Monday, January 30, 2006

"The greatest act of cultural vandalism since the destruction of the library at Alexandria"

That was my reaction to the rehang of early Modern Art at the MOMA, anyway. Now Jed Perl, a more noted and nuanced critic, is saying much the same at TNR:
The new building, which I admired for its refined details and suavely balanced volumes in the weeks before the grand opening, when it was nearly empty of people, has pretty much proved to be a fiasco. The more people there are in Yoshio Taniguchi's spaces, the less poetic those spaces feel, which is just about the most devastating thing that you can say about a work of public architecture. The fault, though, is not Taniguchi's alone. Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon, Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie, and Barnett Newman's Vir Heroicus Sublimis, those landmarks of twentieth-century art, look lost in the new museum, because they have been torn from the moral landscape that they inhabited, with its visionary fervor and its progressivist ideals. While the curators at the Modern would have us believe that they are currently engaged in the perfectly legitimate task of rethinking that landscape--of giving its modern perspectives a postmodern overhaul--[museum director Glenn] Lowry has in fact turned the whole damn landscape into a mall in which Picasso, Matisse, and Mondrian are merely what happens to be available, as interchangeable as H&M, Target, and the Gap.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Meme for the new year: 7 x 7

1. Seven things to do before I die: learn Chinese; (finally!) read Dostoevsky in the original; spend an extended period of time in Paris; write a book; organize all my old photos and mementos; fill in all those reading gaps that nag me; raise baby Whit to be a good person.

2. Seven things I cannot do: ski; remember to-dos from my husband on a regular basis (!); get things done ahead of time; cozy up to strangers at cocktail parties; get our tv to work properly; stick to an exercise program; forgive easily. Damn, it feels depressing to write those all down.

3. Seven things that attract me to Brooklyn: the bridge; the views from the Promenade; Jacques Torres!; a borough president who stands at the end of the bridge with a bullhorn welcoming people during crises; Prospect Park; general child-friendliness; being just the right distance from Manhattan.

4. Seven things I say most often: "I love you, baby Whit"; "What do we have here?"; "Well, I got interrupted"; "I love you, dh"; "Sorry I'm late on this one"; "Someday, when I get all this stuff organized"; "Hmmph." Actually nonsense rhymes for the baby lead the list, but I'm reluctant to list them here.

5. Seven books I love: Well, there is the whole "Unrequired Reading" list, you know. But if I had to choose: A Time of Gifts; Auden's Selected Poems; Keats' letters; The Magic Mountain; Franny and Zooey (sorry!); The Snow Leopard; Anna Karenina.

6. Seven movies I (could) watch over and over again: Groundhog Day; Un condamne a mort s'est echape; 8 1/2; Master and Commander; The Usual Suspects; Casablanca; Singing in the Rain.

7. Seven people to tag: I am *way* too shy to do this. (If I weren't, Scott McLemee and Julie of A Little Pregnant would be on the list, though.)