Thursday, August 31, 2006

Honest weights, square dealings

After work I finally saw the Walker Evans photographs that are on display at the UBS Art Gallery in Midtown. I don't know much about Evans - just enough to recognize his most iconic images - so it was thrilling to see them.

In a nutshell, the digitally produced prints on display were made by John Hill and Sven Martson and use carbon pigments. They are much larger than the original prints, and the effect is, in Michael Kimmelman's words, "cinematic."

For example, several stories seem to be unfolding at this roadside store in Alabama in 1936. Beyond the signs promising a fair deal and listing the fish on offer, beyond the neat rows of fruit and the two guys hoisting melons, you can see two men peeking out of the store (the proprietors?) and, best of all, a little girl who lifts her skirt in a curtsy for the camera.

After I left the UBS Art Gallery on Sixth Avenue, I found myself right in the middle of the run-up to the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall, with limos and camera crews everywhere. Talk about a contrast!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Today on the train a boy sat across from me, carefully applying mascara. We were going downtown. But then you knew that already.

Today Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz died.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Lost children

It's hard not to think of the strange murder of JonBenét Ramsey, the six-year-old beauty contestant, when looking at the photographs of Australian artist Polixeni Papapetrou.

Surreal portraits of children are nothing new, of course. Most recently, Loretta Lux attracted a great deal of attention for her eerie images of children who appear isolated in their own worlds.

Papapetrou's series Haunted Country, however, will open at Foley on September 14, on the heels of John Mark Karr's false confession to JonBenét Ramsey's 1996 murder. The photographs depict the harrowing theme of children who are lost in the Australian bush.

Above: Hanging Rock 1900 #2, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Unease about the flesh

"These days our identities hang by a thread, which may be why the pull of fashion on our imaginations is stronger than ever," says Daphne Merkin. She looks at fall clothes and sees "the present state of high anxiety concerning our corporal selves." Also in the NY Times Style magazine is Catherine Keener, one of my favorite actresses.

Business Week tackles the male shopper, and how Madison Ave has turned on the metrosexual.

Opening at MoMA on August 30 is Out of Time: A Contemporary View, with works by Martin Creed, Rineke Dijkstra, Cai Guo-Qiang, Mona Hatoum, Luc Tuymans, Bill Viola, and others.

Above: Martin Creed, Two protrusions from a wall, 2001

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A rainy Saturday and more design blogs

More enviable design blogs (sigh): design*sponge and The Sartorialist, again via hoping for happy accidents. So many wonderful links!

Also I am taking care of several plant fatalities owing to the recent heat wave and Vermont sojourn.

Photo: Rinko Kawauchi

Friday, August 25, 2006

Oysters at Cité

Tonight marked the end of my first week at the new gig, so I had to celebrate. Thankfully, Maestro and his wife were available to meet up at Cité, just north of my new job. Cité is having a happy hour special on oysters, so after two glasses* of Syrah, I tried them for the very first time. And they were delicious.**

(And by the way, I tried to see the Walker Evans exhibition at the UBS Art Gallery - and was told that it closed at 6 pm. Very annoying. At least Michael Kimmelman got there.)

*Thanks to bartender Justin.
**Not scary.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dress code

The dearth* of art in the summer means I have been exploring more design blogs: Design Observer, Swiss Miss, and happy accidents, where I found hel-looks, a collection of street fashion from Helsinki. Go ahead and try to tear yourself away from the photos of these Finnish folks, who have never met a textile, pattern, or color that they didn't like.

(That reminds me of when a couple of friends and I decided to rename ourselves Dearth, Girth, and Mirth in Minneapolis one summer. I know that Girth referred to one guy's biceps, so it wasn't derogatory. Mirth was a fun-loving chick. Oh God, I think I was Dearth. What the hell does that mean?)

Walker Evans in midtown Manhattan

Walker Evans is on view in midtown Manhattan at the UBS Art Gallery - Farmer's Kitchen, Hale County, Alabama, 1936

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Take a trip to Kyoto with Blue Lotus and her wonderful photos.

In the art world, unrealized but well-publicized plans can be as valuable as those that see the light of day. Commercial readymades need only happen once to provide the required documentation. In Jack Spade, Andy has turned branding and advertising into a high-concept game.

Brini Maxwell appears on PBS.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Morning commute

Chi Peng, Sprinting Forward

Take a look (but perhaps not in the office) at Click Opera, a curious Berlin-based design blog that I found by accident.

Anish Kapoor will join a procession of artists that has included Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois and Nam June Paik, in New York's center stage for public art, Rockefeller Center.

The conflict in Lebanon is not only being fought on the ground but also by a universe of bloggers, bootleg translators and self-appointed experts, writes Jon Alterman in the Financial Times.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Generic female office worker, look No. 278

Tomorrow is the big day! Yep, my first day at the new gig, which is not "business casual." Apparently they tried it back in the 1990s, and when the bubble burst and the market went south, they decided that their employees should show up to work in suits after all.

Of course, women have always interpreted this sort of dress code more loosely than men, who are stuck with a uniform of suits and ties. For women, the unwritten rules (and yes, there are written ones) are a bit ambiguous, and generally hold that the higher up you are in the office hierarchy, the more clothing you are expected to wear (executives did not show up to work in sun dresses and sandals during the heat wave) - up to but not exceeding in expense the wardrobe of your boss, if she is also female. (I haven't had a male boss since 1996.)

Separately, Slate is holding a Corporate Euphemism Contest. I know that you are all experts. The deadline is August 31, 2006.

Meet Biscuit the puppy

I can't seem to upload my photos in the order I want, so I'll put the puppy in a separate post. I am not a dog-obsessed person, so this is the last photo of a dog (or any other pet) that you are likely to see here.

Friday, August 18, 2006


The weather in Vermont was glorious. Every day was clear, sunny, and around seventy degrees, and every evening was chilly. Carrie, the Irish Setter, tolerated Biscuit, the English Springer Spaniel puppy, the way any aging beauty would – with a great deal of pouting and eye-rolling. Also, some milk bones were brazenly snatched, leaving little recourse for a young puppy who hasn’t yet established her allies.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Gardening Leave

I am about to take off for Vermont and two weeks of Gardening Leave, something I had never heard of until negotiating the start date of my new job. As usual, we can thank the British for this quaint phrase.

I will take the train to Bellows Falls and then proceed to Chester, home to family and assorted dogs. The most notable is my grandfather's Irish Setter, the latest in a long line of Irish Setters. She may be upstaged, however, by my aunt's brand-new English Springer Spaniel puppy, for whom we all received birth announcements.

Internet access is limited there.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Trying Indian comfort food

On Monday night, I tried a new kind of cuisine – Chinese Indian food. Along with two young Indian associates from my office, I went to Chinese Mirch on Lexington Avenue. The visit was prompted by a conversation with the two women about the food that they grew up with in India – and by their nostalgic descriptions of Chinese dishes that incorporate Indian spices.

According to the New York Times, “Chinese Mirch is the first Manhattan restaurant to serve the strange but satisfying hybrid of two of the city's favorite cuisines: Chinese and Indian.” We began with gobi Manchurian, or fried cauliflower with slivered chili peppers and garnished with cilantro, then moved on to chili garlic noodles with mixed vegetables, chili chicken, and milder vegetable balls. The last two dishes were served with “gravy,” or a thick brown sauce.

My two dining companions promptly pronounced everything “not that spicy.” Of course, I wouldn’t know; it’s not the comfort food that I grew up with. But we've already made plans to hit the restaurants and bakeries of Jackson Heights.