Saturday, February 20, 2016

3 NYC Museums in 3 Days - Day 3, MAD

No, I'm not MAD.  MAD stands for the Museum of Art and Design, in Manhattan.  It's a lovely small museum, and I've been there before, several years ago, for a premiere of the film Hand Made Nation, about the indie-alternative resurgence of DIY crafters in the country.  My talented and beautiful niece, Faythe Levine, co-directed the film and authored the companion book, as well as the book and movie Sign Painters, which I previously recommend HERE on the blog.  But... I digress.
We had walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, one of my long-time goals,but by the time we got to the other side it had gotten very blustery cold outside and our plans to do further exploring in the neighborhood of the bridge were shelved.  But we had a few hours of the afternoon left, and decided that hopping on a subway to get us out of lower Manhattan, and exploring a small museum to get us out of the cold, would be our best option.  We chose MAD, and it was an excellent choice within our parameters.  (I should add, I took a LOT of pictures of the bridge, which I'll mostly save for some other time when I'm not sharing about a museum visit! In the meantime, here's a sampling.   You can see by our clothing and the sky that it was NOT the best of weather.)
 Left, look what we saw with the zoom lens, happening below!  Right, the iconic lines of the Brooklyn Bridge, that you can see in many well-known paintings. 
When we got to MAD, we learned that due to changing exhibits, one floor was closed, so admission price was reduced.  As it was, we barely got to see everything there because my husband suddenly felt ill and needed to get out in the air.  (Don't worry, he was fine by dinnertime!) The up-side of leaving when we did was that I didn't get to visit the gift shop, so I think I may have saved a lot of money.  Anyhow, it had warmed up again outside, and he wanted fresh air, so we walked the 25 or so blocks back to our hotel room.  Walking in NYC is one of my favorite things!  Here's what we saw at MAD:
 This is just a small sampling of the amazing sculptural furniture pieces by Wendell Castle.  Above, is a chair!  He used a process of stack lamination, and then began integrating digital technology into the stack lamination process, using 3-D scanning and more.  I'm not sure I understand it all, but the work is gorgeous and I've used a pic of me standing by one of the lamps, at the top of the post, to show you the massive scale of these pieces.
 Below, a chair and cabinet together.  I think I was particularly intrigued by Castle's life story and work because of the life story and how it reminded me of the work of a sculptor and furniture carver of another generation: my own grandfather, Harry Levine, who I've mentioned previously on the blog (you can use my labels or search bar to find these posts).  Grandpa Harry was a Russian-born Jewish furniture carver/sculptor, trained originally in Vilna (now Lithuania), who came to the country in his late teens.  I never met him, but I'm proud to have had a grandfather/artist with two sculptures on permanent display in the Brooklyn  Museum!  But I digress... Here's the chair/cabinet combo I mentioned before:
 And a chair/table combo, below, and a beautiful serpentine lamp.
And there was an interesting video to go along with the exhibit.  Here's a screen image of the artist.  Cool dude!
 The top floor of MAD is artist's studios that you can visit.  This AMAZING work is an installation of 2000 hand-hewn sugar cups by Margaret Braun.  She unfortunately was not in her studio the day we were there.  The yellow cast is due to bad color balance in the photos, that I'm having trouble completing eliminating.  The cups were pure white.
 One the one other open floor, was a fascinating exhibit by Jamaican artist Ebony G Patterson, called Dead Treez.  I had to race through this gallery, because that's when hubby started to feel ill, so my pictures are limited and poor.  There were mixed media installations, and jacquard woven photo tapestries.  The literature and a video that was playing talked about her exploration of class, gender, and race. 
 In the nooks and crannies of this gorgeous installation, there were little bugs and lizards and things, and all sorts of trinkets and jewelry.  I would love to have more time to explore in this display.
 And... I'll close with a few pics from the walk back to the hotel.

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