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Media Notes

They can spend millions on a canvas, but they can’t keep the urinals fixed; why is that?

The food in the café is good and has a nice setting, although they miss the basics, like where the heck is the salt shaker?

There are more iconic art works here, step for step, than any museum I have ever been in. Edward Hopper’s nighthawks, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Georgia O'keeffe’s Cow’s Skull, many pieces by Chagall, including 3 of his large stained glass windows, Caillebotte’s Paris Street: Rainy Day, Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

But what really makes it amazing are all the works that aren’t famous, but maybe should be, especially in the Asian collections and the European decorative arts; a drinking cup, a door, a cabinet, a trunk, a gaming case, these can all be things of almost mind boggling beauty and intricate design. Also, the collection of religious art, especially a piece done in tempera or oil on panels, are stunning. Much of it is from the Netherlands circa 1450's. Perhaps my favorite piece in the whole museum is the absolutely stunning; St. George Killing the Dragon by Bernat Martorell. Just amazing, and almost 3 dimensional due to some unusual painting techniques. There are many versions of the Adoration of the Magi, but the one here by Raffaello Botticini is one of the most amazing; how many animals can you find in this picture? This is real surrealism; the Battle of Zama is another amazing, though small, painting in this section. Hieronymus Bosch has nothing on A Witches' Sabbath by Cornelis Saftleven.

Why does MOMA exist? Hard to tell, because it offers nothing more than the clichéd version of what “modern” art was thought to be a generation ago, and not much has changed; not much in terms of the kind of art they display, in any event. This is the same tired stale vaguely left wing academic treatment of “art”. Theses on “contextualization” and violence and feminism, and the role of all “isms” in art and society, and blah, blah. It’s bad - not just because it's meaningless, empty, and shallow, but because it's so tired and dull.

Yet this point of view is, apparently, a secret. On a typical summer Saturday the place is packed, mostly with the same mix of international (read Japanese and European) travelers who always feel an obligation to go the most famous cultural institutions. So not only is there nothing important to see here, but you’ll typically be jostling with a lot of people to see that nothing. Also, paying $20, which would be fine, except for the above.

Of course, we exaggerate. With so many people cheek by jowl in a tight space there is always some decent people watching, because God knows you don’t really need to focus much attention on the art. And the garden on the first floor is beautiful, a great place to just sit and reflect.

And with this much art in any one place, there’s always something worth looking at, you just have to be very selective. Try the 5th floor. The permanent collection includes Van Gogh’s Starry Night; it's worth seeing the real version just because you’ve seen it reproduced so many times. Smaller than you might expect. But nice. We’re also very fond of a large Rousseau in the same room. The futuristic sculpture by Gambatesa is interesting. Even though they both carry on through on the same endlessly negative themes of most modern art, the work Collective Suicide (1936) by David Alfaro Siqueiros was visually interesting, as was Hide and Seek by Pavel Tchelitchew. It's interesting that in the history of man visual artists have never had more freedom to explore their own visions, and in a more supportive environment – people actually pay a lot of money for this stuff. Yet the artists view is much like the world view expressed by Woody Allen – everything ranges from horrible to miserable.

But really,the most interesting thing to look at is the view from the 5th floor café overlooking the garden. Try to get a seat on the edge of the terrace, directly overlooking the garden. This is really a beautiful view. Which is a reminder that in New York, as in many other places, the most inspiring art is the architecture and built environment. And occasionally of course the women. So while architects and nature produce plenty of ugly things, at least they diverge from modern artists with the occasional work of wonder and beauty.













It used to be that the best writers, back in the day, were general interest journalists, people like Mike Sager, who is, incidentally, still a damn fine journalist and managed to make a living writing high quality free-lance pieces for magazines - not as an easy gig. But increasingly, the writers with real flair are people with specialized expertise: David Chang writing about food (see his columns in GQ), Dan Neil writing about cars for the Wall Street Journal (Rumble Seat column) or Scott Schuman blogging about fashion on the Sartorialist.

