Part 2: Spring in Manhattan

The second half of our day took us to the southern part of Manhattan. My mom had wanted to check out the Oculus, the new transport station that was part of the World Trade Center network. The building is out of science fiction – weirdly shaped and white. Inside, there are several floors with high end shops and as far as we could tell, one restaurant/cafe. Very odd. It was a dramatic place architecturally but I’m still confused how you can have a massive transportation depot without food.

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After our tour of the space, we headed to Trinity Church nearby. Inside we found beautiful wooden carved chapel and windows. Outside, we discovered that this was where Alexander and Eliza Hamilton were buried. However, it took some time finding their grave. We learned that there are burial grounds on both sides of church. When we paid our respects to his grave, the lady next to us starting singing the section about Eliza from “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” Her grave had pennies all over it as well. Nice touch.

We passed by the Bull of Wall Street and the Little Girl standing him down. There was a line of mostly women waiting to get their photo taken with the Little Girl. I declined getting my photo taken since it was a long line of chaos.

We then went to the National Museum of the American Indian next to Bowling Green Park. The museum is housed in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, which is a pretty astonishing building. Big rotunda with murals. We learned from the guard that Bowling Green Park’s fence went back to colonial times; on the fence, there used to be symbols of the crown that revolutionaries had sawed off! Plus there was an amazing plaque talking about how the rental of the park was only a peppercorn. Back in the day, peppercorn was a big deal.

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I had read about the museum and its current exhibition “Native Fashion Now” in the New York Times a few weeks earlier so I was keen to check it out. They had gone to Native American designers to showcase their work in the show. It was spectacular. For instance, there were these high heeled boots covered in beadwork with hummingbird motif by Jamie Okuma. Another was a kimono that depicted ledger art by Toni Williams. Astonishing. They also had a quiver made in the famous Louis Vuitton fabric. Or a pair of moccasins made from electrical parts. Innovative and astonishing.

The permanent collection had some pretty spectacular objects from a diverse number of groups. There were drums from Mapuche in Chile all the way up to various groups in the Pacific Northwest. They even had a room set aside for Native American Contemporary art where there was a paper jingle dress.

Another special exhibition included pottery from Central America, which was a treat. As I have gotten older, I have grown to love pottery, especially from Latin America. I love all the pots of local animals!

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We then walked from the museum to the Strand, not a small walk. It was delightful wandering around the city. I enjoyed all the street art, as per usual. The Strand was great as always. We met up with a good friend and my parents at a Spanish restaurant in Greenwich Village.

Afterwards, we wandered with our friend to find a speakeasy. There is a trend in bars in NY (and elsewhere) of speakeasies that are accessed in unusual places. The first place we tried involved going through a toy store. Sadly, it was merely a shelf of toys and the bar was extremely crowded and loud.

We then began our trek to find an available place. There was another one that involved going into a phone booth in a hole-in-the-wall hot dog stand. When we got there, there was a line, so it wasn’t truly hidden. When it was our time to get to the front of the line, a man pulled back a wall of the phone booth and I could peer inside. It was a quiet bar with a taxidermied pheasant on the wall. We were informed it was a three hour wait, which wasn’t happening. He ended up handing my friend and I a black business card with a number and the name of the address. Someday we’ll go.

Ultimately we ended up a regular bar, notably only for the strange channel it showed of people embarrassing themselves by doing stupid things. It wasn’t “Funniest Home Videos” but it was an actual channel that bars can request. Strange.

That’s all for now!

Part 6: Prague and London

On our first full day of London, we started off at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It is now one of my favorite stops in London. For many years, I ignored it since I didn’t find it as compelling as the British Museum or National Gallery or something. Either their rebrand did the trick or I got older and realized that design is fascinated (or a combination of the two).

There’s always marvelous things to see at the V&A. They had a special exhibition on underwear that we decided to check out. Yes, underwear. It was underwear over the ages, briefly touching on lingerie. So less kinky than you might have thought. But it was super fascinating. I learned that maternity corsets were a thing, which is supremely horrifying. I also learned that there was a period known as the “bra wars” between rival companies Wonderbra and Ultrabra competed in the 20th century. I also learned that men’s shirts were considered underwear (like in the 18th century) because it was clothing next to their body. Things have changed!

