Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturday: worked on the apartment. Re-organized both closets, tossed out anything that I couldn't say for certain I needed. A lot of clothes, a lot of shoes, a lot of junk. Made a few trips to the Salvation Army store a few blocks away--who knew that carrying eighty pounds of books three blocks in the rain could be so exhausting. Worked until early evening and then made a run into the city to the Container Store to get bins for letter, photos, and the dozens of sketchbooks from 1990-2000 or so. Picked up some bins and got back on the train.

There was a guy on the train--older, wiry, early 50s--kind of dressed in a Road Warrior-y kind of way. Long dyed-blond hair (with obvious plugs and gray roots) slicked back into a ponytail, black wife-beater, black cargo pants, and those dumb, fingerless "sports" gloves made of some black high-tech rubbery material. All of that was odd but not particularly out-of-sorts for the city. What was truly bizarre, however, were the matching tattoos the guy had on both biceps--they looked a little bit like Kandinsky designs as copied out of a book by a nine year old. (Kind of like this but with more (and sloppier) embellishments.) The longer I looked at these tattoos--with the erratic line quality in black and the occasional red highlighted fandangle--the more convinced I became that the guy had drawn them on himself with a combination of Sharpee (black) and laundry marker (red). This is a city of tattoos and I've seen a ton of them--many of them lousy--but I've never seen a tattoo like this. The ink seemed to sit on the skin rather than in of the skin. The line quality was really wavering and erratic and where a line ended there was a feathery edge, the kind you get when you lift a fabric-tipped marker off a surface. I became more and more fascinated with these tattoos and I imagine the guy spending an hour or so on each bicep, flexing and posturing as the design progressed.

Anyway. He got of the train at Times Square unsurprisingly.

Sunday: No work on the apartment yesterday. Instead, I went down to the Brooklyn Museum to catch the Caillebotte exhibition before is closes on July 5. Apparently, I overlooked the "Paintings from Paris to the Sea" addendum to the show's title. I was expecting a larger overview for some reason. I'm not complaining about the quality to the painting--there were some fantastic works (The Floor Scrapers, The House Painters, Oarsman in a Top Hat, et. al.)--but I was hoping to see more of his still-lifes and landscapes (this one in particular) and all of that. Still a great show, lovely works. I grew to like Caillebotte after reading Zola's The Belly of Paris. There was a Caillebotte still-life on the cover and it was such a perfect match for the setting of the story--Les Halles, the huge central market of Paris. From there I started keeping my grapes peeled for his work.

After Caillebotte, I took a quick tour through the rest of the museum. Not all of it but most of it. Saw the Sun Kwak installation. Nice graphic quality but not much else other than that. Highlight: the visible-storage room of the museum had an amazing, hot-pink, Space Age bike on display. (Dig those raccoon/fox tails!) Also, discovered a pleasing Dana Schutz painting, Google, tucked away in a corner. Another highlight: in the Egyptian wing, I passed a tour of retarded (okay, developmentally disabled) adults. One of them had discovered the booming acoustical qualities of the big hall and was listlessly (but loudly!) singing Armstrong's What a Wonderful World.

Nellie K met me our front at 1 pm. We took a stroll in the Brooklyn Botannical Gardens with a linger in the rose garden where we met a remarkably tame bunny--we crept within three or four feet as it calmly nibbled clover. (This photo is for you, Calista.) Out of the gardens and a walk over to the Soda Bar for fish and chips and a few Basses. Nellie split off to see a movie and I made my way over to the studio. Teddy was there. We caught up. He left to go to a christening and I got to work drinking beer and making a little drawing. I ride home in the rain and the return of the bike to the newly laid-out room. It fits but it still takes up a lot of room. Then bed.

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