oxymoron67: (Default)
Today, I went to the Morgan Library and Museum.
Fun! )
oxymoron67: (Default)
Yesterday, I visited two places: one an old friend; the other a new (to me) place.

First, I went to the Museum of the City of New York to see The World of D. D. and Leslie Tillett.

The Tilletts were designers and artists. From about 1948-1980, they ran one an influential design house, providing clothes for all sorts of retail stores and for a host of famous people including Jackie Kennedy, who they developed a friendship with.

It's a neat exhibit, including sample books, lots of outfits, magazine layouts, and photos. If you look at the clothes, they (well, at least the ones on display) were VERY 60's.

The Tilletts were also artists and illustrators. Many of D. D. Tillett's paintings inspired their prints and Leslie Tillett illustrated children's books.

A really neat exhibit.

From there, I went to The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, which is affiliated with NYU for the Echoes of the Past, The Buddhist Caves of Xiangtangshan.

Caves were frequently used as sanctuaries by Buddhist priests, so many governments and wealthy people would turn caves into temples. These caves were constructed by the short-lived Qi Dynasty that rules a portion of northern China during a period of disunity.

Once you enter the exhibit, you can enter the Cave Room, which is a video of the caves themselves. This is interesting because it shows you how it mapped the caves and it includes pieces that have been removed or destroyed.* The movie lasts eight minutes and then you go into the main room, which has some statuary from the caves and two computers in the back, where the artifacts and the caves are described in great detail.

Of course, the statues have blurbs with them, so the computers int he back aren't necessary: they add information, and I enjoyed playing with them.

Part of what makes these caves so different is that the Qi dynasty used lots of Buddhist symbolism that the Chinese in general didn't. Don't ask me to explain this: I don't know much of anything about Buddhist traditions.

It's a neat exhibit and well worth seeing and it doesn't take long: I was there for 45 minutes? an hour? Also, it's free.

If this is the quality of exhibit that this place does, I have a new place to visit.

*In the early 20th Century, during another time of upheaval, some of the statues and pieces in the temple were sold before China realized the importance of these caves.
oxymoron67: (snoopy)
I met up with [livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant, his sister and his girlfriend Nom at The South Street Seaport Museum.

I'd bee there once before, for the FDR and the Sea exhibit, which was amazing.

Between then and now, the museum had serious financial difficulties and faced closure. It may have actually closed for a few months, I'm not sure. To save it, the Museum of the City of New York took it over.

Which is great for me, since I;m a member of MCNY, so now I'm a member here, too! It puts me one step closer to collecting allt he NYC museums.

Anyway.

We met around 3:30, primarily to see the Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions exhibit. This was split up into four galleries, each one discussing one aspect of the history of the Seaport: exploration, communication and society, shopping and the weather.

The first gallery, exploration, included maps, statues of animals, paintings of cities, things people took with them while traveling, and, my favorite piece, a Noah's Ark quilt.

The woman (probably women) who sewed it included pairs of animals embroidered or appliqued on it. The animals included both dromedaries )one humped camels) and Bactrian (two humped camels), ostriches, chickens, spiders, snakes, crickets.

It was just fun to look at.

The second gallery included lots of paintings of sea captains and the like. My favorite piece here was the mathematics book used by the Pennsylvania Dutch. One page was sums and other math stuff, but the facing page had a drawings of men on hirseback with pistols drawn.

It was an odd juxtaposition.

The third gallery was about the goods shipped via the South Street Seaport. So, tobacco (a statue of a Turkish man in a genie costume), a hanging sheep (for a shop specializing in wool) whale bone pie cutters, furniture, all sorts of things.

The most interesting pieces here were the canes made of whale bone, with various carvings on them. The detail work was amazing.

Oh, and a creepy Santa Claus.

Gallery four was the weather gallery. Lots of weather vanes. There was a painting of a ship sinking, and a memorial quilt for the Titanic.

My favorite piece here was a painting of a waterfall, because of the materials and techniques used, there was a very impressionisitic 3D feel to it. IT was neat.

This exhibit was organized by the American Folk Art Museum. This isn't really surprising, since they lost most of their gallery space not too long ago.

We also watched Timescapes, MCNY's 22 minute documentary about the history of NYC. If you have the choice between watching it here or at the MCNY*, watch it here. The screen is bigger and the chairs more comfortable.

