Go South of the Border With Tijuana Picnic: 3 Tequila Recipes to Try Now

Photo: Mi Casa Margarita by Jason Rodriguez, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic. Full recipes below.

Not a day goes by without some seemingly pointless new internet holiday rearing its ready-to-celebrate-on-Instagram-head. But this Friday heralds one we’re mucho excited to celebrate — National Tequila Day! Arriba!

In honor of this oh-so-sacred day, we thought it’d be wise to familiarize ourselves a bit more with the spirit; and who better to teach us the tequila way than Jim Kerns, the Sasha Petraske-trained bar consultant behind some of NYC’s best cocktail menus and the latest LES hotspot, Tico’s Tequila bar downstairs at Tijuana Picnic.

DiscoBallPhoto by Jason Rodriguez, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

Please state your full name and occupation for the record.

James Michael Kerns. I’m the bar consultant here at Tijuana Picnic.

So what’s the difference between a bartender and a bar consultant?

I mean, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Bartending is when I’m actually behind the bar…I do that sometimes too these days. But consulting means I’m kind of developing menus or cocktails or putting together spirit lists.

Awesome. What’s your process like to put together a spirit list or cocktail menu?

Well, it all depends on the project. Usually there’s kind of an initial vision that’s laid out, and you kind of just figure out where you’re going to take it from there (and how and why).

What kind of direction did you get here at Tijuana Picnic?

I knew that it was going to be a Latin restaurant, Mexican restaurant, basically. I got initial drafts of the menu and then I tried to take some ingredients and carry them over to the drink list. You try to incorporate things in as thoughtful of a way as possible.

What goes with the Tequila family besides blackouts?

That’s anything if you drink enough of it [laughs]. Are you talking about types of food? Anything with savory notes or peppery notes they are obviously extremely complementary. If you were talking about Mezcal, anything smoky or grilled, that’s a good pairing.

So fascinating. What distinguishes a more expensive kind of spirit in the Tequila/Mezcal family? Is it the age?

It can be. I mean you have to keep a few factors in mind when it comes to pricing on booze in general. Packaging often drives pricing up. Like if a spirit is in its own one-off kind of bottle that has a really distinct shape that you’ll never seen anywhere else, that drives the price up because then the bottle production is a specialty project.

They should sell it in a box carton like Franzia wine.

[Laughs.] Don’t know if they actually sell Tequila or Mezcal in that format. Yeah you would, uh ,definitely drive pricing down with something like that.

Have you ever been to Tijuana?

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona so you would think that I had, but I actually I haven’t. Our little border town of note is Nogales. So I’ve been there quite a few times.

Nogales picnic doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it.

No it doesn’t have the same ring to it. I think more people know Tijuana.

So, here at Tijuana Picnic, do you guys do any really frilly stuff? You know any strange margarita offerings?

We do have a house margarita that’s Tequila and Mezcal. Its kind of like a tequila margarita meets a Mezcal margarita. And then there’s also the traditional Cointreauas the modifier with some agave nectar as well to sort of, you know, cool off all of that.

Sounds delicious. What’s another signature cocktail here?

Probably the Smoking Maid. It’s Mezcal and Jalapeno Tequila.

What’s your favorite cocktail in general and specifically on the menu at Tijuana Picnic?

My favorite cocktail in general is a Manhattan. Favorite cocktail here, I’d probably goes with the Smokin’ Maid or the House Margarita once again. The Sassy Senorita is also really good…I try to keep the bad ones off of the menu [Laughs].

Favorite food on the menu?

I’m a big fan of the wings; I love the duck wings. So good. They’re like crack. Delicious.

Ok, wrapping up here with some practical advice. Do you buy into the whole sort of technique of drinking in a certain order, like “liquor before beer?”

I’ve always just sort of found that in the end booze is booze. And you’re putting alcohol in your system and it ultimately is gonna have the same effect on you if you over-consume. But actually I will say that I think probably the worst couple of hangovers there are out there are absinthe hangovers and peated scotch hangovers just because the absinthe is really strong and has a lot of herbs and sugar in it. And the peated scotch will tend to have a lot of conjurers, which are the compounds that give alcohol spirits their flavor but they’re are also part of the toxic of the rut of the distillate.

Good to know. Any hangover cure tips?

Hair of the dog does work unfortunately because a hangover is equal parts. Well I’d say equal parts sleep deprivation because you don’t sleep properly when you drink, dehydration and alcohol withdrawals. So yeah hair of the dog certainly works. Lots of water and temperance though is usually what I’d advise. Water, rest and temperance will usually cure a hangover most permanently.

[LAUGHTER] amazing.

Courtesy of Tijuana Pacific, here are three tequila recipes to make now for National Tequila Day (and always).

Sassy Senorita

Ingredients:
3/4 parts fresh limejuice
3/4 parts strawberry syrup
1/4 part Aperol
2 strawberries, juiced
2 red pepper spears, juiced
1 part blanco tequila
1 part agricole rum
salt and pepper rim

Directions:
Combine ingredients and strain into a rocks glass with a salt and pepper rim.

TIJUANA_PICNIC_cocktail1_Wagtouicz_01-(1)
Photo: Sassy Senorita by Paul Wagtouicz, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

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Mi Casa Margarita

Ingredients:
smoked salt rim
3/4 parts lime
1/2 part agave
1/2 part Cointreau
3/4 parts blanco tequila
3/4 parts Mezcal

Directions:
Combine fresh lime juice, agave, Cointreau, mezcal and blanco tequila. Shake and pour into a smoked salt-rimmed rocks glass.

