Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saturday at the Neue Galerie

On Saturday I went to see "the world's most expensive painting" at the Neue Galerie in New York. (At least it was the most expensive for a while). A little underwhelming but the museum on the whole was quite good. Unlike the bigger museums (like the Met) which are often too big, you don't feel like an idiot tourist doing the tickmark tourism. You actually learn new things. They had an exhibition on about Van Gogh and specially his influence in the German avant-garde art, so there was a lot of information.

There is also a Viennese style cafe at the ground floor. I went there but somehow felt very stupid alone among the elderly European tourists so didn't have anything. They have chairs, table, tea cups and all that stuff based on the designs of Adolf Loos or Otto Wagner, or that's what my guess is. May be I should have ordered coffee with that Viennese cake Sachertorte, but then I am generally extremely indifferent towards food. In any case eating is always a very shallow activity, I don't know why they have cafes and restaurants in art museums!

There is also a small bookstore which for a change had regular books about literature, philosophy etc too other than just museum catalogues and postcards as is generally the case with other museums. I was specially very pleased to see all my favourite authors lined one after the other. (Regular visitors of the blog would know, I am a big fan of Austrian literature.) There was a hefty biography of Robert Musil but only in German! There also was Hermann Broch's The Sleepwalkers which I have been eyeing for a while but it was quite costly so I thought I will look for it into the library first.

Spent the rest of the day, the entire afternoon and the evening, roaming in the central park, easily my most favourite part of the new york city. It is already summer so everywhere people were in various stages of undress. It was nice and that's when I also thought being brown skinned isn't so bad after all.

7 comments:

Szerelem said...

just saw your comment on my Vienna post....thank you :)
And I have been thinking of you often here because of all the Austrian authors I see in the book shops!!
You'd like this city....
And also I have been spending too much time in Viennese kafeehauses, eating sacher torte and admiring the architecture of Wagner and Loos...

P.S: My blog got a 'G' rating!

Madhuri said...

Nice - it seems to be a rich life you lead. Books, movies and art.
I have myself never been able to appreciate art except during a course I did on art and technology. That was the only time I visited the gallery (luckily it was running Picasso at the time, which I found amusing even though not so pretty)
As for cafes and restaurants - well galleries are often made to attract tourists and tourists never like a place if it doesn't offer food :-)

Alok said...

szerelem: photos are nice but we need more detailed dispatches. please. I don't know if I will ever get to visit these places... so many constraints, some real some imagined!

madhuri: rich life? hmmm. thank you, that's some consolation! :) I am not much of museum or gallery goer. I ofen scandalise people by saying that i would much rather read the museum catalogue and background essays than visit the actual museum. Going to these places without contextual knowledge seems to be such a waste to me.

jyothsnay said...

I am drawn to the perfectly artiulated n expressed "The Kiss" more...are not you aware that " the best thing would be to work on till art lovers feel drawn toward it of their own accord, instead of having to praise or to explain it..."
all art is at once surface and symbol, but if the surface is made a canvas for the art lover to tread the path the artist had already walked over, the surrealistic revealation happens...

Vincent van Gogh's "The Potato Eaters" is my all time favourite, because of its overall aura, the rawness, almost a natural rendition of the existence as portrayed by a dark room with light from an oil lamp, read the transparency of emotions in their faces..it drove me to be part of the conversations around the table..
yes, "The Sunflowers" and Vincent van Gogh are interchangeable
it's life like, the realism that is incarcerated in the eyes....

thanks for sharing this with us..excellent article!a pleasure to read

bhupinder said...

indifferent towards food!
What exactly do you live for?

antonia said...

ah this must have been the Corino biography on Musil. 2000pages or so. Looks very good.

Alok said...

jyothsna: I don't know much about painting. But even then I have seen quite a few by now. there were lots of Van Goghs in the exhibition. but again one can only appreciate these things if one has the necessary contextual and historical knowledge. yeah the Van Gogh paintings were very, ummm, "expressive".

bhupinder: thats a very big question. I have been looking for some answers. haven't found any yet. :)

antonia: I don't remember the name but I think it was the same one. Very hefty. It was a nice place. I felt I was in Berlin or Vienna!