My trip to NYC last month had several distinct highlights. Let me run you through them.

Douglas Gordon

First, I was amazed by seeing Douglas Gordon’s two channel Play Dead; Real Time at MoMA. The work was filmed in an empty Gagosian Gallery, where a four-year-old elephant was to perform several tricks – play dead, walk, beg etc. An extremely intimate feel is created by Gordon’s way of filming and presentation. The tricks are simultaneously shown from different perspectives on life-sized projection screens and a monitor. I thought it was incredibly moving.


Secondly, Dia:Beacon was amazing. The hour and a half train ride up from Grand Central to Beacon was very enjoyable. The nice views over the river offered a strong contrast to the incessant clamor of the city. After having arrived at the museum, I was flabbergasted by the extraordinary collection, including works by Richard Serra, Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, Gerhardt Richter, Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, Lawrence Weiner. The list goes on and on. It was extremely well curated and the building itself adds to the experience. Dia:Beacon uses a lot of natural light, giving an adventitious aspect to the artworks. Also the sheer size of the building was tremendous. I had the feeling of having the museum to myself, because there were so few people walking the gigantic halls at one time.

Dia: Beacon
Dia:Beacon © Martijn Savenije

New York City Ballet

Lastly, a night at the New York City Ballet proved to be extraordinary. Three of today’s most prolific choreographers were united in the Contemporary Choreographers program. An animated ballet set to a vivacious score, Soirée Musicale’s youthful cast entices you to dance the night away under a blanket of stars. Ratmansky’s Namouna, A Grand Divertissement was an grand work that abstracts a comical 19th-century story ballet into a highly-stylized series of animated dances for seven featured performers and over 20 supporting cast members. But the highlight of the evening was the classically rooted but resolutely contemporary movement of Angelin Preljocaj’s Spectral Evidence, which was set to a selection of works by John Cage.

Header photograph by Jonathan Muzikar.