The Unbearable Banishment: Steel ribbon

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steel ribbon

If you scroll down a bit, you'll see a post about the current "big space" exhibit at MoMA, which struck me as being somewhat bland and uninspired. Here, on the other hand, is how it's done.

The Gagosian gallery on 24th Street just opened Junction/Cycle, a thrill ride by Richard Serra. It's another of his room-filling steel ribbon sculptures. I love this guy's work. I pinched this first photo from the NY Times to give you a view from above that was not available to me. It affords some perspective on the scale and mass of the piece. The rest of these pics are mine.

The gallery is filled with huge, gently curved, slabs of steel. The metal is oxidized so it has a soft orange tint to it. We went on a sunny Saturday afternoon and the natural light pouring in made it glow where the sun hit it and cast dark shadows around corners.

I saw the piece he did at MoMA in 2007 and this one is even better. It fits beautifully into this gallery space. Again, 10,000 thank-yous to the Gagosian, who constantly puts on these fantastic exhibits for free. The Gagosian is not a museum but it continues to behave like one.

I was almost maniacally adamant to Mrs. Wife that we bring the girls in to see this. We are very fortunate to have this at our doorstep. I argued that not exposing them to stuff like this would boarder on irresponsible parenting. That may sound like a lot of histrionics but I really feel that way.

Besides, if you live in reasonably close proximity to this, have even a modicum of interest but don't bother to go, then all you're doing is suffering the high cost of living in this area without taking advantage of what's so great about it.

There are narrow passageways that can only be entered single file that open into winding orange canyons. The urge to reach out and touch the metal is overwhelming but there are security guards posted who prevent people from putting their oily, dirty hands on it. I completely understand. Can you imagine what this piece would look like after two months if thousands of people ran their fingers along it?

All apologies, as I went slightly overboard with the photos and a brief video at the end, but this exhibit loves the camera.

I hope you're looking at these on a proper monitor, as opposed to a smart phone.

This exhibit just opened and is up through November 26th. It's a shame they couldn't leave it up through the Christmas holiday. I'll make an effort to see it again before it closes.

My last two years have been a terrible struggle. My insufferably long commute is finally starting to grind me down, as is the relentless, ongoing search for permanent work. I'm grateful to be gainfully employed and love the work I'm doing right now, but consulting is not what I want. There are other difficulties that don't make their way into this blog because they're none of your business. But afternoons like this, to steal from Charles Bukowski:

...lift me high through the night
and put me down
in a better



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the little one's twirl...what a great way to interact with art!

October 9, 2011 at 11:19 AM  
Anonymous looby said...

Well I was attempting to write something objective and considered... but sod that - aren't your daughters sweet! And you're right - if you didn't take them to a Richard Serra exhibition, I think questions should be raised with Social Services!

October 9, 2011 at 4:30 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

I'll say it again -NYC knows how to show art.
Lovely pic of daughter #2 twirling to the camera.

October 9, 2011 at 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a Richard Serra drawing exhibition on in an adjoining room when we went to the Alexander McQueen. It was nowhere near as spectacular as this but still enjoyable.

I hope things pick up for you soon xx

October 9, 2011 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Those heavenly colours and the girls - all three - are delightful. Thanks for sharing. Chin up:)

October 9, 2011 at 6:21 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

To quote Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Uncle Alex - "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

Those colors are pretty amazing. Suspect that the sound is odd inside the maze as well. But it's the little critters who steal the show... you are right. they MUST be part of these things...

October 9, 2011 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

GCB: That kid has a song in her head 24/7.

looby: But what do you think of the exhibit? If you feel it's shite, say so. I can take it.

dinah: Not for nothing, NYC has some pretty crappy exhibits, too. Just scroll down a few posts.

nurse: I remember that exhibit. I missed it. I didn't get to see it. I miss 5 for every 1 I see.

Pat: Chin up! That's so British! Thank you for that. I'll take it to heart.

daisy: It's here until November. Think you'll make it? There was a big article in the Times today about how your lovely town is the most immigrant-friendly city in the U.S. and how it's reaping benefits from it.

