Day 62: New York City, New York (continued)

Today was a continuation of yesterday’s whirlwind tour of galleries and museums, directed by two friends and ardent museum-goers. We started with a visit to the new Whitney Museum, that has been relocated from the Upper East Side to the Meatpacking District adjacent to the popular Highline. It was exciting to see an expanded display of America’s best that included many women and artists from different ethnicities. Galleries are organized and grouped by themes.

The featured painting above is entitled “Saigon” by Peter Saul, 1967. It shows the raping, death and destruction from that horrible war. You can go to the link below and find an audio presentation about it given by a museum guide.

The freshly minted building by Renzo Piano:

Photos above:
1. Sculpture by Ruth Asawa, San Francisco’s own
2. New York, 1955
3. Jackson Pollack
4. Rothko Painting indicating Tragedy, Ecstasy and Doom
5. Photographer in front of painting by Krasner, who was the wife of Pollack. After he died, she continued to paint but converted from small scale to large scale in his barn studio.

Normally, I roam the galleries looking for only the artists I recognize. Near the end of the visit, I made an effort to find three artists whose work I did not know. See those above for Cy Twombly, Alma Thomas, and Elizabeth Murray. So many contemporary artist represented in this vast collection can be intimidating and overwhelming, but I found that determining a small number for myself was manageable, energizing and educational. It didn’t stop me from continuing to look for those old shoes, however, for comfort’s sake!

The Whitney specializes in American Art and has been a big supporter of providing classes for artists.

For more about this exhibition that closes on Sept. 27, “America is Hard to See” go to

If this exhibition at the Whitney wasn’t enough, the gods must have been crazy to allow me go to another major museum in town. The Metropolitan Museum was having a major exhibition on John Singer Sargent’s “Artists and Friends”. He was born in Europe to American parents and had extensive connections to highly influential individuals, artists, and musicians in Paris, London, and throughout Europe.

Here are a few of my favorites. They are dedicated to Sargent fan Tony (if you are out there):

Full Size Portraits

Head Portraits

This one’s for you Helena:

Simplon Landscape
Simplon Landscape

For more about this exhibition “Artists and Friends”, go to

And last but not least, for Isa who asked:
These are televised screen shots from the Pope’s visit last night at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We weren’t there, but our host was late to dinner after attending the mass. We were watching TV and checking for him in the audience. The Pope seemed like a pretty nice person.

2 thoughts on “Day 62: New York City, New York (continued)”

  1. Dear Vickie – thank you for inviting me to read your blog. I’ve enjoyed it – beautifully written & lovely pics. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to meet until the final evening, we seemed to have a number of topics of common interest worth talking about. But we lower-graders didn’t get to mix much with the clever kids(!)

    You obviously got a lot more from the ‘cultural visits’ than I did, so thank you for revealing the details that I’d missed. One possible correction: you mentioned that “the queen is only allowed to stand on a dog as a sign of subordination”, as our guide had said. But there is a possible alternative explanation – a dog is often a sign of fidelity, & Wikipedia says “During the Middle Ages, images of dogs were often carved on tombstones to represent the deceased’s feudal loyalty or marital fidelity”.

    I loved your essay on the joys of the morning walk from hostel to Institute – worthy of Wordsworth! But did you never discover the short cut behind the school or the tunnel from the top of the lift down to the alley alongside the Institute?

    Glad you made it to NYC & I was amused to see that you’d succumbed to Mammon (or was it just to the value of lifelong friendship?) Did you ever get to see Turandot? If you do, pay special attention to the trio sung by Ping, Pang & Pong in Act II, “Ho una casa nell’Honan”. IMHO it’s the finest representation of homesickness in all of classical music. You can see it at or read the libretto at

    Yes, the Singer Sargent exhibition is worth seeing, I saw it in London – lovely pictures & interesting social commentary. I never realised he was such an accomplished pianist.

    I look forward to the next chapter,


  2. Hi Tony, thanks so much for the illuminating comments. I wanted to wait to see Turandot before responding, and thanks to you I paid attention at Act 2 and got the real time translation of the homesick song as it was being sung. The Met has the best simultaneous translation at each seat in different languages so it definitely enhances the experience for opera goers. I’m not sure it made me feel homesick but every insight in opera adds a tick to the yes column of “love opera”! As for the rest I posted my comments and would love to hear your reaction as a performer.
    As for the outdoor elevator at SH, did I mention the grating at the entrance? I may have left it off by accident but certainly was reason to take the stairs. It gave me Vertigo and although I took it more often than the steps one had to make a conscious choice–neither pleasant–before descending.
    I thought the guide’s comment about the dog a bit disappointing as he (or she) didn’t explain it the way you were able to, so thanks for the enlightenment.
    Yes, Sargent was great. Which side if the Atlantic should claim him? I wondered if he had the benefit of early photographs of the individuals he painted. What’s your take?
    I was feeling wistful after our class was over and needed to express it somehow and clear the paper path before diving into NY. I hope you understand why after my subsequent activities shot me to the moon. Ironically, there was an eclipse of the moon tonite, where I saw it after just leaving NYC. (Apologies for any typos–writing from my IPhone)


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