New Orleans Weekend Getaways

Louisiana Like Magazine

If you’re a local looking for a “staycation” or driving in from another part of the state, consider the Ace Hotel (acehotel.com/neworleans), newly opened in the stylish Central Business District of New Orleans. Any day can easily be capped by the culinary experiences within the hotel’s walls. Its restaurant, Josephine Estelle, offers seasonal, Italian cuisine and is the brainchild of James Beard Award-nominated chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. For a nightcap at the Ace, the Lobby Bar
serves creative Southern.

Read the rest of the article here, published in Louisiana Life Magazine‘s May/June 2016 issue.

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Millenials Guide to Online Dating

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Picture a twenty something single living in the depths of Brooklyns. With hour commutes to work, and having no luck meeting that special someone in a social scene of silent movie festivals at the Film Forum, my lovely lady-friend Lisa joined the fleets of Millenials trying to find love—online, for free—on the dating website Ok Cupid.

To her chagrin she found love—after two attempts with the website—and one night sipping cocktails out and about a trendy bar scene she shared the nitty gritty of finally getting it right.

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Art’s Night Out: A Cozy Date at The New Museum

  AlthamerDraftsmenCongress2

Beat the Winter Blues and post-Valentine’s Day chocolate highs with that special someone at the trendy New Museum. Get cozy on Thursday Date Night with your long-time love—or that cute new flame—while satisfying your cultured core viewing the first U.S. exhibition of Polish installation artist—Pawel Althamer: The Neighbors. Be artsy—and thrifty—during this chic art museum’s free hours from 7:00 p.m.—9:00 p.m.

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Art as Experience in the millennial age : #GIF nation with Mike Kelley and threeASFOUR

he is so excited... for Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

he is so excited… for Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

“Art is thus a way of having the substantial cake of reason while also enjoying the sensuous pleasure of eating it.” 

John Dewey, “Art as Experience”, (269)

John Dewey was a man before his time. “Art as Experience” was published in 1934, when photography and the moving pictures so diversified artistic expression.

Today, technological advancements and an growing intersection between art and science is again redefining our own experiences with the expanding art arena. In New York City right now, installation art is a fulfilling way to experience art on a deeper level because its participatory nature affirms our own self existence.

Do not throw yourself into an existential crisis just yet; our millennial age is one of parody, humor, satire, and social media. What was once “deep contemplation of being” is now the instantaneous and immediately gratifying #selfie. Let us capture our experiences through the lens, let us fulfill our self-perpetuating prophecy and become a Gif Nation.

gifMill

MoMA PS1, Mike Kelley, “Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites”, 1991/1999.

MoMA PS1’s Mike Kelley retrospective is experiential to the core. Speaking of his early work Kelley said, “My entrance into the art world was through the counter-culture, where it was common practice to lift material from mass culture and ‘pervert’ it to reverse or alter its meaning… Mass culture is scrutinized to discover what is hidden, repressed, within it.”

His subversive art takes mass commodities and inverts their use value; we are surrounded by plushy stuffed animals appropriated into clouds. A stuffed animal in situ is a toy to be touched, loved, and with age, discarded. Kelley fetishizes the child’s play to objects of such immense value they no longer ages through rough house play, but are (literally) suspended in their glory, preserved in their superior state, abstracted to color field orbs, and transformed into a perverse object of immeasurable visual value. Like a glass menagerie on display, we may look, but we may not touch.

We may not embrace these plushy clouds, but we may preserve our experience photographically and capture this jovial state indefinitely.

“We are not sufficiently alive to feel the tang of sense nor yet to be moved by thought. We are oppressed by our surroundings or are callous to them. Acceptance of this sort of experience as normal is the chief cause of acceptance of the idea that art cancels separations that inhere in the structure of ordinary experience.” (271)

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The Jewish Museum, “MerKaBa”, threeASFOUR

The troupe threeASFOUR aims to encourage global harmony through fashion. Their exhibition MER KA BA at The Jewish Museum embraces many spiritual concepts: #Merkaba is a mystical form of Judaism; ka ba alludes to the Kaaba, one of the holiest sites in Islam and the focal point of the Mecca pilgrimage; Muraqaba is a Sufi meditation practice.