*Although I can't imagine that anyone would go to both the MCY and the South Street Seaport Museum on the same day, since they are on opposite ends of Manhattan.

From the museum, they went to visit their father while I wandered around for a while. We met up again for dinner at Pete's Tavern, where the short story writer O. Henry wrote. I met two more of [livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant's friends, who were fun.

I had the chicken with mushrooms and peppers in a tasty sauce. The serving was so large that half of it came home with me.

After dinner, I grabbed a cab and came home. A great day.

A great day!
oxymoron67: (Default)
So, for my birthday, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with friends!
Well, where did you think I'd go? )
oxymoron67: (history)
My friend the soap opera writer and I went to the Morgan Library and Museum.

I love the Morgan. I can go to the Rotunda and Library and just sit and absorb the beauty.

Anyway, my friend had never been there before.

So we got there, and started with Morgan's office, the Rotunda, Bella da Costa Greene (his librarian)'s office and the library itself. He loved the Gutenberg Bible on display (the Morgan has three), and the music sheets from Mozart, Schubert and DeBussy that were on display.

The Morgan has its Near East seals collection and some cunieform tables on display in da Costa Greene's office.

The Rotunda is beautiful.

If you ever come to NYC... you must visit here. It is amazing.

From there, we went to the Winston Churchill exhibit, which focused on his letters and included an extraordinary 21 minute multimedia presentation of excerpts from his most famous speeches.

The letters included things from his time at boarding school and in the service through his time as Prime Minister. Several of these letters were addressed to his remarkable mother, who was an American heiress named Jennie Jerome. One of the most touching was a Churchill quotes (and one from FDR*) covered the walls.

On the other side of the multimedia area, there was a section on the Nazi portrayal of Churchill, and then some more of his writings.

From there, we went to Renaissance-era Venetian drawings, etching and printing. If you name a famous Northern Italian artist from the period, you will likely find a piece by him/her there. It was glorious.

This exhibit explains why I love the Morgan: it focuses on things that most museums don't: drawings, etchings, printings, manuscripts.

I will go back for both of these exhibits on my own, as we kind of rushed through them.

From there, we had dinner in their cafe, which was essentially a tapas menu. We had the deviled eggs (needed more paprika), salmon croquettes on pumpernickel (tasty), mushroom risotto (which had raisins in it, which gave it a sweeter finish than I expected, but it was tasty... oh, and bright yellow because of the saffron), a cheese plate (stilton, manchego and edam), olives in a citrus and jalapeno brine, and baba ghanoush, which had apple in it, giving it a little crunch and, again, a surprising, but not unpleasant, sweetness.

There plates were all appetizer sized, but it was enough to satisfy us.

Anyway, I have said before and I will say again: The Morgan never disappoints.
oxymoron67: (snoopy)
My friend the soap opera writer and I went to Discovery Times Square for The Spy Exhibit.

It was really good, and informative.

After we waked in, a docent (probably a trained actor) gave this spiel about how we were entering a dangerous world, blah, blah, blah.

Then we watched a brief video about intelligence agencies and the daily briefing POTUS gets every morning.

Then we entered the exhibition itself.

Lots of neat things. IT discussed the OSS and its rolein WWII and then its disbandment and the formation of the CIA.

There were lots and lots of pieces of technology from that era and the cold war era.

In this section, my favorite area as the one focused on the Cuban Missile Crisis and the man who informed the CIA that the USSR was not ready for war. (This man was later executed as a spy inthe USSR.)

Moving on, they had kiosks with interviews of spies talking about various pieces of spycraft and a timeline of major event in the worlds of espionage and warfare from 1974-2012. The kiosks would have beenbetter if the volume level ont he interviews had been uniform,

An ex-KGB agent was one of the interviews, and he was a gregarious, loud guy. The next interview was of a much quieter man, and he was difficult to hear.

Next up: more technology and a brief discussion of the Rosenbergs and then the U2 spyplane and Francis Gary Powers.

Then, two of my favorite words: SPY PIGEONS.

This exhibit tended to jump around, timeline-wise.

Then, finishing up this level, more about the modern technology of spying.

The lower level had some hands on stuff, where you could play with disguising your voice and coing up with disguises for yourself, which were fun.

There was a section on Trotsky and his assassination, which included the murder weapon.

Also, there were exhibits on famous American spies, like the Walker family.

