ready for my close up

I really don’t want this blog to become a travelogue with best bets and touts on where to stay when you visit different cities.  However, I can’t pass up the chance to show you what I saw out my window when I was in NYC.  It was an unexpected treat, the receptionist found out that it was my birthday weekend and upgraded me to “a room with a view”…

Altar end of St. Patrick's
Altar end of St. Patrick’s

The hotel is called The New York Palace Hotel and I definitely would recommend it.  It is located in a very good spot, close to everything in the midtown area.  Rockefeller Plaza, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, subways, buses, MoMA…all of these are within walking distance of this hotel.  The staff is very friendly and the concierges worked hard to get me a table at a good restaurant at very short notice.

Speaking of MoMA, I went on Sunday (before I went to Pippin on Broadway) and, as usual, I enjoyed myself enormously.  I decided to become a member which allowed me into the advanced showing of their new exhibit “from Hopper to O’Keefe”.  I spent some time really looking at all the paintings and sculptures, trying to see how they achieved certain effects.  I would stand really close and look at the brush strokes. I could see how one artist used pencil to outline what he would paint and then change his mind and not paint everything he had planned.  Sometimes looking at the details can change how you view the whole.  I especially love doing this with Hopper, his paintings are so precise and yet up close that precision wavers a little bit.

The best photographic example of this is when I was in front of a very large Jackson Pollock (in another section of the museum).  I’m not enamored of his work, although I can appreciate that it was harder to do than most people think.  To me, the art of his paintings come from detailed shots, vignettes, short stories.  Looking at the painting closely shows fascinating changes in saturation and texture.  My eye finds it easier to make sense of the chaos when looking at smaller sections of it.

detail 1
detail 1
detail 2
detail 3
the entire painting
the entire painting

So next time you are in a museum, or even in front of a painting in your house, stand close to it and maybe to the side a little and really look at a small section of it.  It might change how you see the painting in the future.

8 thoughts on “ready for my close up

  1. What a view from your hotel! Magnificent. Looks like lots of work is being done on St Patrick’s. I will try your advice next time I look at a painting but, in the meantime, I am realising that all the time I was in Manhattan I only ever walked by the front of St Patrick’s. What a lot I missed.

    1. I can’t say I’ve ever looked at the back of St. Patrick’s either, it was an extraordinary view for which I am thankful to have had the opportunity to see at my leisure. Yes, they are working on it. I don’t know the details though.

  2. What an impressive view! Imagine when St. Pat’s was built it towered above all its surroundings. Now, seemingly dwarfed by its neighbors, it still has a presence which makes it tower over the others.

  3. What a great view from your hotel!

    I love the MoMA too! I now live near NYC and try to visit the MoMA at least once a month as it’s such a wonderful place. Next time I go, I will stand very closely to one of the paintings and think of you.

    1. Wonderful! I wish I lived closer but I can still be there in three hours by train which isn’t too bad…have you become a member? It is really worth it, especially when you can get into new exhibitions without all the crowds.

      1. Yes, I’m a member – it really makes a huge difference. If you haven’t tried it yet, there’s a cute little restaurant on the 4th floor (behind Warhol’s Campbell soup painting). People easily miss it and it’s a nice place to get a quick meal.

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