Monthly Archives: March 2010

If you’re in New York You must see “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present” at MOMA

The New York Times covered this show in their recent art review section. ” With the opening on Sunday of “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” a long-building energy wave of performance art hits the Museum of Modern Art full force. The show is a four-decade survey of work by one of the field’s most visible and magnetic figures. And its combination of stressed-out flesh in documentary films and live bodies, some nude, in the galleries, makes pretty radical fare for this institution.”

I found this exhibit to be fascinating. Not specifically the content of the exhibition but more about to how my opinion of both her and performance art changed within five minutes.  Before my visit, I had a disgruntled opinion of her and her work.  The movie we watched in class left me wondering about the validity of her work.  I kept asking myself, “Why do so many people like her? How can anyone appreciate self-mutilation?”  But this exhibition made me realize that even though there seems to be a lot of self-mutilation, it’s actually only one aspect of performance art.

After waiting for about twenty minutes in line for the museum to open, the gates were released and several avid museum visitors ran up the steps to be first in the line to sit with the artist. I thought it was really interesting that you would be able to do this, hence the name of the exhibition.  Marina seems to have accomplished celebrity as an artist and this show is the perfect example of it.  There were a lot of people there to see her; the crowd was not just for the Tim Burton show.

My immediate thoughts of Marina were that at 64 years old, she looks great for her age.  Especially considering all of the things that she has put herself through.  I also wondered what she was thinking while watching her stoically stare into space.  I found other people to be wondering the same.  I heard someone say, “Do you think she’s thinking about what she’ll be doing tomorrow? No, wait that’s silly. She’ll be doing this tomorrow and for another three months.”  Another three months . . . that’s over six hundred hours of sitting on that chair! Thank goodness she hasa cushion.

At the show a stranger came up to me and spoke about his appreciation for her, while describing her more famous works.  All of which were on display upstairs, where I began to understand the full realm of Marina’s work.  Looking into that van brought on imaginary memories of she and her partner together, eating, sleeping, working, and so on.

The most attention-getting piece in the first room was the nude human doorway entitled, Imponderabila.  I was surprised by what I noticed while watching the different guests pass through this doorway.  The majority of the men who walked through faced the woman.  The female audience members however, seemed to face both the man and woman in about the same amount. My uneducated guess would say that their reasoning was based upon their level of sexual comfort with the given sex.  In the video footage of the original piece, I noticed how Marina and her partner fit together perfectly, similar to puzzle pieces.

After seeing the exhibition I have drawn the conclusion that her work reflects her life’s experiences.  She reacts to these experiences through performance art.  Instead of painting something to express her feelings she uses her body as the canvas.  The instances where she pushes herself to the ends of her abilities is both distressing and inspiring.  They’re things that others have wondered or thought of, like screaming until you lose your voice or eating an onion, but they’re also things that most of us would never do.  Along with testing herself to take part in these experiences, she tests the audience to withstand watching her.  As I went along for the ride in a few of the pieces, there were some that I could not.  I don’t really know what that means, but I do know that I have a new appreciation for performance art. Through this exhibition I learned how this genre is a valid form of art. These conceptual works of art are just as important as the many other physical works that line museum’s walls.

Thank you www.nytimes.com for these lovely photographs.

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U.E.S. (Upper East Side) 2nd hand shopping

Thrift stores abound on the UES! Not too many know this about the district with one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country. But yes, not only are there are great 2nd hand designer stores, there also are great thrift stores.  In this installment of the UES I will focus on the less expensive thrift stores that you will find in the neighborhood. However, if you can’t wait to explore this neighborhood and would love to check out the designer resale stores, you check out the handy-dandy map I’ve created.

This image was taken from the HW website. It’s a photograph of the 17th street location.

As seen on the map numbers 1 & 8, the Housing Works Thrift-shops are my favorite thrift stores!  Not only are there great articles of vintage and second hand clothing, many designers will donate overstock or samples to these stores.  Sometimes even the original tags are on the pieces. I have found Marc Jacobs shoes, dresses and tops with the original price tags. I also bought a brand new pair of Cheap Monday jeans there.  Housing Works also offers great furniture, hence my couch that bought there. It was still wrapped in the plastic, an overstock item from some furniture company. It’s a pullout couch, wool fabric with bolsters with a low price of $400!  The two Louis XV style chairs I also picked up from there for . . . $75 ea.!