All in all, fun. I don't think I need to see it again, but definitely worth a visit.
oxymoron67: (reading)
Today, a friend of mine and I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hijinx ensued. )
oxymoron67: (Default)
Actually, being out and about today probably wasn't like walking on the sun... the sun is probably a dry heat.

Today, I visited The Folk Art Museum.

This is my first trip to its new location, which is in Lincoln Square, on 66th Street and Columbus Ave. It used to e housed in this really nice building on 53rd Street, right next to MoMA, but there were money problems (with a bond, I think), and they had to vacate.

MoMA owns that building now. Since MoMA is annoying hipster central, I don't like that it's spreading like athlete's foot.

It's sad for another reason: the new space is so much smaller. The old one was five stories, this one is all on one floor, so the number of items on display is extremely limited.

But.. I am happy the place is still in existence. I think it fills an important niche, and it puts on exhibition (like the giant two-part quilting exhibition that it put on two years ago) that no other space (here in NYC, anyway) would do.

Things have changed... admission is free. They request a $5 donation, but aren't pushy about it. (I donated. Worth it.) It's small ... I took my sweet time and was there about ninety minutes.

Highlights included several quilts, a painting done on VELVET, a weathervane that is much taller than me and dolls made out of unusual materials, like bottle caps.

This museum is interesting because the artists tend not to have formal training and tend to use unusual materials.

Definitely worth a look.
oxymoron67: (Default)
No Geek Week is complete without a trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Just getting there was an adventure today: I have to take two buses to get there, the Q32 and the M3. (Honestly, the M1, M3 or M4 will do, the M3 was the one that showed.)

Well, as we were getting off the Queensboro Bridge, a construction vehicle clipped the front of the bus. No one was hurt, but the rear view mirror was smashed and the bus couldn't continue the route, so we got to wait for the next one.

Then, two stops after I got on the M3, it stalled. So we had to wait for another bus.

*sigh*

I got to the Museum, waved to the security guard, who recognized me, dropped my backpack off at the bag check and went in.

I started in the Greco-Roman area.

Always a good choice.

The two galleries I focused on were the 4th and 5th century Greek galleries.

The exploits of Dionysus, Theseus, Eros and Herakles were VERY popular themes, as was Hermes.

Then I spent a little time in the African Art area, specifically the art of the Bamana, who live in West Africa.

From there, I wandered through the newly-redone "Renaissance in France" Gallery, which was well done. Lots of new items, but it still has the gayest Moses/Pharoah confrontation painting ever on display.

Finally, we I went through the nineteenth century decorative arts section. This particular section had A LOT of timepieces and a chess set, among other things.

While I want to see the rooftop installation, not on a 95 F day.

Surprisingly, the trip back was uneventful, though traffic was horrid.
oxymoron67: (history)
Barring the Board of Trustees turning it down, I got the promotion. I will hear if (and only if) the BoT turns it down.

So, as of Sept 1st, I will be Senior Non-Instructional Instructional Staff.

Meantime, I spent the day geeking out...
I had fun! )
oxymoron67: (Gay Army)
Technically, it should have started tomorrow, but I decided to go to The Museum of the City of New York today.
And some other things. )
oxymoron67: (history)
After work today, I went to the New York City Historical Society.

I went there for two things: the portraits of the wives of the Robber Barons and Be Sure! Be Safe! Get Vaccinated! Smallpox, Vaccination and Civil Liberties in NEw York

When I got there, the movie about NYC that they produced was about to start, so I went to see that.

It was neat... its free with admission... if you go, make time to see it.

From there, I saw the exhibit on the history of beer and brewing in NYC, so I went there. It was neat: it discussed the history of brewing (it was considered safer to drink than water) and on the taverns of colonial and Revolutionary era NYC*.

From there it discussed, the influence of German immigrants on brewing and on the establishment of hops farms in New York (which due to various fungal infections and prohibition were wiped out, and have only now started reappearing).

Then they discussed productions and then prohibition, and, of course, the modern brewers and advertising.

It was a fascinating exhibit.

At the end of it was a small bar. I ordered a beer and a pretzel ($10). For the pretzel, I got some mustard, the really, grainy vinegar-y type. It was cool.

From there, I went to the fourth floor, where I saw exhibits on Audubon and the Hudson River School.

I was getting a little hungry, so I left, not seeing what I went there to see. Fortunately, both exhibits are there until September.

