My husband and I wanted to spend this time in New York to have a more urban experience. Today had several elements that are common to urban life.
1. Frustration: We had a tremendous amount of trouble getting the metrocard machine to accept either of our debit cards. In the end we had to use a credit card. The man at what used to be called the token both and I guess now is the metrocard booth understandably only takes cash.
2. Spectacle: We were going to a gallery opening (more on that later) and happened upon the Labor Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. It was really long and very interesting. One of the pictures is of a group holding a banner, “Non-Traditional; Employment for Women,” which I thought was very cool. The other picture is of the Teamsters who had a really big contingent.* Union membership has really declined since the Reagan years and I think a strong labor movement could help with many of our problems. More viable labor organizations would also help President Obama in his reform efforts on health care and other matters.
3. Class: We went to an opening at the Greenberg Van Doren Gallery. The exhibit was Tim Davis’s collection of photographs, The New Antiquity. Tim’s stepdad works at Hampshire. Many of the galleries on 57th Street are not at street level. That means you have to know both the gallery and the exhibit exist.
After Tim’s show we went to the PaceWildstein gallery. This gallery is also not on street level, but once you are in the building there are four different floors of exhibits. Each of the galleries has a slightly different name but all are Pace.
PaceWildenstein had Sol LeWitt: Forms Derived from a Cube. Some of the paintings were wall drawings (on the wall) and were for sale. I asked the receptionists about how one would actually purchase a wall drawing. She explained that Sol LeWitt was dead (I thought that was kind of funny) and that the purchaser gets a certificate and then a draftsman comes to your house, prepares the wall, and paints the drawing. Sol LeWitt did in 2007 so the paintings in PaceWildenstein exhibit were done in the above methods.
This all seems a bit strange. I maybe could see paying $12,00 if the artist came to my house and painted it on the walls but a draftsman?
Another one of the Pace galleries was Pace Primitive. It was African masks, Filipino religious items, and small statues. Some were from the 19th and early twentieth centuries. I have problems with the use of the word “primitive” and I wonder about the methods used to obtain the art.
*In the nineteenth and early twentieth century the Teamsters Union fought many jurisdictional battles with the United Brewery Workers.