Friday, February 22, 2008

(Kind of) Live Blogging the Snow

6:33: alarm. Cat demands food, refuses to bring me warm socks.
6:41: snow. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

7:05: drinking orange juice and wondering what Miami's like this time of year.
7:21: can't find my hat.

7:30: silently thank my super for getting up early to shovel.
7:31: not-so-silently curse the supers of the next several buildings for sleeping in. Lucky bastards.

7:40: get pelted in the leg with salt from a salting machine. Oof.
7:51: office doorman makes fun of me for not wearing a hat. This is not a joke.

7:53: my space heater starts to smell.
8:00: coffee. Hot. Bitter. Hot.

8:12: boots are still wet.
8:30: still. TGIF.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Today's Times

Our love of certain sections of the New York Times has been well-documented elsewhere (c.f. somewhere the post on the Frugal Traveler). But an article in today's N.Y. / Region section takes the proverbial cake: "Celebrating the Semicolon in a Most Unlikely Location" praises a marketing writer's use of this punctuation mark in a subway ad about not leaving your used newspaper lying around by, in all seriousness, quoting a New Yorker staff writer, a Berkeley professor, Noam Chomsky, and a bestselling grammar maven (it also manages to squeeze in some praise for the public school system and mentions David Berkowitz, but that's another story).

We love it when the Gray Lady goes quirky.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now

Tacita Dean's "Crowhurst" (2006) anchors the "Mutability" section of Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now, an exhibition at MoMA involving recent acquisitions and highlights. (The other two sections are "Abstraction" and "Provocation," which has, among other things, an unsettling before-and-after set of photographs by William Wegman called Foamy Aftershave). Here, Dean has painted out the background of a photograph of a 4,000-year-old yew tree in England, thereby heightening the solidity of the tree and the transience of the human world that surrounds it. We die; the earth lives on.

What is it about contemporary art that so seduces and so frustrates? The answer lies, in part, in the fact that confronting art produced in one's lifetime can be comforting: ah, we think, we share a frame of reference with the artist, born out of singular time and space. And yet: a ridiculous notion, since these two things are themselves incredibly mutable. Our Sunday night in New York City is not your Sunday night elsewhere, etc., etc. Is it even night where you are?

The time of its creation matters when dealing with an artwork, obviously, but it is but one of many ways in to understanding, interpreting, enjoying, disagreeing, and all the other "ing"s that occur when looking at something. And this exhibition is full of work that begs to be disagreed with, unsettling as it--and that notion--may be.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Uno made history yesterday by becoming the first beagle to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Woof.

(Photograph of Uno posing with his Best in Show trophy by Jason DeCrow/AP)

Friday, February 08, 2008

False Start

This is what $80 million looks like, folks. In 2006, "False Start" (1959) became the world's priciest painting (by a living artist) when one wealthy guy sold it to another. We plebes can see it, for a limited time, at the Met's Jasper Johns: Gray show.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Giants

While we didn't watch the Super Bowl last night, we do, as a general rule, root for New York teams, one of us perhaps more abstractly than the other. At any rate, last night we did see a city bus pull up to and stop at a green light so that the driver could peer out the door and catch the score on a corner bar's big screen tv.

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