Day 9 Culture Project
Just a few days ago, I was on 86th street just west of the park at Bard, and today I arrived at 86th east of the park and headed toward Museum Mile. East is very different from west when it comes to living by Central Park. The west side almost seems like you may be able to afford it if you were relatively successful. It’s definitely full of class, but is also lived in. East seems impossible, with doors and windows double the size of what common people are used to. I often imagine one family living in one of the 4 story estates that flank the streets running perpendicular to the park.
The Jewish Museum has its place along Museum Mile aka 5th avenue (the street that runs along the west of the park) and between 92nd and 93rd streets. I noticed it as an incredible structure at first and thought – this must be it. The placard on the exterior reassured my suspicion that this is one of the original residences built along 5th avenue, erected in 1908 using French Gothic design. At times walking through the grand rooms throughout the exhibit I would be reminded that this was at one point a home and awestruck, I would gawk at the architecture and interior sensibility.
The first exhibit, which prohibited photographs, was my favorite throughout this project thus far for the inspiration it provoked within me alone. I have to admit that though I enjoyed the rest of the museum for its history and cultural undertones as I have always wanted to learn more about Jewish culture and tradition, the art of Jack Goldstein and his retrospect titled X 10,000, had been what I have been searching for since the get-go of this project. I plan to return for absolutely sure as I feel the entire museum in itself was so well organized and lush with four floors of varied information that I would enjoy returning here again and again to absorb whatever I may.
Goldstein was the epitome of a renaissance man. The 1st floor’s entire gallery was filled with his accomplishments from the early 1970’s-late 1980’s, including paintings, film shorts, writings, records and sound. At first I was overwhelmed by his concepts though they were simple, but later I realized he saw art as a whole in which nearly every sense should be used and I completely agree. Sound should belong to visuals, should belong to words, which should belong to motion. His paintings were colorful explosions of light and dark on such a large scale they consumed me, but I didn’t mind and would have stayed there for as long as I could. He accompanied the experience with sound recordings he had made compiling sci-fi scores. It was a beautiful effect.
Another contemporary installation, Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh, was housed on the second floor had an immersive technique combing text with six large projections of shorts. I was very surprised to see the modern contrasting with the other galleries full of antiquities and felt it to be very balanced. It seems older museums focus on antiquities and leaves the installations to galleries, but this had a combined effect, which was one of the greatest elements to this museum.
Inspiration: Large scale paintings, bold color, acrylic paint, multi-sensory art, natural phenomena, explosions, lava, space, sound, time, motion, film, film shorts, abstraction, simplicity, tradition, sacred, California, Judaism, torah scrolls, kabbalah, sourdough bread, French-gothic style architecture
Tidbit: For those who are of non-Jewish descent and visual as well, I suggest gaining a better understanding of the culture, history, and tradition in the galleries extensive permanent collection, which clarifies symbols, the Jewish calendar, beliefs, and displays beautiful items from nearly every nation that Judaism exists.
Cost: Free Saturdays