Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

The Pope, Putin and Me

October 2nd, 2015
New York

Call me a narcissist, but did they ALL have to be in New York the same week as me? Everyone from Barack to Francis to Francois to Xi Jinping to Putin – who hadn’t been in a decade – plus Michelle, Charlize and Australia’s ex- PM Julia Gillard in a bright pink suit hit the Big Apple. Traffic grinded to a honking halt. Not even the Pope Mobile was going to help me. Thank God I discovered the subway. It’s terrific – fast, efficient and cheap.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I experienced Pope-Lock, I checked out Dia Beacon, a fantastic museum 52 miles north of Manhattan in Duchess County. Perched above the Hudson river in a former  Nabisco box printing factory, Dia is as pretty on the outside as it is stunning on the inside.


The sprawling, light-filled museum – where rooms exhibit the works of one great artist at a time – can be peaceful and meditative or a great place for kids to run free. Joseph Beuys, Agnes Martin, Louise Bourgeois, Gerhard Richter, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin are just a smattering of the Dia artists exhibited. Here I’m looking rather petite next to Ken and Richard Serra’s Torqued.


This room is dedicated to John Chamberlain.


And this one to Michael Heizer’s “North, East, South, West”.


Get an art twofer and visit Storm King, a 500 acre sculpture park 14 miles south west of Beacon. Go see works by Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Andy Goldsworthy and more this autumn. Candy pink sculpture below by artist Lynda Benglis.


Somehow we missed Storm King and ended up in a  cafe dedicated to  Doctor Who fans instead. Who knew?


Back in Manhattan, I sidestepped the gridlock and went underground, taking the N  train from Columbus Circle down to 14th Street. A one-way ticket costs about $3 with trains appearing every five minutes. Goodbye gridlock! From there I  walked to David Zwirner‘s gallery on 19th street  to see the vast and  varied  Wolfgang Tillmans’ show.


The German artist uses state-of-the-art tools showing images previously impossible to capture, like what a wave looks like snapped at 1/4000 of a second. The depth of detail possible in digital photography boggles and fascinates. However, I still prefer Tillmans’ quiet still lifes. Filament is one of my favourites.


Zwirner assistant Cristina Vere Nicoll is co-curating a group show with Tatiana Cheneviere that opens tonight (Oct 2) in Chinatown. If you’re feeling  spry and curious, head on down to 177 Canal Street. Cristina is pictured below with recent RISD graduates and co-founders of MX Gallery, Adrien, Tom Mc Farlin and Shelby Garrison Jackson.




Need an art break? Check out this view from CX’s roof terrace. Tonight.


October, 2015