First day, and the last words I wanted to begin this blog with were “first day”. In any case I can’t help it: I’ve been writing since 6am, when I still was in Santiago, Chile, 15 hours before arriving to this city, while waiting for the flight that would bring me to the perfect location of all the movies I’ve dreamed of. I read what I wrote then and realize that it has nothing to do with this experience, so it’ll be omitted from this entry. Being here is much more than the movies!
Arrival at NY: 10.30pm. Long line, waiting over 40 minutes to get my luggage. I could see them from a distance but couldn’t get them at first: the man in charge of letting me into the country or not was yelling at everyone, asking us to turn of our phones, to not break up the line and a whole bunch of things that must go on only here because they are quite paranoid people (first rate country and whoever gets to be in charge will do their job like a frenetic fanatic!) In my country it’s more relaxed; there are even uncontrolled frontier points, something the US can’t know about, for the authorities are too involved in making strategic alliances throughout the globe… but well, I really do not want to touch that subject, nor the one involving the corrupt taxi driver I met today: if strange things happen even in the “best” families, why wouldn’t they happened ever in the “best” countries?
After all the frenzy I arrived to the apartment, where I found a list with directions that Julia sent me: better than any map. In fact, no map works as well compared to those precise instructions. Thank you Julia! The place is great; I got here quite tired, smoked a cigarette practically hanging out the window and now it’s time to sleep. My adventure began today, at least the one I came to live.
And that’s how it went! I woke up early and began feeling like a caged animal. I wanted to go out, I wanted to eat, I wanted to write, hear music and just couldn’t do anything. I probably need that empowered impulse, that “green light” or simple that “Hello, welcome to New York” that I received a couple of hourse later, giving me courage and spirit to go out and get to know this city. I hope that in a whole month I’ll be able to understand the magnificence of this urban temple, with its noisy streets and the thousands of people that go through it without focusing on anything (surely knowing where they’re going).
I decided to take my first journey following Julia’s instructions, going in and out of every place according to how I was feeling the city. Following her proposals, I began with The Forbers Gallery. It was quite a warm place, classic (and even with a security guard, well, there’s a lot of them around here) and with a high air of solemnity, except for the art: graphic pieces in watercolors with a happily ridiculous thematic. Ronald Searle is a genius and being able to see a selection of magazine originals is a real delight. Starting out with humor is always very stimulating! I was amazed to see so many interesting works: pieces inspired in current yet universal events like “Another day, another dollar”, full of color and of rainbow; a wonderful reference to Fragonar’s “The Swing” (a masterpiece that scholars teach with solemnity and respect) called “The Swingers”, where the scene is made up of pigs and candy; also “Sketch for Lutrec”, inspired in one of the stars of his work, which is part of the collective unconscious: the fair lady that is repeated in most of his paintings.
After Forbes Gallery, not only had I more courage than I had before coming in, I even felt completely and literally more empowered!
Continuing with the instructions (“turn to the right, cross the street…”) I decided to visit The Gross Foundation. I know that I had to begin communicating with others in my precarious English, for Chaim Gross and her daughter Mimi are great friends with Apexart. I gave myself permission to ring the doorbell only if I was up for it, because I still have month to go back and I still had a few other places to visit today. Once outside and after taking a few steps back the first time, in one of those sudden impulses I ran the bell and entered into an incredible place, an oasis of art and collection in the middle of the city. On a guided tour and without a camera (which will make me go back) I began to walk among the artwork and through Chaim Gross’ great vertical house. Every space and every piece is unique, so lively mixed that I didn’t know where to aim my eyes to. Until I figure out how to I’ll just stick to being surprised by Gross’ work, Mimi’s and their wonderful collection of African and Oceanic art, where the diverse materials of their joyful sculptures and their strong and dramatic drawings gave me the sensation that everything wanted to say more than what I was capable of observing. The warmth and beautiful energy of Mimi and everyone there surely made this visit the best part of my first day.
I then decided to skip the other places left for today. I’ll visit them on my next free day or in some unoccupied morning: I preferred to go out and get lost in Manhattan, or at least I tried to - this city is easy and quite tidy, conceptually speaking. So I decided to cool off and observe the people in the city, listen to their voices and let myself be surprised without demanding myself “visits to places of interest”. I feel that the energy in New York is an important part of this residency: trying to be part of the mix and making myself go into places where I have the necessity of communicating is inspiring for my writing as it is also inspiring for this experience!