I arrived at the Gershwin Hotel on east 27th on January 2nd. The hotel’s exterior looked like a cross between something from Jurassic Park and Men in Black. I rolled my suitcase into the lobby and was greeted by Alaskan cohort and classmate, Jean Bundy and her husband, Dave. The IDSVA NYC residency was underway.
Tuesday I scoped out the coffee shop, the Birch, which turned out to be the place to hang and bounce around thoughts about Hegel, Lacan and Derrida. It was good to be back with warriors from our Spannocchia residency!
Each morning we awoke and headed down Lexington Avenue to Baruch College where we heard each other’s presentations. Much hair pulling went on during the week as we whittled some 15-20 page papers down to a manageable 7-8 to fill a 20-minute presentation slot. Not always easy, but a valuablelesson.
After presentations and lunch were off to various museums throughout Manhattan. The Met, Guggenheim, Whitney, Museo del Barrio, MOMA and finally the New Museum in lower Manhattan were all visited. MOMA was a special treat, as we were given a private talk by director of exhibitions, Ramona Bannayan before our launch into the de Kooning blockbuster.
For me, the most moving exhibition of all was the 911 Memorial. I am a New Yorker and left the city in 2000. I hadn’t been to the site since my last visit to the Trade Towers in 2000, so braced for an emotional experience. The inverted fountains are an apt monument to the tragedy of that day.
The academic week ended with an electrifying discussion with scholar Bill Brown followed by his public lecture at The Morgan Library. The evening concluded perfectly with a dinner for all including members of the board and friends of the school. After lots of toasts a passing comment from a guest at the dinner summed it up nicely: “You guys really like each other!”
After the NYC residency, I feel like my tank has been fueled for another bracing and intellectually challenging semester. Next, it’s on to France!