A Day with Edward Hopper

Raindrops were drawing circles in the puddles on the street today. So it would not have been a good idea to walk down Broadway. Instead I dedicated a day to the arts and went to the Whitney Museum of American Art to see the current Exhibition of Edward Hopper drawings.
I took the slow 5th Avenue bus to get to the Upper East Side because it has a stop just around the corner and I was not in the mood to walk to any subway station in the rain. When the bus reaches the Museum Mile it is getting even slower because there are so many yellow taxis blocking the road, all bringing tourists to the Met or the Guggenheim. On a tour bus next to us tourists were sitting on the open upper deck in rain ponchos. Real sightseeing fun.

The exhibition mainly showed studies Hopper did for some of his greatest paintings. The paintings were there as well. So I could stand in front of the “Nighthawks” – normally living in the Chicago Art Institute – and I stood there for quite a long time. The drawings were very interesting. He drew a lot of details that could be found in the paintings then and to some he had added notes, like colors or proportions.
What I really love in Hopper paintings is the emptiness. “Nighthawks” is a good example for that, but even better is “A Carolina morning”. Just the woman and the house and empty landscape with nothing in it.
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Having finished the exhibition I felt like a little bite. Right in front of the museum I had seen a food cart offering pretzels, knishes and Hot Dogs. The vendor was sitting on a box close to his cart under one of his two umbrellas, seeking shelter from the now heavier rain. Just some pieces of meat were sizzling on his grill. I asked for a pretzel. He picked a pretzel out of the heat compartment and told me they were not soft today. I was invited to squeeze it and only get it if it feels ok for me. It was not super soft, but felt ok. I scratched off the too much salt and ate it in the covered entryway to the Museum, watching the cart. A mother with an umbrella and two kids bought Hot Dogs for all of them and a business man picked up whatever in a brown bag and rushed back to his office. The cart man turned his meat pieces around and crouched under his umbrella again. Not a good day for him.

I took the elevator to the 5th floor to see the “American Legends: From Calder to O’Keefe”. One room held ten Hopper paintings from different periods. They do have more but just ten were shown. The others on tour maybe or wrapped up somewhere in storage.

Having seen enough I walked out into the Upper East Side. Over to Lexington and some 20 blocks up to the cookbook store to visit my book – the New York cookbook I had spotted there. I went to the corner where I had found it and it was not there. Shock! Had somebody bought it away? My book?
But it was still there. I just had looked in the wrong shelf or it had moved. Nothing had changed. It had not lost weight. I realized it was written in 1992. That’s 21 years ago. New York has changed a lot in the last 21 years. Even when it comes to food. I put it back into the shelf after having thumbed through it a bit. Not yet. Maybe next week. Or next month. Or not at all.

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