Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Woman of all Times - Linda Stojak at Stephen Haller Gallery

Her name would be Anna or Maria.... at most Catherine (or Anne, Mary, Katharina). Anyway the most universal of European female names - not a modern fashionable one. (The British only have to think of Henry VIII and would have all names together).

At first sight she is a classical European beauty, with a pretty face and a well-proportioned figure.

At second sight there is something unsettling about her and you wonder what might have happened. Is she crying? Or bleeding? Where is she coming from and where heading for? You will never know for she is aloof. And so fragile that you are afraid she might fade away in the next second.

But the longer you keep watching her she reveals a grandeur and a defiance to stand up. Painted at the present time, she is still lapped with enormous patina.

Because she is the universal woman, who has either suffered throes and lost sons in war and malady or been abandoned because of childlessness. Who has endured infidelity and just every kind of humiliation for being female. But she has never lost her dignity.

Do these women still exist today? For sure, but not so much in our ordinary perception. Where women are mostly celebrated for their luxurious shoe collection or for presenting the condoms they have used.

American painter Linda Stojak's deeply psychological portraits dealing with the existential themes of women are on exhibition at Stephen Haller Gallery until February 19, 2011.

"LINDA STOJAK: From the Moment Passed."

First photo courtesy of Stephen Haller Gallery.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nobu Tribeca

As I am still new in town my culinary tours limit to the familiar spots that locals would yawn at when reading about it. Too much has been written and told about all of them before.

I hope you still don't mind if I tell you about the best food I had here so far and at the same time one of the best in my life ;)

Earlier this month I went to Nobu in Tribeca which is the original restaurant of what is now a chain empire spread out over 13 countries.
On their website they claim to be "the world's most recognized Japanese restaurant" which cannot be true, i) when they mean all the 30 chain restaurants on different continents and ii) when they serve fusion food.

However, if you want to see a spot that is exactly as you expect a fancy New York restaurant should be - this is the place to go. It was crowded and loud like hell, rich and beautiful folks. And with the underlying excitement that you feel when there could be celebrities around - what you only feel when you are not from Manhattan.

As to the food - I didn't take pictures for the lighting was too scanty but I filmed a little so that you can get an idea of the atmosphere. There are tons of pictures of each dish on the www anyway.
It wasn't intended but in the end I opted for the signature dishes.

i)"Tiradito Nobu Style": scallops slices marinated with lemon juice and with a hint of coriander and chili.

--> Simple and pure.

ii) "Sashimi Salad with Matsuhisa Dressing": bluefin tuna sashimi with a pepper crust and a salad of wild lettuce, daikon hair, endives, radish, cucumber juliennes and a soy-sauce-rice-vinegar-dressing.

--> From an ecologically sound point of view I wouldn't encourage anybody to eat tuna in the 21th century. But this dish was ingenious, so abundant of different subtle flavors, I guess it would allow to make an exception here and never eat tuna again? ;). It was mind-boggling.

"Zen": green tea mousse, almond sponge, chocolate praline crunch, grean tea cremoso and adzuki bean.

--> One of the best desserts I have ever had and I am grateful for the inspiration. I love mascarpone (or similar substitutes) and adzuki beans (I love every sweetness that Koreans make out of them, especially Patbingsu) and by chance, a sister's friend in Japan procured my first matcha tea recently (isn't that great when siblings have nice friends btw?) but I would have never thought about combining these favorite ingredients.

This is fusion food at its best - leaving the taste of traditional ingredients unadulterated but lifting them to another level through intersection.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

galleries at west 26th st

According to online database, there are 956 private galleries in NYC. Taking the non-listed institutions into account, that would amount to over 1000. That's why it's not possible for anybody to catch a glimpse of the majority of them, also regarding the fact that gallery hours are not compatible with office hours.

So Saturdays, if not slept away completely, are the only chances to take a stroll.

I started slowly: with a single street in Westchelsea to see a group exhibition featuring the Korean-American artist Sook Jin Jo... to find it closed. It didn't matter as there was still too much to see.

Thanks to the enormous density of showcases in each respective neighborhood here, a gallery tour doesn't demand as much endurance as in other cities, where the time to arrive at one normally exceeds the time you spend in it. In some buildings you just have to get to the next floor or pass through a door to hit a different realm.

I learned later that it has not been more than a decade since this desolate spot of Manhattan turned into the the world's most important landscape for contemporary art.

What stands out right at the beginning is that here more than ever each gallery has its own distinct style and interior design.

Here are some snapshots including a lithograph by Willem de Kooning at Mary Ryan Gallery.

