After reading about Jerry Saltz’s overnight stay at Carsten Höller’s Revolving Hotel Room at the Guggenheim, we got to thinking: What would it be like to spend a night in New York’s other major museums? No better way to find out than to try. We sent our more attractive reporter Adda Birnir — robe in hand — with our staff photographer Tom Starkweather to *test out the accommodations.
Jerry Saltz, we see your Guggenheim and raise you the New Museum, Brooklyn Museum and MoMA.
The New Museum $ Rock n’ roll modernism without the vomit
I arrived at the New Museum in the early evening and was delighted to have the place to myself. I began by reading all about painter Mary Heilman and contemplating her exuberant abstract geometric forms. Next, I went to hang out with my friends Kurt, Georgia, and Patti in the Elizabeth Peyton exhibit. While there, I met an art handler working late, let’s call him J. The two of us spent some quality time exploring the museum’s nooks and crannies. After our rendezvous I sent J packing and headed up to the Sky Room to get some rest. The cold concrete floor was not great for sleeping, but wow, the view of Manhattan in the morning is unparalleled.
On a scale from Paul Chan to Tomma Abts, I give my stay at the New Museum a Tillman Kaiser: minimalist, yet visually arresting, and totally rock n’ roll. For reservations: (212) 219-1222
The Brooklyn Museum $$ A pluralist haven for those willing to cross the river
The staff was incredibly welcoming when I checked in; they armed me with a map, informational brochures, and set me free to explore the museum’s maze of galleries. Since I hadn’t eaten, my first stop was Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, where I chowed down in the company of some remarkable women. After dinner I brushed up on the history of African art, which turned out to be a perfect antecedent to the 21: Selections of Contemporary Art from the Brooklyn Museum show. The exhibit includes works by black American artists Fred Wilson and Mickalene Thomas. I decided against bedding down on Edwina Sandys’s not so Posturepedic looking Marriage Bed, opting instead to sleep in the Egyptian wing among the mummies.
On a scale from Gilbert Stuart to the Egyptian Goddess Isis, I give the Brooklyn Museum a Catherine Opie: an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary, while always keeping an eye out for women and minorities. For reservations: (718) 638-5000
The Museum of Modern Art $$$ There’s no sex in the Abstract Expressionist room
There is no place like the Modern if you want to see the masters — or at least MoMA’s take on who’s who of Modern Art. Stumble upon a Matisse in the stairwell, round a corner to find a Picasso, and walk three more steps to see Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol, all in quick succession. But man, those guards do not kid around. Despite the long list of rules handed to me at the front desk, I found plenty of ways to entertain myself during my overnight stay. After taking in the major exhibitions, I scoped out the museum’s spectacular architecture, spent some quality time checking myself out in the mirror, and then slept wonderfully, dreaming of action painting.
On a scale from Henri Rousseau to Elizabeth Murray, I give the Museum of Modern Art an Olafur Eliasson: awesome and extremely meticulous, but a little too pleased with itself. For reservations: (212) 708-9400
*Flavorwire wants to be clear that we didn’t really spend the night in any of these lovely hotels errr, museums. We just had a really good time taking photographs that made it look like we did.
Related post: Art Show Showdown: Banksy vs. Elizabeth Peyton