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Posts tagged ‘New York City’

ArtSmart Roundtable – Jacob Lawrence

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are returning to a classic topic – artists!   You can find links below for the rest of the group’s posts.  I’m sticking closer to home this month and focusing on one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century.  With vibrant colors and dramatic figures, Jacob Lawrence brought to life the spirit of Harlem, the blue-collar worker and our American history.

Jacob Lawrence - The Builders, The Family

Jacob Lawrence – “The Builders, The Family”

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ArtSmart Roundtable – Medieval Europe at the Cloisters, New York City

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art history-focused travel blogs with a post on a common theme.  For March we are discussing Art Worth Traveling For.  You can find links below to all the group’s amazing destinations this month.  We also want to welcome the Roundtable’s newest member, Murissa from The Wanderfull Traveler!

I love medieval art and architecture.  In the back of my mind, I have the perfect medieval art itinerary planned: starting among the great Cathedrals of France, I move south through the Pyrenees into Spain and enjoy all the pilgrimage churches along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.  Someday I’ll do all of this!  But in the meantime, for an infusion of Medieval art without leaving the US, I have to recommend a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Cloisters Museum in New York City.  Going far beyond the normal concept of a museum, the Cloisters recreates the atmosphere of a medieval monastery by literally transporting parts from Europe and reconstructing them in Northern Manhattan.

Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Cloisters, New York City

The Cloister from Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, (ca. 1130–40) as can be viewed at the Cloisters Museum in New York City. This structure is Catalan in style but is from present day France. (Photo: The Cloisters Collection)

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The Gates in Central Park 2005

Cristo's Gates, New York City 2005, image 2

As the East Coast prepares for a very cool spell this weekend, I thought I’d dig up some bright and joyous winter pictures.  “The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979–2005” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude was erected in Central Park for two weeks in February 2005.  Given my love of contemporary art and temporary installations, it was a given that I would make an art pilgrimage* to see The Gates in real life.  And it was so worth it!  The dramatic orange structures really popped against the frosty ground, bare trees and grey city.  The heavy canvas flags whipped and snapped in the wind but from a distance appeared to floated and swung peacefully as they wound down the park trails. Read more

New Stikmen in Boston

yellow stikman, Boston, MA

After a drought of sightings, I found two new stikmen around Boston!  Last weekend, I was walking through Cambridge and found two new and very fresh stikmen who had not been there the week before.

Harvard stikman, Cambridge, MA

It was maybe 5 years ago in Washington DC that I saw my first “stikman”.  Stuck to the road inside a cross-walk was an 8 inch robot or alien looking creature made of white industrial vinyl.  It was an interesting little figure, but I thought it was a one-off piece of street art.  Then I started noticing stikmen all over – in Georgetown, in Dupont Circle, and down the National Mall.  It seemed like a well coordinated but subtle urban art campaign.  I assumed it was a DC phenomena because there were so many of them.  (At the time, I missed this Washington Post article noting 150 stikmen in the DC area.)  I was shocked to then spot more of these alien-robots in New York City, Boston and Seattle.  Turns out stikmen have been found in Indianapolis, Toronto, and even Denmark!  There is an extensive Flickr collection of stikmen sightings.

yellow stikman in crosswalk

The road stickers are just one aspect of the stikman project that was started 20 years ago.  The artist “Bob” (who has remained anonymous throughout) had a solo exhibition at pandemic gallery in NYC this past Spring.  The stikman project began with 3D stick figures (hence the name) affixed to city elements and has since branched out to stencils, hidden components in posters and, of course, the road stickers.

After I first noticed the stikmen, I would mention them to friends or pointed them out whenever one popped up.  No one claimed to have seen them before.  I think that’s why I like the stikmen.  They are right there on the road, thousands of people walk over them, and yet no one notices them.  These awkward, but endearingly primitive little figures are silently watching city life go by.  Over time, traffic and weather warps and wears away the stickers.  While their degradation makes for some beautiful effects, it does mean that the stikmen don’t last very long.  The first Boston stikman I found by South Station disappeared years ago.  Maybe that’s why I am so excited to see some new stikmen in the neighborhood!

So have you ever seen a stikman?  Keep your eyes open; you never know where he’ll turn up!

**UPDATE – I spotted a wooden stikman in Chicago!**

New York Public Library

NewYork City Public Library Lion

Iconic Lion of the New York City Public Library (Photo: Daydream Tourist)

While I was in town, I stopped by the New York Public Library to do some research for the Friedrich Wahle Project.  While I was able to cross out one lead, most of the books I needed were in storage or locked up in the prints department.  I did at least get to wander around and enjoy the beautiful library interior which made the trip over to Bryant Park well worth it.

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