Beware the crowds of December

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We never did get in to the Frick last Wednesday to see the Memling portraits. We tried the Guggenheim and the Met as well but washed out each place. It was the crowds, of course, something we knew about but forgot.

The line outside the Frick was for 50 minutes, then inside to see the Memlings it was another 90 minutes for a total wait time of almost 2 and a half hours. Formidable, incroyable, horrible, sacre bleu! The Memling show is over by the way, finished Dec. 31. (image is two Memling paintings)

My sister Cate sent me a link to a New York Times story “If the Sidewalks Feel Jammed, Well, They Are” by Thomas J. Lueck that verified what we experienced. It was a smashing day for the city — more people than ever — a 57% increase in foot traffic in Times Square where they apparently have head counters to keep track of such.

The Whitney was not too bad and Stella and I ran through Ed Ruscha‘s Venice Bienale installation “Course of Empire” up to Jan. 29 (I’m sorry — it’s highly over-rated. For a better critique of civilization going to hell run across the park and see the Thomas Cole “Course of Empire” paintings at the New York Historical Society where they reside. Cole’s passionate paintings are a better wake up call on the subject than Ruscha’s cool post-modernist ironic oh well there it all goes take on things.)

The Whitney’s small gallery on the first floor has some Raymond Pettibon drawings and an animation by him and that all was nice but we didn’t linger — lots of bodies, small space, not easy to see. That’s up to Feb. 19.(image is one of Ruscha’s Course of Empire paintings.)

Then we hopped a cab and went down to Chelsea to the New Museum, now temporarily housed in the first floor of the Chelsea Museum of Art. Moving out of mid-town proved successful. No crowds at the New Museum and the Brian Jungen installation was excellent!
The Canadian artist makes fun use of mass-produced products like Nike sneakers and those white plastic backyard chairs in pointed anti-globalist sculptures that speak about the West using up the world’s resources and blithly raping and pillaging its way through indiginous cultures if there’s a buck to be made. This was goooood art about the course of empire and its point stabbed like a knife. The Jungen show’s over now but watch out for this guy and see the work if you ever get a chance.(images are Jungen’s sculptures — whale bones made of plastic chairs and aboriginal mask made of Nike sneakers.)