The second floor of the exhibition had pieces from fashion designers, which was pretty cool. They covered themes like lingerie as outerwear, leisurewear etc. It was cool to see some of the pieces from recent Bond films.

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We continued our wandering around the museum and found some other amazing artifacts like this saucer and cup with hands by Peter Ting in the China section. I love how they intersperse older objects with new modern pieces. I did find a child’s radio and cassette tape box that I owned as a child in the Japan section, which was a bit sobering!

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After a brief stop off at the Albert Memorial for my husband, we decided to go back to our secret tea shop in Soho: Soho’s Secret Tea shop. We had gone the prior year and loved it. You have to enter a pub and ask for the tea shop upstairs. You go up a staircase behind the bar into a single tea room with 1940s/1950s music playing. Each table is laid out with a different cup and saucer. They have a nice tea selection and homemade cakes. Highly recommend it both for the fun of the secrecy and the tea!

Then we decided to go shoe shopping on Carnaby street and Regent’s street. As we turned the corner from the secret tea shop, we made an amazing discovery: a gallery with official Harry Potter graphic art. This four story shop had designs from the 7 HP movies and Fantastic Beasts. The top floor had the covers of Hogwarts textbooks, another room had wanted posters, another was filled with labels from products from Weasley’s joke shop, the Quibbler front covers etc. It was beautifully decorated throughout the building. It was super thrilling to be able to check this out!

After we accomplished our missions to find shoes in London, we decided to take a quick turn around the National Portrait Gallery. My husband had never been! So we spent most of the time in the Tudor and earlier section looking at the portraits of Richard III and Henry VIII and various wives. One of the portraits of Edward VI was a cool optical illusion!We went a bit later to see portraits of Admiral Nelson, Laurence Sterne. Sadly, we didn’t have more time there before we had to rush home for dinner!


A good day!

China and Cambodia: Part 13

Then the final day of our trip was upon us. We had most of the day in Phnom Penh before it was time to make our journey back home.

Our first stop was the National Museum of Cambodia. What a lovely museum! The first hall is filled with all sizes of bronzes, which is pretty impressive. Other halls have many stone sculptures of gods and goddesses from Hindu and Buddhist traditions. There’s even a little section of the courtyard with linga and yoani!  One side of the museum had more recent artifacts from the 19th century such as wooden sculptures and a caravan. One of my favorite parts of the museum was a section of contemporary Cambodian artists. I love seeing the mashup of contemporary and older art. Just beyond the contemporary art was a room filled with Buddhas, which was really great. Sadly, photos were not permitted without an extra fee (don’t ask me why I didn’t pay it. Foolish choice!)

The main section museum centered a courtyard with a Buddha statue in the middle surrounded by four lakes filled with fish. You could buy fish food from a vendor in the museum. And obviously, we did. (With all the cats, dogs, and birds of this trip, it was time to give fish a turn). We had a lot of fun wandering from pond to pond distributing tiny bits of dried food. Can’t say I’ve done that at a museum before!

Afterwards, we decided to wander the area a bit, something we hadn’t done a lot of. Around the museum, there were stores selling art, sometimes large sculptures that I wished I could have taken home. We also ended up at a market, less touristy and more everyday. It was a fascinating experience walking through the halls to see the various household goods and food on sale. Sadly, no fried crickets to redeem myself.

We took a little trip to Wat Phnom that we had seen on the first night. It was well worth the trip. It seems to have been built on a hill so there are various levels to explore as you climb up. We saw beautiful shrines filled with offerings. It was lovely. My friend paid to release sparrows back into nature from vendors at the Temple.  When we left, I bought a durian popsicle from a vendor on the street. While it wasn’t fresh durian, it was absolutely delicious. At least, I got a taste of it in this part of the world. Next time, my mission will be to get fresh durian!

We eventually found ourselves on the riverfront again for lunch. Once again, our food was amazing, fresh and incredibly cheap. I had another coconut with lunch. So tasty and refreshing. We decided to go back to the Foreign Correspondents Club for a final drink before heading to our hotel. We shared a few drinks while watching the boats float down the river. What an amazing trip.