In ancient Egypt the hieroglyphs mer (rotating light), ka (spirit), and ba (body), placed together, describe the energy field through which the soul enters the body and ascends to higher planes. Merkaba  is a meditation of mental transcendence.

@threeASFOUR created a total installation to reinstate a mind/body connection. One may glide through the space, ending with a Mirror Temple of sorts, and be spiritually awakened through a synasthetic experience. Or, we may choose to dance and take #selfies to reinstate our own 21st century millennial autonomy. The choice is yours.

“In the end, works of art are the only media of complete and unhindered communication between man and man that can occur in a world full of gulfs and walls that limit community of experience.” (109)

Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

Why I cannot move on from “Blue is the Warmest Color”

Blue Is The Warmest Color (La Vie d'Adèle) is a breakup movie, you will feel.

Blue Is The Warmest Color (La Vie d’Adèle) is a breakup movie, you will feel.

This is not a review of Blue is the Warmest Color (this movie is great, go see it now), but an exposition on the train(wreck) of events unfurled between the main character Adele and her girlfriend/ex-girlfriend Emma.

How long does it take for you to completely heal and move forward after a breakup? I remember an episode of Sex and the City where the girl pack decided “half the amount of time you spent in the relationship” is a rightful period for completing your Freudian “Five Stages of Grief” post breakup:
Denial…(this cannot be over)

Anger…(THIS CANNOT BE OVER)

Bargaining…(please, I’ll do anything for this not to be over)

Depression…(this is really over)

Until Finally,

Acceptance (This is over. Period).

Depending on which side of the tracks you are on (bearer or receiver of the breakup news), stages of grief may vary. I think the thought is unanimous however, that if you are not ready for the final scene, regardless of your stance, forgiving, forgetting, and moving forward from the ashes of a burned relationship takes time.

And this is exactly why I find time-stamping your recovery period irrelevant. The mind is an irrational fortress when it comes to feelings and emotions, and curbing the 24-7 nostalgia footage of your ex and yourself enthralled in love during the best of times has no visible expiration date during your solitary worst of times. A personal note before I jump down the emotional rabbit hole that is Blue is the Warmest Color; it was not until recently I was finally able to move on from a one month relationship I was in years ago. Our time together was literallly a blip in my dating radar. After he ended our relationship I gave myself time to heal: I cried it out (hard, in public, at night, on the phone, you name it), I ate sweets, I moped around my apartment, I consoled with my friends… I told myself “there’s more fish in the sea”, “he wasn’t that great anyway”, “this is great because now I can focus on me”… and all the other relationship tropes we tell ourselves to affirm a decision that was completely out of our control. My powerlessness and my lack of authority regarding my past relationship ending was the reason my grieving lasted for so long: it was having something I so cherished ripped from my arms without my consent that persevered my denial.

Those that hold the Power are always the victors. Blue is the Warmest Color’s captivating cinematography gracefully portrays the personal perspective of a young girl growing together with a woman she loves only to lose her because of her own irresponsible actions, and her emotional realization that she may never reunite with this woman she loved so dearly. We are voyeurs watching Adele mature from a confused adolescent to Emma’s passionate lover. Emma was her first, and Adele wanted her to be the last. However, Emma was unable to forgive and forget Adele’s heterosexual indiscretions. We watch Adele navigate her lonely life and even after years, she is unable to truly move on from Emma.

Our culture is more interested in moving on than grieving. Our friends tell us that dating is a great way to forget an ex-flame, and we will all soon find the person who we are truly meant to be with.

