Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DUMBO - not the elephant

Last Saturday, one of my artist friends and I went to the Open Studios in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) -I don't need to tell you that this is the Brooklyn Bridge.  The only picture I could get of the nearby Manhattan Bridge was from underneath - not very attractive.  So you'll have to make do with this icon.
DUMBO is the former warehouse district where artists squatted and a great art scene grew --till the developers came in.  There are still some artists, but as we discovered, the scene is no longer as vibrant and edgy and crowded as it once was.  Nonetheless, we had a lovely day wandering around and chasing the art.  Much of it was, IMO, crapola.  Some of it was moving and well done. For my money, the best exhibit I saw was at VII Gallery - a powerful exhibit of photojournalist Ed Kashi's work. But their artists are all wonderful: the VII website has some of the strongest, most poignant photographs have ever seen.

But I digress...here are some of my photos taken as I wandered through the streets Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass... a different part of Brooklyn from my usual Prospect Heights/Park Slope destination.

These graffiti'd walls hid construction and were works of art better than anything in the galleries.
The cobblestone streets of DUMBO are punctuated by old railroad tracks that used to bring cargo to the former warehouses that are now office buildings, condos, and gallery spaces.
What a juxtaposition of color -- unintended, I am sure -- but glorious! It felt like a celebration of life to me!
Another example of elegant graffiti that made me smile.

And then, there was the shopping.
Grids and more grids.  A Japanese clothing company was setting up these pods in the street.  

 First, I thought these colorful displays were balls of yarn, but they were rolled-up  down jackets in all colors. Such a clever way to market, with all these pop ups. More smiles from me.
 And at the opposite end of the spectrum - this kid was trying to interact with the seated mannequin.
Don't you just love it? 

Sunday - back in New Jersey - a walk around the 1881 J&J complex where my studio is made me realize again how much I love these old building with so much history. For five years I have been entering/leaving the building without really seeing the gritty beauty around me. 




And now, back to the kitchen to finish cooking for tonight's Rosh Hashanah dinner. For those of you who celebrate, I wish you a sweet year filled with health, wealth, love, and time to enjoy them all.
love, R.
 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

up late again

This is a good sign: it means that I'm getting back into a groove -- or maybe it's a new groove. Went to an art opening tonight and bought a small piece by Rachel Leibman, who does amazing collage with old manuscripts.  Last month I bought a small piece by Linda Branch Dunn when I was in Lowell -- this has got to stop!

Another good sign: back to making ice cream at ungodly hours.  Anybody who has been to Columbus and eaten Jeni's ice cream will understand why I couldn't resist buying her new ice cream recipe book.

I am having a small party this weekend and decided to make coffee ice cream so my guests don't fall asleep while the festivities are going on:-).
I considered tempeh ice cream with a nose of recycled paper but was out of tempeh
Of course, you know me - and this is no different from my usual M.O.  Not satisfied to follow the recipe, I did my own thing and made it stronger than Jeni called for.  The jury is still out, but we can always top it with whipped cream.  

My spanakopita from Thursday turned out so great -- and was so easy -- that I think I'll make another batch for next Wednesday's Rosh Hashanah dinner.  My kids (and my mother) are coming and I am so happy to have people to cook for.

Finally, I am determined to stitch these two small pieces that have been sitting around forever. Getting back to work, little by little.


So - having touched briefly on food and art -- two subjects that speak to the soul - I will grab a few hours of sleep. G'night.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

back from wherever

and still in the middle of whatever.  These last couple of weeks have been fraught with food poisoning and a bacterial infection, along with family involvements and a few other adventures.  Life is doing its thing - and I am trying to keep pace with it. Not easy.

I've been dealing with insurance adjusters over water damage to my mother's apartment and have been spending much time there (without Internet access) photographing, wrapping, and packing her fragile things so the apartment can be fixed and painted.  Time consuming, boring, and exhausting.  It goes on and on and on.

Last week, both my daughters had birthdays and over the weekend, our granddaughter Kayla's bat mitzvah -- a joyful but bittersweet occasion for me.

  Miss Emma in her party dress, looking slightly tipsy at that late hour.
 Hilary and Jessica - each of whom turned a year older last week.
 And here I am with Jeremy, who told me I "clean up nicely."  LOL


Finally, I got into the studio on Tuesday of this week and brought home a piece that has been on my wall.
Here it is, almost finished.  I spent Tuesday night and Wednesday stitching and it was the first time in ages I have done any real work. Felt good.


Now I have to go make spanakopita to take to a gathering tonight.  Rachel and Debbie, two of my studio mates, are moving away from New Jersey and we are throwing them a "we will miss you" party.  I have not made spanakopita in years, but I am just in the mood -- so I had better get busy.

