The Guggenheim had a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit and it was a good one. I'm not a giant fan of architecture, but my father was an architect and he was a fan of Wright. One of his first home designs, right here in Nashville on Otter Creek Road, was a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home through and through. The exhibit gave me a greater appreciation of Wright and also helped me understand why contemporary style homes have always been my favorite (and what my husband and I live in now). Our next stop was MOMA, and it was truly mind boggling with so many of the great contemporary masterpieces under one roof. I really couldn't take it all in there was so much to see. We got lucky and arrived at the museum just after "free Friday" started, around 5 p.m. After that we called it a day.
We couldn't do an art tour of New York and skip SoHo, but it has really changed from the fabled art community of yore. I was in SoHo back in 1996 and even then signs of change and gentrification were setting in with the influx of various national chains like Gap, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. This visit was a shock as the majority of art galleries I remember had either closed or moved on. The rents just got too high for most artists and galleries. One that remains is OK Harris, perhaps my favorite gallery in New York. They carry a variety of creative, provocative and beautiful art. The realist and gritty New York city street scenes were truly evocative of late nights in the "dark" part of the city. Another artist did beautiful lake scenes with dying reeds and lily pads, and clouds reflecting in the water. One piece was very minimalist and inspired me with some new ideas. The most intriguing work was by a metal artist who bends wire to create shadows on walls that look like chairs, hands, faces, etc. The amazing part was that the shadows seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with the wire.
Finally on Saturday we went to Chelsea and Central Park West. In Chelsea there is a pretty solid concentration of galleries. Many were "start up"type galleries featuring artists who had not yet emerged. Others were impressive, with highly skilled and accomplished artists, the most notable being Chuck Close. There was lots of realism represented at galleries and my theory is that realism tends to come back in vogue in times of economic downturn, when people appreciate skill over the shock value of "the art of the moment." My friend Camille found several galleries she wants to submit her art to. Me, not so much right now. Our last sojourn on Saturday was two shops just outside of Central Park West, Levain Bakery and Jacques Torres. These two are famous for their cookies, and the latter for his chocolate. I had to try cookies from both. Levain has a "web cam" and I was caught devouring one of their cookies (see photo below)! Both cookies are wonderful and very different. The Levain is giant! Its crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, full of chocolate chips and walnuts. I had mine hot out of the oven. I ate the entire cookie, although I was told they are too big to eat all at once. Not for me. My favorite, though, was Jacques Torres' chocolate chip cookie, which had lots and lots of dark chocolate throughout and a wonderful, buttery taste. I will be back next time I'm in New York!