Monday, January 10, 2011

the Sartorialist in Seoul

Picture from today.
This is definitely not the style Koreans would dress. I have never seen anything that even comes close to vintage style in Korea. Anyway awesome.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

lunchbox - not selfmade

Times Square, where my temporary work is, turned out to be a snacking heaven. A secretary told me right away about the amazing salads, burgers, noodles, soba and sandwiches that are close by. Being intimidated by the range of choices I just jumped into the very first deli. To see that they had EVERYTHING, you could think of for a quick lunch, with a buffet to begin with. As a teenager I loved buffets in Korean festival halls so it was a reminiscence to those days. I had to have this kind of lunch box several days in a row, so I didn't make it to the next deli even. It is fast food by nature but still fresh, tangy and crisp.
Ps: The sour fruit gums naturally provide for a complete week.

Ps: In terms of sustainability this meal is evil of course (the massive production of waste is an omnipresent illness here).

twilight II

The positive side-effect of this linear and uniform cityscape: you can always find a perspective to see the horizon. If you look down a street, no building obscures the view. At the most a cab.

twilight I

Only the second day of work, I left office at quarter past four. Too big was the urge to take pictures of the twilight (despite my deficient camera). The sky was pure as so often in this city. One partner looked at me as if he had never seen such a (bold) person before.

The half an hour time frame in which the sun colors the building tops in a golden glaze, eclipses the lower parts, then tints the sky splendidly until it darkens swiftly but almost impalpably - those are the magical moments of a day that are not to be missed.
If you are a free human you should enjoy the sunset more often.

museum policy

Dear Americans,

this is SIMPLY NO WAY to present your cultural assets. What a shame.

William Meritt Chase, Child Hassam, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent. Winslow Homer, of course. All these beautiful landsmen of yours would turn over in their graves if they knew what you did to their works.

I had to wait too long to see them in real, the way was far. I dreamed about them since I was young and now I am grieving. So please write petitions to your curators that they should get a big hall for these masterpieces and that the glass should be removed. Now. Let alone this dreadful lighting.

Massimo Stanzione:

Did you know? Nicole Kidman lived in the 17th century. I always knew that her face is an everywomen face.

Judith with the Head of Holofernes, ca. 1630-1635. Oil on Canvas.

Have a closer look here:

Friday, January 7, 2011

time off

On a weekday morning - while everybody rushed to work - I took a morning walk to the metropolitan museum. Every now and then, life is too generous.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

my new rubber boots

At an early point of time I learned that two items were essential here that virtually don't exist in Berlin: rubber boots and earmuffs. That's why I didn't possess any of them but when the snow turned into slush

rubber boots became the must-have of the moment: the only way to keep feet dry.
The purchase however wasn't easy. I dislike the shape of most rubber boots like hunter boots (either chavy or clumsy) so I opted for a Swedish brand that makes playful but still classy boots. Of course the color I wanted seemed to be sold out in the shops (in those days everyone who didn't already have some were getting rubber boots) so I hunted after them all around the city. But it was totally worth the effort and I rarely stepped out of the door without them since.

Now, whenever there is a puddle to jump in I rejoice like a kid and pity other leather-soled-pedestrians.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Day

On New Year's Day I finally made it to the hipsters' part of Brooklyn, Williamsburg. To be precise, it's one segment of the Bedford Avenue and some side roads. I had been to the avenue itself already but I had started at a "wrong" section. The street is 16 km long in total, so as a matter of fact, I didn't made it to the other right spot. Instead I ve seens so many Hasidic Jews as never before in my life.

I went to a highly praised vintage store, the beacon's closet (other stores that I wanted to see were closed on that day). At first sight I was disappointed as the stuff wasn't well-assorted and there weren't as many leather goods as I hoped. But in the chaos I detected a cute wool coat of one of my favorite Korean fashion brands. It fit perfectly, was in great condition and was only tagged with 25 $ (the shop personnel probably didn't know that it was worth ten times as much:))! I was happy as my last coat of the same producer lasted ten years.

Afterwards I spotted a shop where you can make accessories to one's liking. I was looking for some long and simple necklaces a longer time so this was the chance given. I chose a ferreous padlock and a golden leaf as pendants. I love that the leaf can be worn in multiple "positions". I also made this stud earrings in the shape of a rose. In the evening I went to a Jazz Club in the West Village (Smalls). It was pretty crammed and pretty good.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hello from Midtown Manhattan!

So finally I write about the things I enjoy most - food and life in the city. I won't have a kitchen for at least a month so there will be more posts on places visited and spotted gadgets than cooking posts. Wish everybody a good start into 2011!