A Freezing Day in New York
The new year has just opened, and before heading to MOMA to see the new Abstraction show, which seems both enormous and inescapable, I thought I should take a turn around Switzerland. Ferdinand Hodler and his self-portraits again. To take another look at those scenes out his window, over Lake Geneva toward Mont Blanc, from dawn to sunset, in which those streaks of orange I remember so well, invade the blue of the mountains. The audioguide mentions that Klimt saw fourteen of the Hodler paintings at the 19th Secession in Vienna in 1904, and was deeply impressed: how not?
On such a day, when you have to keep your gloved hands in your pockets if you possibly can, the thing to have is a Belgian hot chocolate in one of the omnipresent branches of Le Pain Quotidien, or of course, you could move from one to another. Or then a mint tea and share an immense meringue with whomever you are having tea or chocolate with – or enjoy anything alone, and then go back to the Matisse show at the Met, if you have had enough of the 60 other ways of looking at Warhol.
At the other Met, the opera, Les Troyens of Berlioz went on and on, but then, so do many wars and recoveries and plots. It sets you up for seeing Parsifal again, no brief experience, no matter how many times you endure and are exalted by it.