Like I told you before our 2nd day was very busy and we made quite some use of the New York Subway to make it down South twice that day. The first time we headed for the New Museum at The Bowery and the 2nd time we picked up my friend after work at Washington Square.
Before I was the first time in New York (2001 in June - means WTC Towers were still there) I had the idea that the more you would go down South to the tip of Manhattan the higher the skyscrapers would be and the more it would look like a metropolis from a science fiction movie. In a way that is not even totally wrong because that this very much how the financial district looks like, but that is just a small piece of Downtown Manhattan and the much bigger part is filled with a very diverse mixture of residential neighborhoods.
It is definitely worth to spend a day or two just exploring the South of Manhattan, but we did not have time and so we were just walking a few blocks up and down, but got a fascinating impression of how many faces Manhattan alone has.
The Bowery is a street with a long and not so pleasant history of being a place with cheap rents, strange people and lots of crime. You can still see it although it changed a lot in the last 15 years. It's really work in progress - you have old rotten houses, freshly renovated buildings, Chinese 1$-shops and restaurants reaching out from the near by China town next to galleries and expansive boutiques with hip brands. You see the hipsters hanging out that the coffee shops and the homeless guy with the pretty straight forward sign "Money for weed" is sitting just in front of it. The cute Little Italy holds hands the fancy Greenwich Village and clashes with the not so pretty East Houston Street.
A big part of the change that happens at The Bowery is The New Museum of Contemporary Art that moved in 2007 into its new building. The museum was designed by the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA. It looks like a staple of white boxes from the outside and very much as well from the inside. I get the concept of keeping it raw and very simple to have the focus 100% on the art displayed inside, but my personal opinion is that it is too simple inside. When I spend time with art, I want to take my time, sit down, think and for the building it means that I like it a bit more comfortable and warm and structured - just like the Museum Brandhorst in Munich for example.
The exhibition that is displayed in the New Museum at the moment is called "THE UNGOVERNABLES". Like often with contemporary art some pieces did not talk to me at all and some were really, really fantastic. We'll put some images of our favorites into the picture section.
The one I loved most was a piece of installation art: a dark room with a hypnotizing oriental song blasting out. If you would walk in a projector threw a movie at the wall in the darkness showing two men dancing. It is hard to put in words, but - at least for me - it was very moving. The art work is called "Jewel" (and it is one) and was created by the Egyptian artist Hassan Khan.
Again some of my impressions. Polaroids by Gabi will follow hopefully.
Spring in Little Italy
Painted advertising for the Jewish Museum
Street Art near Bowery
The New Museum of Contemporary Art
Adrian Villar Rojas - A Person Loved Me
Amalia Pica - Eavesdropping
Julia Dault - Untitled
Hassan Kahn - Jewel