Mi-Casa-Margarita
Photo: Mi Casa Margarita by Jason Rodriguez, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

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Mexican Maid

Ingredients:
jalepeno infused tequila
salt and pepper rim
2 cucumber slices
5-6 mint leaves
sprig of mint
1 lime
3/4 parts agave
2 parts Mezcal

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with a salt a salt and pepper rim. Garnish with a cucumber slice and mint sprig.

Smokin-Maid,-Jason-Rodriguez
Photo: Mexican Maid by Jason Rodriguez, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

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For more places to eat and drink in New York right now, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

10 Times Instagram Changed the English Language

As Cara Delevingne exemplifies, the meaning of words and phrases is changing faster than ever. A generation that learned how to text before learning the “correct” definitions of words has no respect for “official” definitions. And why should they? In 1873, Nietzsche famously philosophized that official definitions distort the nature of things and force people to frame their reality in pre-defined terms. “What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms…metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.”

In the early 1900s, Ambrose Bierce, the fiercely independent essayist and satirist, so deeply understood the manipulative power of words and their definitions that he set out to write his own dictionary — The Devil’s Dictionary. His definitions enlightened his contemporaries about the true social, political and economic power of words and their meanings.

Because we believe that the Bierce-ian vibe is alive and well in the digital age, we have set out to compile a Devil’s Digital Dictionary. Here, a definition via the bottom-up approach of researching how words are actually being defined on social media (yup, by spending millions of hours on Instagram and Twitter.)

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Love. /ləv/. noun. feeling of affirmation or affection for a being or thing, ranging in intensity from soul-sizzling ferocity to casually consumptive curiosity. (“OMG I love that bracelet, where did you get it?”)

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Cute. /kyo͞ot/. adjective. having an appearance or nature that inspires wonder and aww. That’s “aww,” not “awe,” as in, “aww — it’s a baby otter cuddling with an iPhone 6 + in an Otterbox.” “Cute” means “aww inspiring.”

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Bored. /bôrd/. adjective. feeling weary because you are overwhelmed by the repetitive predictability of life. Boredom is the tiring sense that a really good computer algorithm could predict exactly what you want and what you will do next. The awareness of a boredom, therefore, becomes the basis for rebelliousness.

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Blessed. /blest/. adjective. state of having benefited from major dose of good fortune or a tiny drop of good luck. The tumor’s benign. #Blessed. Got to Soul Cycle on time. #Blessed.

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Nostalgia. /näˈstaljə/. noun. playful remembering of a prior period from personal or cultural history, which is unburdened by a desire to return to that period and filled with lighthearted joy. No longer is nostalgia the Don Draper kind, which longs to Kodak Carousel itself back to some time when everything was better. Nostalgia has become the celebration of the long and winding road of personal and shared history.

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Feminism. /ˈfeməˌnizəm/. noun. personally customizable belief in gender and sexual equality. Lena Dunham is one type of feminist, Hillary Clinton is another type of feminist. Kim Kardashian is another type of feminist. John Legend is another type of feminists. And, yes, ladies and gentlemen, Ryan Gosling is his own kind of feminist. Being a feminist is the cultural equivalent of owning a jailbroken iPhone – it’s completely customizable; that said, having a jailbroken iPhone one means that you acknowledge that iPhones (representing women in this analogy) are, at the very least, equal to Androids (representing men in this analogy, which is not as random as it sounds because the word “Android” derives from the Greek root “andr,” meaning men” and you wonder while ladies don’t like them).

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Disruptive. /disˈrəptiv/. adjective. useful in a way that makes something else seem useless. Uber is disruptive because it makes cabs seem useless. AirBnB is disruptive because it makes hotels seem useless.

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Mom. /mäm/. noun. one with whom one shares a sense of felt consanguinity (who need not necessarily be one’s biological mother). This new definition came to the public’s attention when Lorde retweeted Kim Kardashian’s booty bearing Jean Paul Goude picture with the hashtag #Mom. When some questioned whether Lorde was judging Kim for appearing naked on the cover in light of the fact that she is a mother, Lorde responded by clarifying that she was indeed using the word’s new definition “among the youthz [mom] is a compliment; it basically jokingly means ‘adopt me/be my second mom/i think of you as a mother figure you are so epic.”

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LOL. /ell-lō-ell/. verb. to experience humorous stimulation to a degree ranging from the awareness that someone has expressed something in response to to which you are intended to experience humorous stimulation, to the actual state of audible laughter.

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Crazy. /ˈkrāzē/ adjective. notably out of the ordinary, from unseasonably cold weather to a degree of demented deliriosity that qualifies as actual mental derangement.

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How Cara Delevingne’s Instagram Changed the English Language Forever

Photos courtesy of Cara Delevingne on Instagram

Get weird with Cara Delevingne’s Instagram

The meaning of words and phrases is changing faster than ever. A generation that learned how to text before learning the “correct” definitions of words has no respect for “official” definitions. And why should they? In 1873, Nietzsche famously philosophized that official definitions distort the nature of things and force people to frame their reality in pre-defined terms. “What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms…metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.”

In the early 1900s, Ambrose Bierce, the fiercely independent essayist and satirist, so deeply understood the manipulative power of words and their definitions that he set out to write his own dictionary — The Devil’s Dictionary. His definitions enlightened his contemporaries about the true social, political and economic power of words and their meanings.

