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January 12th, 2008


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10:11 am - Art / Soup


Fig. 1 (my photo)


Fig. 2 (mine)

Thursday night I met lolitasir (Fig. 1) at The New Museum (Fig. 2) to check out their new building and the inauguratory show, “Unmonumental.” The building (Fig. 3), designed by Sejima + Nishizawa/SANAA looks like a stack of boxes of different sizes. Since it doesn’t have much in the way of windows, the building is wrapped in an aluminum mesh “skin,” (Fig. 4) which I think will take well to lighting treatments and attaching things to the outside, such as the current installation of a rainbow greeting (Fig. 5). If lower Manhattan had more foliage, stuff getting stuck in it might be a problem after a big storm, but since almost everything’s cement and asphalt down there it’s probably fine.


Fig. 3 (flickr photo)


Fig. 4 (flickr)


Fig. 5 (mine)

As a museum the new building works fine, the floors are essentially white boxes with high ceilings built around a core of elevators and stairwells. The building’s design shows off the art well and doesn’t draw attention to itself, unlike other new museums that have gone up in the past decade or so, such as San Francisco’s MoMA and DeYoung museums, or New York’s MoMA’s new wings, for that matter.


Fig. 6 (flickr)


Fig. 7 (flickr)

There were a few artworks I liked. (They didn’t allow any photographs in the galleries, these come from less law-abiding flickr photographers.) One was Jim Lambie’s “Bed-Head” (Fig. 6), a mattress completely adorned with decorative buttons like the type that come off women’s cloth coats. The piece didn’t speak to me emotionally or anything, but it was funny and pretty. Marc André Robinson’s “Myth Monolith (Liberation Movement)” (Fig. 7), an explosion of wooden chairs, was also an impressive piece. But for the most part I was glad we went on their free night – thank you, CiT, whatever you are – otherwise admission is $12. I look forward to returning to see other more substantial shows there in the future.


Fig. 8 (mine)


Fig. 9 (mine)

We ended up at the ground-floor café where the desserts looked so yummy (Fig. 8), and the brushed aluminum cloverleaf tables and mismatched seating so fun (Fig. 9) that we decided to sit and enjoy a cupcake or two, even though we hadn’t had dinner yet. naylandblake (Fig. 10) joined us, and then we headed down the street to Congee Bowery (Fig. 11) for dinner.


Fig. 10 (mine)


Fig. 11 (flickr)

Congee Bowery is the type of “authentic” Chinese restaurant that – in addition to 30 different kinds of congee (a thick rice soup) – has this sort of stuff on the menu for adventurous eaters:
Bitter Melon
Baked Fish Intestine
Goose Intestine
Cold Jelly Fish
Boneless Chicken Feet
Sauteed Duck Tongue
Preserved Egg
Pork Liver
Dried Scallop
Fish Maw
Snail and Frog
Turtle Soup
Fried Fish Head In Casserole
Goose Web
Sizzling Eel
Sizzling Frog
Preserved Meat Delight
Pork Stomach In XO Sauce
Sauteed Dried Squid & Dried Shrimp
Sauteed Silverfish
Sauteed Razor Clams
Deep Fried Frog
Geoduck Clam Sashimi


Fig. 12 (flickr)

We weren’t so adventurous (we didn't even order congee), getting instead steamed juicy buns, beef chow fun, pork chop, and squid (Fig. 12). It was all delicious, as was the free-ranging conversation touching on everything from boots to expensive jewelry to zombie movies. Like the lesson learned in The Search for Intelligent Signs of Life in the Universe, the trip to the museum was merely soup, but a gathering of friends for good food and the exchange of laughter and stimulating ideas was the true art.


(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:ednixon
Date:January 12th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
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That's a GREAT shot of Nayland (whom I've never met) with his camera.
It really conveys what he is all about. And I never noticed his steely
blue eyes before, almost like Pete M's
baby blues.
[User Picture]
From:shawnsyms
Date:January 12th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
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I like that cacophony of chairs. And damn does that squid look good.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mickeys0fine
Date:January 12th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
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I went to the new New Museum last Saturday with my architecture/design journalist friend (she got us in free with her press pass!) We particularly enjoyed the people watching, and the way that the arrangement of the art works contributed to the people watching. The seemingly haphazard layout creates one after another perfect vantage points to look past the assemblages to the cute, hip, and clearly happening patrons. We loved the not so secret stairway with the tiny alcove galleries.

I like the dish at that restaurant that's baked in a neat little bamboo container with the top that rolls up . Chicken and mushrooms and rice. Yum.
[User Picture]
From:sfopanda
Date:January 12th, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)
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The Bowery has some the best Chinese restaurants - puts some of the restaurants in San Francisco to shame - I cannot wait to go back there for further exploration.

And I totally agree with your observation about museum architecture trying too hard to make a statement. I blame I.M. Pei for about 15 years of this! LOL. I recently visited new wing of the Denver Art Museum (the one that looks like a crashed spaceship) and kept getting lost trying to find specific collections and exhibits.
[User Picture]
From:progbear
Date:January 12th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
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Nayland is looking fantastic as usual. I’m getting all lust-filled just looking at that photo.

For some reason, I really like that mattress. I wouldn’t want to use it for sleeping on (looks ouchy), but I just like the way it looks.
[User Picture]
From:bfirrera
Date:January 12th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
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I'm with you with most of that list...but bitter melon sounds intriquing (worth at least a look/bite).
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:January 12th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
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I've had bitter melon before (http://thornyc.livejournal.com/220866.html) -- it's very colorful, bright yellow-orange -- and bitter!

Edited at 2008-01-12 11:58 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:progbear
Date:January 13th, 2008 08:24 am (UTC)
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“That was the saltiest thing I’ve ever tasted. And I once ate a huge bowl of salt!”

Just kidding, of course, but my first experience from bitter melon was the very dinner thornyc linked to in that past blog. It was saltier than I expected (I was not expecting a kind of melon to be that...savoury!), but I liked it. In fact, I think jazzbearny and I were the only ones that really did enjoy it, considering who ate the most of that particular dish.
[User Picture]
From:bfirrera
Date:January 13th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
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I once had an amazing dinner at "Morimoto" in Philadelphia (Chef Morimoto was even there that night!! Squee!) and I had ordered the "Chef's Choice" dinner...

...I'd never had an oyster before (one of the seven courses). I didn't know how it was served, so I didn't recognize what it placed upon. It was a fluffy pile of white stuff and I thought it was mashed potatoes (luckily, though I was embarrassed, at least one other person at the table made the same mistake) and ended up with a mouth filled with a fork load of pure salt!

Ugh!
[User Picture]
From:progbear
Date:January 14th, 2008 07:06 am (UTC)
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LOL! Ooops!

Oh, and as it turns out, “bitter melon” is a misnomer. Turns out, it’s actually a kind of cucumber.
[User Picture]
From:stivalineri
Date:January 14th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
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I can't understand why photography is prohibited there, you can even take flash photos in the Louvre nowadays.
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:January 14th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
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I can actually understand a prohibition against flash photography, it can be distracting to other viewers. I see no reason for prohibitions against other casual (i.e., no tripods) photography, other than it's a control/power issue, serving to demarcate the institution from mere customers.


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