The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art could take days to thoroughly traverse. On the way in, there is an installation by Natalia Jeremijenko where she planted six trees upside-down, suspended in the air. At first one might think this cruel, as the plants awkwardly contort out of direction, contemplating both their gravity and sunlight. It surprised me to hear, though, that in the six years that the first trees existed in this condition (they've been taken out and planted somewhere else upright, and replaced), the upwardly-planted tree next to them was replaced three times.

The playfulness of the galleries is exemplified in the Kidspace area, with works made of candy and other delectables, and in what I like to call the "fabric hallway." This is an installation by Fransje Killaars with stripes of different fabrics going across the distance.
Sol Lewitt's retrospective is not only expansive and overpowering, but is ripe for many a photoshoot, with its astounding color and massive scales. With 105 murals over three floors, one can sort through the library of ideas that Lewitt conceived of to be made.

There is an installation of Anselm Kiefer, with his post-war painterly wall-hangings and a massive wave-like concrete sculpture. There are many of Guy Ben-Ner's jesting films, most of which include his children. Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle installed a completely upside-down house in the large gallery, entitled Gravity is a Force to Be Reckoned With. There are curated exhibitions, like Elegies of Modern Times, which includes Sam Taylor-Wood's time lapse film "These Days: A Little Death", depicting a dead hare slowly rotting away.
And so on and so forth.

Destination: North Adams

My dad and I traveled together the 7 hours it took to drive from Sterling, Virginia, to Albany, New York. Between those locations, there are two theme parks, a crystal cave, and a snake zoo.

My time here started off in the arena of 6 degrees. I drove the windy roads between Albany and North Adams in the midst of powdery snow. Let me tell you about my town.

North Adams is a small town on the western side of Massachusetts, in the heart of New England. Two of the largest masses on this geography are a cemetery (google map it) and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Everything is very close together, and Main Street will be lined with Christmas lights for a few more winter months, most likely.

My house is just a short walk to my job. There are quaint coffee shops and polite drivers that stop to let you cross even if you're nowhere near an intersection. The outdoors are brisk and the indoors rattle with radiators. After our long days working, we are able to come back and pursue our own endeavors alone or together. There are activities - a trivia night, movies and performances to see, spinning classes at the Y, hot chocolate. My roommate and I got our library cards tonight.

Kristin started to teach me how to crochet before I left Sterling, and I'm going to play with knots while my new housemates and I wait out the winter together.

Week 1 in DC: complete

At first I was a bit petrified of figuring out how to get to work on time or where to get decently-priced groceries, but I'm starting to get into the swing of things. There's even a rad local produce and organic grocery market relatively close to my house... A house that I am really into - I've always wanted to be in a row house for a time. My housemates are laid-back and seem to be down with the same vibe as I.

Anyway, the first week at my internship was also really revealing. I'm working in an arts management department, and am being exposed to a lot of really cool programs. While I've been researching all of the different things that the organization does, I'm getting fired up about art-making, too. Once I get even more settled, hopefully I'll get some art going. I have a few ideas going, at least. Luckily, I'm in a really superb city for museums, if I need more inspiration. They're mostly free, so I hope to frequent them often.

... Lastly, I want to explain how happy September makes me. The weather is just the perfect amount of cool. The hint of holidays and football games and family gatherings are just around the corner. We aren't going to use our heater in the house this winter, so I'm a little apprehensive (as my room is already chilly), but am still going to be excited, I think. There's so much to do right now. Tomorrow there is an Arts on Foot Festival in the Penn Quarter, and then an Open House at The Kennedy Center. I had better get some rest.

August Wrap Up: Part IV

There's been a bit of a delay in the resolution of my August wrap-up series. I went to Austin, Texas, after all. I was very excited to do so, because the spirit of my young mother lives there - I've visited multiple times in my life. Meg is attending the University of Texas for grad school, and so I met up with her and Patrick and helped her get settled with everything.

