Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Whitney Walking

Fun Fact: The Whitney Museum moved since the last time I visited.

Fun Fact: There's rarely parking at the train station during the day.

And so, I walked to the train station from my house. This took about 25 minutes. I encountered an off-leash dog wearing a sweater along the way. I got to the train station as the second early train I thought I'd make was pulling away.

Quiz Time!

True or False: I was one big sweat ball when I got to the train station.

If you answered False, you don't know me at all, do you?

The next train was direct to Penn, so I was able to settle into a seat at the station to wait while reading my book. Then I was able to settle into a seat on the train while reading my book. Or so I thought. Mobs of people appeared, and for most of the train ride, I was sitting with a family who talked to each other in spurts. When people disembarked at Jamaica, I disembarked from the family and found an empty row of seats. There, I took off my jacket to take off my sweater so I could stuff it in my bag and put my jacket back on. Cause, you know, the sweating.

I got downtown pretty quickly. No one breathed on me too badly. Then I walked. And walked. And walked some more. Not only had the Whitney relocated, but it kind of put itself in Witness Protection or something because it was far from basically everything. Okay, it's probably not really that far, but the day turned windy--which is my least favorite kind of weather--and here I was walking again and there was a lot of construction going on and then there were cobblestones. At least the neighborhood was groovy.

I'd gone to see two things. One was an installment of Open Plan with Michael Heizer. I'm not sure exactly why I needed to see floor-to-ceiling photo projections of standing in a hole, but I really really wanted to. So I did. I got myself up to the floor by taking the stairs--more walking--instead of waiting for the elevator because museum elevators have the worst wait. Then I walked into the exhibit, which is the entire floor of the museum. It's very dark. There are couches. Basically, it took about 20 seconds to see the installment. Yet, I'd taken a little under two hours to get there. I sat on a couch, and in the dark, I wrote these notes from the description, which made the experience last longer:
M. Heizer. Actual size. Munich Rotary. Lose track of horizon as the the depression were endless. "There is no beginning. There is no edge . . . It was evanescent." 18,200 square feet [something scribbled out] Land art. Art so large, scared to approach it. up close it gets fuzzy. It moves.
Then I made my way out of the darkness.

Next up was Laura Poitras's Astro Noise. So I have this full poetry collection called Liberating The Astronauts, and it's gotten me kind of magnetized to anything that sounds spacey or space-adjacent. Astro Noise is about war, not space, but it sounds like it's about space because of the Astro part, so that was next on the list. It took more than a few seconds to see. Some of it was neat, like making art out of the screen images from radar and drones. Some of it was disturbing, like slo-mo videos of people witnessing horrible war-things. I walked right by that stuff. Then I came upon a dark room. Very dark. When my eyes adjusted, I saw people lying down on a platform. I noticed a screen on the ceiling. So I got on the platform and on my back and I was transported back to my grammar school planetarium trip for a moment. I stayed there until the film started to repeat. My trip was now worth the sweat and time and 22 dollars. I was looking at the sky around the world and into space. See? It's about space after all.
On the way out of this exhibit, there were walls with holes in them. If you looked in the hole, you could read things. Here's my view of one such hole:
Short People Problems
Then it gets creepy. Really seriously creepy.
Hello Big Brother
 Then I ran through the rest of the museum, dodging school groups and tourists, taking in the rest of what the Whitney had to offer. I enjoyed the outdoor galleries and sculptures.
I enjoyed getting to be in this picture because of the mirror. I think that's exactly why the mirror is there. Or not.
See me?
And of course I enjoyed this.
I took the stairs on the way out because I'm apparently training for a marathon. All the walking and climbing meant that not only was I getting my culture on, but I was also killin' it at Project Pants Fit.
Artsy look at the stairs

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