Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Field Trip, NYC-Style (2010)

(click image to enlarge)

Every year the students and select faculty of PCA&D's Graphic Design department venture to NYC for a day of art in the big city. This year, we arrived a little early so I led some of the students through nearby Times Square. Sadly, due to limited time, we had to turn down an offer from Extra who invited our group to gather around the set of their upcoming interview with Motley Crue's Vince Neil. Only in NYC, right? We missed you, Mr. Neil.

The official festivities, all rock and roll escapades aside, began when Pam Barby started the day off with a visit to the offices of multi-media giants, Firstborn. Dan LaCivita, President of Firstborn, gave everyone a fantastic presentation of their cutting edge work – and the process behind it – for Doritos, Sobe and the Titanic. Coming from a self-proclaimed "visual engineer of the printed matter," my brain was exploding at all the cutting edge, multi-media experience conceptual work the agency creates. To say the least, the students truly enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look into how the marketing of major brand products is both conceived and executed.

After we departed Firstborn, I took a group of 15+ students with me on my "Chelsea Experience" tour of the city's storied and art-filled west side neighborhood (and my former home). It's my opinion that designers should be artists first and foremost and the goal of my tour was to expose students to a balance of design and fine art.

Art was put aside for the moment, however, as our first stop was Patsy's Pizzeria on 23rd for lunch. So much for the starving artists, right? Patsy's, while very different than St. Mark's Pizza on the L.E.S., bakes up some of the best crust and sauce in the city.

Our second stop was Printed Matter; the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of publications made by artists. For those interested in the avant-garde, the alternative printing processes and the feeling of unique books and packaging – Printed Matter is a dream of a book store. Next, we took in Pace Gallery's "50 Years at Pace" celebration. Pace have 5 spaces throughout Chelsea and each featured a unique look at the work they've represented over their five decades of art in NYC. Between the 2 spaces we stopped in, we were able to observe iconic works by Close, Johns, Rothko, Rauschenberg, Steinberg, Pollock, DeBuffet, Nevelson, Oldenburg, Warhol, Lichtenstein and beyond – most of which were on loan from the Tate, Whitney, MOMA, National Museum of the Smithsonian and beyond, unlikely to ever be hung together as a singular show again.

And finally, everyone on the trip was to reconvene at MOMA for Target Free Friday nights there. Thankfully my group was able to soak in legendary mid-20th century art at Pace because MOMA's 4th floor exhibit of their work from this period was closed. MOMA's highlights included the "Shaping Modernity: Design 1880–1980" and "Underground Gallery: London Transport Posters 1920s–1940s" exhibits. After a couple hours at the museum, it was time to head home and while I was loving the day of art, my body was telling me it was time to rest.

Overall, NYC offers up so many unique experiences and I was happy to share some of my favorite places with my students. I'm already thinking ahead to next year's trip and what we'll be able to put together in 2011. Until then…