Because we believe that the Bierce-ian vibe is alive and well in the digital age, we have set out to compile a Devil’s Digital Dictionary. Here, a definition via the bottom-up approach of researching how words are actually being defined on social media (yup, by spending millions of hours on Instagram and Twitter.)

WEIRD. /wɪərd/. adjective. childishly playful or silly outbursts of emotion or enthusiasm such as making faces, sticking your tongue out, furrowing your brow, and spontaneously dancing.

At one point, “weird” meant really fucking weird. It meant something that seemed almost supernaturally strange, eerie or unnatural. Kevin Spacey in Seven would certainly qualify as weird. Or Kevin Spacey in K-PAX. Or Kevin Spacey in American Beauty – but only after he moved into his own garage.

We’re not trying to suggest that Kevin Spacey has a monopoly on vintage weirdness; we’re just using him to underscore the point that “weird” traditionally meant something “not of this world,” something “Spacey.”

That has changed. Big time. “Weird” now means something more like “childishly playful or silly outbursts of emotion or enthusiasm such as making faces, sticking your tongue out, furrowing your brow and spontaneously dancing.” We totally understand what it’s like to get the urge to make a silly face and rip a selfie with your bestie.

Let’s take the case of the current poster child for weirdness: Cara Delevingne. If it sounds strange to call a top model the “poster child for weirdness,” that’s exactly our point. You’re thinking of vintage weirdness. But she embodies the new sense of the word. She’s the one calling herself weird.

If you don’t check Cara’s Insta every day (like we do), it’s conceivable that you haven’t noticed that her profile states “Embrace Your Weirdness.” And that’s what she believes she’s doing.

So how does Cara Delevingne define “weird”?

Sticking her tongue out and encouraging people to EAT MORE CHIPS:

When in doubt…. EAT MORE CHIPS

A photo posted by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

Sticking her tongue out and shaking her head like a dog (in slo-mo):

Rolling her tongue into a cloverleaf in pictures with friends:

All tongue and no cheek @joansmalls @chaosfashiondotcom @fendi_official A photo posted by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

Staging bump-ins with model Binx Walton, followed by a silly handshake:

All the time @binxwalton @karllagerfeld @chanelofficial A video posted by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

Riding around the supermarket in a handicap cart while making faces:

Cruisin

A video posted by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

Last Night a Disco Saved My Life (Nordstrom Celebrates 25 Years of Jeffrey)

Photo: Jeffrey Kalinsky. Courtesy of BFAnyc.com

The halcyon days of disco were alive and well last night at Nordstrom’s audaciously cool downtown dance party celebrating 25 Years of Jeffrey with LadyFag. The très chic crowd (including fashion royalty Ken Downing, Steven Kolb and models of the moment Jacqueline Jablonski and Lexi Boling) grooved alongside Jeffrey founder, Jeffrey Kalinsky, in the totally transformed iconic meatpacking store to the smooth sounds of Honey Dijon while sipping on champagne and noshing on candy cigarettes and glitter encrusted bon bons (One could arguably call them “Disco Biscuits.”). It was a decadent affair to say the least. One guest playfully quipped “But where is all the Chanel?” Nothing short of Gatsby-esque, the evening — which unofficially kicked off New York’s first Men’s Fashion week (#NYFWM) — featured a special performance by Princess Diandra, one of the city’s most influential transgender and drag performers.

If only every night were a disco…

Nordstrom Celebrates 25 Years of Jeffrey with Ladyfag and a Night of Disco and Dancing
Photo: Lexi Boling. Courtesy of BFAnyc.com

Nordstrom Celebrates 25 Years of Jeffrey with Ladyfag and a Night of Disco and Dancing
Photo: Jacquelyn Jablonski. Courtesy of BFAnyc.com

Nordstrom Celebrates 25 Years of Jeffrey with Ladyfag and a Night of Disco and Dancing
Photo: Jeffrey-mosphere. Courtesy of BFAnyc.com

Nordstrom Celebrates 25 Years of Jeffrey with Ladyfag and a Night of Disco and Dancing
Photo courtesy of BFAnyc.com

How to Throw a Hot Summer Kick-Off Party

Heat up your summer kick-off party with a refreshingly spicy SVEDKA Grapefruit Jalapeño Vodka cocktail and the perfect playlist.

We’ve been ready to come out of hibernation for a while, and finally the weather is cooperating with our plans for a summer kick-off party. To get things started with rooftop celebrating, BlackBook writers Felicity Sargent and Mark Molle are sharing what it takes to throw the ultimate party, down to the details in playlist and cocktails (like the kick of jalapeño in grapefruit flavored vodka, courtesy of SVEDKA).

There’s nothing like a dresser drink to get things started — you know, the cocktail you make to get in the mood while you’re getting the party ready. Enter the SVEDKA Dog Bite.

Ingredients:
2 parts SVEDKA Grapefruit Jalapeño
4 parts grapefruit juice
1 slice jalapeño
salt

Instructions:
Pour SVEDKA Grapefruit Jalapeño into a salt-rimmed rocks glass filled with ice. Top with grapefruit juice and stir. Garnish with a slice of jalapeño.

svedka_cocktail1_blackbook Svedka_cocktail2_blackbook svedka_cocktail3_blackbook

Next up: Tunes.

“A properly structured party playlist should naturally correspond with the three acts of a properly structured party. Let’s go ahead and pretend that we are spinning somewhere subterranean circa the late aughts,” our hosts say.

