Museum, Cortlandt Alley

Duncan, Katherine, Laura, and Sonalee

The appropriately named Museum (www.mmuseumm.com) is a non-functional freight elevator on the scenic southern stretch of Cortlandt Alley, a stub that makes a brief appearance between Canal and Franklin Streets in Tribeca.  To enter, you pass through a curtain made of thick, industrial strips of transparent vinyl, to reveal an extremely enthusiastic curator. It’s a freight elevator, which tells you a little bit about the scale; it was intimate. With a curator + a Duncan, Katherine, Sonalee, Laura, and a little space heater in the back corner, it was downright snug. The exhibition is composed of thingies. Does that seem vague? It is. There wasn’t great cohesion in the collection, but let me see if I can at least provide a little more detail. The current exhibition features a series of products made by prison inmates for prison inmates, including a white supremacy ring-box with lid, whittled from two separate bars of ivory soap, as well as a toothbrush that clearly had no parameters of use considered in its design. It was like a tiny play hairbrush with a plastic ring attachment for the prisoner’s index finger. Not for those with sensitive gums. In addition to the various prison objects, there was also a very motley collection of silicon models of body parts (in various flesh tones), pierced: very nice.  In a similar vein, there was a row of fake vomit, each splatter featuring different content: also very nice. I’m not sure what they were made of. They looked a little like the special plastic food that Japanese restaurants use to demonstrate different dishes. And thus appropriate, we move on to food: the collection also boasted a series of empty potato chip bags in ‘unusual’ flavors, like sushi flavor, crab flavor… but nothing I thought was particularly outlandish, really. I guess that’s not really food. It’s the empties after food. So let me end with a palate-cleanser, the series of objects that I happened to the most refreshing: a bunch of toothpaste tubes from different countries. You’ll see in the photos that the graphics are awesome, as is the range of names. Importantly, they had ‘before’ and ‘after’ tubes of the hilarious Darlie brand toothpaste, a brand I remember distinctly as ‘Darkie’ toothpaste from a visit to Taiwan in my childhood. In Chinese, the name of this toothpaste is quite literally translated to mean ‘black person toothpaste,’ which they had translated to ‘Darkie’ for the western market. To make it even more literal, the brand visual was a jaunty illustration of a black man in a top hat, smiling a brilliantly white smile. You can guess how well that went over in the western markets. Yup. Classy.

IMG_20130330_143137

IMG_20130330_143144

IMG_20130330_143219

The Nicholas Roerich Museum

Allison and Katherine

The Nicholas Roerich museum is yet another temple to the Himalayas built by a white person. Inside, we were treated to dozens of Mr. Roerich’s mediocre oil paintings of traditional Bhuddist themes and landscapes. There was a very impressive geode the size of a cow, and we could not help but lament that a very attractive upper west side townhouse was unlived-in. We could have made a nice home for ourselves.

The Nicholas roerich Museum: 3 stars

The Sony Wonder and Technology Lab

Katherine and Allison

WonderKatherine and Allison were extremely excited to enter the Sony Wonder and Technology Lab for free… until we realized that everyone entered for free. Inside, there was technology, if not much wonder. All the old Sony Walkmans and stereos that made Allison feel old, and a little nostalgic for her book-sized canary yellow cassette player. We played around with the video machines, the ersatz newsroom, the music mixing facilities and something that broadcast our photos very large. We did have fun with our names…

Sony Wonder and Technology Lab: 3 stars

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (“MoCCA”)

Ambiguity lives here

Ambiguity lives here

Katherine and Clown

Katherine and Clown

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (“MoCCA”)

Katherine and Allison

It was raining, nay, pouring, on the day when Katherine and Allison visited MoCCA. In an old townhouse on the Upper East Side (where museums are put out to pasture before they die?) it contained….wait for it… panels from comics no one had heard of. Upstairs, people were having brunch. It smelled really good.

MoCCA: 3 stars

International Print Center

Duncan, Katherine and Allison and special guest Sonalee

A charmingly small loft space in Chelsea held a treasure trove of prints, including one by someone Allison knew from Yaddo, the famous artists’ residency, which no one seemed as impressed with as Allison hoped they would be. There was a small room with an exhibit of artists’ pop up books which was excellent.

International Print Center: 3 stars

Museum of Math

 

IMG_20130302_155039

Allison, Duncan, Katherine, and special guest Sonalee

 

Did it not occur to anyone that a museum for children predicated on hands-on exhibits, many of which rely on technology or small working parts,  would be perpetually out of order? Luckily they had a trove of “exhibit not working” signs, which, in their repetitions and iterations, had a certain mathematical quality to them.

They had a pair of bicycles with square wheels to ride on a scalloped track; we were all too big to ride them, unfortunately.

Museum of Math (MoMath): 3 stars

IMG_20130302_155046