Giant Step’s Resident: The City, The Sounds, The Soul Part 12

Photo of 9th Wonder

By Mawuse Ziegbe

I watch way too much Sex and the City. I used to have a two-episode-per-day habit that I’ve whittled down to a more sensible once-every-few-days dependency. Luckily, my irises haven’t dissolved into jelly. But one thing I’ve picked up from the show is that sometimes the glamorous New York life is hit or miss. Sometimes you lose your Manolos at a self-absorbed photographer’s baby shower. Sometimes your boyfriend dumps you on a Post-It. This week was a whole apple cart of “meh.”

On Friday, I checked out Design of the Elastic Mind at MoMa which was in many ways fantastic. Some of the world’s most skilled nerdlingers rigged up systems that create furniture from free-hand drawings and conceptualized artificial body parts that can be used as mementos. But I guess I’m just too plebian to appreciate Color Chart: Reinventing Color to 1950, MoMa’s survey of the transitional use of color in the 20th century. As someone who freebases pop culture, I was pretty jazzed to see Andy Warhol‘s iconic series of Marilyn Monroe silk-screens in poppy hues. There were nods to the color bible Pantone and several artists who re-imagined color in contemporary art. But mostly I just felt like I was looking at paint swatches. The exhibit was not unlike a weekend trip to your neighborhood Sherwin-Williams.

Saturday night, 9th Wonder manned the decks at the West Village’s creepiest bar, Love. (With underground caves and an in-house waterfall connected to an unfinished basement, that bar is downright goofy). 9th Wonder took to the DJ set like your moody older brother giving you a lesson on “real hip hop.” The ex-Little Brother beatmaker played timeless tracks like Nas‘ “NY State Of Mind” and Gangstarr’s “Dwyck.” Now while these songs are arguably the hallmarks of great hip hop, 9th relentlessly pushed gritty, grainy head-nodders with no regards to our feets. I wanted to dance but the set just brought out the moody, backpacking teenager in me. It was a great set because not many DJs unleash that many DJ Premier hits with lusty abandon. But it wasn’t so great because I didn’t get to use my dancin’ shoes.

Sunday, I went back on the art kick with the Takashi Murakami exhibit at Brooklyn Museum. I liked how he made those staid Louis Vuitton bags all purdy-like usin’ all them clown colors and I liked the demonic co-ed cub he made for Kanye’s Graduation album art. However, an entire wing plastered with Murakami quickly went from inspiring to overwhelming. The benign (bouncy, animated daisies) gave way to the strange (hypersexualized Anime characters engulfed by spirals of projectile sperm) which gave way to the horrifying (said daisies snarling in angst) which gave way to a mild headache. More than anything, I appreciated Murakami’s ability to conflate the realms of fine art and mass culture and basically create a shopping frenzy for stickers of drooling cartoon bears.

The week had its moments but it was mostly chock full of blah. But if I was a fictional columnist who lived on the Upper East Side and spent 40 percent of my income on Jimmy Choos, I would just have a Cosmo and look forward to next week’s misadventures. So, cheers.