Well, I did not finish FIRE BREAK yesterday, due to taking the Whole. Day. Off.
Walked across Central Park, with other hardy winter-loving souls (it was actually a delightful 40-something degrees w/ sunshine: great city-walking weather). Met up with my sister, down from the wilds of Upstate, and caught the second-to-last day of the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit at the Whitney. I'd been to the O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe, but this focused on her Abstract works, which were new to me. Fascinating early works, and her reasons for moving away from the Abstract -- because critics/public misinterpreted what she was trying to do -- reminded me of a conversation writers have on an ongoing basis, about the balance between implying and explaining a theme in a short story. The urge is to create the scenario, set the events in motion, and then make the reader work and stretch for their revelation. But the truth is
a) that's damned difficult, and doesn't always work,
b) most people read for immediate satisfaction, not a deeper grappling, and so the guidance needs to be more directed.
Also, a sobering look at what it was like to be a strong female artist in that time period, and how she had to recreate herself away from the "sexual imagist" idea that came out of her lover's nude photos of her. Another reminder that society as a whole has always had trouble with the idea of a female as both sexual/sensual and serious.
Then we went to see the Roni Horn exhibit, which I hadn't known about. I'm not a huge fan of Minimalism -- I prefer content informing context, and context informing content, the interplay between object/observer/environment -- but I loved what she took from that movement and made her own. Her "Still Water," (a photo essay on the River Thames) completely blew me away. The installation is fascinating, almost too much. You move in to read the words (footnotes! totally stream of consciousness and yet academic footnotes!) and then back again to see the visual, then in again...and when you move back you see something you hadn't noticed before (or not -- my sister didn't see it until I pointed it out). I probably could have spent an hour just int hat room, and am sore disappointed that the book of that project was out of my budget.
A lot of good stuff there, that will feed and poke your brain. It's there for another week, and if you're in NYC I highly recommend it.
Then I went all the way downtown to the World Financial Center to meet terri_osborne for the arts>WFC concert, featuring the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra. Most of the crowd was clearly there to hear Neil Gaiman do the narration for Peter and the Wolf (does everyone become a 6 year old again when listening to that?) but I actually was more interested in the second part of the concert -- the world premiere of "And Bold to Fall Withal -- Henry Hudson in the New World." The music was beautiful, the tenor (Jason Danieley) quite wonderful, the libretto... not so much with impressing me, alas. But I'm glad I heard it. There was also a performance of Charles Ives' "The Unanswered Question" which was extremely moving and -- again -- brain-poking, and then they ended with Tchaikovsky's waltz from Eugene Onegin, and invited the audience to get up and dance, which many people did. A lovely ending to a lovely day.
And now I have to get back to the work thing, yes....
- a day away from the computer...