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Yesterday’s news of the death of Paolo Soleri — the visionary architect, builder, artist, writer and theorist — put me in mind of our family visit last month to Arcosanti, Soleri’s urban experiment in the desert of Arizona.
Sixty five miles north of Phoenix, Arcosanti was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as “…the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.” Read the rest of this entry »
It was a very risky idea, given how much he wanted Beats headphones ($200 headphones for a kid?) and a Wii. But this past week I gave my tween-age son his holiday present, choosing to surprise him with the gift of an experience over a thing.
Here’s what came out of his 5-day art class (and I’ve got the pictures to prove it!)…
The night I handed my 11-year-old a handmade card describing his holiday gift from me, he glanced at it quickly then looked back in the envelope as if to say, “That’s it? Is there cash in here at least?” But that was it — five days with a small class in an artist’s studio in SoHo, NYC.
He was dubious.
When the elevator opened right into the studio the next morning, five other students turned to look at us. There were two boys who appeared to be high school seniors (one of them sporting Beats), and a few adults who had the air of honest-to-goodness artists already. The teacher seemed like he might need a second cup of coffee as he casually pointed to a table where my son should sit.
As I left, I said a desperate prayer to the holiday gods, asking for this not to be a total disaster.
My son called me several times that day asking what I was doing with his younger brother, who is also on school vacation. “We’re sitting here doing absolutely NOTHING,” I replied, hoping not to make him jealous. “You’d be BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND!”
By the end of the first day, he brought home this:
And this:Read the rest of this entry »
I think it’s the perfect gift for the holidays. But how will my son react when he finds out where I’ll be sending him for the next five days?
I realize this title might sound a bit provocative, like the outcome of a game of Truth or Dare gone terribly awry.
But this month I participated in museum-sanctioned nakedness and submerged myself in a one-of-a-kind exhibit dubbed the Giant Psycho Tank — a sensory deprivation pool of heavily salinated, skin temperature water.
If you’ve spent any time in NYC in the past few weeks, it’s hard to miss the ads announcing this exhibit by artist Carsten Höller at the New Museum. Since its opening, visitors have been flocking to the Bowery to try out some of the experiential installations for themselves.
I didn’t intend to stand in line for the Psycho pool, but I had just gotten seriously banged up on another one of Höller’s pieces, a 100-foot metal tube slide which drops visitors down an Alice in Wonderland-like shoot at high speed into a room full of life-size neon crocodiles and hippos and rapidly flashing lights (not recommended for those who have visually induced seizures or a whole host of other conditions, the Museum warns).
True, I had been told to keep my arms together until I landed on the mat two floors below, but a primal survival instinct caused me to put out my hands at the bottom to stop myself from crashing to the floor. Call me crazy. My right hand instantly swelled, which I was told by one of the security guards “has been happening a lot around here,” adding, “You’re just lucky it wasn’t your head.” Read the rest of this entry »