Tag Archive | Yes it Exists

Yes, It Exists: A NYC Loft Apartment Filled With Dirt

New York Earth Room
Photo By John Cliett Courtesy of the Dia Art Foundation

Do you like discovering weird stuff in NYC that hardly anybody else seems to know about? I sure do. A couple of years ago, Geoffrey told me about a visit he made to an art installation in SoHo which consisted of one loft apartment filled, wall-to-wall, with a waist-high layer of dirt. And I was like, “That sounds pretty weird.” Then I basically forgot all about it, until earlier this week, when I was looking for a way kill an hour between leaving the office and attending an art opening. The gallery I was going to just happened to be located around the corner from what I had been referring to as The Dirt Apartment, which is officially called the New York Earth Room, so I decided to check it out.

NY Earth Room Sign

The Earth Room is located on the second floor of an otherwise nondescript building on a block mostly occupied by prohibitively expensive designer clothing boutiques, and you have to be buzzed in from the street. A sign in the lobby tells you to walk one floor up the narrow stairs to reach your desired destination, and then you really can’t miss it. There’s a small reception area at the far end, with the viewing area of the Earth Room just past the entrance, on your right. When you first enter the space, it feels like you are in a sauna: hot, humid, almost stifling — but, despite the obvious lack of air-conditioning, the docent on duty, Brian, who was wearing a wool sweater, told me that after being in the room for a few minutes, it actually starts to feel cold in there. I was skeptical, but he was right.

The Earth Room is a loft space that spans half a city block. There are two support columns piercing the soil to your left and you can see windows on both sides of the loft. The windows on the right face Wooster Street, and ones on the left probably face a courtyard or airshaft. There’s a small, separate room directly across from the viewing area. The dirt is retrained by a Plexiglas barrier

What does it smell like in there? It smells like the earth.

Some Statistical Background:

The New York Earth Room (1977) is the third Earth Room sculpture executed by the artist Walter De Maria (1935 – 2013), the first being in Munich, Germany in 1968. The second was installed at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany in 1974. The first two works no longer exist.

How Much Dirt Is in This Room:

250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters)
3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters)
22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters)
Total weight of sculpture: 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos)

Brian was very enthusiastic about answering all of my questions and he explained that the space was formerly a commercial gallery, where the Earth Room was created as a regular exhibit. Somehow, the gallery owner decided to donate the loft  to the Dia Art Foundation so that the work could remain on long-term installation (or something like that. I am likely omitting many details). The New York Earth Room has been on long-term view to the public since 1980. This work was commissioned and is maintained by Dia Art Foundation.

The New York Earth Room is a work of art meant to be viewed, not entered. You are asked to not touch the dirt. Photography is not permitted, in accordance with wishes of the Artist.

Another interesting fact: the caretaker, Bill Dilworth, has taken care of the dirt for 28 years. The dirt is watered on a regular basis, and churned, so that the soil looks fresh.

You may not think that many people want to visit an apartment filled with dirt, but you would be incorrect. Brian told me that I was the 100th person to visit on that day, and most days there many more visitors.  I am not fronting when I suggest that being in the Earth Room may inspire you to engage in deep contemplation of the meaning of life and the existence of all things. I am now in love this exhibit and can’t wait to visit again many times. Earth Room!

The New York Earth Room is Located at 141 Wooster Street (Between Prince and Houston), 2nd Floor, SoHo, New York City. Hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 12–6 PM (closed from 3–3:30 PM). The New York Earth Room closes for the summer on Sunday, June 17th, 2018. It will reopen on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018. The installation is also closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Admission is Free.

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Yes, It Exists: David Bowie Paper Dolls!

Paper Boy David Bowie
All Photos By Gail

The only real bummer about David Bowie Is, the Brooklyn Museum’s immersive and wildly fascinating career retrospective on the late, great rock superstar is the fact that photography is not allowed inside the galleries. Huge Bummer! Once you enter the exhibit, the rule makes sense, because crowding: but still. Fortunately, photography is fully permitted in the museum gift shop, and thank god, because that is where I found these (unofficial) David Bowie Paper Dolls! Squee!