  1. The Introduction: “This is when revelers enter and prepare to cross the threshold into the party world.” (Talking Heads through The Drums)
  2. Total party immersion: “When revelers immerse themselves more and more in the party world and the party stakes rise and rise and rise until the party becomes their only world.” (The Pixies through MGMT)
  3. The beginning of the end. (Peter Bjorn and John through M83)

svedka_playlist_blackbook

This next cocktail, Paloma Picante, takes center stage once the playlist is settled and guests start to filter in.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 parts SVEDKA Grapefruit Jalapeño
3/4 part grapefruit juice
1/2 part fresh lime juice
1/2 part simple syrup
1 slice de-seeded jalapeño
lemon-lime soda

Instructions:

Combine ingredients, except lemon-lime soda, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with jalapeño infused ice and top with soda. Check out how here:

Hit play, serve cocktails, and make a toast. Here’s to summer!

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The New Whitney Museum as Social Network: Musings on Building, Crowd, and Views

Mark standing in front of Chuck Close’s Phil

If art is the lie that tells the truth, then there is something gorgeous about the new Whitney, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of revelation, as if it were related to an intricate algorithm that registers expression ten thousand miles away.

Renzo Piano has long responded to the vital moments when culture declares the inside out and the outside in, the uptown down and the downtown up. Perhaps more than any other architect, he has ably detected the nascent beats of emerging times and interpreted them as frozen music. Unfortunately, truly perceptive feats of association often linger unacclaimed until what has been made finally becomes music to everyone’s ears.

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WHITNEY HATERS GONNA HATE

Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times cleverly covers his paper’s tracks and leaves a trail of pebbles for later day backsies by saying that “buildings take time to reveal their true selves.” Nevertheless, he is determined enough to presently take the stance (presumably from a desk inside a Piano masterpiece) that “the new museum isn’t a masterpiece.”

And that’s nothing compared to what Justin Davidson does. The New York Magazine’s architecture critic slams the Whitney, barely stopping short of suggesting that it should be torn down and that the sanitation department next door should throw this baby out into its Hudson River bathwater.

We’re not exaggerating. Davidson bullies the newborn building. Big time.

He kicks off his scathing review with a swift Red Hook: “There’s nothing seamless about this awkward kit of protruding parts and tilting surfaces, though: The thing might have arrived in an Ikea flat pack and then been prodigiously misassembled.”

WHAT HATERS REALLY HATE IS THE WHITNEY’S POLYMORPHOUS PERMEABILITY

But what appears to anger him most (and, to be fair, many other old school critics who are too timid to say so) is precisely what we find so perceptive in this building: Piano’s sense that, in this mobile and social phase of the digital age, a museum must do more than provide a secluded space for “an intense communion with art.” Through his Whitney, Piano has voiced the position that museums may no longer (query if they ever did) simply serve as sanctified loci for unbroken sequences of successful bidirectional encounters between solemnly spectating subjects and serious aesthetic objects.

Piano plays this theme out with the Whitney’s sheer permeability. And it’s not just the civic permeability that Davidson mocks as the “panoramic version of an audio guide. Made right here!” Perhaps more importantly, it’s the social and natural and technological permeability, the spectacular permeability of digi-social personhood, of “social life, urbanity, invention, construction, technology, poetry, light–an immense rich bouillabaisse,” as Piano told the New Yorker; or, as a situationist quoting Guy Debord might aver, “the social relationship between people that is mediated by images”; or, as Kevin Systrom might snap, “Instagram!”

THE WHITNEY DEALS WITH OUR BOREDOM (WITH ART)

Davidson derides Piano for architecting a building that concedes the point that, in this age of infinite distraction, museum guests may grow bored when confronted with nothing but art, for hours on end, and that those guests may need to “rest,” by perhaps doing a bit of people watching, checking a mobile feed or fifteen, ripping a selfie, or gazing out onto what really is a killer view. Oh no, Davidson’s not going to let Piano get away with even a momentary sleight of sight; he ferociously pins Piano down to one of the his distractingly transparent walls and tunes him up with the charge that “The new Whitney is a wonderful place for people who get easily bored by art.”

Not to get all Millennial, but who doesn’t get bored by endless hours of nothing but art? Newsflash: it’s not just art. We’re all bored by lengthy, logically progressing sequentiality. We’re bored by long emails, long articles (like this one), long arguments, long essays, long speeches, long books, long plays, long stories, and, yes, long sentences. #BecauseInternet.

But our new state of omnipresent boredom is not the antithesis of engagement; it acts as the precondition for and the genesis of new (or newly prominent) forms of engagement: cacophonous, polymorphous, rhizomatic, dispersed, chaotic, dialogic, and perspectival engagement. Do you know what we find engaging, even for long stretches of time? The simultaneity, surprise, sensation and serendipity we discover in whole new worlds — and that’s why we’re addicted to social networks. And that’s why we love the Whitney’s world.

Long before the Internet, Saul Steinberg, the cartoonist whose Manhattan-centric wit partially inspired the building even happened to argue that boredom and creativity go hand in hand, “The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.”

So we refuse to let Davidson and his pre-digital critical tribe pressure us into pretending that we don’t wonder what kind of cell phone signal we’d get in his “medieval room at the Met,” or that Breuer’s brutalism beams us “from the actual world into the [Wonkaesque world of pure] imagination.”

We’re not about to filter our gaze and muffle our ears to what Piano, his partners Mark Carroll, Elisabetta Trezzani, and the entire RPBW team have accomplished with this blessed new Whitney. We’re not about to qualify our superlative assessment. Perhaps because we’re impatient, we refuse to wait the years that Kimmelman claims a building needs to “reveal itself.” We refuse to wait a moment longer.

