To state the obvious, New York City has an art scene that just doesn’t compare to Little Town, Bumblefuck, USA, or Petite Village, Bumblefuck, Anywhere. Prior to a play I saw at the Roundabout Theatre Wednesday, I was invited to a lovely radio interview where the director spoke about the play and the process of putting it on. On going to see the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in its new building at Columbus Circle on Thursday night, I stumbled upon “Gallery Night with the Artists,” and very informally heard 3 (rather young) artists as they discussed their work on view currently. In addition, at the former I was given free food and wine (the way to my heart) and the latter, free admission to the museum. What could be better?
Live action contemporary arts programs like these enlivens the easy misconception that culture is artifiacts, things long done. Art that isn’t merely for museums and words that don’t merely live in books makes me so aware of culture as an ebb and flow of ideas and people and means of expression. Not to mention, art seems to have a proper set of values, always including free wine and food. Must have been all those childhoods of being starving artists. For a long time, one of my favorite fall activities has been gallery hopping on Thursday nights in Chelsea. (Again, we touch on themes of free art and wine.)
Note: The MAD is quite fun, and as its name suggests, you won’t find orderly rows of chairs inside. The exhibitions were designed with a great deal of creativity and a touch of whimsy. Try to find the little details in the windows of the stairwell. It’s rare to find a museum of that calibre in which the Artist’s Talk involves 3 young women in their 30s. But then, perhaps that says as much about the female-dominated field of crafts. What male going to come along to break the glass ceiling of this matriarchal form? I suppose, a bit uninspiringly, the prize would have to go to Dale Chihuly.
So applause to the MAD and the Roundabout Theatre, and hooray for living in a city with a thriving arts scene.