved, but a lot of damage has been done to the roof. So I’m hopeful.


A day in NYC

I had a pretty good day in NYC today. I’d been wanting to go in at some point over the holiday season, but never got around to it. So I went in today, and hit the Met, MoMA, and the Morgan Library. At the Met, I got a chance to see the Christmas tree before they take it down. And I saw the Epic Abstraction exhibit, which was pretty good. (I’m a fan of Pollock.) At MoMA, I didn’t really see anything new, but I enjoyed wandering around a bit. And at the Morgan, I finally got to see the Frankenstein exhibit I’ve been wanting to see since Halloween. So it was a pretty good day. Manhattan was less crowded than it would have been if I’d gone in December. And the weather was pretty good. Here are a few random photos from the trip.

First museum trip of 2018

I haven’t been to the Met or MoMA in some time. Between bad weather and bad health, I just haven’t been able to get into New York. I finally talked myself into it today, despite today being a fairly grey and rainy day. I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to check off my wish list.

First, I wanted to see at least one of Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbors things. So I saw the “Gilded Cage” at the south end of Central Park. (That was kind of accidental. I had some transportation difficulties that left me at Columbus Circle, so I walked over from there.) I’m glad I saw it, but there’s really not much to it. I understand the point of it, but it didn’t really do anything for me.

Then, from there, I decided to walk up to the Met Breuer. They only have two exhibitions running right now, but one of them is the Edvard Munch exhibit, which I really wanted to see. I really liked that one. I’d never really seen much of his work before, so a lot of it was new to me, and unexpected.

After that, I walked up to the Met (5th Ave), wandered around, and saw a few exhibits, including the David Hockney exhibit, which I’ve been wanting to see since Thanksgiving. That was really good, but very crowded. (They had members early hours on that yesterday and Friday, but I didn’t want to take the day off Friday, and I didn’t want to go in so early yesterday.)

From there, I took a cab down to MoMA. There wasn’t much going on there that I was interested in, but it was fun to wander around a bit. And I had an idea that I’d get lunch near there, at Xi’an Famous Foods. But it was way too crowded in there, so I gave up on that. (Getting some cumin lamb noodles was definitely on my wish list for today. Maybe next time.)

I put a few random photos from the trip up on Flickr. Nothing impressive; I just snapped a few things for the hell of it.

Oh, and I didn’t realize until I got home, but today is Jackson Pollock’s birthday. I did manage to see my favorite Pollock paintings at both the Met and MoMA during this trip, so that’s cool.

I really needed to get out of my apartment and spend the day looking at art. This coming week is going to be rough. The State of the Union speech is on Tuesday. I’ve told myself that I’m not going to watch it, but I know I’m going to read about it, and it’s probably going to anger, depress, and/or annoy me. Then, I have the anniversary of my Mom’s death on Thursday and the anniversary of my brother’s death on Friday. So it’s going to be one of those weeks. I think I’m going to need art, and comics, and music, and maybe a little booze, to get through this week!

Sisyphus Stones and Good Fences

A Mystery Solved: Why the ‘Sisyphus Stones’ Rise and Tumble – from the NY Times. This sounds like something i would have liked to see. The article is from September, so there’s a good chance that it’s all gone now, but maybe not.

And this reminds me that there have been a few interesting public art installations in NYC recently that I’ve wanted to see. I’ve probably missed a few, since I’m not always that organized about remembering them; I usually see something that sounds interesting, and save a bookmark to it, then forget about it. But there is an Ai Weiwei thing called Good Fences Make Good Neighbors going on right now that’s pretty interesting. It’s also pretty spread out though. (Here’s a link to a map.)

Extended Thanksgiving weekend laziness

All this month, I’ve been tossing ideas around in my head about productive things I could do with my four-day Thanksgiving weekend. And now it’s Sunday, and I’ve done very little. I went to a friend’s house on Thanksgiving, and had a very good Thanksgiving dinner. Then I started feeling sick on Friday, and just sat around the house all day reading comics and watching TV. I felt better Saturday, and actually got a few things done in the morning, but then I started feeling bad again in the afternoon and went back to my “TV, comics, and napping” agenda. Today, I almost talked myself into going into NYC to see the new David Hockney exhibit at the Met, but didn’t quite manage it. (It’s not actually open yet, but member previews were this weekend.) There’s still time for me to get some stuff done today, but so far, I’ve only managed to shower, eat breakfast, and read comics, and it’s 10am already.

I made one more Black Friday purchase yesterday: I broke down and bought a 27-month Quicken subscription via Amazon for $54. Quicken had their own Black Friday sale, marking down a one-year subscription from $45 to $30, but Amazon had a slightly better deal, essentially $27 per year, for two years, with three extra months tacked on. I almost talked myself into trying MoneyWell, since they haven’t changed to subscription pricing, but I’ve been using Quicken for so long that they’d have to do something really horrible for me to switch at this point. I almost bought the sub from Amazon last month, when they were charging almost $90 for it, so I’m glad I waited. So now I should be set through 2018 and 2019, and I don’t need to think about it again until 2020. (Which doesn’t mean I won’t think about it again, just that I don’t have to…)

My comic book reading this weekend has been eclectic. I finished the Sandman: Dream Hunters adaptation that was done by P. Craig Russell about ten years ago. That was really great, as I expected. (Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers, and Russell is one of my very favorite comic book artists. Maybe my all-time favorite.) (That book is only $5 for the Kindle version, right now, by the way.) I read the original illustrated (not comic book) version a few years ago, and that’s also pretty great. (Yoshitaka Amano is a pretty amazing artist, too.) It’s a little weird how a number of Neil Gaiman’s books exist in multiple versions like this: one with prose and illustrations, and one done as a comic book. But I can’t complain. When both versions are so good, I don’t mind buying and reading the same story twice.

