Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wanderlust Chronicles - Episode Two

Fair Warning: This one is kind of a doozy.
Detail of Stones and Rocks and Stones and Bones - Andrew Scott Ross

Concrete Jungle - Senior Trip to New York City

            It was early one foggy October morning and all the art majors were scurrying across the airport terminal trying not to miss our fight. We had been worked four years to squeeze out every ounce of creativity in us, and to put it lightly, we were desperately lacking inspiration. We were headed to New York for the weekend to run around and look at the galleries pertaining to our interests, which we would later create lectures about and present to the school as our "Senior Caption Experience". I was excited to give New York another chance. My first experience of it verged on traumatic. I was 11, it was the Puerto Rican Day Parade and there were triple digit temperatures. The streets and sidewalks were filled to capacity, the smells were almost lethal, and lets just leave it at multiple rapings and vandalisms in Central Park (where we were walking through to some museum we never reached) put an end to the festivities for that day. New York was one place I had no interest whatsoever in revisiting. Well, moving on, during our travels the infamous balloon boy story began to develop. Okay, so I may not have any kids of my own, but I do have 9 neices and nephews and generally like most children. (That is until they turn into those little brats on those "Sweet Sixteen" shows. I'll choke a bitch. I'm sweet, but I have very low BS tolerance.) Maybe its just a maternal instinct in me, but when I heard about what was supposedly happening with this kid I was terrified. When we boarded the plane all the girls with net access were frantically checking the developments while waiting in the plane. Then when we landed we learned it was all a hoax. Thank God, but still, what the hell is that about? We all know how it turned out but I had to include it as it was one of the more memorable moments of the trip.

                      Drama Balloon                                                        Glowing-stairs-installation-thing

   See His Work!!!                                              Architecture is <3

               When we got to NY we waited for the second group of students to get there because we had been separated between two planes. It was about 10 pm when we got to our hotel, and it was drizzling, but we decided to check out Times Square at least for a little bit before crashing. Truong Le, (who now goes by Danny because its easier for others to say, but I still say I love his original name and he should embrace his uniqueness) is my Vietnamese home-boy who is, girl scout's honor, one of the coolest cats I know and one of the most talented - check out his site! (There is a link under his picture, which I took because I wanted evidence in case it was the last time I saw him lol.) He had his enormous camera in-tow, and just took off by himself into the night, because as he made it clear to me many times during this trip, he is in fact, a ninja. Personally, I'm a big fan of the buddy system, especially when its a bunch of young 20-somethings from relatively quiet towns running aimlessly around the Big Apple. (So I was quite relieved to see him the next morning, alive and un-mugged.) Booth and I took off together and walked up this cool red glowing stairs thing in the middle of the Square and saw some gorgeous buildings all lit up against the night. Eventually we called it quits when the cold and rain became unbearable and went back to the Skyline Hotel to get some rest before our first day of exploring. 

                                                         Museum of Natural History                          1500 Year Old Tree Stump   

                                          SRS BZNS!!!                                                                                 I really love rocks.

        Booth (he is pretty much my best friend in the Art-Dept) and I started off our day with breakfast at a small bakery. It was very cold outside so I got lobster bisque, which is my favorite soup and very unfortunately hard to come by back home. After that we went to the Museum of Natural History so I could look at the Native American gallery and then the gemstone room. I was in love with all the wampum. Bead work like that is truly inspiring to me. The belts were so intricate and colorful for the time in which it was made. I also saw an awesome 1500 year old was crazy huge.  

Sweet Subway Mosaic Action                                              Crazy Random Jade Carving 

             Then we got lost for a long time on the subway, and I started taking pictures of things so I could identify where we'd been. Luckily Booth has a functioning sense of direction and navigated the tunnels like a pro, after our original lostness. We got some lunch at an Italian place (which we mostly chose for its desperately needed restroom facilities). After that we headed to the Museum of Modern Art and Design, and it was by far my favorite museum. There was an exhibit there called "Slash: Paper Under the Knife" which featured works by many different artists in many different styles, but all utilizing paper in creative and unexpected ways. (aka: This is what you came here for.)

                                                                Mia Pearlman                                             Andrea Dezso

Night Gathering - Ed Pien
Drawing with ink and papercut / Size 500 cm x 230 cm

           I was really interested in Adrea Dezso's "tunnel books" which used layers of paper with different designs on them to create a whole picture, which told a story about part of her life, if you look at it directly from the front. Since my senior show series was all about past experiences in my life, I was really drawn to her style. She also implemented Dali-esque surrealist techniques so of course I was in love. Mia Pearlman was another favorite. Her works can best be described as epic paper art. They are often large, sweeping, mysterious paper sculptures that dominate whatever room their are in. A similar artist is Andrea Mastrovito whose work graced almost the entire ceiling of the lobby area. It was a ship sinking into a turbulent sea of shredded paper. I was in awe. I was also very impressed by Ed Pien's work. Just looking at all the lines and swirls and intricacies hurt my head to try and comprehend. I can't even imagine how hard it must have been to cut all of that out. Then there were the altered books, which I often like to use in my own art. Some people might think that, being a devout bookworm, this would be against my religion. However, I find its not so much of sacrilege if done in the name of art. (Though personally, I do still try and use books which have fallen into disrepair or those which weren't good in an attempt to keep my conscience clean.)  The next day we went to dozens of other museums and saw prolific artists like Cornell, Dali, Warhol, and Van Gogh but I'll leave it at that because they really aren't hurting for the publicity. 

