All posts by VickieVictoria

Intrepid traveler. Architect and appreciator of design, art, language, opera, history, and anthropology.

Day 3: Ai-Wei Wei (Brooklyn)

imageimageimageThe Ai-Wei Wei exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum was thought-provoking and raised many issues about Chinese policies towards its own people. Many photographs of the artist revealed his early years living in New York
and his father’s background as a poet and artist. AWW is still very much from the genre of crude and glaringly graphic artists who emerged after the fall of the Gang of Four–use of nudity and human existence ( did I really need to see video clips of his barfing?) leave you nowhere to avoid his messages.

At the same time the use of everyday materials is clever and resourceful and often beautiful. For example, a traditional piece of furniture is cut to create a new appreciation of the craftsmanship and design of a familiar object (photo 3).

Photos, from top:

1. Common kitchen stools
2. Backpacks sewn together representing those from student killed in schoolhouse in Szechuan. Apparently there was no accounting of construction methods or whether rebars were installed in original building.
3. Traditional Chinese furniture put in a different dimension and respective.

Day 2A: A Walk on the Tame Side (NYC: AM)


After breakfast at Ess-a-Bagel on Third Street, we began our stroll from the Pod 51st Street and down Fifth Avenue. We brushed past Saks, St. Patrick’s Cathedral (being gussied up), 30 Rock, Bryant Park/NY Public Library, The Empire State Building, Washington Square, and the Flatiron Building.

Karen kept asking me about famous buildings that I had never noticed. She appreciates looking at buildings in a way I never did! So I suddenly saw a lot more with my own eyes after I stopped to look closely. I could see the beauty in the historic and contemporary buildings. They rival Chicago’s, (sorry Pam, after I raved about them last month) obviously due to M-o-n-e-y. But pretty fun to gawk at them and ponder who, what, why, how.

The map shows the general path. I didn’t think I was going to put my long distance walking skills to the test but we actually did more than 3 miles due to some back and forths. (More like 5-6). We made Balthazars, an over the top bakery and now restaurant, our reward. After a smashing iced decaf with apple smoked bacon, a brioche, and apple galette, we were ready to head back to the Pod for our R&R.

Destination 3 of 10: Paris



1. Join Melissa for some awesome food spotting near the apartment on Rue du Bac in St Germaine des Pres. (update: done)
2. Visit the Arab Museum to understand better the incredible contributions to science and math led by the Arab world (and hopefully the French are no longer so stuffy as to resist translations of material in English!) (update: done)
3. Make stops at Mora and Dellerhin to introduce Karen to the French version of Sur La Table.(update: Dellerhin only)

Destination 2 of 10: London


1. Revisit the places where I lived in London for five months when I was awarded the Branner Traveling Fellowship from UC Berkeley. I studied the Chinese in London and how ethnic minority communities were formed. (Update: done)
2. Make a stop at the British Museum to see if there are any relics of the Silk Road trade when Bokhara, Tashkent and Samarkand were major settlements. (Update: missed due to time used to sort out a problem with accommodation in Paris)
3. Do as much walking as possible to savor the new sights and sounds of a city once known and now much more mellowed. (Update: done)