Though this may be hard to hear, we wish to hereby declare that the new Whitney is an unqualified masterpiece. Effective immediately.

THE WHITNEY INAUGURATES THE MUSEUM AS SOCIAL NETWORK #MSN

It’s not like we just got out hair done at Sally Hershberger by the amazing Travis, splurged on some Junya at Jeffrey, had a blast at the opening party with Sarah Jessica Parker and Dakota Fanning (who glowed in the sunset-lit galleries like a little angel in all-white Max Mara), stared at Solange like she was an exotic bird, tried to party with Betsey Johnson like it was the 80s, attempted to talk about the Diving Bell and the Butterfly with Julian Schnabel, and then cracked open iA Writer over tinis and lobster at Perry Street and declared this museum a masterpiece.

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Sarah Jessica Parker. Photo: BFAnyc.com

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Dakota Fanning. Photo: BFAnyc.com

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Solange. Photo: BFAnyc.com


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Betsey Johnson. Photo: BFAnyc.com

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Julian Schnabel. Photo: BFAnyc.com

Well, yeah, ok, we did do all that, but then we, like, woke up the next day and developed a thesis — and we will indeed argue it persuasively, logically and sequentially, Mr. Davidson (even as we admit that, yes, it may bore the bejesus out of many intelligent people in our generation who will close out of this screen, skip our polemics, and do something more engaging with their time, for which we refuse to blame them).

The new Whitney is not merely a museum. It is a new model for a museum: the museum as social network (#MSN). The #MSNWhitney, owing to the focus of its world, happens to be connected to asking and responding to the question of what is American Art (to paraphrase and co-opt Whitney’s chief curator Donna De Salvo). But the concept of an #MSN is bigger than any one question or any one museum world. It is the plausible now of the museum as such. It is the museum as the simultaneous experience of worlding.

When the Whitney last moved from downtown, uptown to Breuerville in 1966, Foucault had just finished The Order of Things. 2015 marks another watershed moment in the history of visible thought: Piano, who, lest we forget, put Lyotard’s postmodern condition on display in the Marais, is playing with us in a whole new way.

WE ❤️ YOU JERRY SALTZ (NOW PLEASE JUST AGREE AND RT)

Jerry Saltz wants to agree with us, even though his colleague, Justin Davidson, is our beloved building’s biggest bully. We heart Jerry Saltz almost as much as we hate the word “hermeneutics,” so it would mean so much to us if he took our side. And he’s already come out as a huge fan of new Whitney (though he punts on matters of architectural worth to Justin Davidson), but we believe that we can persuade him because we share the Saltzian conceptual analogy about how art is best experienced.

Saltz sees art as a synchronic, polyphonic conversation, whose rightful participants are the artists, the artworks, the characters and forces emerging from those artworks, the curators who dramaturgically stage and shape the whole shebang, and, of course, the visitors who — for 22 bucks a pop — get to step right up with their own curious worlds hanging out in full relief.

And that’s why Saltz dislikes the all those museumed screeches of starchitectural hubris. It’s so hard to hear what the art is saying when your venue keeps screaming its name like Daryl Hannah in Splash (and that’s true irrespective of whether teeming droves will pay a fee to see the mermaid). Naturally, Saltz dislikes the MoMA redesign because it privileges empty event space over additional evocative artworks. And he mocks the Stellaphilic conch Gehry has built in Bilbao, because it’s a place lacking in other rooms where other voices of art may properly converse.

Saltz sees the new Whitney as brilliant in its unobtrusive humility and spaciousness, but we wish to persuade him that it is in fact the manifestation of a profound new insight about how to frame the artversation in the mobile phase of the digital age, how to frame the world of art amidst the many distractions of the now.

We wish to suggest that calling it a great building because it’s unobtrusive is a bit like saying that Instagram is brilliant platform because it gets out of the way and just lets people share pictures. Like Instagram, the Whitney’s #MSN is a brand new medium, and a million subtle decisions go into building any successful social product. We believe that it is even more important to recognize this building’s greatness because those decisions are ultimately obscured by the careless impression of the bricoleur’s Sprezzatura.

Yeah, we just said that the Whitney is the Instagram of Museums. Which is to say that there’s no way to logically explain it (we’ll spare you talk of minimum viable museum products and rapid iteration) save to say that, like Instagram, it somehow strikes the right balance between action at a distance and tangible addiction, the personal and the social, and, in Newmanesque zips, it achieves the sublime heights of lyrical simultaneity.

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A MEIER

Why did we end our first night at this museum at Perry Street wolfing down Cedric’s lobster? Because Richard Meier is the founding architect of Manhattan’s West Coast.

To him tribute must be paid. He deserves a shout out. That’s why, on Friday night, we poured a drop of our ‘tinis onto Sriracha-encrusted tuna.

Meier set the tone and established the idiom of Manhattan’s West Coast. White bright, light bright; he turned on the magic of shining light.

Before Piano’s Whitney set sail, before Gehry iglooed Barry Diller, before Nouvel shattered glass, Richard Meier landed on Perry Street at the turn of the Millenium.

And New Yorkers hated it. The reaction of all (save for Vincent Gallo) was something like, “He better Get-ty that California crap out of Gotham!” It was practically all anyone could talk about in that oh-so-innocent summer before 9/11.

And now look around! Save for one Stern brown reminder of superiority and absolute power, all the notable structures have embraced Meier’s pallet.

