Completed in 1931, taking just over fourteen months to build, the Empire State Building is one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World. In the heart of the Great Depression, this Art Deco Wonder erupted from the rock called Manhattan.
When you think of people lining up for soup during that dark time, it’s no surprise that such a blatant display of wealth was controversial. Diego Rivera referenced the disparity between the Empire State Building and the economy in a fresco he created for his 1931 Museum of Modern Art show.
The main purpose for my recent trip to the City that Never Sleeps was the magnificent Diego Rivera show at MOMA. Yet I was even more inspired by MOMA’s collection of early-twentieth century Modern Art. I was floored by the emotional intensity of Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy and Monet’s large mural of lily pads. Up close, Monet’s mural was nothing but dry scribbles and scratches—yet, from only a few steps away, the brushstrokes came together with a visual and spiritual depth that communicated profound grief and love. Viewing it was a life-changing experience.
Just outside the museum, a mysterious metallic façade with surface impressions reminded me of dry limestone that had rested on the ocean floor. I took reference photos for the next time a client wants edgy, urban and organic all at once. It’s a perfect look for hospitality design, where having up-to-the-minute décor determines whether or not your customer comes back for a second visit.
For the visual artist, Manhattan lives up to that NYC nickname of the City that Never Sleeps. It’s a constant barrage of eye candy. I try to get an eyeful but pull back before I reach stimulation overload. Putting a finger on the universal “art” beat is best taken in small, but frequent, doses. Despite my enduring love for Boston, and even if only for window shopping, it’s always a privilege to visit Manhattan!
Arteriors: connecting feeling to art.