This movie actualizes a thought so repressed to our contemporary cultures’ accelerated postmortem breakup period: you may never move on. It is possible the person you left (or left you) was the person of your dreams and your life partner, and you will never find fulfillment comparable to that past relationship. As you float through consecutive failed relationships, your life is no longer a simple loop through the stages of grief, but becomes a continuous spiral, and after acceptance, grief rears its weary head and you again plunge to the depths of denial about the one that got away.

Adele may never move beyond Emma. But, she will live.

Go see this movie. It’s an existential rollercoaster, and it’s worth it.

Chelsea’s Blingy Tree Ring

The Michael Shvo Show; Or, When the Art / Not-Art Distinction Becomes Too Tricky to Tell

To be Art, or Not to be Art, that is the question.

To be Art, or Not to be Art, that is the question.

I work in Chelsea, a large gallery district in NYC. Art is everywhere in this neighborhood: gallerys line the streets, graffiti takes over building facades, public art fills the High Line, and at times artistic performances, interventions and temporary site-specific installations populate the urban Chelsea landscape. In this “art-is-everywhere” neighborhood, one will stumble upon a desolate gas station circumnavigated by 50, 7 Foot tall Arborvitae trees on 10th Ave at 24th Street.

Questions ensue: Is this an artist’s interpretation of the “Green” movement? Is this a comment on how capitalism affects our environment ala MoMA PS1’s recent “Expo X” Exhibition?  Is this the face of a new installation pursuing contemporary ecological concerns?

The short answer is no, and is quite the contrary in fact. This is not art, but is instead an artistic statement by Michael Shvo, a real estate mogul who recently bought the gas station in order to develop the land into luxury high rise condos. The trees stand as a hedge-fence around the future construction site. So really, the trees are just decorations until construction begins.

I was duped in thinking this tree wrapped gas station was an art installation because it is in the artsy Chelsea neighborhood. I am not saying anyone proclaimed this plot of land as art, I am only considering the complications in differentiating between works of art and artistic expressions because this tree grove could in fact have been a work of art if it was not tied to a decorative real estate venture. In contemporary art, it is hard at times to differentiate between “art” and “not-art”. The visual distinctions between these broad categories began slowly fading away when Marcel Duchamp turned a urinal upside down, signed it R. Mutt, and declared it an original piece of art in 1917, or later when Andy Warhol proclaimed his “Brillo Boxes” in 1964 as works of art. The slowly evaporating art/not-art divide has potential negative effects for viewers. I’m sure everyone has walked into an art museum and heard someone proclaim in front of a Jackson Pollock or a Paul Klee, “That’s not art. My child could paint that!” Literally, maybe. But, any person should realize art is historically embedded into the time period when it was produced and art is connected to the socio-politico-economic factors during that specific epoch. With that being said, maybe your child can paint like Pollock, but mimicry is not art.

Art is a means to an end in itself. Of course art is a part of our world network; it is meant to prompt ulterior interests, questions and concerns’ correlating to contemporary political, economic and social issues, but, art is in itself an autonomous entity. On the contrary, artistic statements serve a purpose and are rather a throughway towards a larger concept rather than an entity in itself. Because art is so vast today, it is important to distinguish even broad categories between art and artistic expressions. Not everything can be art; we must learn from early 20th century Avant-Garde masters like the Russian Constructivists or Bauhaus intellectuals who sought to integrate “art into life”. What ends up happening is, art as a factor drops out of the scenario and all we are left with is life.

This Tree Grove for me stemmed an age-old debate between art and not-art. Who is the final arbiter to judge its artistic status? Can art be an individual biased conclusion from person to person? Are we subjectively able to conclude arts existence, or is it the job of the art historian, curator, or critic to tell us what is and is not art? Answering these questions would be the topic of another essay. I do, however, see a difference between the public art on the High Line and Pine Trees on 10th Ave. Let’s just think of art as a completed novel, a constellation of words and sentences that exist in their own narrative right but can also inspire external quesionts and ideas about our situations as readers; artistic expressions on the other hand would be those words or sentences, existing as points along a pathway leading towards the larger story or the big picture. Art and not-art are potentially not that different, but they aren’t quite the same either.