Lights and nights in New York
I have just got back from a long weekend in New York, which turned into a brilliant combination of sitting in the hotel room just getting on with some uninterrupted work (not entirely helped by leaving a file at home...damn) and reading the Samuel Johnson books and sloping out to eat with mates, and to do a bit of culture.
The rather unexpected cultural highspot was a show at the Guggenheim by the US "artist of light" James Turrell. I say unexpected, because after my friend George had recommended the show, we looked it up on the web and were a bit put off by the spiel. "With their refined formal language and quiet, almost reverential atmospheres, his installations celebrate the optical and emotional effects of luminosity..." and so on.
But by this time we had decided to go, pretentious or not. And we're damn glad we did.
You probably know that the New York Guggenheim gallery was built by Frank Lloyd Wright and features a great open space in the middle, surrounded by a spiral ramp/stair. Well, Turrell had filled that open space with an intricately constructed light show, of changing colours. The idea was that you came in and lay back and enjoyed, or else sprawled on the floor. And that is exactly what we all did at 10.00 on Sunday morning. We reclined quietly for 10 -15 minutes as the hues changed above us from pink to blue and white and back to pink (marvelling also, in the husband's case, how a large bee had apparently got stuck in the protective gauze .. adding to the wonderment!).
They had more Turrell upstairs. And we particularly liked the ways that he had made all these extraordinary works of art out of just light (problematizing, as we soon joined in the lingo, the very nature of the art object itself). And of course every one was waiting for them to be "outed" as "just light", as happened here when a kid walked in front of one.
Anyway for us a hugely fun surprise. The husband was so taken with it all that he not only bought the catalogue, but now plans a visit to Turrell's own extinct volcano in the Arizona desert.
So all in all a successful working holiday, at my favourite Library Hotel.
And, by the way, any hoteliers reading this (??). If the Library Hotel can have multi-purpose international (UK/US/Euro/Aus) power sockets in its wall, why cant you all?