Guess who coined the term “Meiericity”? We’re often accused of neologisming all over the place, but it was not we. ‘Twas the Grey lady.

america_newwhitney

GRACE NOTE

We couldn’t help but wonder why they let Frost title the inaugural exhibition “America Is Hard to See”? It’s a nice line ‘n all, but the poem itself is a biter screed against Christopher Columbus, “all he did was spread the room of enacting out the doom.” Now, we’re not saying that’s not true (and we wouldn’t disagree with Neil Young about Cortez being a killer) but icy metrical condemnation doesn’t capture the vibe of this new, big, light, contradictory, polymorphously permeable Whitney.

You know who’d better serve the inverted double sail, the persistent on-beating, against the current, of great gamma Gertrude’s art, busting and pulsing out of Experimental Jet Set’s fluctuating W, running faster, stretching farther…

It’s so obvious.

Walt Whitman:

“Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself;

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

The opening exhibition should have been titled:
(I AM LARGE, I CONTAIN MULTITUDES)

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WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE NEW WHITNEY MUSEUM OPENS

Bid Online Now on 100s of Artworks by Cindy Sherman, Mario Testino and More for MTV Re:Define

Untitled works by Cindy Sherman, 1980/2012. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

It seems like every other week there’s a new excuse to throw on your “These Boots Were Made For Walking” playlist and head to Texas for some fantastic cultural event. And this week that event would be the fourth annual MTV Re:Define, a world premiere art exhibition, auction and fundraiser gala to benefit the Dallas Contemporary and MTV Staying Alive Foundation, an international content-producing and grant-giving organization dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV among young people. Last year’s event raised over $2 million dollars.

Taking place on April 10th during Dallas Art Fair week, this year’s event (presented by the Goss-Michael Foundation and curated by Peter Doroshenko and The Future Tense) will be honoring Michael Craig-Martin (the godfather of British Conceptual Art), and will feature over 100 works from artists Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst, Mario Testino, Tom Sachs, and many more. Even if you can’t squeeze in a last minute trip to Dallas, you can bid on the radically cool auction live now on Paddle 8.

Below are some works we have our eyes on.

ArthurPena
Attempt 124, Arthur Pena, 2014. Courtesy of Arthur Pena

DonaldBaechler
Receipe Book Cone, Donald Baechler, 2012. Courtesy of Cheim & Reid and the artist.

GerardRancinan
Tribute to Edward Hopper/Another night at the Phillies Bar, Gerard Rancinan, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

Michael-Craig-Martin
Umbrella (blue), Michael Craig-Martin, 2011. Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.

NateLowman
Dollar Flower, Nate Lowman, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Maccarone (New York) and Massimo de Carlo (London and Milan).

RichardPhillips
K
enza, Richard Phillips, 2015. Courtesy of Richard Philips Studio and Gagosian Gallery.

Zoë Buckman’s First Solo Show Keeps It Really Real

Portrait of the artist by Jessica Malaflouris. Photo courtesy of the artist and Bethanie Brady Artist Management

Stepping into Zoë Buckman’s East Village art studio can feel like entering the mind of a manic pixie dream artist. A fragrant candle fills the room with an intoxicating sweetness that paradoxically blends quite well with the Biggie Smalls playing at café volume. Like a sprightly urban apparition, Buckman bounces forth in her Airmaxes, plaid pants, and nameplate necklace before introducing herself in the sort of British accent that we genuinely wish would narrate every children’s book ever.

But the spell soon breaks.

“Oh,” she abruptly turned away from us and toward the corner of her studio, “I forgot,” her eyes widened as if she had left something on the stove, “to plug this one in.” And with that we were back to life, back to reality, as that old En Vogue song goes, and it soon became clear, from her work, that was precisely where she wanted us to be.

Moments later, we were before a giant illuminated neon hourglass that will appear in her first solo show, “Present Life,” which opens tonight, Tuesday, February 24th, from 6-8 p.m. at the Garis & Hahn Gallery on Bowery. “One of the reasons working with neon really interests me is that is seems so inorganically bright, so unnatural, but it actually has a limited lifespan, just like organic life – once the neon runs out, it’s gone, it dies.” Buchman is unabashedly and authentically obsessed with life and death. As she walks us through each piece that will be in the show — a mix of sculpture, photography, and neons — it’s clear that, unlike artists who attempt to erase their identity from their work and either hide behind eidetic concepts or claim that they have no interest in interpreting their own work’s meaning, Buckman belongs to a new breed of disarmingly sincere artists; she tells you exactly what she’s up to and what she’s trying to do in an in-your-face, no bullshit way. This rising tide of “metamodern” artists understandably questions the need to make the sort of art that is “the lie that tells the truth” when they feel as if they can simply make art that tells the truth. Their approach is more direct, less concerned with its intertextual matrix of referentiality, and positively obsessed with the heartfelt creation of meaning. “There’s not much as important to me as authenticity,” says Buckman “I will always strive to be me, do me, own my shit and be real.”

Buckman sees no reason to hide her wiring.

The pieces in “Present Life” are disturbingly personal. Metaphorically, one might say that a work “springs from an artist’s womb,” and characterizing the emergence of meaning as a form of midwifery goes back as least as far as Platonic maieutics, but in “Present Life” we are presented with the artist’s actual womb. Buchman plasticized her placenta. What’s more, she doesn’t let it stand on its own like some unnamable signifier, a placental aporia into which a flurry of pedantic readers may find some always already contextual meaning. More than simply acknowledging that “all art is autobiography,” she’s quick to tell the story of how every single one of her works organically derives from her own real life. Following the birth of her daughter, she explains, she was told that a defect in her placenta–that placenta–the  source of fetal nourishment, could have nearly killed her unborn child, so she decided to directly approach that very ambiguous life-giving and potentially life-taking organ, freeze it in everlasting polymer and set it in a marble egg-like coffin for the world to see.

