So we had to cram in as much as possible... I don't have many photos for this day, as you couldn't take photos in the galleries. First we went to the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue to see Robert Rauschenberg's private art collection. As Gagosian is a commercial gallery, it's really just a posh shop (we told ourselves as we tiptoed in trying to look respectable), but the opportunity to see Rauschenberg's own collection seemed quite special. It's all being sold, after his death in 2008, to benefit the new foundation set up in his name. The art was great, a lot of it personally dedicated to 'Bob', and gave a sense of a close-knit circle of artists.
It felt very cool to be in that smart private gallery -- how were the staff to know that we weren't a shabby-looking family of vast wealth looking to blow a few millions on a Jasper Johns...?
After Gagosian, we went to the Whitney Museum of American Art, which was also terrific. We didn't much rate the special shows dedicated to Sherrie Levine (seems like a massive case of Emperor's New Clothes) and David Smith (apparently one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century... liked shiny rectangles), but I was wowed by the floor that drew on the Museum's own collection. It was called Real/Surreal and brought together ... realists and surrealists in order to show the common ground between the two. It was true! I've always said to myself that I'm not keen on surrealism as I tend so strongly towards the realists, but, placed side by side like this, you could see that both tendencies depended for their effect on elements of the other end of the spectrum. It came down to 'making strange', I guess, so that a city sidewalk would be given an aura of unreality by its emptiness or the cool, oblique light, and a fantastical scene would be imbued with creepiness by the sense that it could be happening just around the corner in your own world.
I was very struck by this weird lithograph by Robert Riggs called 'Children's Ward' from c. 1940:
|Chocolate Alexander McQueen shoes, anyone?|
Then up to Columbus Circle.
Then, finally, a last tired walk back to the hotel, taking in a supermarket.