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Artsy Fartsy Fun

When is the last time you entered a room, your eyes widened in disbelief of what you see and you gasp to yourself “Wow!”

I did just that when I visited these 3 exhibitions, and if you hurry, you may be able to be catch them yourself before time runs out!

 1.  Pace Gallery (524 West 25th Street, complimentary admission, until August 15th hurry!!) – artist Tara Donovan

There are two massive, untitled sculptures that take up the entire gallery space in an almost episode of National Geographic. The first being a formation of what reminds me of trees, my travels to Cappadocia, Turkey, or a topographical map. Made of millions of index cards, these dimensional and detailed pieces, 12 in total, make up an almost forest. Every viewpoint around the room causes this mini forest to ebb and flow between claustrophic and forboding to inviting. It is really incredible to see the detail up close.

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(I’m rocking a Gap Men’s Straw hat, vintage dress, Banana Republic gold bag, Steve Madden snakeskin platforms, assorted bangles)  

The second piece mesmerizes you upon entering the room and took my breath away. It’s unbelievably beautiful – almost looking at puffy clouds cascading through a sky in a stunning alignment or even an icy glacier, created by a framework of tons of icicles. I even could see it as an underwater kingdom with sea urchins or coral reefs. It somehow looks tangibly soft but, close up, you can see the many pieces of acrylic. Again, the work’s view changes from your position within the room.

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 2.  Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Avenue, suggested admission $25, rooftop until November) – artist Dan Graham & designer Charles James

August is the most perfect time to sip cocktails on a rooftop in Manhattan, perhaps toasting to what’s left of the summer. It’s even better to partake in a unique experience with an installation at a renowned museum. Upon accessing the roof, you are transformed to a landscape of Astroturf flooring and walls of foliage created by artist Dan Graham. There’s a curved glass pavilion, which to me was a sort of window comparing the cityscape and this greenery, yet unifying the two to view New York in a whole new light. As a visitor, you’re almost part of a scene in this wondrous creation. This is on view until November, weather permitting.

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I was going to crop the lady out on the right, but I like her. 🙂DSC04900 DSC04901 Unfortunately no longer open, but worth mentioning was the Charles James: Beyond Fashion retrospective exhibition. He was a British born designer and known as America’s greatest couturier. It was a stunning ode to a designer who was really innovative in creating masterpieces that are truly timeless. Videos were available for each gown that demonstrated the meticulous construction of each sculptural dress. It was interesting to compare the architectural eye of Dan Graham’s landscape installation to the architectural design Charles James fabricated for every gown. He was truly ahead of his time, as most of the gowns could be worn on red carpets of today. Even if you didn’t get a chance to make it, I implore you to research this incredible couture designer.

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3.  The Whitney Museum – Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (945 Madison Ave, admission $20, exhibition until October 19th)

Complex, controversial, childish and kitschy – This massive retrospective that encompasses 5 floors of various forms of art portrays the makings of one of the greatest living artists of our time. The works are super fun and going through the floors is almost like going through a colorful wonderland. Many of his pieces look like toys, but what he is toying with is consumerism, commercialism, consumption and domesticity. He has an undeniable ability to capture the detailed textures of common objects, so much so that my cousin and I were ready to touch the balloons and inflatables, convinced by the evident creases that they were real. His newest piece with its world premiere at The Whitney, “Play-Doh,” took 20 years to complete. Koons hopes this piece evokes the viewers to realize their own interests and pursue them. 

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Introducing my nephew, Roman, to the arts!

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Roman enjoying “Play-Doh”

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The infamous Balloon Dog

DSC04812Forever a sweet toothed gal!

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(I’m rocking an old Victoria’s Secret swimsuit coverup, Target leggings, and Cole Haan gladiator sandals)

Ciao! And, remember to eat your spinach! 🙂

Posted by Olga Turka at 2014/08/13 8:07 PM No Comments
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Were You Invited?

Exploration and conversation lead to great discoveries, even in your own backyard. I’ve lived in various parts of New Jersey, and traveled to many others as well, yet am still to this very day finding new treasures. One of my more recent favorites is Grounds for Sculpture, a 42-acre (!!!) artistic DREAM world that I wish I could live in, created by Seward Johnson in the 1990s located in Trenton, NJ.

It BOGGLES my mind how I didn’t know this existed until recent years. I frequented the Princeton area to visit family, which is nearby, and went to Rutgers for my undergrad degree. Maybe I was too busy attending basement house parties and drinking crappy beer out of red Solo cups when I wanted to unwind. Little did I know, this very place that epitomizes the very reason why I love New Jersey so was a mere drive away!

My best friend of nearly 18 years, Cara, was flying into Philadelphia for a whirlwind week of reunions, debauchery and wedding preparations. I found this to be the most opportune time to introduce her to this whimsical sculpture garden that would make New Jersey seem anew. So, as soon as I scooped the bride-to-be up from the airport, we made a run for it to our first of many adventures.

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This isn’t a real person lounging…it’s a sculpture! Check out the gorgeous foliage!

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The grounds are absolutely stunning. As you walk along, you are greeted, if not surprised, by many unbelievable works of art (over 250 pieces!), many of which replicate famous pieces like “American Gothic”(a MUST-SEE at the Grounds) in gargantuan and/or lifelike scale. The landscape architecture is a masterpiece in and of itself, and you will absolutely feel like Alice running around and deciding which paths to take (TIP: lose the map and wander for the best experience).

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Get a room, you crazy kids!

Many of the artworks are by Seward Johnson himself, some bringing to life many famous works of art. Some are shockingly grandiose and life-like, while some are more intricate and very thought-provoking. Every piece lends itself to the creation of this outdoor park. As you go about, you will begin to become confused which people are real and which are sculptures, lending to the fun and this temporary mélange of reality and fantasy.

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(Scarf turned into a turban, H&M; Printed dress, BCBG; Converse sneakers; Gap Sunglasses)

One of my most favorite parts of the place is the restaurant, Rat’s, nestled in the corner. You don’t need to go through the outdoor museum to go there, but it makes for a fabulous resting place if you do. We treated ourselves to cocktails toasting to our reunion and delicious snacks before continuing our exploration. The best part of this impressionistic bistro is the back patio, which overlooks a literal interpretation Monet’s “Water Lilies.” The delectable feast is not only for your palette, but for your eyes as well.

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One of the tips I learned from friends was to ask the staff at Rat’s about the two rather hidden, but vital to the experience, pieces located behind the restaurant. Ask for directions to the “Shower Scene” and the “Were you invited?”

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Apparently dude-in-the-tophat’s joke was a real knee slapper!

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Were we invited?!? Hell yes, we were the life of the party!

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Just two gals dosey doe-ing!

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What’s a little strip poker picnic among friends? (Obviously, my homegirl is losing!)dsc03337

The hottest hottie ever, “Forever Marilyn.” I just look like I’m holding my pee.

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You make me want to Scream! – great Michael Jackson song AND painting by Edvard Munchdsc03366

Apparently, even the men’s room has a line at times!

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I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock

Make sure to add Grounds for Sculpture to your list of things you MUST do – the Seward Johnson retrospective is going on through September! Such a FUN experience to dance with inanimate objects, meander aimlessly with peacocks (they’re real!) and share in much needed quality time with your best gal pal!

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Best Friends Forever! <3

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Adieu!

Photography by Cara Zarrillo.

Check out her incredible travels at @spontaneoussuitcase on Instagram!

Posted by Olga Turka at 2014/07/25 8:11 PM No Comments
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