It was towards the end of August, so needless to say it was pretty hot. But it's the kind of hot that you forget about after a while? I didn't mind anyway- it adds to the aesthetic and ambiance of Austin. Anyway, we were running around getting acclimated and everything. Meg's house is really quaint, and her new housemates are friendly.

Barton Springs and bat bridges: Near Austin, there are many watering holes about. One natural spring has been around for quite a while as a popular hang-out during summer days, and so Patrick and I made our way over. At an average 68 degrees, it's a bit chilly, but after having been out in the heat it was exciting to try it out. The high and low points of this were actually the same event - we'd been standing in the cold water for a while chatting and moving about, when Patrick realized that his phone was still in his shorts' pocket. Needless to say, it was freaking out, and Patrick's phone was out of commission for a while. It was quite amusing, though. Later, we went with Meg to Congress bridge, where there are multiple bat colonies underneath. At about sunset, a plethora of bats - I mean, just a huge huge amount - come flying out from underneath the bridge to fetch food for themselves. It is really amazing to watch, and it goes on for forever. The best time to see it is in late August, so we had really good timing.

Austin Art Museum and the Blanton: We decided to go by the Austin Art Museum but were unfortunately a little disappointed with the spread. Chuck Close had some of his work there: several ridiculously clear daguerreotypes and images of well-known artists/poets next to prose/poetry of theirs. I felt that there could have been more innovation from Chuck, but no. The museum's permanent collection had a few nice things (like Polly apfelbaum's Townsville), but overall it was lackluster.

Which is why Patrick and I were blown away when we went to the Blanton Museum of Art later on. Funded by the University of Texas, the Blanton Museum of Art seemed to have had more to work with. They had a lot of interesting works to show from many time periods and movements. There was an installation by Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles called "How to Build Cathedrals," which includes 2,000 bones, 600,000 coins, and 800 communion wafers. Surrounded by a black bit of shrouding, one steps inside the bone canopy and can walk around the sea of coins. Patrick and I also liked Richard Tuttle's "Light Pink Octagon" and the many prints in the permanent collection. It was too bad that we had to go through there so quickly, but there were important meetings and appointments for us to get to (aka Harry Potter in 3D...)

Overall, it was really nice to be there with those two individuals and to be around Austin. It was a wonderful end to my trip, too.

August Wrap Up: Part III

Next stop on the trip is Portland, Oregon. The Pacific Northwest is a really lovely area, and the bus drive down from Seattle went through some really beautiful areas. Getting into the city was a relief, and I was lucky enough to be able to stay at Kelsey's really quaint digs in SE.

I didn't do as much "sight-seeing" in Portland - I just kind of wandered around and absorbed it all. I went to clothing stores, Voodoo Donut, Powell's wonderful and huge bookstore, Reading Frenzy, Portland Art Museum- they even played Iron Man in one of the parks one night. I got to ride Kelsey's bicycle around and went by a nice arts space that Victoria had told me about, Artistry. The Farmer's Market on Saturday was amazing, and I loved walking around talking with my brother on the phone and stuffing my face with food.

It was really nice to finally see Portland after having heard such fantastical stories about it. It seemed as though everyone was just enamored with the place, I didn't see how it was possible. Actually going there was a great experience, because even though it was great and relaxing and fun, it was just a place. And that's cool.

I am reading Murakami's "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" and there's a part where he says, there will never be a place that has everything you need.

August Wrap Up: Part II

I left the dry heat of Phoenix, boarded a plane, and was greeted by the windy cool air of Seattle, Wa (shington). Getting into town was easy enough. I wasn't staying with anyone, but my friend Joey was able to join me for Seattle festivities! We stayed at these two sweet hostels and were keen on exploring what makes Seattle great. We did SO MUCH, too!

Mariners: Joey and I hit up the Mariners game, which was a lot of fun, even though there was no air-conditioning OR value food items. No matter what baseball game I go to, I usually want to cheer for Ichiro, so it's good that he's on the team.