*In an earlier exhibition, the NYCHS made the claim that tavern culture in NYC helped foment the American Revolution, as they were the promary plces to gether and disseminate news.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I met up with my friend the Soap Opera Writer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I lured him there with the phrases "Frank Lloyd Wright Room", "Fabrege" and "Tiffany Room".

Who could resist that?

We actually started in the Greco-Roman section, which was fun.

Especially since we had exchanges like this one:

Him: This is clearly a baseball player.
Me: The card says it's a fighting Gaul.
Him: Is he their mascot?
Me: No, maybe it's the name of the team: The Fighting Gauls.

Him: Ooo... what are these.. they're really pretty.
Me: The card says that they're two glass bowls.
Him: It does not. (reads) Why bother including that? I can SEE that they're two glass bowls.

From there, we went to the Medieval Art section -- the museum is in the process of changing the displays, and many new statues are up. Here is one:



These gentlemen are witnessing a crucifixion... and disco dancing.

I don't RECALL a "Crucifixion Dance Party" in Jesus Christ Superstar, but I haven't seen it recently.

Here is the single most smug Baby Jesus I've ever seen:



Doesn't he look like he's saying, "You're a sinner... and I'm not. And that's how it should be."

And here is St. Anne holding her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is, in turn holding the Baby Jesus.



Apparently St. Anne was a giantess.

From there, we went to the Fabrege exhibit, which was neat. They;ve rotated the items in there as well. There are new things since I saw it last.

And then the Frank Lloyd Wright room, which was delightful.

Then we went to the Cinema Cafe for dinner.

I had the tuna tacos appetizer and the Kobe Burger. Delicious. (Prix Fixe menu: choice of appetizer and entree for 25ish dollars).

Tomorrow? Back to work!
oxymoron67: (reading)
Today, I went to The Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin specializes in the arts and culture of the Himalayas: works from Northern India, Nepal, and Tibet dominate the galleries, but Mongolian works are also there. Bhutan is mentioned, but I didn't really see anything from there.

This is my second visit to this museum and it struck me as odd that the Mongols would be included: after all, they're from much further north. This visit, I got an explanation: when the Mongols conquered Asia, many of the tribes were influenced by the art and religion of Tibet, so they incorporated Tibetan traditions into their own.

Makes sense now.

The main reason for my visit was the special exhibit Hero, Villain, Yeti: Tibet in Comics.

Really, it's like they just put out a beacon flashing "Sean, Come Visit" in morse code.

Or maybe the Sean Signal. I wonder what the Sean Signal would be... I mean, Batman has the Batsignal. Mine would be an open book silhouetted against the sky... or maybe a plate of friend chicken. Actually, if we were going from my user name, the OxySignal would be a jumbo shrimp or something.

Anyway... it was neat. Tibet has attracted comic books writers (and fantasy writers for that matter) because we in the West perceive Tibet as a land of mystery and mysticism.

This exhibit was in the reading room in the basement. It was neat, they briefly discussed the tradition of Tibet not just in comics, but in fantasy as well, then you could actually read many of the comics they discussed, as they were on display.

Fun.

From there, I went on to explore the "Treasures of the Collection" on the third floor and then the intro to Himalayan art on the second floor. I did these backwards. I was walking around on the third floor just admiring the art but not understading the symbolism of it... that was discussed on the second floor.

Oh well. That just means I have to go back.

I stopped in the cafe, and, though the Mulligatawny (sp?) soup smelled delicious, it's 80+ degrees F and humid, humid, humid. So, I said no to that, and just had a diet coke.

Overall, a lot of fun. The Rubin's price of admission is $10, and you will get more than your money worth.

If I may compare my visit to the Rubin and my recent sojourn to the Terracotta Warriors at Discovery Times Square... the presentation at the Rubin made more sense.

Okay, the descriptions were still at crotch-level, but they were tilted upwards,in a slightly larger font, and most importantly WELL LIT. Some of the works on display were kept in dim lightning but the descriptions were not.

Overall, fun. Definitely worth a visit. I have to go back because there are other things I want to see there, but just didn't get to today.
oxymoron67: (history)
I took a personal day today... I'll talk about work later. Nothing bad, just busy.

Anyhow, I went to Discovery Times Square to see The Terracotta Warriors.

Kind of disappointing, actually. )
oxymoron67: (Default)
I visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art today: it's open late on Fridays.

