Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sunday is for Art

My mom and I had a banner weekend.  Saturday was full of art and park; Sunday continued the visual feast.

First stop: B&H Photo.  Oh my.  My mother is a skilled photographer; I, well, less so.  Neither of us had been to B&H before, though she had ordered from them plenty of times from a safe distance in Minnesota.   Both of us were blown away the minute we stepped into the store.  When they call themselves The Professional's Source, they are not exaggerating.  There is an incredible array of merchandise.  I have never seen a retail shop run with such ruthless efficiency (look up when you walk in.... there's a 'train track' system installed to whiz your purchase from order to pick up.  You just have to experience it to understand it) and genuinely kind and helpful service.  Plus, they had candy dishes and served free pretzels and juice.  What's not to like?  Just don't try to go there on a Saturday (closed!)...come to think of it, it's best to call or check the website before visiting.  The store is owned and primarily staffed by Hasidic(?) Jews, and they close the store in observance all the holidays. 

On a photography high, our next visit was to the Museum of Modern Art and its Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition.  I was familiar with some of his photos, but not of his importance to photojournalism and modern photography.  The show was incredibly inspiring.  See many of his photos on the Magnum website: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Magnum Photos

It is of course impossible to just see one section of MoMA without getting drawn into the other breathtaking exhibits.   One was breathtaking for its sheer strangeness: The performance artist Marina Abramović was featured, in person. 

You see the two people down there, sitting and staring at each other?  One chair holds Abramović, who sits there every day, all day, throughout the exhibit (March 14- May 31).  The other chair is for any observer who wants to become a participant.  For the entire time we were there, a petite Asian woman sat in the chair, as still as a statue and as still as the statuesque and regal Marina.  Only blinks could be observed.  If they dashed to the restroom, it was during one of my own blinks.

Another gallery held other works by Abramović.  Most could be described as raw. Some were video, others photographs, still others installations that featured live human beings.  One notable one included two naked women facing each other.  To pass into the adjacent room, museum-goers needed to pass between the two women.  Who were really not standing all that far apart.  I noticed a few men going by twice.  Another room had just one installation: a woman attached to a wall, arms in a cross, body without clothes.  The most disturbing piece was a pile of bones, and a photograph of the artist sitting amongst them while they were still caked with flesh and blood.  She was born in Yugoslavia, and one of her previous live exhibitions featured her washing the mound of animal parts, one by one, cleaning them.  It was in reaction to the Bosnian war and its brutality.

All right.  That was pretty heavy.  On to the fun stuff.  I normally don't believe in taking photos at a museum, but since y'all weren't with me, and may not get to MoMA, I though you might like a peek.  Plus, Giacometti is beckoning you...

He wants you immersed in color:

and boldness:

and fun:

and Warhol:

and to see a Lichtenstein for yourself and not on a greeting card:

and sheer gorgeousness:

There was the obligatory "hey, I could have done that!" piece:

and a simple light display that looked even cooler (in my humble opinion) in my photo:

As you can see, a magnificent museum.  We rested in the courtyard before heading home.  A lovely day.


  1. Very cool. Thanks for putting up the pictures.

  2. Thank you for your kind mention of B&H Photo. Please accept our warm thanks and deep gratitude for your patronage. We look forward to earning your trust and continued business for many years to come. I invite you and your readers to check out our new informative and entertaining blog at

    Hershel K. Waldner
    On Line Marketing Department
    B&H Photo, Video, Pro Audio

  3. Thank you for your note, Hershel, and also for the blog recommendation! I'll definitely check it out.