you maniac

After much anticipation, I had the pleasure of returning to the Berkshires for a romp through the MASS MoCA universe a few weeks ago.

I landed in Providence, Rhode Island, where I met with Margaret, one of the loveliest on the planet. We hung out in Providence for a bit, taking a long walk, and the next day we drove to North Adams. There we met up with Kacey K! She and her (awesome) guy Ryan shacked up with us at the posh Porches, a hotel near the museum that we had before, with intern eyes, looked at adoringly. There were creepy paint by number pieces and ugly lamps in the room, but it was great to stay there nonetheless.

We got to tour through the MASS MoCA space, which is always filled with such fantastic work. We wandered around, past the Sol Lewitt paintings, by a film piece by Sanford Biggers, and on through our old stomping grounds... it felt really nice. We got to see all the people we had hoped to, and ended the night with a performance by Justin Townes Earle, beer with friends, and an outdoor hot tub. The next day, we stopped by Williamstown and toured the Williams College Museum of Art, which had an engaging retrospective on Asco that I was really into.

After bidding goodbye to Kacey and Ryan, Margaret and I continued on to Portland, Maine. By this time (for the whole trip really), I had this horrible sinus infection, but I was determined to enjoy this stolen time! We arrived in Portland at night, after nearly everything had closed down. In the morning, we walked around, most notably by the water, and through the little shops in the historical district. We went along Maine's coast, past the the Portland Head Light and I thought about something a friend had told me, about how some people running the lighthouses would get so lonely that they'd kill their family if they had one. That it was lonely, and they probably only wanted someone to hang out with or make love to. Anyway, it was a beautiful day. I'm pretty sure I had had a dream about that place before seeing it in real life.

For the drive back, we made our way quickly from Portland to Providence, driving through towns (including Wells Beach!), stopping by an antique store/house, and underneath Boston's belly.

I'm always so happy to see Margaret and Kacey, and am lucky for those opportunities to go on adventures with them. When I got back from the airport that night, Patrick rolled up in my Jetta blasting hot jams. Despite how great the journey was, it was good to be home.

niagara niagara

This weekend, Maggie and I took a road trip in order to see Niagara Falls. With just around 36 hours to work with, we filled it in as much as we could with New York state and Niagara Falls experiences.

Highlights include our late night arrival to Ontario, Ray at Howe Caverns (drawn renditions forthcoming), Mexican food in Syracuse, 2-year old Mila at the tea house, and getting our glasses misty.


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.