Mel Bochner: Strong Language

The Mel Bochner: Strong Language exhibit closed last month, but I was able to squeak in just before the end. It has been reviewed by Ken Johnson of The New York Times, who undoubtedly does a better job of describing the collection than I ever could. So instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, let's just look at some pretty pictures of pretty pictures! 

'If The Color Changes', 1997-2000

This series, painted between 1997-2000, features a quote by German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein: "To observe is not the same thing as to look or to view. Look at this color and say what it reminds you of. If the color changes, you are no longer looking at the one I meant. One observes in order to see what one would not see if one did not observe." (That's... yeah.)

Bochner paints with different colors and patterns to emphasize different words--are you seeing the color he meant, or not? 

From the entry, the gallery flows into his 'Thesaurus' series. Bochner sees the thesaurus more in terms of its own synonym, a 'warehouse of words.' Here are a few of my favorites--

Die (2005)

Oh Well (2010)

Going Out of Business (2012)

Voiceover (2006-2012)

The gallery features four works that have never before been displayed, three of which are grouped on the same wall together:

All or Nothing, Amazing, and Babble. 

All or Nothing (2012), Amazing (2011), Babble (2011)

There also were a few pieces of Bochner's sketches and older works. I thought it was interesting to see the way that he arranges text before ever putting paint to canvas.

Finally, one of my favorite pieces was Self/Portrait, 1966 and 2013. The 1966 image is below, printed in ink of graph paper. The left column is devoted to synonyms of 'Self', and the right to 'Portrait'. The most interesting combinations come when you read the pairs across... anybody up for a self portrait, I mean spirit mirror?

via (1966)


After making my way through this exhibit, I wandered through some of the upper floors of The Jewish Museum--it's a really neat space! Worth a stop in if you're on the UES post-Met and Guggenheim. Adult tickets are $15.

P.S. - Russ & Daughters coming to the museum in early 2015! Holla at ya lox.

Zucchini Olive Tart with Thyme

We're coming up on being a month into fall -- how crazy is that?! I swear, the season has been flying by. Despite all my excitement for scarves, flannels, boots, apple picking, pumpkin carving, dark beers, and crisp breezes, I've been pretty reluctant to give up on some of my favorite parts of summer, including the amazing produce. 

Don't get me wrong: I love butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin as much as the next person, but absolutely nothing tops the tomatoes, berries, melon, green beans, and peaches of summer. In a last ditch effort to hold on to summer a little longer, I turned to a summertime staple this weekend: Zucchini Olive Tart with Thyme. 

This recipe is adapted from the sweetlife 2014 cookbook (did you know that Sweetgreen produced this cookbook?? I randomly found it for download on their tumblr). I cut down on the phyllo dough, added more olives, and made it a bit more herby -- the beauty of this recipe is that it's completely adaptable to what you have on hand. 

A couple of simple steps include slicing up your zucchini, 

creating your herb olive oil,

and assembling it all on top of your phyllo. Isn't the tart beautiful?! 

Bake to allow the phyllo and zucchini to crisp up, then slice into eights and serve as apps or keep as lunch for a few days. 

Zucchini Olive Tart with Thyme

Adapted from sweetlife 2014 cookbook


2 sheets phyllo dough

2 small zucchini, sliced into thin rounds

2 T fresh flat-leaf parsley, thinly chopped 

2 T fresh thyme, removed from sprigs

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

Salt and pepper to taste 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Stir parsley, thyme, and olive oil together in a small bowl. Drizzle 1-2T onto sliced zucchini and toss gently to coat. 

Line a 10 x 15" baking pan with parchment paper. Unroll one phyllo and lay flat on parchment. Add additional sections of phyllo as necessary to line the bottom of the baking sheet, and press seam together. Brush on the remaining olive oil. Arrange the zucchini in a single layer on top of the phyllo, and sprinkle with thyme and olives. 

Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are browned. Garnish with additional pepper and thyme as needed. 


Reading List: October

I'm a subway book snoop.

Honestly, if you're on my subway car and reading a book, I will be doing my best to figure out which one it is. Obviously physical books are the easiest, though honestly e-readers don't stop me (usually because I'm so sandwiched against others that I only need to look over their shoulders and check the title... #456problems).

In all seriousness though, it's a great way to gauge people's honest reactions to books in a totally creepy-but-subtle way. A while back, I watched some guy try and fail to control his laughter while reading This Is Where I Leave You, which means I immediately put it on my list. Others I've seen? GoldfinchEverything I Never Told You, Rebecca... what can I say? There are some pretty cultured commuters.

Here's my book list for October. I usually try to read a book a week, though I guarantee that system would be thrown off course if I ever attempt Goldfinch. Have you seen that thing?! It's a literary monster.

1. This Is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper

Amazon Rating: 4.2/5

Genre: Fiction

You know you're late to the game when a movie has been made about the book and you still haven't read it. This one finally came available on my Kindle NYPL e-loan, so I'm just now about to dive in. Family secrets and emotions are aired as the Foxman crew sits shiva. 

2. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, by Susannah Cahalan

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5

Genre: Memoir

I belong to a book club that I won't be able to attend until April 2015 (ah, the joys of scheduling conflicts). Despite my absence, I'm going to try to stay in touch by at least reading the club's book of the month. Brain on Fire is October's choice, and I'm excited/slightly afraid to read this story. Talk about the ultimate 'it could happen to you' situation.

3. Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5

Genre: Nonfiction

I read this book during high school, and think back to it often. I've been planning to re-read it and Into the Wild (another great book) forever, and this month I'm going to try to tackle it.

4. The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling

Amazon Rating: 3.1/5

Genre: Fiction

This one is technically a holdover from last month, and the month before, and the month be-- alright, it's been sitting on my nightstand since last December. Mixed reviews all around, though it seems that if you can divorce the author from Harry Potter you will enjoy the book much more. Will be giving this a shot this month, I swear!

Let me know if we have any book crossover--I'd love to link up and discuss :)