The Art Gallery Crawl: A Secret Alternative To Art Museums In New York City

I’m hungry – take me to the food pairing!

We’ve made no bones about the fact that this blog keeps us pretty busy. But every once in a while someone cancels or plans fall through and we find ourselves with an opening in our otherwise overpacked schedule. So, what do we do when we have some time to kill? Well, we turn to a tried-and-true solution, one that requires no tricky reservations or extensive planning. And one that happens to be the best kept pseudo-secret in town: an art gallery crawl. Oh, and the cherry on top? It won’t cost you a dime.
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To Infinity and Beyond: Yayoi Kusama’s Festival of Life at David Zwirner Gallery in New York City

Why on earth would a nocturnal creature such as myself wake up at an uncivilized hour on a frigidly cold Saturday morning in November just to stand on line for nearly two hours–and not just any line but a discouragingly gargantuan queue that appeared to stretch into infinity? A fair question. And the answer is quite simple: when you have the opportunity to see recent works from an artist of Yayoi Kusama’s caliber, whose contributions have been essential to some of the most important artistic movements of the 20th Century, you dig deep. You pull on your big boy pants and wrap yourself in a puffer jacket. You fill a thermos with strong coffee. And you get moving.

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Variety is the Spice of Life: A Cooking Class with Taste Buds Kitchen

It’s not easy to admit, but I was a pretty spoiled child. Not with clothes or toys, but with time. My mother gave us few chores because she was worried that a heavy roster would distract from our education. She tirelessly carted us to and from school plus extra-curriculars and showed up for parent-teacher meetings. She did our laundry and cleaned our rooms. And she cooked. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had warm meals on the table every single day, meals that we still recall fondly (and shamelessly request on home visits).

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A Marriage of Tradition and Modernity: Yoshitomo Nara’s Thinker at Pace Gallery

I’m hungry – take me to the food pairing!

We’re big fans of the Ramones, so we excitedly trekked out to the Queens Museum last year for the Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!: Ramones and the Birth of Punk exhibit.  (That post can be found here.)  As expected, we found a bounty of fantastic memorabilia on display.  But the exhibit also included amazing art from the likes of Sergio Aragones and Shepard Fairey.  In fact, this little gem graced the entrance:

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Cat Lovers Unite! Behold Cat Camp NYC

We love our cat. Chloe is family in every conceivable way.

And if you sense that I’m both unapologetic and unequivocal when making these two statements​, let me explicitly confirm your intuition. I am. On both accounts. Full stop.

I do not have a young child, nor do I currently have elderly parents or in-laws to care for in their latter years. (I’m incredibly grateful that they are all, by God’s grace, in good health.) As for my grandparents, they have long since departed this world.

That’s not to say I don’t know something about being a caretaker. For years, I’ve had a dependent, just not one I can claim on my taxes. I’ve cleaned up her messes. I’ve prepared her meals. Even handled her 3P’s (pee, poop and puke). I’ve brushed her hair and cut her nails and attempted, rather unsuccessfully, to bathe her. I’ve transported her to checkups.  (And chewed my nails through a few medical procedures.) I’ve soothed her crying on airplanes and hushed her hissing on road trips. I’ve spent untold hours doting on her, reprimanding her, worrying about her and pulling at my ever-thinning hair in frustration.

Cat Camp NYC Cat Lovers - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

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Tango Pop-up Art Exhibition at Chelsea Market

One of the fundamental differences separating humans from most of the animal kingdom is our innate ability to recognize basic patterns. We are endowed with the cognitive aptitude to learn through association, to differentiate and categorize, to see the world through a frame of reference unlike any other living creature, and this acumen informs what we think and say and do. And what differentiates “creatives” from the rest of our species is their exceptional ability to see the achingly simple or astoundingly complex patterns the rest of us are unable to distinguish. The Chinese artist, Gao Youjun (also known as Tango), who is famed for his clever illustrations on the social network, Weibo, is a perfect example of this subspecies.

Tango Pop-up - Mad Hatters NYC

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Silence of the Music by OSGEMEOS at Lehmann Maupin

When you arrive at 2nd Avenue and 1st Street in the East Village of New York City, you’re met with a massive yellow figure climbing out of the wall, dressed in a turned-around cap and a track jacket,wielding a boombox.  It’s a tribute to the hip hop culture that heavily influenced the artists, Brazilian twins known artistically as OSGEMEOS.  The mural features one of their signature yellow characters which is meant to be racially neutral (in contrast with having to identify with one of the six preset emoji skin tones offered by WhatsApp), and it’s just one of the thoughtful concepts you’ll find at the duo’s exhibition, Silence of the Music, at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Chelsea.

Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo are consistently included in group exhibitions featuring street artists, which is how they made their start the 1980s.   Like most other street artists, accessibility was a priority.  But it served a greater need in their home of Sao Paulo where economic disparity, violence, and drug use were common societal ills.  At Silence of the Music, it’s difficult not to find hope and cheer in the pure explosion of color contained within the rooms.

Silence of the Music OSGEMEOS - Mad Hatters NYC

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IKON by Nychos at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Kurt Vonnegut said, “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.”  I believe we all have an innate desire to create — to produce something we can call our own, however big or small — whether we’re painting, baking a cake, taking a photograph, or writing.  Every now and again an artist is able to hone his or her craft to the point of achieving a signature style, one so recognizable that it’s associated instantly with that individual.  Nychos, the Austrian illustrator and urban street artist, is fortunate to be one of those talents.

Nychos is well known and highly respected internationally, with multiple gallery shows and murals already under his belt at the tender age of 34.  He created Rabbit Eye Movement, a collective of international artists, which not only brings its members together but gives them agency and a permanent home in a gallery space in Vienna.  In his documentary “The Deepest Depths of the Burrow”, Nychos cements his commitment and support for the proliferation of art, propelling the motto “Travel to Paint, Paint to Travel” forward.  

Nychos IKON

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[disrupt] at Story

As a typically angst-ridden, rebellious teenager living under the crushingly onerous, authoritarian regime of my strict, socially conservative parents, there was a particular allure to novelty shops such as the seedy, provocative Spencer’s Gifts and the subversive, iconoclastic Hot Topic.  Fortunately, one or the other could be found in virtually every mall in the American Midwest. And even though I rarely, if ever, purchased anything at these establishments, I fondly recall the hours surrendered perusing the shelves and racks filled with random, quirky objects, never knowing quite what it was I’d find on any given visit. But eventually I grew up, my sensibilities evolved and interest in such trivial things waned.

Disrupt Story NYC

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Shining City at the Irish Repertory Theatre

Ten years after a successful and critically acclaimed Broadway production, the Irish Repertory Theatre’s revival of Conor McPherson’s Shining City has very, very big shoes to fill — and to our delight, fill them they have, indeed.

Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly and starring Matthew Broderick, Billy Carter, Lisa Dwan, and James Russell, Shining City is a play that, when distilled to its essence, conveys a simple, unassuming ghost story — both figuratively and literally, though the figurative is much more compelling in this case. Staged largely in an office flat in Dublin and revealed primarily through a series of sessions between a patient and his therapist, it is a narrative wherein the apparition functions as metaphor for guilt over decisions made, actions taken, words spoken (and unspoken), injuries received and secrets harbored, and where hauntings are just the external manifestations of profound and debilitating regrets.

Billy Carter and Lisa Dwan in SHINING CITY at Irish Rep. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

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