We took a tuktuk back to the hotel to rest a bit before our midnight flight back to Shanghai. We ate the remaining candy we had from Shanghai and watched Cambodian TV. We hired a car to take us to the airport. We were a bit early so we found a series of chairs nearby and had some pastries from the Blue Pumpkin. Eventually, the gate opened, we checked our bags (giving a silent prayer that we would see our bags again), and entered the main part of the terminal. I managed to have one last coconut before our flight!

We were slightly delayed, which made me a bit nervous. We were the last plane to leave Phnom Penh that evening so there’s always the chance that they’ll cancel it. Thankfully, our flight took off. When we landed in Shanghai in about 5 in the morning, we played the eternal game of who do we trust. When we checked our bags in Phnom Penh, a sign informed us that we had to collect our bags in Shanghai and recheck them. However, when we got to the desk in Shanghai to get our boarding passes for the next leg, we were told that our bags were checked through. Shades of South Africa again. We decided to trust the Chinese official and made our way to gates. We had a final meal of dumplings at a cafe, which was pretty good for airport food.

We flew home and collected our bags without an issue.

What an amazing, exhilarating trip. Can’t wait to go back!

That’s all for now!

China and Cambodia: Part 2

The following morning, we were up super early because of the jet lag. But that was okay. We walked around some more in our neighborhood. There was a bakery where we got little baked balls of red bean and egg that was quite delicious. I am obsessed with red bean and have been since high school. I endeavoured to have as much of it as possible on this trip. And rank it!

After our morning tea and coffee, we decided to take a long walk to the Shanghai Museum. It’s one of the top museums in Shanghai; it has a very impressive collection of artifacts including bronzes, ceramics, and more. It’s free but they limit the number of visitors each day to 8000 (I think). So go early if possible to avoid disappointment. Shanghai in July is hot and sticky as we found out. But the walk was nice. We took a detour along the Bund, an area next to the riverfront called the Wall Street of Shanghai. I think it was part of the English and American concessions when Shanghai was colonized. We watched the boats in the harbor, saw the crazy buildings on the skyline.

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The Skyline

We stopped by for a cold drink at one of the many Family Marts we saw in China. The labels on the drinks were amazing and surreal. My favorite was the one with a bird living in a teacup.

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Me in label form

The Shanghai Museum is shaped like a Chinese cooking vessel called a ding. I really love that fact especially since they have several dings inside the museum! We got there when it opened but there was already a line. Thankfully it moved quickly and we were in the air conditioned embrace of the museum. We started from the top floor down. The first area we went to was the Exhibit of Ethnic Minorities in China. Yes, that’s what it is called. While we can talk a lot about the politics of such a place and some inclusions, there were some really amazing outfits and masks.

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My favorite area of the museum remains the ceramics. I came to love ceramics later in life. As a kid I found them moderately interesting. Now, I find them endlessly fascinating. My favorite era of Chinese pottery is Tang. The sculptures are so full of character and life. I love the color scheme, full of greens, yellows and oranges. One sculpture was a woman seated on a horse.

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Tang Dynasty – Female rider

We also had a fun moment with a guard. I happened to notice an interaction with a guard and another museum patron. This guy was holding a series of empty wicker baskets. Apparently, you can bring almost anything into the museum. He had just thrown them down on the floor to look at something and the guard, rightly so, yelled at him. Moments later as I was looking at something else, my friend grabbed me and said, “The guard impishly pointed a bowl. You should check it out.” I saw the bowl at hand and if you peeked into it, there were painted butterflies. Same guard. I love it.

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The Impish Guard Butterfly Bowl

We also made a turn around the Bronzes and the Sculptures, which were also wonderful. It’s a really nice collection. And yes, I saw the many dings! There’s a tea room in the museum so we had a little pit stop with tea and macarons, including a sesame one. Pretty good!

Then we decided to walk to Yuyuan Gardens. Of course, it was the hottest time of the day. The area around Yuyuan Gardens is a bit hectic, a bit unpleasant. But the gardens are a wonder. It’s like a labyrinth, little narrow walls lead you to unexpected pools and trees. It’s fun to get lost here.  We spent some time gazing out on the pond filled with koi amongst some beautiful buildings.  There’s a zig zagged bridge in the middle; there’s a belief that ghosts can only walk in straight lines so they can’t walk on a zig zagged bridge.

