Saturday, December 15, 2007

the New Museum on the Bowery

By now everyone has heard of the New Museum, which just opened to the public, down on the Bowery. Watch out, this will be the next hot neighborhood, at least that is what is predicted by many. The building is odd, a stack of boxes off center, they look like they could topple. The skin of the building is in fact a metal mesh of large proportions, much like the mesh that plaster is put on, but much larger and of aluminum or steel. It does not read in the photos, but inside, looking out you can see the edges where they cut openings in it over the windows. Not sure what the mesh is supposed to do, but it is an interesting surface. Inside the museum, which officially has 60,000. sq. feet, does not feel that large. Each box is not particularly big, and you take an elevator up to the top gallery space and we walked down the stairs. I was not permitted to take photos inside, which is a shame, some of the spaces are beautiful, there is one stairway in particular that is dramatic and a beautiful space.

Another view showing more of the tower of boxes.

As for the art. Not much to say, a lot of old rags tied together it seems, one looking much like another, not a single well made or beautiful work in the entire exhibition. It reminds me of Whitney Biennials past, the ones that depressed me to go to. No surprise, Lisa Philips is the new director of the New Museum, she was formerly director of the Whitney. Compared to what is going on in the galleries in Chelsea this art seems tired and dated, and thank god craft, beauty, technique are back in vogue.

Below are some of the pieces on their website for a flavor of what is on view.

This piece is titled Elephant, 2006 and is by Isa Genzken.

This is by Shinique Smith, Split Endz (wig mix), 2005.

Pictures are worth a thousand words. What did I tell you, piles of rags tied up in different ways, by different artists. I don't have the patience to read what the artist is trying to say, I am sure something deep and profound; the object at hand is completely uninteresting to me. I for one like to look at art, not read about it.

Certainly one should go see for ones self, and see the building.

Their website is:

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