Bowie Underpants Model
Ziggy-era Bowie in his Skivvies: Ready for some Hot Dress-Up Action!

If you’ve ever wanted to know what the Thin White Duke looked like in his underwear alone, wonder no longer!

Bowie Black Jump Suit
Tokyo Pop Vinyl Bodysuit (1973) Designed By Kansai Yamamoto for the Aladdin Sane tour

From Ziggy Stardust to Halloween Jack, Major Tom, and many other characters, David Bowie continuously reinvented himself. The stage outfits recreated in Mel’s Music Icons’ Ziggy Paperboy book highlight a selections of Bowie ’s numerous identities and are as much a tribute to Bowie as is his music! Here are just a few of the fun outfits you can dress him up in!

Bowie Blue Boa

Two Outfits

Blonde David

The book also includes a few differently-styled versions of David, to accommodate all of his ch-ch-ch-changes!

Bowie Blue Suit

Here is the famous Ice Blue Suit that David wore for the Mick Rock-directed video for “Life On Mars.” Iconic!

Bowie One Leg and Sleeve Costume

OMG so much Fun!

David Bowie Is Runs Through July 15th, 2018 at the Brooklyn Museum.

Yes, It Exists: Deep Fried Toy Tanks

Deep Fried Toy Tank
Photos By Gail

This deep-fried toy tank is one of seven identical models that make up the artwork entitled Visual Art, Add Oil! March Forward! (19992005) by Chinese artist Zheng Guogu.

Deep Fried Toy Tanks

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Art and China After 1989 at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Yes, It Exists: Place Setting Place Mats By Stephen Shore

Place Mats by Steven Shore
All Photos By Gail

The International Center of Photography in New York sold these Bob’s Your Uncle disposable placemats, featuring photographer Stephen Shore’s images of food and plates, in 2007, when the institution hosted a survey of Shore’s work that had toured throughout Europe and the US.

Photographed as Part of the Stephen Shore Career Retrospective, on Exhibit Through May 28th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Place Mats by Steven Shore

Yes, It Exists: Mickey Mouse Head Camera

Mickey Mouse Camera
Photos By Gail

In 1971, Child Guidance Products manufactured the Mick-a-Matic Camera: a large plastic body shaped like Micky Mouse’s head with a viewfinder in its forehead, a lens in its nose and a flash between its ears. The camera was designed for children, but photographer Stephen Shore used it throughout 1971 to take dozens of images, some of which appeared in the exhibition, All the Meat You Can Eat. These pictures marked Shore’s first artistic use of color photography.

Mickey Mouse Head Camera was Photographed as Part of the Stephen Shore Career Retrospective, on Exhibit  Through May 28th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Mickey Mouse Camera

Yayoi Kusama Christmas Tree Ornament

Kusama Ornament
All Photos By Gail

How adorable is this tiny, painted wooden tree Ornament in the likeness of our favorite living artist, Yayoi Kusama? Answer: so darn cute!

Kusama Ornament

Here she is posing next to a book about Kusama, which I bet is really cool.

Kusama Ornament

You know what else you could do is thread her on a chord and wear her around your neck like a pendant. How fashionable! I may do that.

Yayoi (pronounced “Ya-Yo-E”) Kusama Ornament can be found in the MoMA Design Store and also perhaps Online.

Kusama Ornament

Yes, It Exists: Rock Star Barbie

Rock Star Barbie
Photo By Gail

Is it really so strange that there is not only a Rock Star Barbie, but a whole gang of Barbie ‘Rockers’? Probably not. In fact, I think it is appropriate; because if Barbie can be anything she wants to be, why not be a Rocker, I ask yez? I’m actually quite surprised that it took Mattel this long to figure out that Barbie wants to Rock, Bitches! This incarnation of Rock Star Barbie (official name Careers Barbie Rock Star Doll) — which comes with a couple of thoroughly hideous outfits and a purple guitar — sells for $24.49 at Target, but I’ve seen others selling online for less. Rock on, Barbie!