When we left the peaceful confines of the garden, we eventually found ourselves back in the hubbub around the gardens. We decided to get a snack at a dumpling place nearby. I ordered a variety of dumplings including a Hello Kitty inspired dumpling. Inside was custard. I also had a dumpling that was kinda like baklava, nutty and sweet. The red bean dumpling was okay. Alas!

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Hello Kitty Dumplings

We ended up meeting family for dinner near the hotel at a mega mall at a stir fry place. It’s a bit like Benihana where the chef cooks it all at the table. I had this crystal pork that was delicious (but dangerous). Dessert was a warm pancake filled with red bean paste. It was really wonderful. Can’t decide which red bean thing I liked better: the red bean egg ball in the morning or the stir fry pancake in the evening. Decisions!

After dinner, we decided to try a foot massage at a place near the hotel. I had never had a foot massage in China before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I love massages as a rule so I was very curious. I sadly was not a fan. It hurt a lot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but my feet still hurt the following day. I feel that suggests that the foot massage was not for me. Oh well. It was worth a try!
That’s all for now!

France and England: Part 9

It’s been a busy few weeks. I’ve been winding down my piece for the Vocalo Storytelling Workshop and preparing to act as matron of honor at a wedding in a week in a half. So I’ve been a little preoccupied to write blog posts. Now that I have a moment to breathe, I’ll keep talking about our amazing trip.

For the last half of my speech, I talked about tea and Twinings. Tea became fashionable in England when Catherine of Braganza of Portugal was married to Charles II in 1662.She had grown accustomed to the habit and it spread amongst the top ranks of English aristocracy. It was extremely expensive so only the very rich could really afford it. Britain went from shipping 6 tons of it in 1699 to 11,000 tons a century later when it was 1/20th of the price it had been previously! Households would keep tea under lock and key to prevent servants and others from stealing the precious commodity!

East Indian Trading Company rose with the popularity of tea. At one point it was 60% of their trade (and 10% of that went to taxes). Tom Standage of A History of the World in 6 Glasses points out that while Catherine of Braganza made it fashionable, East Indian Trading Company made it possible.

It was a new way to socially distinguish oneself with tea sets, new set of manners and more. Tea gardens began to open in 1730s like Vauxhall Gardens, where you could meet members of the other sex for tea. (How scandalous!)

Thomas Twinings opened Twinings in 1706 in an old coffeehouse. He was a weaver who had learned the tea trade with an East Indian merchant Thomas D’Aeth.  It became exclusively a tea shop in 1717. Later the Twinings family played a crucial role in getting some of the taxes lifted on tea and other items in 1784. People noted that the tea that ended up in the Boston harbor was not Twinings. Earl Grey was supposedly invented on a voyage in 1831. In 1837, Queen Victoria gave the company a royal warrant to supply tea, something they have until this day.

Those are just a few interesting tidbits from my talk. Next year,  I’ll be speaking on the history of the London Underground.

Afterwards, we of course made a stop at the Twinings shop, very close to the Middle Temple where we were doing our talks. It’s a long lean store. I think it was close to being the original shop though I think there was a place before it.

Then we trekked off to the Sir John Soane museum nearby. It’s a free museum of the house of the eccentric architect who liked to collect things. So rooms are filled with precious (and not so precious) treasures. The backroom is an atrium, two levels, covered in marbles and fakes from all over the world. The basement has a giant Egyptian sarcophagus! He has a picture gallery that it is maybe 10 by 10 but it has a 100 paintings it, including HOgarth’s A Rake’s Progress. He built it so walls swing up and out. The basement has a study that he dedicated to a fake monk he created. Yes.

He has a kinda tragic life but it appears of his own doing. He was very disappointed that his sons failed to follow him into architecture. One was a writer and ended up in debtor’s prison. His father did little to assist him. IN revenge, his son wrote a scathing article lambasting his father’s architecture. Allegedly, Sir John Soane’s wife read the article and died 8 days later. Sir Soane blamed his son for his wife’s death. And kept the article as a reminder of his son’s treachery! Later he stipulated in his will that three packages were to be opened on anniversaries of her death. There was a lot of fanfare and anticipation for each one but they were filled with ordinary items: letters, a pair of gloves, an empty ledger. Newspapers called it the greatest practical joke. I think Sir John Soane was very serious about it all.

I’d recommend checking it out!