*sigh*

I just love that place.

Today, I spent a little over an hour in the Art of the Islamic World section. I went through part of the Art of Umayyid and Abassid exhibits. Most of the pieces here came from Egypt (in fact there were a few Coptic pieces there), Syria and Iraq.

There was a huge section on Islamic Art in Iran (The Met has sponsored several digs there) with an amazing array of pieces, but there were TWO tour groups going through there, and while they almost certainly weren't these morons, I tend to avoid tour groups in museums in general.

So, I turned the other way and ended up in the Art of Muslim India section. Amazing pieces, including some wonderful work in jade.

Perhaps my favorite thing about Islamic art abounded in this section. I love the geometric patterns in ISlamic Art, and they were on display here in latticework, tapestry and porcelain.

From there, I went to the Decorative Arts of the Empire Period (The Napoleonic Era). It wasn't where I meant to go: I wanted to see the rooftop installation, but the line for the elevator was too long for my tastes.

Finally, I visited the special exhibition on British silver. Neat stuff.

I took somewhere north of 200 photos.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I was on The Hispanic Society's website last night, and they still seem to have a few things under construction, so I decided to change plans and head to The Transit Museum in Brooklyn.

It's easy to get to. I didn't get lost.

Though I cheated. I have GPS on my phone now.

It's housed in an old subway station, so you go down the subway stairs to get in.* The stairs and the hallway leading to the museum are about as poorly lit as real subway entrances, adding a sense of verite to the proceedings.

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students, children and senior citizens.

It was great!

The first exhibit was on the construction of the subway system back in the early 20th Century. They had lots of photos and equipment from the period on display. Some of that equipment, primarily the surveying equipment, was set up so that children (these were not at an adult's eye level) could see through them.

Didn't stop me. I bent over.

They also discussed the various types of jobs and the dangers involved in them.

They had mock ups of cases of dynamite and those plunger detonator things ... you know, like Wile E. Coyote uses.

To give an idea of the back breaking nature of the work, they had wheelbarrows filled with rocks that you could lift. Workers had to empty fifty of these a day.

From there, the museum had an exhibit on how different types of power plants generate electricity (lots of hands on stuff here and flashing lights. Great fun.). From there, the museum described how electricity is delivered to where it is used.

These exhibits were informative and interesting and set up in way that both kids and adults would love.

The next exhibit dealt with the above ground public transportation in NYC, particularly the streetcars. There were mockups of subway cars and buses, where you could sit and rest or have your picture taken while you pretend to drive.

Finally. there was a small exhibit on the development of the turnstiles.

It was a fun little trip... it's not a big museum, goodness knows, I took my sweet time and I was there for a little under two hours.

I loved this. Lots of fun.

*I did not notice any handicapped accessible way into the Transit Museum, which is the only black mark against it.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I'm doing better... though I'm still coughing and my throat is still a little sore... so I decided to haul my consumptive ass to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It was packed. It *IS* Spring Break here, after all.

I wanted to go to the newly-reopened American Wing, where the museum had just finished renovating something like 20 galleries.

Along the way to The American Wing, I got distracted and ended up wandering through the Rococo Decorative Arts (I saw a flash of turquoise and had to investigate) galleries for a short time and then the Medieval Art displays (they had Francis I of France's Book of Hours on display).

I did end up getting to the American Wing. I did not go through even half of it. I saw some portraiture, which was very well done -- quite a bit from John Singer Sargent, and a few other paintings, primary among them Washington Crossing the Delaware.

That painting is MASSIVE. It takes up an entire wall.

But the majority of the galleries I explored involved furnishings and decorative arts. Almost all of it was from before 1800.

I know they have more recent things there, but I started at the 18th century end of things.

There was a great deal of silversmithy work on display, including Paul Revere Ware. Most of the items were engraved, many in Dutch.

From there, I explored two galleries that displayed furniture and cabinetry as individual items. Lots of amazing work.

Then I went through three? four? period rooms, including a living room, a dining room and a library. The period rooms have a touch screen station that explains the various pieces in the room.

Finally, I spent about fifteen minutes just sitting in the statue court in front of the American Wing watching people go by. the families were fascinating: seeing who was interested and who didn't care. A lot of the kids were into it... sometimes more than their parents.

From there, I stopped at the gift store and left.

A fun afternoon!

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