November 24, 2014

Exciting Things in the Weekend Forecast

Thanksgiving in Atlantic City
I'm the biggest Thanksgiving grinch. I hate Thanksgiving food. Just the smell of turkey cooking in the oven brings vomit up into my throat. I'm actually nauseated right now just thinking about it. It's like I have some pregnant lady gene regarding the smell of roasting turkey. I hate gravy and cranberry sauce and stuffing. I like pumpkin pie and that's literally it. Pumpkin pie and a day off from work are the only good traditional Thanksgiving things. Thanksgiving doesn't even have a good Peanuts special for fuck's sake. I get extra bitter over Thanksgiving because it's fallen on my birthday literally 5 times in my almost 24 years of life, including my actual day of birth. I hate when everywhere is closed on my birthday almost more than I hate being forced to smell roasting turkey on my birthday.

Luckily, for the past couple of years, my family has been meeting in Atlantic City for Thanksgiving. We go to the Palm for Thanksgiving dinner which is the most win, win, win situation. Everyone eats traditional Thanksgiving food while I order steak or crab cakes and no one, aside from the unfortunate workers scheduled to work the holiday, has to clean up or put away dishes. The prospect of filet mignon and French onion soup with my pumpkin pie actually makes me exciting for Thanksgiving dinner.

Atlantic City is pretty much completely underwater now but I still love it and love being there. Atlantic City was my family's go to down the shore location when I was little so the boardwalk feels really familiar and homey to me. I have such good memories of the arcades there and staying at the Tropicana (before the renovations, even) and eating at the buffets. Riding the pier rides and winning stuffed animals and eating the boardwalk food and just doing Jersey Shore shit. Fall and winter activities there in your mid twenties are more "shopping at the outlets" and "drinking too much at Harrah's pool" and "still eating the boardwalk food, but also gaining 2 lbs overnight" but those are fun in their own way. I much prefer gambling in Atlantic City, too. I've only ever played slots and blackjack in Atlantic City and in Las Vegas. I'm really bitter about my whole Las Vegas gambling experience because I lost more money than I won and also lost one of my favorite bracelets in the casino.

Me, down the shore in Atlantic City, 1996ish. 95% sure I'm wearing plastic shoes with that pink plastic jacket.

Following Thanksgiving and Black Friday outlet shopping in Atlantic City, I'm stopping in New York on Saturday because of the following exhibitions.

Matisse Cut Outs at the MoMA
I haven't been to the MoMA in years. Plural years. I have no idea how that happened but here we are. Wow, I am kind of reeling from that revelation. No surprise that the Matisse Cut Outs exhibit is drawing me back there - I have a feeling that this show is going to be incredibly popular (and incredibly crowded). The exhibit looks so bright and inviting. The colored paper is so vibrant and the effect ends up being graphic, yet so serene

I'm actually not a huge fan of Matisse or fauvism in general. There was a Matisse/Picasso show all the way back when the MoMA was temporary relocated to Queens that I found incredibly boring, as well as a fauvism exhibit a few years back at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that I pretty much power walked my way through. Matisse feels like one of those untouchable artists nowadays, like Van Gogh or Picasso, but his heyday works are just a snoozefest for me. As a result, I'm pretty much excited just to be excited for a Matisse show. His process in creating the cut outs, as well as his motivations to switch to this kind of medium late in his life seem like they'll be interesting to learn about.

This exhibit runs until February 8th at the MoMA.

Egon Schiele Portraits at the Neue Galerie
The Neue is a gallery that I feel is incredibly underrated. It only opened in 2001 so it's still a fairly new museum, especially when you consider the lifespans of places like the Prado and the Louvre. It's right around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a few blocks away from the Guggenheim on Museum Mile. Very convenient location and makes it more than worth stopping in. Even just for the building itself, because it's beautiful:

I'm mostly obsessed with the Neue because my favorite art is easily a toss up between Austrian 20th century and German Expressionism. The Neue Galerie marries these two in a decadent yet intimate setting. Its permanent collection is entirely filled with the two and any exhibitions the museum houses fit the theme as well. It held one of my all time favorite art shows over the summer,  a full exhibition of what the Nazis deemed "degenerate" art. I loved the works they featured and I loved the presentation - there was even a room of art that the Third Reich supported and appreciated, all completely bland works. The exhibit was packed but that room was empty almost the whole time. Artists like Kirchner felt so rejected by Germany and so not up to that dull standard that they killed themselves - actual, gifted humans who committed suicide because Adolf Hitler didn't approve of them - so it was pretty poetic to see their works being fawned over while the approved Nazi art was ignored. I love when exhibits offer even more than the artwork.

Hitler approved German art, pretty hilariously void of anything expressive, especially when compared to the "degenerate" German art

The Neue's permanent collection boasts a ton of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works. The Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer is probably their crown jewel and is famous just for the fact that they bought it for $135 million, most expensive art purchase at the time, 5th most expensive now. The Neue's second floor is laid out like a very ornate, empty home and this Klimt is just hanging over a fireplace, almost casually, like a $135 million dollar artwork just above a mantel.

The show that I'm stopping into the Neue especially for is an exhibit on Egon Schiele's portraits, the first kind of comprehensive look at his portraiture in an United States museum. Egon Schiele is probably my favorite draftsman. His linework and use of color is pretty stunning to look at in person. The aesthetic I'm most drawn to in art is kind of an integration between disturbing and beautiful - creepy subject matter paired with soft techniques or jagged, harsh execution with serene subject matter. Egon Schiele's portraits fall under that category, with subjects whose limbs look like gnarled tree branches and combative expressions but in sensual poses. The exhibit runs until January 19 and would make a great reason to visit the Neue if you've never been.

And they still give out metal buttons, unlike SOME PEOPLE (THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NO I STILL DO NOT FORGIVE YOU.)

I'm so thrilled that these two shows are going on at once and that I'll be able to spend part of my weekend museum hopping. I also plan to return to DC with these Dolce and Gabbana filigre sunglasses so some shopping detours will happen as well.
Plus, I'm going to eat my weight in salt water taffy in Atlantic City but if you know me then you knew that already.

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