Then we wandered to the British Library, which was not too far from the Sir John Soane museum. They had a free exhibition on Alice in Wonderland, which I had been keen to see since I heard about it in the summer. And it was everything I could have wanted. It had early texts of Alice in Wonderland, including Alice in the Underground. There were early editions of the book with Tenniel’s illustrations. The book was an instant bestseller and that hasn’t really changed. They had recordings of various performances of the books, including someone singing about the book accompanied by the CHicago Orchestra Symphony! THere was a video game that had been developed for the exhibition. And there were lots of beautifully illustrated books, aligning with the era that they were created. For instance, there were some dark and foreboding ones that were drawn during wartime. Very cool!

The permanent collection is also really neat. It’s so cool to see the handwriting of Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, James Joyce… And the illustrated manuscripts are breathtaking> I like to tip my hat at the Gutenberg Bible as well. Respect.
That’s all for now!

New Orleans: Part 1

This past week, I had the opportunity to go to New Orleans for my profession’s annual conference. It was magnificent. It was great fun to see friends, explore the city, and learn from my peers. The next couple of days I’ll write about the adventures we had.

The first evening was spent walking around the French Quarter where the conference was located. We decided to walk up Bourbon street, which was neat. Neon sign followed neon sign, men in tshirts and tuxes tried to hustle you into the various bars and strip clubs. Music of all sorts wafted out into the humid evening air. It reminded me of Las Vegas or better yet, what Las Vegas was trying to achieve.

Then we went to dinner at a place off Bourbon Street, which proved a bit of an unexpected adventure. I had my first taste of jambalaya with rabbit and alligator (i think). It wasn’t bad. It was a little heavier than I really wanted with the heat and humidity. However, I’m glad that I finally had some since I’ve always loved the song “Jambalaya.” However, before the meal came, a mouse appeared from the ceiling as it crawled down a pipe behind the bench we were sitting at. It was so unexpected. Never had I seen anything like it in my life! But it didn’t phase me at all. I enjoyed my food. All in all it was a nice evening.

The following afternoon, on lunch break, I decided that I had to make a mad dash for Cafe de Monte. It’s one of the classic cafes known for their coffee and beignets. It’s where I realized the magic of the beignet, a French powdered donut. I hadn’t remembered having one before so I was very keen to try one. I took it to go since I didn’t have the time to sit down. It took 20 minutes to get through the short line, which was a bit frustrating. It was hot and humid at midday. I finally got my order, sweating profusely in the humidity. With one bite, the powdered sugar rained down on my shirt. But it was everything I could have wanted. The heat, the mess, the beignet made it a sublime experience. It wouldn’t have tasted as good any other way.

I also found my way to Jackson Square, which was alive with art and music. Artist sold their paintings by hanging them on the wrought iron fence surrounding the park. I also happened upon a brass band, playing their wondrous music. It’s funny how easy it was to find live music here. I once started following the sounds of a trumpet and found a man just walking along with his trumpet. This constant music reminded me a little of Istanbul.

Brass BandJackson Park, view of the Cathedral

After sessions let out for the day, I made a beeline for the Voodoo Museum. I had read about it years ago and I really wanted to go. Plus I had loved the recent exhibition at the Field on Voodoo so I wanted to learn more. Of course, that exhibition focused on Haitian Voodoo and this museum was about New Orleans voodoo.

I enjoyed it very much. It’s a small museum, practically a storefront, with two major rooms. Just as I entered the museum, I felt something crawling on my arm, which startled me. It was a cricket! It felt like a great start (and I’m not being sarcastic here) to the museum. The rooms had numerous shrines to several gods and other religious items. One room had various figures made from skeletons, alligator, and much more. The shrines were definitely being visited; people put coins and other offerings all over them.There were also cases of voodoo dolls and potion packets. It was wonderful to see that the museum was a living and used space. I learned about some of the big names in Voodoo, specifically Marie Catherine Laveau, the Voodoo Queen. That was super cool. I’m pleased that I took the time to go!

Voodoo Museum

That’s all for now!