I also read volume 2 of Megatokyo, which is a fairly low-key manga-style web comic. I read the first volume some time ago, but wasn’t really into it enough to go straight to the second. But, yesterday, it seemed like a good “lazy day” book. It was good, but I’m not planning on picking up any more of it right away. If I’m in the mood for it again, maybe I’ll try reading it on the web.

Reading Megatokyo has gotten me somewhat interested in reading manga again. I’ve got a lot of manga paperbacks lying around the apartment, but I haven’t really been in a manga mood lately. I thought maybe I’d finally finish reading Rurouni Kenshin. I have all 28 volumes of the manga, but I’ve only read the first 19 or 20. But now I’ve read that Kenshin’s creator has been arrested on child porn charges, so maybe I’m a bit less enthusiastic about that now. (One slightly alarming takeaway from the linked article: possession of child porn wasn’t “completely illegal” in Japan until 2015? Yikes.)


A nice apartment

From An Eye-Popping Mid-Century Apartment Filled With Pollocks, Klines, and de Koonings:

Ben Heller bought Jackson Pollock’s One, Number 31, 1950, when he lived in an apartment with lower ceilings. When he and Pollock installed the painting, it was too tall for the room; Pollock shrugged and stapled the top few inches of the canvas to the ceiling.

I have one Pollock print in my apartment. Imagine having three Pollock originals in your apartment.

Making the best of it

I decided to take the train into NYC today to see the new Rodin exhibit at the Met. But I hit a couple of snags with that. (This post probably won’t be interesting to too many people, but it was interesting enough to me that I thought I’d write it all down. Feel free to skip it if you don’t want to read a narrative of “my day in New York”.)

The trip in was not smooth. First, there was track work between Union and Newark, so we all had to get off the train in Union and switch to a bus. I made the best of that by enjoying the scenic drive through Union. We went down Morris Ave, and passed the building where I used to work, a long time ago. The building is still there, surprisingly. And the Mark Twain Diner is still there too, where I ate many cheeseburgers in my youth! (I hadn’t been through Union in a long time, so that was actually fun.)

Then, in Newark, there were no trains running to NY Penn, due to a switching problem. So I took the PATH to WTC. I hadn’t been to the WTC since they opened the Oculus, and had been meaning to take a trip in to check it out, so this was a good excuse to do that. It’s pretty cool; I should try to get in again and spend some more time exploring it.

From there, I took the 4 train up to 86th and walked the rest of the way to the Met. (Of course, the 4 train got held at the Grand Central stop for 15 minutes for no discernible reason.) I didn’t make it to the Met until about 11:30, so the total delay came to just over an hour.

The Rodin exhibit was pretty cool, though maybe not worth a three hour trip, in and of itself. From there, I walked down to the Met Breuer, to see the Delirious exhibit.

On the walk down, I listened to the John Luther Adams Soundwalk 9:09 piece that he wrote for the opening of the Breuer last year. I’d been meaning to listen to that on the walk from the main Met to the Breuer, since the Breuer first opened, but I never got around to it until now. It’s definitely an interesting experience. (I listened to the “downtown” piece today. Now I need to take the walk in the opposite direction, and listen to the “uptown” piece.)

From the Breuer, I was initially planning on going down to MoMA. There’s not much going on there right now, but I figured it was a good spot to grab lunch and maybe sit outside in the sculpture garden for a bit. I didn’t want to walk all the way down, so I hopped on the M4 bus. When we got near MoMA, though, there was a big police presence for some reason, and a lot of barricades up, so I decided I didn’t need to deal with that and stayed on the bus.

I got off the bus in front of the NY Public Library on 42nd St, and decided to pop in. It’s only open from 1 to 5pm on Sunday, and it was around 2pm when I got there, so my timing was pretty good. I’ve never been in that “main branch” building before, and I’ve always meant to check it out, so I did. It’s a really cool building, and there’s some nifty stuff in there. I wish I’d come on a day when the gift shop had been open though. I saw a few things through the window there that looked cool.

The trip back home from there was relatively uneventful. I walked from the NYPL back to Penn Station with a brief stop at Midtown Comics.

The trains between NY Penn and Newark were running on-time again, so that was OK. I had to do the bus from Newark to Union, but it wasn’t a big inconvenience. Overall, I got home a bit later than I’d intended to, but still reasonably early.

So, as trips go, it didn’t go quite as planned, but I got to do some interesting stuff that I’d been meaning to do, and had a pretty good time.

photos from NYC today

I went into NYC today and took a handful of random photos. I decided to do something I haven’t done in a while: upload them to Flickr and create an album.

I hit a number of snags with this. First, I discovered that, when you edit photos in iOS, the original photo rather than the edited one gets copied to the Photos app on the Mac when you sync. That’s apparently the expected behavior now, and is described in a support note from Apple. I’d taken and edited the photos with Camera+, but I was planning on uploading them to Flickr from my Mac. But I guess I can’t do that, since I don’t have the edited photos.

So I tried uploading them to Flickr from the phone. I first tried that from the photos app on the phone. I thought that didn’t work, so I tried again, from the Flickr app itself. Well, I guess it worked both times, since I would up with two copies of each photo in Flickr. I managed to delete the duplicates and create an album, back on my Mac, using the Flickr web site.

So, job done, eventually. Sigh. Technology is getting too complicated for me!

(The photos aren’t anything special, by the way. Just a handful of shots from the Met and MoMA, taken only to amuse myself.)