Mar 10, 2011
May 05, 2011
. One was the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum. Probably the lesser cousin of the big hitting MoMA, the Guggenheim focuses only on the turbulent period of 4 years preceding World War I. What is amazing however, is the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece that houses these. A sky-lit pavilion is surrounded by majestic spiralling ramps that head upwards to the centre spire (oculus). This design elegantly shuns the traditional museum design of a puzzling network and provides a simple linear path to clearly interpret chronologically, the art of this period. Of course Wright again employed harmonising motifs in his design and almost all the lines of the building are interplay of curves, angles and lines. Again completed posthumously, the design evoked such strong scepticism amongst prominent artists of its time that a manifesto was signed threatening to boycott the museum if it was ever built. On the subject of manifestos and having now seen my share of these modern works, I feel if fit to say that artistic freedom and innovation aside, a major component of fame and success of these artists can be attributed to a slick dialogue and prose to support the creation of their "shocking" pieces.The second event which I have no photos to show for was a visit to the Sunday sermon at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. This gospel church is now well known to travellers and we anticipated crowds so arrived for the earlier sermon. However this was not to be and we waited in the boneaching cold for over 2 hours, shivering uncontrollably and sharing around precious sun time. Finally we made it inside, and were greeted with a window into the Afro-American culture. Never had I experienced such a powerful sermon. The message delivered was simple "Faith will guide you in times of need" but the way in which this was linked into scripture and storytelling was nothing short of art. In addition of course, the angelic choir performed the uplifting songs gospel churches have come to be known for. With this intoxicating combination was such an intoxicating mix that it is easy to imagine a belittled and tortured peoples not seeking it. Is it possible that this Sunday ritual can provide beliguered peoples some degree of order, entertainment and dare I say it, happiness?
It's been a slow few days here in the big city that have probably been due a northern hemisphere virus. Being fatigued I thought it better not to take in too many sights and instead concentrate on my other purpose here - shopping.I had been told of the retail splendour here but failed to believe it until I walked into Soho. Outwardly this former industrial neighbourhood appears much like any other shopping strip, lined with people and chain stores. Inside these massive brands I found items I had not seen anywhere else. Step away from the main strip and the mass production gives way to unique boutiques and neat coffee stores, really making me a little homesick. All of this is flanked by the frenetic bustle of nearby Chinatown and Little Italy, meaning that a day of shopping can be broken with some authentic world cuisine. It was no wonder that the yuppies gentrified this neighbourhood. Of course here my wallet lightened and my near empty suitcase filled.I did manage to catch two sights though