Our first stop of the day was the ever-bustling Chelsea Market, where we grabbed a snack at the Doughnuttery. Then it was off to the cluster of galleries on West 20th St. The first one we entered featured a stunning exhibition by Rachel Owens, who fused broken glass and resin into giant casts of raised fists, animals, and other objects. As we looked over the accompanying catalog and artist’s descriptions of the works—many of which she intended as a commentary on the sale luxury goods—we launched into a discussion on materialism, and the students on the trip made thoughtful connections between the apparent worthlessness of things like broken glass and bottle caps used in Owens’ art and the high value of the art itself.
Next, we headed across the street to the David Zwirner Gallery where we took in two floors of art, one a series of abstract paintings, the other a retrospective featuring the drawings and watercolors of Alice Neel. We stopped at several other galleries, including Larry Gagosian’s, where art from major painters of the last several centuries was displayed, and then entered the High Line Park.
The students enjoyed the distinctive architecture that hugs the park, and stopped to snap pictures of familiar buildings like the Empire State building seen from new angles at different perches along the trail.
Finally, after a good deal of walking and talking, we made it to Artichoke Pizza, where we settled in lunch. As we waited for the pizza to arrive, the students thanked us for the trip. Reflecting, one of them said he was already thinking of a time to come back to the galleries with his friends who were into drawing and photography. And it seems likely that after stops into the David Zwirner Gallery and others, a stop at Artichoke Pizza would also round out his own tour.