I will try to be better at blogging, now that the last two difficult weeks are over. They may be brief and not art-related, but I will see what I can do. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ten years later

I was going to go to Brooklyn today but have changed my mind for a number of reasons. Instead, I will recount the latter part of my day yesterday. Here is another view from Governor's Island. You could see Ellis Island, too - but it is so far right in the picture that it doesn't show up very well.


This fort was finished in 1813 and well-used during the 19th c.



Between the tip of Manhattan and the World Trade Center site, Battery Park was filled with thousands of flags, each filled with names and names and names.
 It was a beautiful, strangely peaceful and silent memorial that seemed to go on forever.  One life= one flag.  So moving...
It was ok to touch the flags and read the names - they were all accessible to the public.
At the other end of the park was this sculpture, which was damaged in the disaster.

On the sidewalk in front of the flowers was a box of buttons with black ribbons that said "we remember" and a sign saying "take one."  I didn't need to: I lived through it. Many of us who saw the buildings fall and burn or lost people we knew from the towns we lived in, do not need to read the newspaper articles, watch the tv specials, or go to the memorial services. We do not need reminders because we are reminded every time we take the PATH train from NJ to the WTC, or look at the skyline and see empty space, or walk in lower Manhattan without an anchor to guide us.

But the skyline is changing, as is the footprint.  The Freedom Tower is rising and while I hope it will not be too much taller, it is more beautiful architecturally than the original towers were -- and it is visible from everywhere.


Late afternoon (and I didn't take pictures) the sidewalks and streets filled little by little with GUYS. Men in firefighters' uniforms, in t-shirts and jeans, sailors' uniforms, and various other modes of dress. Many were drinking beer, others were not.  Some stood silently, others were more lively.  It was an unofficial, spontaneous gathering that gained momentum through the early evening. It was pretty clear that they were going to stay there all night in vigil.  It was, in essence, a wake. This is what they saw as the sky darkened and the lights came on. It was beautiful.
                                                             September 11, 2011

Where to start?

September 10 - a beautiful day that began on Governor's Island and ended at the World Trade Center.  First, the island. A five or six minute ferry ride from Manhattan, this former Coast Guard base  has been turned into an art destination - at least in summer.  Today the weather was perfect.
I haven't been on a ferry in ages, so this was a delight!  Here is the view of the tip of Manhattan from the ferry.  That large tower with the dark top is the new Freedom Tower being built -- the anchor of the new WTC site.  More pix of this, anon.

On this post-summer weekend, the island had some surprises - some good and intriguing art and some really bad art.  Some of my favorite art was made from recycled stuff - and what fun!  There were poles wrapped with industrial ties
 This thing was made from cloth and inflatable fans, and it made noise as it breathed.
  Bottle cap art!  They collect bottle caps from all the drinks sold on the island and do cool things with them. There is a container into which they ask you to throw your bottle caps.  Love it.
 Then, les pièces de résistance: les sacs plastiques tricotés. Enough to make anybody happy. 


On the way back to Manhattan we passed the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan bridge behind it (which does not show in this picture).

And as we pulled into the beautiful old ferry slip, this is what we saw.My photo does not do it justice.

Later, I will post about the rest of my pre-9/11 day.

Friday, September 09, 2011

yes, I'm ok

I have had quite a week - or 10 days or whatever.  Been so busy with whatever that I haven't had time to blog.  And I have had a week of not feeling well but am on antibiotics, so, let's move on...

Wednesday night my art group met at my studio and we all did gelatin printing. We all work in different disciplines and decided a while ago that it would be great to see and/or experience each others' processes.  This week, my turn.  These were my demo pieces, made with my plastic marijuana leaves.
We were working on paper.

Fast forward to today - Friday - and I had a most wonderful day because I had an unexpected visit from (drumroll, please) Regina Dwarkasing, whose blog I have been reading for years.  She called last night to say she and her husband were in NJ and wanted to see me.  Of course, I was thrilled!  They came for lunch and we sat out on the deck all afternoon in gorgeous weather, having many interesting conversations. It was such a treat!
Afterwards, we went to my studio for a bit and then on the way home I took them to Eagle Rock Reservation - a high point from which you can see NY's skyline. There is a 9/11 memorial there -- and a wall with all of the names of those from NJ who perished in the disaster. So many were young!  It was from this spot that so many people stood and watched the aftermath of the towers burning, and afterwards looked at the empty spot...now being filled with new buildings.

Here, too, are pieces of the girder from the World Trade Center - standing as a powerful sculpture. I took pictures from both sides.


I am going into NY tomorrow to meet a friend and I was just told that NY City is on high alert for truck bombs and to be careful, observe your surroundings, etc etc.  Sigh... will we ever be free of this threat?