lic ps1: the stairs

PS1 is a museum in Long Island City (LIC), not too far from where I lived in Astoria, Queens. Dedicated to contemporary art, PS1 is located in a former school building turned warehouse and was known as the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center … then it got affiliated with MoMA so now it’s just called MoMA PS1.

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I think it’s cute that its moniker reflects the original building’s program (P.S. = public school). Also, PS1’s an exhibiting museum rather than a collecting one, which I suppose is fairly normal for contemporary art museums … because they’re all about the contemporary (id est, the now). I had been to PS1 once to attend a lecture/book launch that one of my professors was involved in, but otherwise the trek to LIC from the UWS was not worth it in my eyes. Anyhow, over the summer I lived in Astoria, so before saying adios to NYC I paid PS1 a proper visit. Nice place, but not my favorite.

I liked how there was art everywhere and it had a grittier work-in-progress feel to it compared to the Met (a ‘proper’ museum where things are in gilded frames and I always feel underdressed) or MoMA (a more free-spirited museum due to the type of art on display, but which still adheres to that typical ‘gallery’ look). PS1, however, however, is downright chill.

Take the stairwell, for example. Stairwell A, to be specific.

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This is art. A long-term installation called “In the Woods” (2004) by Ernesto Caivano. Yeah, it’s kind of a grungy space, but it’s the cool hipster kind of grunge that you’d expect from Brooklyn or some such. The walls and ceiling weren’t primed white before Caivano made the space his canvas, but it’s better because of that. It’s an interesting mixture with the concrete, chain-link fencing, hanging light fixtures, rough walls, and this beautiful scene of crossing branches and birds in black laid on top. It just works.

Other stairwells had paintings by other artists. And then some areas were left as … authentic grunge.

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ikea in shanghai

After an English tutoring session, I took a little shopping trip to the wondrous place that is Ikea. Other than the Chinese people wandering about, it was a standard Ikea that could’ve been anywhere. Oh, and I used my new phone (Xiaomi 2S) to take the photos, hence the weird aspect ratio … I think I’ll go back to using my point-and-shoot.

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Shanghai has three Ikea locations, and I went to the Shanghai Baoshan one, which is a short walk from the Dachang Town station on line 7. It was easy to spot the big blue box with the bright yellow Ikea sign, but this one’s interior circulation was more annoying than usual because you had to take a series of escalators up to the 4th floor for the showroom, then work your way down to the 1st floor for checkout, and not all elevators went to all floors, and they had these really annoying ramp escalators. Ugh.

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The Swedish meatballs were fairly standard, but I’ve definitely had better at other Ikea locations. The little Swedish flag makes me happy, but the mashed potatoes tasted off and they gave me such a small portion of lingonberry jam – sad!

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At the end of the day, I was just so happy to get out of there. Every time I visit an Ikea, I always expect it’s going to be an amazing experience where I get so much cheap and glorious stuff. And every time I leave an Ikea, I always end up stuffed on Swedish meatballs, exhausted by the circuitous walking path, and exasperated that Ikea has fooled me once again. This time was no different. But alas, I got what I needed and have no reason to return any time soon.