And those sorts of deeply personal stories, internal dialogues, questions, anxieties, and concerns with, well, life and death, inform all the work in this show. The entire effect is refreshingly real.

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Untitled 9 (Present Life), 2013 

WP-Buckman-Untitled-71
Untitled 7 (Present Life), 2013

WP_Buckman_hourglasses
Untitled 10 (Present Life), 2015

WP-Buckman-flowers-41
U
ntitled 4 (Present Life), 2013

52 Ways to Say I Love You

Photo: Sarah Bourque on Flickr

You’re probably bored with all this talk about Valentines Day. And that’s because we, as a culture, suck at saying “I love you.” Which sucks because love rules! So here are 52 savagely original ways to say “I love you.”

1. In a candlelit moment, softly whisper, “I’m not sorry”

Address your love’s shocked face by saying, “It’s because love means never having to say you’re sorry, and since I’m never not in love with you, I’m always not sorry.”

2. Pour a glass of wine on yourself at a romantic dinner

As the crowd stares, stand up like Scarface, point at the stain and shout, “Look, love makes even a stain look beautiful – Confucius said that!”

3. Get your favorite sports drink and use a Sharpie to put this on its label, “If what we feel were in here, it would be the greatest refreshment.”

If your love doesn’t instantly drink it up, explain, “Picasso said that love is the greatest refreshment in life.”

4. Dress up like Napoleon

Declare “Love conquers all!”

5. 3D Print a Figurine of Lloyd Dobler Standing In Front of a Cutlass Supreme with a Boombox in His Hands

Make sure that when your love touches the figurine, it begins playing, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel

6. Buy Your Love a Second Class Ticket on the Titanic II

Buy yourself a first class ticket. Get the fabricators who make puppies for Jeff Koons to build a massive iceberg and plop it down in the middle of the course for the Titanic II’s maiden voyage. You know how the rest of the story goes…

7. Give Your Love a Bottle of Medicine that Expired Ages Ago

When your love wonders why you have chosen such a gift, sing Bon Jovi: “Your love is like bad medicine. And bad medicine is what I need.”

8. Out of the blue, scream, “You are so grossly different from everyone else!”

Respond to you love’s shock and awe with Shaw: “For love is the gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.”

9. Buy your love a miniature globe

With your love observing, spin the globe while gazing into your love’s eyes and saying, “love makes the world go round.”

10. Douse a springtime plant in Chanel No. 5 and then throw it in an empty construction pit close to where you and your love are having dinner

On an after dinner walk, hand your love a pair of binoculars and direct your love’s gaze toward the plant; when the plant is detected by your love, recite this line of Flaubert: “You see, love is a springtime plant that perfumes everything with its hope, even the ruins to which it clings.”

11. Send your love an email with this subject line: “I want to eat your cake.”

In the body, explain: “No, Beyoncé fan, I’m not talking about recreating that scene from Girls. (Unless you want me to 😉 I was alluding to this sweet piece of proverbial wisdom: ‘If romance is the icing; love is the cake.’ What I mean is that I’m hungry for both from your ass: Cake, i.e., love, and icing, i.e, romance).

12. When your love is texting, grab your love’s phone and throw it against the wall

Shrug and say, “I did it because I love you –  and attention is the most basic form of love.’”

13. Take your love on one of those zero gravity flights

Float over and announce, “I brought you here because Einstein Said, ‘Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love,’ and now I know that’s true cuz I still love you.”

14. Hire a private investigator to uncover something new about your beloved that even your beloved doesn’t know

After revealing the information to your beloved and facing a look of disquietude, quote André Breton: “You see, love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.”

15. Buy your love some Clearasil, include a note saying, “you no longer need this.”

When your love’s face turns red, blame John Lennon, who said, “when you’re in love everything is clearer.”

16. Replace all of the doors and windows in your love’s apartment and house, and then keep them wide open and unlocked in advance of your love’s return.

When your love calls you up in a panic, quote Mignon McLaughlin: “Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren’t even there before.”

17. Treat your love to an impassioned rendition of The World that I Know by“Collective Soul”

Respond to anything less than a standing O with this quote by Aristotle, “love is composed of a single collective soul inhabiting two bodies.”

18. Buy your love a one-way ticket to a foreign country

When your love calls you up from the country, wondering where the hell you are, brandish Truman Capote: “Love, having no geography, knows no boundaries.”

19. Pick a vicious fight about something trivial

In media res, explain that you intentionally picked the trivial fight for absolutely no reason because Racine said “The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love.”

20. Wear an “I’m with stupid” shirt with the arrow pointing up at your own face

Maniacally inform your beloved, “well, they say one cannot be in love and be wise.”

21. If your love is rich, download a copy of his or her bank statements, photoshop in a balance of zero, and leave it in the sock drawer

When you’re love finds it, and runs to the computer suspecting a hacking, scream, “I would love you even if that were your actual bank statement.”

22. If your love is poor, download a copy of his or her bank statements, and leave it in the sock drawer

When your love finds it and is puzzled by who would do such a thing, whisper, “I love you even though that is your actual bank statement.”