Non ci Resta Che Paingere (There's Nothing Left To Do But Cry) - Andrea Mastrovito

 Ariana Boussard-Reifel                                                                      Su Black well

           That night Booth and I went out for his first real bar experience. We've been going to college in a dry county this whole time... God help us. We went to an Irish pub where we were served by a Russian waitress who only kind of understood English, and I'm using the term kind-of very generously. I asked for a Tequila Sunrise and he ordered a beer. He ended up getting a beer, and I got a straight glass of tequila. I was too nervous to get into an argument about her comprehension of my order so I just sat there and downed that thing, all the while trying to keep my "I'm a little bitch" faces under control, but it was hard... at least Booth got quite a few laughs. Then we walked back to Times Square and found the sound exhibit. It sounded like a diggery-doo and Booth held my hand while we listened to it. It was really cool and kind of magical. I'm glad we had that moment. Then Elaine, who you will remember from the DC post, was only a few hours away a decided she would come into NY for the weekend while I was there and get a room. So she saved me from having to room with my teacher more than one night, got a room in the same hotel and I went and stayed with her. If you can't tell by now, that girl kicks ass. Then we got ready and went out for a night on the town. 


                 This place is fuuuuun.                                             Why did I just waste 2 hours of my life?

             I love these branch things                                                Enchanting and yet, disgusting. 

           So that night Elaine, Booth and I went to the Fat Black Pussy Cat, a pub/lounge with a club underneath it. I really liked the decor. It kind of reminded me of my living room. Lots of warm ambient lighting, plush fabrics, and Moroccan colored glass lamps everywhere. We found a little nook next to a ornately decorated Egyptian sarcophagus and got to drankin'. Then Booth started doing his white-boy rapping which was very entertaining, he's actually surprisingly good. Every now and then we'd go outside to get some air and talk politics with homeless people. We were going to only stay there until midnight, but the next time we looked at our phones it was 3:25. Oops. Before we headed back we decided it would be a good idea to get some food. We went to Mamoun's Falafel and wow, I don't know if it was because I was so drunk but damn, thats the best falafel I've had in my life. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, came a guy in a Spider-man suit who was pulling some people on a rickshaw. Okay, so that was strange by itself but then he started doing flips and spinning the couple around and setting them down on their backs and then flipping then back up. It was the coolest thing ever. We were all unusually calm about like, "Oh yea, thats totally normal".... but the next day we couldn't believe it and thought we might have had a co-hallucination moment. (Up until I started writing this post I honestly wasn't sure if this guy really existed, but now I have proof! I'm including his video at the bottom of this post.) The next day we saw more museums and that night Elaine and I went to see a play called Oleanna at this really tiny theatre off Broadway. The entire play happened in one room, so no set changes, and there were only two actors: Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman. Pullman was excellent (and for an older man, he's still lookin pretty good) but Stiles just reminded me why I hate watching her movies...and she's even worse on stage. The whole thing was rather infuriating but I guess that means they did a good job. After that we went to Haru for sushi and to pay the most I've ever spent on a meal in my life, but I really loved the light up decor. Then we walked back to the hotel and and met up with Booth after visiting the liquor store. (do we see a trend on this trip?) We watched SNL and wondered how we might be able to kidnap James Franco (who was guest starring) before we had to leave NY. We stayed up until 2:00 am doing this when Booth and I had to catch a shuttle to the airport at 5:45 am. Not the smartest of choices. We were so.hung.over. My head was swimming and it was raining cats and dogs when we met up again in the lobby. In the van the driver had it on an R&B station and I was using the beats to keep a rhythm and avoid getting sick as best I could. Then that song by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys came on, Empire State of Mind, and the first time any of us ever heard that song was while we were in New York, and I have to say, there was something kind of special about that. 

Coming up next in the Wanderlust Chronicles: NEW ZEALAND.

*pictures of works in the MAD gallery are not my own. cameras were not permitted in the gallery so i had to find pictures of the works as my visual aids.


  1. I absolutely love NY, love the travelogue, and love the art you choose to include.

    What is it about paper that makes me so happy?

  2. too many comments to make, but here are a few:

    a) Until you mentioned the rapings, I really wanted to be there in that triple-digit Puerto Rican Day parade !

    b) The details in these photos are amazing; great eye, nice camera.

    c) see what we could do before tv & the internet ? that jade sculpture is another lifetime, another world, a LOT of work !

    d) Night Gathering made my day. I have not been to NYC since 2002. Thanx for this wonderful re-visit !

  3. Glad to have you visit and doubley glad you loved it at my blog!!! Wonderful interesting world here! Good to know it. Blessings.

  4. Great article Maegan! I miss all the good time in NYC. Hope you doing well and best wishes to you :)


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