Manifesto by Julian Rosefeldt at the Park Avenue Armory

If there were a list of naturally aggressive words in the English language, it feels like “manifesto” would be at the top of that list.  But it’s really just a declaration of intentions, be it Marx’s or lululemon’s.  Each one carries weight, because once we verbalize or document a motive, we make a formal commitment to it.  And one person who seems to understand the power of a manifesto is filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt.

Roselfeldt’s 2015 film, Manifesto, premiered at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and is finally being offered to New York City audiences at Park Avenue Armory’s Drill Hall.  In real estate-starved Manhattan, it’s hard not to walk into the space and be awed by its sheer size.  The dark, cavernous 55,000-square-foot room holds thirteen giant movie screens.  A lone bench sits in front of each one, and as you perch on it, a speaker delivers targeted audio for the piece of film you’re watching.

Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt Park Avenue Armory - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt Park Avenue Armory - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Manifesto features Cate Blanchett, who needs no introduction.  Blanchett is a veritable chameleon, shedding characters like skin, as you move from screen to screen.  She completely embodies the role of the teacher, the homeless man, and even, in one sequence, both the news anchor and the weatherperson.  Each persona has been painstakingly crafted to deliver the speeches that have been stitched together from well-known works and movements like the Dada Manifesto from 1918 to the Golden Rules of Filmmaking from 2002.  

“..the spiritual revolution cannot be enacted without conflict…”

“ can be attached to nothing and be happy…”

“..make room for youth, for violence, for daring..”

“ should not advance towards abbreviation or simplification but towards complexity..”

“ is now already too late and today is yesterday with its memory already lost..”

“..the present is the only active thing, the past and the future are prostitutes that nature has provided, so art is periodic escapes from this brothel..”

“..I am one of millions who do not fit in..”

Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt Park Avenue Armory - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt Park Avenue Armory - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
One of the gorgeous reception rooms at the Park Avenue Armory

One reviewer compared the project to Cindy Sherman’s work (we’re fans and have featured her work here).  But Blanchett’s impeccable performance of Rosefeldt’s remixed material isn’t all Manifesto has to offer.  There are stunning, quiet sequences of film — mostly captured in Berlin — that include beautiful buildings and awe-inspiring aerial shots.  A varied supporting cast helps to fill in each vignette.

Now that New York City is freezing over, indoor activities sound much more appealing.  Our last post featured Pipilotti Rist’s Pixel Forest at the New Museum, and we still heartily recommend it.  This is another wonderful option.  If you have friends or family visiting for the holidays, we imagine either one would give everyone a lot to discuss at the dinner table.  Manifesto is on display through January 8.

643 Park Ave

Monday–Wednesday: 12pm–8pm
Thursday–Saturday: 12pm–12am
Sunday: 12pm–7pm
Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve: 12pm–4pm
Closed Christmas Day

Pair it with:

Anything other than Sant Ambreous

Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt Park Avenue Armory - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt Park Avenue Armory - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
The $17 Avocado Toast at Sant Ambreous. Sorry, but no.

So here’s the deal.  We like to eat, and we truly believe everything’s better on a full stomach.   (You know the meme “Forgive me for the things I said when I was hangry?” A little close to home.)  A good meal can enhance an experience, whether it’s a visit to a museum or a trip to the theater.  So we try to offer food pairings that are in close proximity or that are worth a little bit of a hike.  But in our efforts to uncover those recommendations, we sometimes hit some duds.  And usually those just don’t make it to the blog.  Until now.

There are a number of great museums and galleries on the Upper East Side, but food options? Not so much.  We’ve featured a few that we like here already, such as Bluestone Lane, Lady M, Luke’s Lobster and Laduree.  Although we haven’t had a great experience at the SoHo Sant Ambreous location, we thought we’d give the Upper East Side location a shot for breakfast.  But I have to say, it was a terrible disappointment.  

First, like most UES locations, the prices are out of control.  I ordered the Avocado Toast, and it was one small slice of toast with avocado and egg on a bare plate.  For $17.  We both ordered regular coffee and they brought us two separate pots… for $7 each.  And the bigger crime?  The coffee was terrible.  The entire experience was disheartening.  Sant Ambreous has been around for awhile, and maybe they’ve just stopped trying.  

So here’s our manifesto:  We will not suffer overpriced, mediocre food.  And you shouldn’t either.  Try one of our other recommendations above from previous posts, or travel south/west for a much better culinary experience.  

Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt Park Avenue Armory - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
I know I’m flogging a dead horse here, but THIS is the Avocado Toast at Bluestone Lane. Which would you rather have?

1000 Madison Ave

– L.

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