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Art Viewing in a Monsoon

Giovanni di Paolo, The Creation of the World and the Expulsion from Paradise
Happy (post-)International Museum Day! I know, who knew? I found out when I got to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and 5 billion people were packing the galleries. I went there to get some play time on Doug + Mike Starn's bamboo jungle gym on the roof called Big Bambú, but it was closed due to the monsoon rains that day. I will return! From what I've seen online it's well worth the visit; pictures to come.

I then attempted to enter the Picasso exhibit, but there was a bottle neck at the entrance -- fugettaboutit. So I took in a little Lippi, Botticelli, and Titian. Then some Velazquez, Goya, and Vermeer, ending up with a few big Gainsborogh portraits. So thankfully, if your Met blockbuster is overwhelmed or closed, the collection is so incredible you could wander for days and be inspired by the unexpected. Truly, an embarrassment of riches.

From the Met I plunged back into the monsoon weather and made my way up 5th Avenue past the Guggenheim, which had several hundred people queued up to enter, to the Cooper-Hewitt's National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?. A great question and some of the answers you may have already seen on news programs or sites such as TED. Several designs are very simple solutions that save lives, like the Solvatten solar safe water system or improved clay stoves for the Sudan, pictured, which are both more efficient and healthier than open pit cooking. Architecture and materials, solar and wind energy and clean transportation will be crucial to our future: this year's triennial has some of the best examples.

D.C. area readers may be familiar with the Loblolly House on the Eastern Shore of Maryland (named after the pine trees growing on the property). The structure is composed entirely of fabricated off-site and ready-made components and assembled with a wrench. The mechanical systems are also integrated into each component. Smart Cars, smart efficient trains, self-propelled cargo ships, folding composite bikes, wind, solar, and wave energy are all represented.

In my last post I mentioned that Amy Sillman hands down showed the best paintings this Spring. Then I saw Paul Resika's show at Lori Bookstein, what a difference a week makes. The long time Parsons teacher and mentor has pared his paintings down more than ever, making his iconic Provincetown lighthouse a near total abstract balancing act. This spring is now an official tie.

I'm getting a feel for the washy Zwirner Gallery style of painting. Luc Tuymans, Marcel Dzama and this month Jockum Nordstrom and Mamma Andersson display that similar washy-ness although their themes vary. Nordstrom pushes a naive/folkart style and Andersson, like Dzama, paints a more formal figure in contemporary situations. Definitely need a second look before this show closes.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye has some stunning portraits at Jack Shainman: large, spare, yet boldly painted. I thought of the Goyas I had just seen earlier at the Met.

Lohin Geduld Gallery has been on a roll for me lately with shows of paintings by Kyle Staver, Albert Kresch, and now Sarah Lutz. They feel like wonderful goopy melting still lifes or kaleidoscopic overflowing bubble baths, maybe a wonderland garden that Alice would approve of. They made me smile and they're up through June 5th.

My last stop on this soppy day was to see the Michael Hoeh (better known as Mike @ Mao or super photo collector) curated group photography show at Winkleman Gallery. The theme, pertinent for the day, is American ReConstruction, from disasters of the natural or contrived - thank you again, Wall Streeters. Mathew Albanese is quite literal with his Tornado and Volcano c-prints. Albanese constructs the environments in his studio, then using a variety of techniques and lighting rains the wrath of God on his personal swath of earth. Good stuff and a nice show, Mike.

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