We get that, at the moment in media land, "gay is good". We have nothing against gays, so save your gay-bashing rants for someone else. And having all the female leads on the show having lesbian relationships was kinda sexy in some perverse and extremely unlikely way. But Captain Flint? Really? You get that this is a period drama and in this period of history sodomy was punished by death, right? But more to the point, this is a good drama. Don't push the point. Not everyone needs to be gay to keep things moving along. Okay?

We understand that magazines are losing ad dollars to the digital world and are increasingly desperate to make up that loss, but, still. Men's Journal March 2015 plumbs a new low by featuring a full page ad for PornHub. I would just note that, generally, Men's Journal is an excellent general interest magazine with a lot of worthwhile content, and far less salacious as a general rule than mags like Maxim. So this is sad.

Fascinating article on weaving together the role of hypertext and Dicken's novels, two things I never expected to see on the same page

Media Notes

They can spend millions on a canvas, but they can’t keep the urinals fixed; why is that?

The food in the café is good and has a nice setting, although they miss the basics, like where the heck is the salt shaker?

There are more iconic art works here, step for step, than any museum I have ever been in. Edward Hopper’s nighthawks, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Georgia O'keeffe’s Cow’s Skull, many pieces by Chagall, including 3 of his large stained glass windows, Caillebotte’s Paris Street: Rainy Day, Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

But what really makes it amazing are all the works that aren’t famous, but maybe should be, especially in the Asian collections and the European decorative arts; a drinking cup, a door, a cabinet, a trunk, a gaming case, these can all be things of almost mind boggling beauty and intricate design. Also, the collection of religious art, especially a piece done in tempera or oil on panels, are stunning. Much of it is from the Netherlands circa 1450's. Perhaps my favorite piece in the whole museum is the absolutely stunning; St. George Killing the Dragon by Bernat Martorell. Just amazing, and almost 3 dimensional due to some unusual painting techniques. There are many versions of the Adoration of the Magi, but the one here by Raffaello Botticini is one of the most amazing; how many animals can you find in this picture? This is real surrealism; the Battle of Zama is another amazing, though small, painting in this section. Hieronymus Bosch has nothing on A Witches' Sabbath by Cornelis Saftleven.

Why does MOMA exist? Hard to tell, because it offers nothing more than the clichéd version of what “modern” art was thought to be a generation ago, and not much has changed; not much in terms of the kind of art they display, in any event. This is the same tired stale vaguely left wing academic treatment of “art”. Theses on “contextualization” and violence and feminism, and the role of all “isms” in art and society, and blah, blah. It’s bad - not just because it's meaningless, empty, and shallow, but because it's so tired and dull.

Yet this point of view is, apparently, a secret. On a typical summer Saturday the place is packed, mostly with the same mix of international (read Japanese and European) travelers who always feel an obligation to go the most famous cultural institutions. So not only is there nothing important to see here, but you’ll typically be jostling with a lot of people to see that nothing. Also, paying $20, which would be fine, except for the above.

Of course, we exaggerate. With so many people cheek by jowl in a tight space there is always some decent people watching, because God knows you don’t really need to focus much attention on the art. And the garden on the first floor is beautiful, a great place to just sit and reflect.

And with this much art in any one place, there’s always something worth looking at, you just have to be very selective. Try the 5th floor. The permanent collection includes Van Gogh’s Starry Night; it's worth seeing the real version just because you’ve seen it reproduced so many times. Smaller than you might expect. But nice. We’re also very fond of a large Rousseau in the same room. The futuristic sculpture by Gambatesa is interesting. Even though they both carry on through on the same endlessly negative themes of most modern art, the work Collective Suicide (1936) by David Alfaro Siqueiros was visually interesting, as was Hide and Seek by Pavel Tchelitchew. It's interesting that in the history of man visual artists have never had more freedom to explore their own visions, and in a more supportive environment – people actually pay a lot of money for this stuff. Yet the artists view is much like the world view expressed by Woody Allen – everything ranges from horrible to miserable.

But really,the most interesting thing to look at is the view from the 5th floor café overlooking the garden. Try to get a seat on the edge of the terrace, directly overlooking the garden. This is really a beautiful view. Which is a reminder that in New York, as in many other places, the most inspiring art is the architecture and built environment. And occasionally of course the women. So while architects and nature produce plenty of ugly things, at least they diverge from modern artists with the occasional work of wonder and beauty.













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