Aquarium, Pike Place Market and the Piers: Walking around Seattle is really nice. At Pike Place, there are little markets with food and crafts and flowers everywhere - everyone is out and about. We walked along Alaskan Way and visited the aquarium, Ivar's (a seafood restaurant), cute little shops and piers. The view was fantastic. Going up the Space Needle was nice as well; the sound is gorgeous at night.

Seattle Art Museum: I was excited about this museum, because there was an exhibit on display called "Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949-78". It was basically a survey of the history of painting, most notably physical "attacks" made upon it. From Flavin's altogether removal of the canvas and Yoko Ono's irreverence to high untouchable art, to the extreme case of "oxidation" paintings, where Warhol and others urinated on canvases, the Seattle Art Museum was meticulous and thorough. They even had an audio tour, telling the visitors about artists like Jasper Johns, Bruce Nauman (who I have an all-time superstar teen crush on), and Paul McCarthy. Aside from this exhibition, there were a lot of other nice things in the permanent collection, like Do Ho Suh's "Some/One" and Cai Guo Qiang's car installation, "Inopportune: Stage One"... and I really really dug the place.

Fremont: On one of the days, Joey and I attempted to walk to the Fremont district, self-proclaimed center of the universe. Little did we know that the map was foreshortened, and it was really really far. Several miles of walking later, we were walking across the Aurora Bridge and could see Mount Rainier in the distance. We ate at a nice little burger joint and walked around the quaint neighborhood. We climbed up on the Fremont Troll and enjoyed the vibe of the area.

August Wrap Up: Part I

For the month of August, I had known for quite some time that I was to be between cities. I would be starting my internship at the beginning of September, but Nalle St. would be no more at the onset of August. I had wanted to do some traveling in the meanwhile, so here is what ended up happening. I brought my camera, but I'm honestly just awful at using it, so you're going to have to use your imagination (and also enjoy the pictures of awesome works of art):

Phoenix, Arizona
: My best gal Natasha went and got married to this Michael fellow last spring, and they flittered off to Arizona so that he might go to Law School (she also got a bitchin' job there). I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to be their Dupree for a bit of time.

Diamondbacks: Did you know that Chase Field is one of several air-conditioned baseball stadiums? Not only was the game enjoyable, but the value menu meant that I could enjoy a bottle of water and a corndog for less than five dollars... !

Phoenix Art Museum: I enjoyed looking through this museum's contemporary art galleries. It had a good breadth of artists, I think, and I got to see some artists' works in real life, some of which I hadn't had the pleasure to yet in the past. Katz, Pearlstein, Longo, Doig, Kahlo, Rivera, Close, Kapoor and other notables sprinkled the place. Julian Opie has a public art piece on permanent display there, viewable from a room in the museum as well as outside, "Julian and Suzanne Walking". The highlight of the Museum would have to be Yayoi Kusama's installation piece, "Make your move: you who are getting obliterated in the dancing swarm of fireflies". Walking into a room that was pitch black, there are little lights suspended by strings/wires that appear to fill the room with little dots of light. With reflective surfaces on each of the walls, the effect is multiplied and extended.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art: This museum would have been a complete waste of time had it not been for the Nick Cave exhibition that was on display there. For whatever timing reasons, it was one of the only galleries open at the museum on the day that we went. BUT. Like wearable sculptures, Cave's pieces are transformative and fashionable. They are so elaborate and crafty, you gotta hand it to him. I mischievously took pictures until the guard (obviously) told me to stop. And no, this isn't an image I took:

The area that they lived in seemed really nice. It was a scorching 114 degrees, but what do you expect when you go to Arizona in August?? I'm sure it cools down at least a little bit. Plus, their resort-like swimming accommodations weren't too shabby. Natasha and Michael were wonderful hosts, and spending time with the both of them for such a concentrated amount of time further revealed how nicely they match together.