Sunday, February 21, 2010

12:06 p.m.

Despite waking up at nearly noon, and despite the early-evening snow, Saturday was not lost. We trekked to the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. The narratives of the three rooms that house the permanent collection stand well on their own and also tell a compelling story when grouped together. On the most basic level, the collection begins with photography and photorealistic paintings and ends with the abstract and inscrutable. In between you find contemporary sentiments (light-hearted cynicism) towards abstract expressionism, the New York School in particular.

Also, I think Los Angeles-based Allison Schulnik is my new favorite. At first, I was struck by the sculpture-like quality of a work called Skipping Skeletons. The lightness of the moving skeletons is both eery and wonderful as you imagine their bodies bobbing up and down from behind a bed of flowers so thick that it becomes three-dimensional. Viewing this work is experiential and involves more than just one sensory implementation. The scent of oil still wafts from the canvas. The colorful, sculptural quality of the flowers makes you want to pluck one from ground. This is a living, breathing painting, and the title/subject makes it even more amusing to interpret. The museum also showed Hobo Clown, a stop-motion short by Schulnik, which I could have stayed and watched for the rest of the afternoon.

Still from Hobo Clown

At the moment, I'm really enjoying Forest, another Schulnik animation, which is also known as the official video for Grizzly Bear's "Ready, Able."
Still from Forest

Although the museum's permanent collection is noticeably small, I was sated after the visit. It's refreshing to be in a room among a few fantastics than in a space with too much of not-good-enough.

Afterwards we went to quite the opposite — Dean & Deluca — for a sensory-overloaded lunch, complete with a tour of the cheese case (just looking, no eating), biscotti samples, a pefectly sized cappuccino and cupcake-shaped truffles.

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