I’m leaving New York tonight to return to England and today isn’t quite the flurry of meet ups and activities that I had planned.
The Chelsea Manhattan bombing last night combined with general New Yorkers busy-ness meant that several of my meet ups have been cancelled and I’ll have to converse via e mail.
Chelsea is the very upmarket art hub where I encountered the high end gallery shock, met up with Nelson Santos from Visual AIDS and also went to the Rubin Museum and I’ve spent a lot of time there during my visit; but in view of last night’s bombing I’m very relieved that I don’t need to return to Manhattan today.
I’ve been staying in Newark, which although not far from New York is a completely different sort of vibe.
Local New Yorkers, when they found out where I was staying, were impressed and told me to ‘take care’. Ironically these were often the same people that bemoaned the clean-up and gentrification of New York.
In Newark I’ve noticed that all the police are black, but the three arrests made that I’ve seen (where the police seem to assemble in large numbers) have been made by white officers.
Newark was once very wealthy and the Newark Museum is incredible (again something that very art orientated New Yorkers that I’ve talked to didn’t realise) It has a collection of Tibetan artefacts that is one of the best in the world, and wipes the floor with the high end Rubin Gallery’s permanent exhibition, and the exhibitions of outsider art and Afro American art is phenomenal and gave me everything that I’d hoped to find at the American Folk Museum but didn’t.
However, because it is situated in Newark, it is relatively unknown and unvisited.
Both times I visited, and yes, it is so good I went twice, it was deserted, so once again success is designated by location and ability to network.
I loved New York and intend to return there. It’s fabulous but it is very hard work. I believe that it is possible to become successful there if you have just a few of the right contacts, a lot of drive and the ability to network (o yeah…and talent!).
These are very simplistic overviews from a short period of observation of course and success is subjective.
I will say that I was impressed with the political awareness amongst the art scene there and the savvy that translates art into political protest.
In the next few weeks I should have some follow up blogs to put up, with transcripts of the email conversations with people that were unable to meet me personally.
So did the a-n travel grant benefit me? Well I have obviously been creatively inspired and had many insights from this trip, but I’ve also done an incredibly successful presentation that created great connections for future use, that I intend to follow up on.
So yes, the travel bursary was a success!
Header Image: Ronald Lockett at Newark Museum