NYC in June: Part 1

So after my adventures in NY and DC, I was back to NYC for a few days. This time, it was for a work conference where I was presenting a panel. The conference was situated in the heart of Time Square, which was a rather new experience for me. The hotel was part of the Time Square; part of the billboards that make up the insanity of the place were located on the hotel. When I got to the hotel and checked into my room, I discovered that I had a partial view of the Time Square. The amount of light that flowed into the room was fairly astonishing. But I would later grow rather fond of my view since I’ve learned that I like the place as long as I’m not in it. Staring down is kinda neat (as long as there are thick curtains for sleeping).

Since it was late at night, I grabbed a quick bite at a local pizza place. It’s funny how I had forgotten the concept of NY pizza in recent years. The fast food that I associated with NYC was shish kebab and other Middle Eastern meat dishes from kiosks outside. But pizza was ideal for my late night dinner. It was one slice with pepperoni and olives covered in a fine layer of grease. It was so big I had to scoop it up in one hand. Perfection.

The following day, I spent the lunch hour at the MOMA. I really wanted to check out the Yoko Ono Retrospective. I didn’t know a lot about her work and was curious. Also, not a lot of women artists have retrospectives so I wanted to ensure that I went. The backstory to the exhibition is that in 1971, Yoko Ono had an unofficial show at the MOMA. Per the MOMA, “At that time, Ono advertised her “one woman show,” titled Museum of Modern [F]art. However, when visitors arrived at the Museum there was little evidence of her work. According to a sign outside the entrance, Ono had released flies on the Museum grounds, and the public was invited to track them as they dispersed across the city.” (https://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1544)

I fell in love with her work. I walked into the first room and there was a pedestal with a green apple onto of it. On the pedestal, there was a sign “Apple.” The apple will stay there was it rots. It’s taking Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain to a new level. There was footage from her famous performance piece where visitors were told they could cut off her clothing with a pair of scissors. What powerful and terrifying idea. The part of the video that I caught was when a man was cutting off her shirt as she shifted uncomfortably. It makes me think of Rebecca Wolfram’s work “We are capable people…” What are we capable of? This man was nonchalantly snipping away at her clothing. At the last moment, he snipped her bra straps so she sat there holding the cups of her bra up.

Apple

I really loved her Grapefruit piece. It’s a text with each page containing instructions, many of them impossible. They had 30 or 40 of the texts hanging up in a long line in the gallery. Absolutely astonishing. They also displayed 9 texts that were instructions for musical pieces for John Cage. I would have loved to have caught a performance of any one of them!

One Page of Grapefruit

There was also a piece with a black metal staircase. Visitors were invited to walk up the staircase, one at a time, to stare into the clouds. I had to wait a few minutes to go up there but it was neat. The staircase shook like crazy when I went up. I briefly stared through the glass ceiling into the sky (which was mostly clear or constant at the time). It was a breath of meditation.

Sky View from MOMA

I had only a short period of time to check out my old friends in the Modern galleries. I discovered that theMOMA had decided to keep Matisse’s cut out room on display, which made me super happy. The trip also reminded me that when Picasso was on, he was on. “The Three Musicians” is still one of my favorite paintings in the world. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is also a masterpiece. I tipped my hat at the Klmits, the Magrittes, and the Ernsts. I made a quick run through the comtempory galleries since I had learned that Kara Walker had a piece there. I’ve recently become fascinated with her work which largely employs silhouetted figures referencing race and gender. Her work took up an entire wall of the museum with these nightmarish/dream scenarios of silhouetted figures. They were also a piece by Doris Salcedo, who just had an incredible retrospective at the MCA. Her work deals a lot with political violence and memory. Her exhibition at the MCA was astonishing. This was a smaller version of her shoe piece that had people’s shoes set into the walls hidden behind fabric. These are the shoes that victims left behind. It reminds me of the piles of shoes that you’ll find at the Holocaust Museum.

Matisse Room

I feel that I spend a lot of time defending contemporary art to my friends and family. I will admit that I have an interest in really innovative and often cutting edge work. But I try to remind people that the artists we take for granted as masters, namely our beloved Impressionists, were once derided and insulted by the establishment. I do believe that there are an amazing number of artists doing incredible work now. Sure there is art that I don’t care for. But then again, there was a lot of art in every period that was not very good, though heralded as excellent. You have to move beyond your prejudices because you’ll find some really neat things in the contemporary art gallery. Maybe it’s just one piece that knocks your socks off. But given how hard it is to find a really great book/movie/musical piece, that’s not a bad ratio.

That’s all for now!