Winter 2018-19: Contemporary Art in New York and Christmas Holiday Vacation

After the trip in November, I went back to the US for the Christmas holidays. Got some rest in New York and went to Maryland the next day to see American Visionary Museum in Baltimore.

The museum specializes in the preservation of Raw Art. Rebecca Alban Hoffberger the founder and director of AVAM developed an idea of a visionary museum which was inspired by the idea of Collection de l’art brut in Lausanne, Switzerland. The museum relies heavily on contributions and donations.

The most notable art in the museum for me are: “Flee from Egypt, Parting of the Red Sea” by Reverend Albert Wagner; “First Dance” by Stanley Wright; beautiful photographs by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher; and a wall of secrets from the project PostSecret.

The museum’s design is catchy too, you’ll instantly get intrigued once you see it in Federal Hill.

The museum also exhibits work from Emil Duffy (featuring the Bra ball along with letters from the contributors of the project) and Peter Markey’s Natural Wave Machine with Birds. The messages posted in the exhibit shown together with the bra ball are both fascinating and relatable, and I enjoyed turning the knob of Markey’s Wave Machine to make it work. Naturally, any art you can interact with is always fun.

After the museum visit in Baltimore, we went to my Aunt’s home in Silver Spring. It was the first time I had a Christmas celebration with my family in Maryland. One of my aunts was hosting a party for friends, I thought it was a good way of sharing what a typical Filipino Christmas is like to my husband.

This year, we hosted a Christmas dinner for my mom-in-law and step kids. It was also a special celebration because my husband announced his new job. We had a simple and special dinner which was a contrast to my typical Filipino Christmas celebrations.

New York always has something interesting to offer its audience, although being away for only a month doesn’t give me with a lot of options since the current exhibits from November were still ongoing. I was curious to see Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965–2018 at The Whitney.

Among the artwork featured in this exhibit, I find Jim Campbell’s “Tilted Plane” as the most interesting. It was immersive, it features a suspended grid of incandescent light bulbs. Each filament was replaced by custom LEDs. Each bulb represents a pixel. One can either sit or stand, and at a certain angle one can see flickering patterns of light which may be identified as “shadowy” forms in motion.

We got playful in MOMA  PS1. I missed Bruce Nauman’s exhibit last November so we went to see it this time. We explored what was inside Nauman’s mind, and experienced what he was like as an artist evolving through the years. In his series of work, the most memorable to me are: the neon lights, some of which are provocative; the video corridors; the 3D video installation; Double Steel Cage Piece made in 1974; and Leaping Foxes made in 2018.

It’s always a pleasure to see James Turrell’s work. We first encountered in him in Setouchi Triennale back in 2016, then in Mass MoCA in 2017 and now we see him  everywhere now.

We were lucky to see “Meeting” before it was indefinitely closed by the artist himself. This was because of the changing skyline of the surrounding neighborhood of MoMA PS1. The exhibit was supposed to be a place of meditation to witness the shift of colors of the sky from dawn to dusk. Apparently the scaffolding of a developing condo ruined the scene which resulted in the closure of the exhibit.

Out of curiosity, we also went to also see the Museum of Sex in 5th Avenue which explores the evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality. The exhibits in the museum wasn’t something I expected. It was enlightening but somehow I was disappointed that it didn’t wow me like how it was advertised.

Aside from the museum visits, I also get to enjoy my birthday, my first time to see professional bull riding, taught my husband to cook paella, my first jazz date at Jazz Standard, and oh my goodness, I get to taste the best barbecue in New York!