Saturday, November 17, 2007

Out and About with Afrodite in Soho : The Earth Room by Walter De Maria

So you approach the grey steel door in the cobblestones and bricks and $700 shoes section of Soho. You press buzzer 2b and some hidden video camera gives you the once over. The door unlocks, assuming you didn't show up with shovels and a wheelbarrow, which would be indicative of your art heist intentions and I seriously doubt you'd be let in. You squeeze up a narrow stairway, get buzzed through another door and then you're in:

The New York Earth Room.

You stand in an airy foyer facing a beautiful pristine loft apartment that would probably cost a couple million even in this bear market. White columns, capacious windows, a nook.

Except the entire vast white space before you is filled with 22 inches of dirt. The dirt is neatly contained behind a Plexiglass barrier that discourages you from footslogging through the dirt. You can just gaze out over the expanse of it.

Upon closer inspection, you notice that the dirt is actually a
rich loamy clumpy soil with delicate rake tracks covering its relatively even surface. Upon questioning the lone security guard reading a book in the backroom, you learn that the exhibit is moistened and picked free of debris on a regular basis. You also realize that soil kicks up some heat and that's why the windows are all steamed up.

Artist Walter De Maria created the Earth Room in 1977 and it is owned by the Dia Center for the Arts.

SRating: The Earth Room
is basically a museum with one piece in it. It handily jolts you out of your normal until now day and assures five minutes of no-entrance-fee free head scratching. Swing by if you're in the area. If you aren't in the area, go to MoMA instead.

One reason to be in the area might be to go to this place:

Le Pain Quotidien
New York, Soho
100 Grand Street
Tel.: 212 625 9009

Get a load of my fabulous lunch.

I was so jubilant over the whole idea of lunch. It was three o'clock pm and I was starting to hallucinate after so much fecund earth and so little nutritional intake.

Plus the tables are really thick rustic wood and the whole place smells like coffee and baking bread. Shangri
-La to my watery starving eyes.
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