Chelsea certainly puts the art in the heart of New York. The neighborhood is home to dozens of galleries with the best free art in NYC on view—from Gagosian to David Zwirner galleries—and the newly minted Whitney Museum of American Art, one of the best museums in the city. Once you've had your fill, head to the High Line to lounge on tree-lined paths with views of the river, then head to one of the best Chelsea restaurants or bars, like Del Posto and the NoMad. The sky's the limit in this neighborhood!
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To untimely rip and paraphrase a line from Macbeth: Our eyes are made the fools of the other senses, or else worth all the rest. A multitude of searing sights crowd the spectator's gaze at the bedazzling and uncanny theater installation Sleep No More. Your sense of space and depth---already compromised by the half mask that audience members must don---is further blurred as you wend through more than 90 discrete spaces, ranging from a cloistral chapel to a vast ballroom floor. Directors Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle, of the U.K. troupe Punchdrunk, have orchestrated a true astonishment, turning six warehouse floors and approximately 100,000 square feet into a purgatorial maze that blends images from the Scottish play with ones derived from Hitchcock movies—all liberally doused in a distinctly Stanley Kubrick eau de dislocated menace. An experiential, Choose Your Own Adventure project such as this depends on the pluck and instincts of the spectator. You can follow the mute dancers from one floor to the next, or wander aimlessly through empty spaces. I chose the latter, discovering a room lined with empty hospital beds; a leafless wood in which a nurse inside a thatched cottage nervously checks her pocket watch; an office full of apothecary vials and powders; and the ballroom, forested with pine trees screwed to rolling platforms (that would be Birnam Wood). A Shakespearean can walk about checking off visual allusions to the classic tragedy; the less lettered can just revel inRead more
The sixth annual celebration of meat-free delights is a go-green fantasy, spotlighting small plates and samples from vegetarian restaurants and food companies, cooking demonstrations, and animal rescue and eco-information tables. Headlining the culinary stage at this year's event is husband-and-wife duo Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby of Philadelphia's Vedge Restaurant and Adam Sobel, the chef behind vegan food-truck favorite Cinnamon Snail who'll show festivalgoers how to prepare his signature Chinese steamed bao. In addition to enjoying plant-based bites, guests can hear from the likes of veggievore champion cyclist Christine Vardaros and keynote speaker Dr. Michael Greger, who literally wrote the book on eating to live: His best-selling 2015 guide to healthful superfoods is titled How Not to Die.Read more
A full-scale vintage camping trailer serves as a theater for a puppet show featuring marionettes performing an opera and/or otherwise acting out different scenes—including a rather self-reflexive one of a puppet-maker in his workshop. Viewers can walk around the vehicle, taking in the various tableaux playing out through the windows. Taken as a whole, the work offers a sort of outdoor expedition through the uncanny valley.Read more
Created in the mid-1990s, Kelley’s shaped paintings marked the artist ’s return to the medium after a prolonged spell of focusing on performance and installation art. They also coincided with his magnum opus of the period: A sprawling tabletop sculpture titled Educational Complex. An agglomeration of architectural models representing each of the schools Kelley had attended, the piece explored the social and psychological constraints imposed by formal training, especially in the field of art. Indeed, as a student, Kelley had to reckon with the reality of radical styles like Abstract Expressionism being imposed as academic canon. As he himself put it, “My education must have been a form of mental abuse, of brainwashing.” The work here delves into some of the same issues, particularly in a series of ovals in which Kelley deconstructs various modernist tropes—such as Hans Hofmann’s “push and pull” theory of color—by filtering them through images culled for childhood memory.Read more
Chromatically muted but sweet-looking paintings and works on paper may not immediately suggest the imminent toppling of patriarchal society, but such is the central conceit of Gudmundur Thoroddsen. Characterizing our present moment as an explicitly gendered endgame in which “men in general are finding themselves in a position unfamiliar to them and everything is up in the air,” the Icelandic artist revels in picturing a chaotic world of masculine abandon that appears playful and alarming in equal measure. It’s often hard to tell whether the figures that cavort across his canvases are having a blast or scattering in desperation. The bearded sages, primitive nudes and wayward sportsmen of works such as Giants at the Museum and Friday Afternoon are complemented by Thoroddsen’s lively ceramics, which, while not front and center here, effectively echo the forms and ideas of the two-dimensional works with distinctly organic shapes, suggesting the relics of a macho civilization in terminal decline. Complex—and comical—vessels such as Nosy Pick and Nude Boy are set off nicely by smaller, simpler works like Radiant Gem I and II, all of them using notably superior glazes typical for this artist who is adept at working in several mediums.Read more