On the UES there are two Housing Works locations. One on 90th and 2nd avenue and the other on 77th street between 3rd and 2nd avenue.  I tend to find better deals at the 90th one because I’m convinced the people who price the product don’t know its worth. I’ve bought all of my furniture and artwork from this location because of that.  But there are always lines before the store opens on weekends. There are definitely cat fights at this location too! Its intense. The 77th street location is great for clothing, the last time I went I bought a BCBG Maxazria blazer for $30 and a J.Crew wool blazer for $8 (because it didn’t have a price tag and the girl at the register charged what she thought it was worth).

photo found here.

2. The Arthritis Foundation Thrift Shop expels the perfect musty-mothball-grandma thrift store smell.  Although I haven’t found anything here yet, there is a good selection of both men’s and women’s clothing.

PRELOVED A Designer Room volunteer shows off choice offerings, including a Thierry Mugler suit.

Photo found here.

3. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop is a very large thrift store that is well organized.  You’ll never know what gems you’ll find here. Sometimes a little over priced, the best time to go is during the 1/2 off  sales. One time as I was passing by, I noticed the same exact pinched pleat drapes that my mother had.  It was so odd because hers were custom made!  This is the photo I took from my IPhone.  She could not believe it! (see below)

4. & 9.  The Spence-Chapin Thrift Shop is a store that I have not yet explored myself.  I have heard great things about it though.

According to  The New York Magazine Shopping Section the “Spence and Chapin, long bastions for the education of New York’s blueblood feminine heirs, sponsor thrift shops to support the Spence-Chapin organization’s considerable good works in the larger community, mainly by recycling the high-end, high-quality cast-offs of elegant, label-happy UES moms. The jam-packed store donates thousands of dollars every month to charity, earned from the sale of near-new castoffs like Prada and Miu Miu dresses, Carolina Herrera leather totes, and Marc Jacobs peacoats, all at half their one-time retail price—or less. Granted, the gently worn clothes can be a season or two behind, but how much does a year matter when you’re talking Lacoste polos or lined Ralph Lauren gray flannel slacks? The shop is organized by category, with men’s clothing towards the back and women’s offerings crammed onto racks that line the whole space; a selection of furniture—heavy on the kitchen tables and chairs—is also available. The shop is usually crowded with both merchandise and people; shop early for the best picks. While the jaundice-suggestive fluorescent lighting could be better for choosing among the used Luca Luca gowns, shopping at the Spence-Chapin thrift shop is worth it for the bargains alone. Sadly, no schoolgirl uniforms are for sale.” — Faran Alexis Krentci

That sounds great to me.  I’ll definitely be checking out this gift shop very soon!

Read more: Spence-Chapin Thrift Shop – – Upper East Side – New York Store & Shopping Guide http://nymag.com/listings/stores/spence-chapin-thrift-shop01/#ixzz0iBo7bHfv

5.  At the Cancer Care Thrift Shop you’ll find, after some scrounging and digging, designer brands with the tags still on them along with some cute costume jewelry, and handbags.  All proceeds benefit CancerCare‘s free, professional services for people with cancer and their loved ones.

6. I’ve never made it to the Council Thrift Shop because they’re hours are 11-4:45 and closed on Sundays.  But according to reviews, for a thrift store it can be a little pricey.  One reviewer from Yelp.com ended up buying a Krups espresso machine for $17.00 though.

7.  The Goodwill store is one of the larger stores that is definitely lower priced then the UES thrift stores because most of the people who tag the items do not know who’s who and what’s what when it comes to designers.  In the past I’ve bought a few Ralph Lauren Purple label blazers for $8.  Upstairs is the mens department, where nice button-down dress shirts can be found. Last week, my boyfriend found this really nice flannel. It was a weird no-name brand “Criminal Damage” (we had a chuckle) but its a great plaid and nice colors.  The store is well known for putting their better pieces in the window displays. Once a month or sometimes biweekly on Saturday mornings the store will sell the goods via first come first serve.  If the merchandise is worth it, there will be a line down the block. This store is definitely worth looking into.

