MAD-ness

This weekend brought some lovely spring-like weather to Manhattan, so of course we decided that the best thing to do would be to visit yet another museum. The Museum of Art and Design occupies a quirky building on Columbus Circle, and Tom has been keen to visit for ages.

Museum of Art and Design NYC

Almost uniquely for a New York building visitors are actually encouraged to take the stairs, and for doing so are rewarded with views of the streets below. I particularly liked one window which held a case of glass sculptures, though it was hard to know what to look at first (except for Tom, for whom it’s the captions every time). We also discovered the very cool restaurant on the top floor, which is has gone on the list for a future visit.

MAD window glasses

Inside the galleries we browsed an interesting collection of objects. Temporary exhibits included a display of quite incredible 20th century costume jewellery and some frankly disturbing ceramics. Rather more to our taste were a range of digitally-created artworks, in which mathematical models, computer-aided image manipulation, and laser printing were just some of the techniques employed.

MAD gallery shot

Some of the work is really quite lovely as well as technologically fascinating. I was particularly taken with this piece, which (if I’ve interpreted the label correctly) is a model of the light reflected by a Victorian candelabrum when exposed to a 3D scanning process:

Geoffrey Mann "Shine"

Geoffrey Mann “Shine”

There were also some more light-hearted pieces, including this one in which techniques of genetic engineering are applied to chairs. To quote the label: “By crossbreeding individual chairs with desirable traits do we eventually end up with the ultimate chair?” Looking at this one we didn’t think so – for a start it’s not squishy enough for my taste – but of course we weren’t allowed to sit in it to find out.

Jan Habraken "Chairgenics"

Jan Habraken “Chairgenics”

We walked home across Central Park, where despite a warmer couple of days there was a surprising amount of snow left on the ground. It was quite a challenge to avoid the puddles made by the melting snow (especially necessary as Tom had just discovered a hole in one of his shoes), but we were impressed by some enterprising ducks who were making the best of an impromptu pond on one of the lawns.

ducks in the snow

Looking back over recent entries it seems this blog is becoming a litany of art and snow, which is a fairly accurate representation of how we’ve been spending our leisure time of late (other than the usual routines of housework, of course, which are boring enough to do let alone write about). Our first visitors of the year are expected soon though, and we’ve just booked a rather exciting summer trip, so things should improve before too much longer. I was going to leave you with yet another picture of Central Park in the snow, but instead here’s Columbus on his monument:

Columbus circle

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