This year's New York set
The trip resolved the desire to really know New York. There remain swathes which remain unknown to me, whole boroughs, indeed: the Bronx and Staten Island remain mysteries. And I have never explored the city in Winter. I also regret not having worked in Chinatown, which is very striking, visually. But you cannot do everything.
For painting,New York good. The colours are beautiful- splendid reds, ochres, grays and olive greens- (seemingly the basis of Williamsburg's exquisite range of oils). The people are easy to understand, individualistic and bold. No-one bothered me while working and most people are courteous. The city has few hills, alas, so getting views usually involves scaling buildings. I wish I'd had more access to rooftops.
It may be the capitalist city per excellence, but isn't as materialistic as they might have you believe. No city with such dedication to art (which is still, despite what auction headlines might lead one to assume, based more on passion more than profit) can be said to be materialistic. Some of the art is rubbish, for sure. but much is breathtaking,
MoMa disappointed me. It's crowded, like a shopping mall on Christmas Eve. And the galleries are uncomfortable spaces where it's hard to sit down, or relax to study the works. There was a huge survey given to Picasso- an amazing display, but so large as to exhaust the visitor. The garden is . and stony full of mediocre sculptures.
Much more enjoyable were the Brooklyn Museum, which is especially good on American works, and the Neue Gallery, which had an excellent exhibition on inter-war Berlin. Of course the Metropolitan is glorious. And The Studio Museum in Harlem had a fine show of paintings by Stanley Whitney.
The day long peek at the world inside the USA, which I gained at Cold Springs has made me think that it might be time to revive the New York Road trip idea.
I shall attempt to re-visit Valparaiso in February for about ten days.
I am grateful as ever to the friendliness and courtesy of passing strangers, who were very often Black and old.
I thank the philosopher J. Heald for his amusing company in Williamsburg, and for helping me lug the easel about.
I also acknowledge the helpful presence of Lancastrian W.J. Eccleston who, for mysterious reasons, seemed to accompany me in thoughts as I wandered in the Big Apple.