October 9, 2011 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger tennysoneehemingway said...

Wow. We never get this stuff over here. What are our artists doing?

October 9, 2011 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

What a grand treat! The young'uns are obviously havin' a ball, so well done you mister! :¬)

October 9, 2011 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Hem: Have a look around. I'll bet there's more going on than you suspect.

Map: Initially, the kiddies mistook it for a playground. A few dirty looks from the guards is all it took.

October 9, 2011 at 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Here In Franklin said...

My job is quite insufferable right now, but I am optomistic that it will be better soon. On the other hand, I, too, prefer smaller musuems. One of my nieces has video of me in front of the Mona Lisa saying "I fucking hate the Louvre." When you get to Paris (notice I said when, not if), please skip the Louvre and go to the Musee Moyen Age Cluny and L'Orangerie. You'll love them.

October 9, 2011 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger von LX said...

For me personally, something like this works better as "found art." i.e. rusty iron pipes at a construction site vs an "artist" stacking them in a gallery.

October 10, 2011 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

HIF: It's not that big museums that are bad; it's the crowds. If you can somehow get around the huddled masses -- go first thing when they open, for instance -- you can have a very enjoyable experience. After the Serra show, we took a walk on the Highline. It was so packed that it wasn't a fun time at all. I hate people when they're in my way.

LX: True! If you saw this while driving by a landfill, you'd call it "scrap metal."

October 10, 2011 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger Adam Kenny said...

Very cool. It looks as if your girls are happy that Dad's position won the day and they got to experience it too.

October 10, 2011 at 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's great that you take them....the only place we went to when we were young was the pro football hall of fame. The large copper railing was my eyesight hight and that is all I remenber. So glad my nieces will have a better childhood memory!

October 11, 2011 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

AK: It didn't take much convincing. Mrs. Wife is highly supportive of this type of thing. Her only issue is that going into the city can be expensive. Lunch for four was about $45 and parking was $22. That's over $70 bucks including tolls. And were were only in the city for about three hours! Thank God the exhibit was free.

MT: It's not like the bar was set that high for us. Know what I mean?

October 11, 2011 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger JZ said...

You made it! And Daughter #1 missed their soccer match. Good call. But don't let her miss too many of the tribal, team-building reenactments of good vs. will she integrate with the rest of the folks in NJ? ;)

I must protest the assertion that in any other context this could EVER be construed as "scrap metal". There are projects and installations that blur that line, but this is not one of them. If you look through the rusted surface and think about the weight, what one knows about the nature of steel and imagine yourself MAKING this object, it takes on a whole other meaning. Serra has perfected a process, but it definitely involved carefully planning, attention to detail and a "something-something" other words ART. Thanks for the pics. The published articles about this were not doing it justice...damn, I wish I could see this....

October 13, 2011 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

JZ: My "scrap heap" comment was made with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I defy anyone to walk into that gallery, take in the enormity of the project and see it as anything other than art. Even if you don't like it, it's still can't be quantified as scrap. And #2 made her soccer game. We went after. Everyone was happy.

October 13, 2011 at 7:01 AM  
Blogger JZ said...

TUB: my thoughts were directed more toward von LX's initial comment...t'was easier to use your 2 word descriptive response.... I know you know better....and I should have known better that it might be misconstrued...... no offense to von LX, just I believe they need to learn to look a bit harder. :)

#2. right. bad memory. i guess i shouldn't be blogging when i have not even had my first cup o joe.

black. i take it black. thank you.

October 14, 2011 at 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kept thinking that I would want to touch the metal and check to see if there were orange stains on my fingers. When you said there were guards posted everywhere, I then leapt to the conclusion that wouldn't it be a cool part of the exhibit to see what the pieces looked like after a few months of people touching them. Participation art?

On another note, I've been absent from my blog for a while too as what's happening in my life is not for public knowledge, suffice it to say, my career has made me 'trapped by my success'. be well.

October 16, 2011 at 11:08 AM  

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