Saturday, November 7, 2009

On the Waterfront


Have you ever circumnavigated the island of Manhattan? Does eating swordfish on City Island appeal to you? Would you like to ride the Staten Island ferry on a sweltering August afternoon, semi- noxious fumes from the Buttermilk Channel cooling your sweat mustache? Ok, asshole, how about drinking a Schlitz while you ogle handsome individuals in DUMBO from behind dark glasses? I knew we would meet somewhere in the middle...

Well, if any of those scenarios appeal to you even slightly, or if you've ever fetishized working class heroes like longshoreman or fish mongers, then you must visit the photo exhibit "The Edge of New York: Waterfront Photos " at the Museum of the City of New York, on display until November 29. It is an enchanting exhibit that might bring up feelings or ideas like loneliness, industry, fragmentation, tradition and change, fear of terrorism by port entry, empathy with your neighbor, and man's place in the natural world. And the entire exhibit will take you less than fifteen minutes from start to finish, and you can seamlessly resume your daily regimen of kicking cats and gobbling down non- FDA approved diet pills.

The exhibit is split between contemporary depictions of the waterfront and historical photos, many of which were shot by Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers in the 1930s. Was there ever a better government program than the WPA? Now that is what I call cultural heritage. Why can't they create a WPA for this recession? I know a few individuals who need a state guidebook to write or a mural to paint, and I'm not even taking about myself surreptitiously, then again... If you look at the photos by Berenice Abbott (WPA all the way!), you actually start hearing "Rhapsody in Blue" and smell roasted chestnuts and pickle brine wafting through the air. No, not literally, you simpleton. But maybe you will, given your proclivities to hallucinogenics. What if you, like, went to a museum on, like, PCP man??? Imbeciles, all!
Here's a collage I made, inspired by the exhibit. This creative portrayal would suggest that I am a classically trained visual artist, but nope, that's just raw talent. Note the self- standing design and the unsettling slope of my desk. The Museum of the City of New York will next be showing an exhibit entitled "the Leisure Time Hobbies of Paloma Zenaida: The Demand for a New Works Progress Administration."

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