The Unbearable Banishment: london visits new york

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

london visits new york

My old pal bobzyeruncle was here in town from London. He’s the reason I started a blog in the first place. He’s been keeping one since 2003—long before blogging worked its way into the mainstream. I always admired his blog and thought it would be fun to have one of my own. My rational for NOT having a blog—“who gives a shit what I ate for lunch?”—finally crumbled away last spring and The Unbearable Banishment was born.

* * *

We met at the Guggenheim. I’ve always loved the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building and I hadn't seen it since the scaffolding came down from a multi-year exterior renovation. Multiple layers of paint were stripped off the façade. The exterior had been painted various shades over the years. The facelift was done for structural integrity reasons, but they also went back to Wright’s original plans and matched the color to his specs. It looks as fresh (and correct) as the day it opened. Take a look at this beauty:

Isn’t that incredible? It looks so—I don’t know—clean. You should see it in person. Never mind what’s inside, the building itself is a work of art. I remember reading a critical review of the building from some gasbag architect and he called it a “toilet bowl” and the interior a “parking ramp.”

That critic is long dead and forgotten, but the building remains dear to New Yorkers. Someone shoved poor Pinocchio from a top floor and he landed face first into a small pool in the main lobby.

I knew virtually nothing at all about the two exhibits, photographs by Catherine Opie and theanyspacewhatever, which includes contributions from 10 artists. They were, quite frankly, awful. It was contemporary art/photography at its absolute ugliest and most pretentious. The visit was saved by the exterior renovation and the Kandinsky and Expressionist Painting before World War I exhibit, which I liked very much.

We needed to flush the stench of bad art out of our nostrils, so we walked down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is always a home run. I never get sick of that place, no matter how many times I go there. We paid a visit to her:

Someone wrote a children’s book about Mr. Degas’ young dancer. The author even incorporated the hair ribbon into the story. It’s one of 7-Year Old Daughter’s favorite books and I promised to bring her into the city to see it.

We went for one hell of a long walk. We started at the Guggenheim, which is on 5th Avenue and 89th St., walked all through that museum, walked down to the Met on 85th, walked through there and then down 5th Avenue along the east side of Central Park. Most of the holiday tourists are gone and that left the museums and sidewalks clear and easy to navigate.

At 58th Street, I was surprised to see that Bergdorf Goodman still has all their Christmas wreathes out.

Isn’t that nice? bobzyeruncle stopped into Brooks Brothers and bought a stack of dress shirts for him and L. The British Pound is more powerful than the mighty American Peso, so the shirts were a bargain. We got the subway at Rockefeller Center which means we walked a total of 41 blocks PLUS two museums! It was a great way to spend an afternoon. If only I can parlay that into some kind of money-making scheme…



Anonymous Anonymous said...

love the suicidal Pinocchio... and a great museum summary. i know it only hits the top 0.0003%, but still...

January 6, 2009 at 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bobzyeruncle is my blogfther too! so that makes us blogsiblings?

nursemyra is my blogmother, by the way. i've got a bitchin' pedigree... (note to self: must start to live up to it!)

January 6, 2009 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

gnu: Was it suicide? Or was it MURDER!!

daisy: Wow! It looks like uncle bob is a bit of a slut. He didn’t seem the type. Actually…

January 6, 2009 at 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*sigh* I love your new york city posts.... happy new year to you and Bob xx

January 7, 2009 at 2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Guggenheim looks great all cleaned up. It looks like those old photos of when it first opened.

January 7, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the Dancer as part of a broader Degas exhibit in Pasadena about ten years ago, along with some Rodin (sp?) pieces...great stuff.

Cool pics of the museum, regrettably my knowledge of it is reputation only at this museum.

Peace, SA

January 7, 2009 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

The Guggenheim was one of my favorite places to visit in NYC, like you, not for the art as much as the environment.

January 7, 2009 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger bob said...

I'm still really sad about Pinocchio, not the least because it was the best exhibit in the gallery.

Thanks for the good day. It was a perfect end to a lovely (albeit tubercular) stay in the City.

January 8, 2009 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger ~E said...

Question: did the Pinochio find itself in that ignominious position because some poor little kid accidentally dropped him from the top floor, or was it intentionally placed there as "art"?

January 11, 2009 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

E: Believe it or not, it’s part of an installation.

January 11, 2009 at 12:23 AM  

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