If you haven’t been to the Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle since I last mentioned it, you seriously have to. As one of my friends said yesterday, “This is my happy place.” This week was the opening of their exhibit Dead or Alive, another in their series about chosen materials. Each artist featured uses organic materials in their work, which at one point was previously alive. These materials range from bones and bugs to seeds and plant leaves. This may sound slightly repulsive upon reading, and I won’t deny that bugs usually skeeve me out, but they’re transformed into utterly interesting works of art. Many of the artists state that they have not harmed anything in order to obtain their materials, and several of the pieces have strong environmental / political messages (Keith Bentley’s Canda Equina is one of these). But first and foremost I viewed each piece as it’s own entity, before reading to discover the artist’s prerogative.
My three favorite pieces of the show have a more traditional presentation, which speaks to my own personal aesthetic preferences. Upon entering the fifth floor, Xu Bing’s Background Story 6, 2010 is the first piece viewed. It seems to be a Japanese landscape upon frosted glass, ink lines lit from behind. Then you look behind the wall and realize that all the shapes are in reality shadows cast by organic debris, sticks and dried leaves.
Fabian Peña’s The Impossibility of Storage for the Soul 1, 2007 looks like delicate mosaics of anatomy…and this delicacy is reiterated when it’s understood that it’s not tile fragments that have formed these shapes and tonal variations, but infinitely small fragments of cockroach wings. Studio Drift’s Fragile Future.3 attracts you with it’s glowing orbs from across the room, and as you stand in front of it, each LED light covered with dandelion seeds (carefully attached to maintain the lightness and roundness of a gone to seed dandelion head), seems to speak about time.
There are so many artists, Alastair Mackie, Helen Altman, Tracy Heneberger, and Tim Tate/Marc Petrovic to mention just a few more, and each piece included is absolutely astounding (I can’t say that with 100 % accuracy because a few works did seem a bit lackluster to me, at least for their inclusion in this show). MAD, you’ve done it again.
Food wise? My friends and I went to a nearby Thai place on 8th and 55th. Chai is an extremely small hole in the wall type of place, but you really can’t go wrong with decent Thai food, a red curry that makes your eyes water and a $7.00 lunch special price tag. ( At least, this cash strapped girl can’t). We then trekked around to satisfy a friend’s Red Mango craving, and this was my first experience with a tart frozen yogurt experience. I have to say, I really really enjoyed it plus the array of healthy toppings. I enjoyed the yogurt itself; it’s location on the 2nd floor of the NBC store in Rockefeller Centre? Not so much.