Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New York City trip - Part IV: Ceres

Thursday, May 25th.


OK, it's been a few busy days...where did I leave off? Ah, with the bookstores we went to after the visit to the SEED offices. We went to two bookstores: one specializing on childrens' books, the other a Barnes & Noble. Of course, unlike a B&N in a mall around here, the NYC version is a maze of rooms interconnected with strange halls and tunnels. Shell Silverstein's poetry has always been a favourite with both of my kids, so my brother bought them one of his books that we did not already have. A new fancy "Where is Waldo" also made it to the shopping cart - my son is a wizard in finding those tiny little details there. I think they were amazed at the kids' reading level. Coturnietta picked a thick novel about cats. We also got a new biography of Benjamin Franklin called A Dangerous Engine: Benjamin Franklin, from Scientist to Diplomat, written by Joan Dash and illustrated by Dusan Petricic a famous Yugoslav illustrator (he did all of Dusan Radovic books as well as the famous Belgrade poster) who now lives in Toronto. My brother picked up a book that high-schoolers use to boost their vocabulary for the SATs and started quizzing Coturnix Jr. and - he knew definitions of everything, including 'abiogenesis'!

After a brief rest at the hotel, we went to Ceres Gallery for the art show - that is the primary reason why we went to NYC in the first place. The artwork was judged and chosen by people from the Museum of Modern Art and I have to say I was impressed by almost everything I saw there. The piece my brother and his wife had there is a wooden box mounted on the wall with a lightbulb inside of it. The front of the box is made of translucent, white, thick paper on which she wrote, in longhand in Cyrillic script, all Serbian male names in alphabetical order.

Of the other art there, I remember a large collage. It was made of several rectangular segments. Each segment had several pictures of clean-shaven, smiling, uniformed soldiers PLUS one picture of something bad related to war: hunger, thirst, dirt, exhaustion, committing atrocities, getting wounded, getting killed... In the middle of the collage was an old-style poster depicting a happy young couple lifting a newborn baby boy - the title said something like: "Will he grow up to go to war?".

Then, there was a pair of dogs made of grey plaster and paper. One dog was attached to the wall and the plaster and paper were in a chessboard pattern. Each piece of paper was multiply folded page from the NYC phone book. The other dog was standing on the floor below. It was made of rings/segments alternating plaster and paper. Each strip of paper was a page from the Bible. And there was much, much more....

Unfortunately, after waking up at 3:30 in the morning in order to catch the flight, then gallivanting across NYC all day in the first summer heat, the kids were exhausted. They fell asleep sitting on the bench there, so we could not go to the big dinner with the artists afterwards, but instead took a cab straight to the hotel and were all four fast asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

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