23. Take your love to the bench in front of the Brooklyn Bridge where Woody Allen takes Diane Keaton

When you sit down, say, “You know this is the bridge were Woody Allen takes Diane Keaton in Manhattan.”

24. Take your love to the bench in front of the Verrazano bridge where John Travolta takes Donna Pescow in Saturday Night Fever

When you sit down, say, “You know that Barry Gibb’s middle name is Crompton?” and then start making out ferociously, but remember to “watch the hair.”

25. Gift Your love an expensive yet diseased plant while wearing round glasses

Don a British accent and say: “In the words of John Lennon, love is like a precious plant plagued by a pestilence that can be cured by the pure of heart.”

26. Show up to your Valentines date with pack of seeds, wearing round glasses

When your date is like “WTF. You couldn’t even spring for roses?” throw on a british accent and say: “In the words of John Lennon, love is the seed of the flower of life – it only flowers when you add the water of your soul.”

27. Buy “Once” on DVD, melt the disk down with a blowtorch

Add a note to the melted mess of plastic that says, “Our love is so much more real than this melted musical theatre bullshit.”

28. Make a Bill Cosby voodoo doll for your beloved

Tell your beloved that it’s an anti-rape talisman.

29. Give your love a fishing net containing two heart-shaped pillows

If your love appears to be fishing for an answer, note that “It was Muhammad Ali who once said, “love is a net that catches hearts like fish.’”

30. Wrap yourself up and put yourself in a giftbox

When your love hears your screams and opens the box, jump out and joyously quote Jean Anouilh, “Love is, above all, the gift of oneself!”

31. Buy a bottle of wine, replace its label with one that lists the vineyard as “Existence”

At an opportune moment, say, “Love is the wine of existence” as you point to your custom label.

32. Make your love a custom deck of playing cards with jokers labeled “Love”

Say that “love is the wildcard of existence.”

33. Buy Your Love a Bottle of Pepto Bismol

Tell your love that “love never dies of starvation, but often of digestion.”

34. Leave your love a note that reads: “I Sexxx You”

Explain that, according to Harlan Ellison, “love ain’t nothing but sex misspelled.”

35. Take your love to a frozen brook

Stare out onto the brook and recite this line from Kahlil Gibran: “Love, like a running brook, is disregarded, taken for granted; but when the brook freezes over, then people begin to remember how it was when it ran, and they want it to run again.”

36. Create a facebook group called “Fanclub for Our Relationship”

Invite your beloved, and only your beloved, with a note declaring, “According to Adrian Henri, love is a fan club with only two fans.”

37. 3D print a skeleton key labeled “Love”

Include a note quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. “Love is the master-key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealous, and, most easily of all, the gates of fear.”

38. Burn all your clothes, total your own vehicle, and buy a pair of noise cancelling headphones directly linked to a karaoke machine

Before you slip the headphones on your beloved and start singing, whisper this in your love’s ear: “Oscar Wilde once said, you don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.”

39. Pay a shrewd old seamstress to perform her trade in front of your beloved

As you both gaze onto her, quote Sappho, “Love is a cunning weaver of fantasies and fables.”

40. Drip your blood all over a flower, and then fumigate it with religious incense

When your beloved asks you if that’s blood, say, “indeed, it’s my blood – why don’t you smell it” and then quote Olive Schreiner, “Love is a blood-red flower, with the color of sin; but there is always the scent of god about it.”

41. Take a road trip to Graceland

In the car, tell your love that “real love is a pilgrimage.”

42. Buy your love one of those volcano sets

If it goes over less than explosively, blame the famous psychologist, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, who stated that “love is a volcano.”

43. Gift your love falconry classes and arrange for the hawk to be fitted with a pair of velvet talon booties

As the hawk is flies into your love’s hands, announce that a computer in Kurt Vonnegut novel got it right when it wrote that “love is a hawk with velvet claws.”

44. Buy your love a poster of Chagall’s La Mariée (The Bride)

Say, “That’s the painting from Notting Hill. You know, from the scene where she’s like ‘I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.’ Why are you not more impressed?”

45. Make a bunch of custom cue cards and dispatch yourself at once to your love’s door

When your love opens the door, go all Bob Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues and start flipping through your cards. The last card should probably be something really original like, “You’re More Perfect to Me than Keira Knightley in Love Actually.”

46. Buy your love an electric candle that will burn forever

As you hand it over, recite this line from Tolstoy, “To say that you can love one person all of your life is like saying that one candle will continue to burn as long as you live.”

47. Make a Heath Ledger mask and sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”

Tell your love “It’s the most original thing I could think of – It’s from 10 Things I hate About You, right? I’ve never seen it. What, you think it’s stupid?”

48. When you’re visiting your love’s childhood home, steal an old shirt belonging to your beloved, and hide it in a special place

Take it out and show it to your love and say, “it’s just like the shirt in Brokeback mountain. I love you so much that I’ve been hoarding it and sniffing it.”

49. Plan a trip to Montauk and bring two matching big bird suits

When you get to the beach sling one on, and hand the other to your beloved and say, “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

50. Hack into your love’s Nest thermometer and turn it all the way up

When your beloved calls you up in a sweaty rage, declare that it was Francois De La Rochefoucauld who once said, “The truest comparison we can make of love is to liken it to a fever.

51. Give your love the silent treatment.

When your love’s annoyance peaks, hand over a card that says, “The first duty of love is to listen.”

52. Buy “Map of the WWII Pacific Theatre” Sheets for Your Bed

Ravage your beloved as you sing “love is a battlefield.”