Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mad for MAD

Kate and I went to the 'Member's Only' opening of the MAD museum at their new location at Columbus Circle in nyc on Thursday and I have to say, it was very exciting. We had seen a slide lecture preview of the opening exhibition Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary at SOFA this past spring so we knew of most of the pieces on view, however it was amazing to see them in person. (One of my fave's, Tara Donovan, has a 'button stalagmite' piece in the show.)

By far the most exciting, spine tingling part of the museum for me was of course the Art Jewelry gallery. The current exhibition on view is entitled Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry, filled to the brim with the greats including: Gijs Bakker, Art Smith, Otto Künzli, Earl Pardon, and the list goes on and on. The majority of the works on view are pieces I've seen again and again in books and magazines. To see them in person was a jaw-dropping experience. Two highlights in particular: works by Tone Vigeland and Gerd Rothmann (gasp! swoon!)

The jewelry gallery itself is nicely designed, however I admit I was expecting it to be bigger. I wished it had been the entire floor. The opening was bustling and crowded, particularly in that area because the works are small and intimate so it was hard to soak every piece in while avoiding bumping into people. They do have a cool pull-out drawer feature which houses even more jewelry works not out in the cases. (there's a gallery at SOFA that does this every year, can't remember which, Ornamentum maybe?) - anyway, very cool idea.

Now for the bad news: I don't personally like the buildings new exterior. I instantly read the windows and linear elements as the word "HE" which is just strange and gross. It's the kind of thing that once you see it, you can't STOP seeing it, and it is annoying me to no end. You can read more and watch a video about the building's history here and here.

Overall though, I'm thrilled for this new location and what it means for the museum. Space is doubled, exhibitions will be doubled, etc, etc. Oh and the museum shop is beautiful and such an improvement over their old shop. I look forward to frequent visits to MAD for regular doses of awe and inspiration, especially now that I'm a member!

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