The original article from the New York Times, published on June 10, 2009, features the Goodwill stores. The location in the picture is of the Chelsea store.  That’s another neighborhood with great vintage finds. The Chelsea installment is coming soon!

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Rainy days make me think. Maybe too much.

Wow, I never realized how hard blogging would be. Especially when you’re trying to write about something interesting and not so narcissistic. Which is what I have been working on for the past few days.  Recently, my boyfriend and I booked a trip to Seattle and while searching for interesting places to shop and things to do, I found it really hard to find what I was looking for.

These struggles caused me to be more self-critical of my own blog.  What am I?  As there are boundless shelter blogs out there, I almost find too many inspiring blogs to keep up with.  That is why I’m not going to focus on my shelter, but more on my city.  I know there are people out there are looking for the “Real” New York things to do.  I am going to embark on a series of installments that will guide us through the things that one can do . . . for fun, in New York City!  Such miscellaneous things may include: thrift store shopping, drinking coffee, walking your dog, vegetarian restaurants, grocery shopping, places for have  happy hour, museum days, furniture shopping, fabric shopping and even craft shopping.  I’m sure I’ll think of more ideas along the way, which will lead me off my path a little, but I promise it will all tie in and make sense! And of course, all the while, I will still be adding updates of my apartment’s progress, because a big part of living in NYC is making your only 500 sq. ft. work for you.  Well I hope you enjoy my perspective of New York City and thanks for stopping by!

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Dreaming about my bedroom . . .

Beds and bedrooms that I dream about:

(found on Lonnymag.com)

Thank you Livingetc.com for the majority of these indulgences.

Here’s a rendering of what I’m picturing for my bedroom. Minus the finishing touches like the drapes and bedspread.

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500 Days of Summer

So I watched this film yesterday and I fell in love with the set design. After a little research and picture searching, I realized that I am not alone. Apartment therapy spoke about how they used LA as a backdrop. “This is the LA that’s familiar to those of us who live here: the juxtaposition of parking lots and stately edifices; gated old buildings whose courtyards are full of prickly over-sized dusty palms and cacti; bars hidden on dark deserted steep streets and apartments up rickety staircases that remind us of those belonging to our friends”.

In fact, my boyfriend and I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to guess which city it was filmed in. I really had to rack my brain to try to figure which city would have turn of the century architecture along side of palm trees.

(photos found on googlemaps.com credits to: Sid Wazhere & Joseph Amado)

The real beauties in the film were the main characters’ apartments. Tom’s apartment had a full blackboard wall in the bedroom where for the majority of the film there was a headboard drawn behind the bed, but later changed in the LA skyline. Summer’s place was completely wallpapered in a large blue toile, that felt both quarky and fresh.

I combined a few inspiration images of Summer’s bedroom that make up what I considered the best elements of the room.

1. Antique Iron Bed frame

2. Glass French Doors

3. Toile

4. Paper Krane tree

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House Exchange

I don’t think there is anyone out there reading, but I am questioning a house exchange. Has anyone ever done one? If so what are your experiences? Good/Bad? I’m planning a trip to Paris this summer and I know that it would be so much cheaper to just swap my NYC apartment for someone’s in Paris apartment. I live in a great location and I know Paris well enough to know that I’m not getting duped by someone who says they live in the “center of Paris” but really do not.

But what I’m really wondering is what kind of legal rights does one have and what do you do with your stuff? Especially clothes? I have a small closet and definitely don’t have a enough space to share with someone else. I put my place up on a site and I have gotten a few bites and some people who are very interested but I’m afraid to make the jump.  Just imagine how great it would be if it all worked out. le sigh.

This is my new favorite site: Lodgis.com .  There are many apartments that I want to stay in,  this one in particular is within our price range and super cute!  

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