A friend of mine was visiting from London years ago, and had brought with her a big box of chocolates she’d picked up on a trip to Belgium. The group of us chatted as we sampled from it, when someone exclaimed, “I can only have one piece, it’s so rich!” Having probably devoured eight pieces by that point, I’ll admit that the notion of having too much of a good thing eluded me in that moment.
My unnatural capacity to consume desserts aside, I find that the law of diminishing returns tends to hold true in most other areas of life, and a self-imposed threshold can do wonders in increasing one’s enjoyment. For me, this definitely applies to art. While it’s easy to lose oneself in a great museum or gallery for hours, I’ve discovered that after a certain amount of time has passed, or after I’ve viewed a certain number of pieces, my ability to truly appreciate additional works decreases. The Rubin Museum has a unique approach to this problem.
The Rubin Museum features art from the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions, but they’ve always promoted a more immersive experience, encouraging visitors to engage in more than just walking through the galleries. They regularly offer meditation and yoga sessions, talks and a variety of other programs to “inspire visitors to make connections between contemporary life and the art and ideas”.
On K2 Friday Nights, the Rubin’s galleries are open to the public for free from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The in-house cafe is converted to the K2 Lounge, which offers tapas and drinks while a DJ spins. A musical act plays in the theater and a movie is screened there later in the evening (tickets sold separately). So whether you want to meet some friends for happy hour in a more creative space, or you happen to love the DJ/band/movie on tap for that evening, it’s a fun way to slowly introduce yourself to the material on display.
In addition to the music and movie offerings, you can also choose to take a 45-minute exhibition highlights tour. Please note, when we took the tour, the music from the K2 Lounge often drowned out the mild-mannered guides, and the group was a little too large to effectively make it an enjoyable experience for all. If you happen to see a smaller group gather by the staircase at 7:00 pm, then by all means, jump in — the guides can offer history and some other meaningful tidbits on the featured works. If it’s a larger group, then you might be better served wandering the galleries yourself with their audio tour guide which can be accessed through their website, their app, or a traditional device borrowed from their admissions desk.
The philosophy of the region is inspiring, and the works from mostly unnamed artists are vibrant, thought-provoking and captivating. K2 Friday Nights are a great way to start a weekend.
150 W 17th St
Pair it with:
Dinner at Momofuku Nishi
The Asian-inspired tapas have held you over, but now it’s time for some real food. In Chelsea you’ll find David Chang‘s latest venture, Momofuku Nishi, which is headed by Josh Pinsky and Carey Hynes, who collectively worked at Momofuku Ko for nine years. It’s a merging of Italian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese concepts, but all that really means is the chefs are using every tool in their box to bring you a crazy-flavorful, unique culinary experience. The Clams Grand Lisboa and the Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Smoked Yolk and Tarragon were highlights, but the dishes being served all around us were eye-catching (we asked neighboring diners what they ordered and they did the same) so return visits will be likely. You can make reservations two weeks in advance by signing up for the Momofuku Reservations website, though only a limited number of seats are made available so that walk-ins can still be accommodated. Additional bonus: No tipping.
232 8th Ave
Tuesday – Sunday 5:30 pm – 11 pm