By Richard White, September 14, 2013
This week I got a free trip to NYC (well, almost) via the September 8th edition of the New York Sunday Times. I am not a regular reader, but one of the bonuses of dog and house sitting this week is the home delivery of the NYT Sunday edition. There was an extra dividend this week as it was the Arts & Leisure’s “The New Season” edition with three full sections featuring all the arts activities happening this fall in the Big Apple. For me, it was a reminder of the incredible depth of NYC’s cultural scene.
It was also a trip down memory lane and my three trips so far to NYC. Once in the ‘80s as an emerging visual artist (to study the graffiti and street art), once in the ‘90s as a contemporary art gallery curator (to study the gallery/museum scene) and once in the ‘00s as a downtown manager (to research urban vitality initiatives). Seems like I am due for another visit soon.
Bigger is better!
Perusing the pages of NYT’s “The New Season” was like flaneuring the streets of the city - new surprises with every turn of the page. In the “Art, Pop Music, TV & Video Game” section, my memory cells were excited by the Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926 to 1938 exhibition at MoMA. My mind recalled the images I had seen in numerous exhibition visits. Turn the page and there was Braque and Burtynsky causing more memory cells to fire.
My imagination was captured on the next page with the word “The Power of Poison,” an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History. This was followed by image of a Leger from an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a reminder me of another trip.
The Swann Auction Galleries’ full-page colour ad for its fall auction scheduled featured as wonderful Alfred Maurer “Fauve Nude” image suitable for framing. Flaneuring a few more pages, I came upon a wonderful full-page colourful Chagall image, for The Jewish Museum’s “Love, War, and Exile” exhibition.
Who needs a gallery gift shop when you have the full-page colour ads in the NYT? The section was full of fun factoids too – who knew that Grand Rapids, Michigan was hosting ARTPRIZE this fall with $560,000 in total prize money?
The Movie section featured “20 to Watch” which, as you would expect highlights 20 young filmmakers from around the world. As I don’t even go to 20 movies a year, this could easily be a DIY Film Festival for someone like me. There is at least a week’s worth of reading in this section alone.
The “Theatre, Dance, Classical” section quickly sparked memories of an off off Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s “No Exit” that will forever be etched in my memory as one of my top ten lifetime cultural experiences. It is not surprising that my attention was quickly captured by the double bill - “No Man’s Land” (Harold Pinter) and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting For Godot” - that you could see on the same day at the same theatre both produced in the historic Cort Theatre by Sean Mathias.
The existentialist in me was also intrigued by how Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” would be interpreted as a modern dance piece. The old memory cells were working overtime now remembering my front row seat at Lincoln Centre watching Baryshnikov leaping in his prime (I have never gone to a ballet performance again, as that was truly the quintessential ballet experience for my lifetime).
The city never sleeps…
I remember reading somewhere that there are 60,000 professional dancers living and working in Manhattan; for most cities this number would be their entire downtown working population. No wonder NYC is “the city that never sleeps.” I expect 250,000 or more people who work every night in the entertainment industry have a work day which ends at 10 or 11 pm, meaning happy hour is at midnight, dinner is at 1 am and heading home happens in the early morning hours just as the bankers and brokers are heading into work. Another factoid tells me there is a “New Trumpet Music” festival. Who knew?
For me reading the NYT’s Sunday edition is like a free (well almost, it cost about $5/wk for the Sunday Times subscription) trip to NYC.