Mothersbaugh builds “orchestrions,” musical machines comprised of old pipe organ pipes, whistles, bellows and circuit boards that I found delightful. These ungainly contraptions seemed like goofy piles of junk to me until they started playing.
Grey Art Gallery is the public art museum of New York University. It consists of a small ground floor space and another subterranean gallery across the street from Washington Square Park.
The current show features the art of Mark Mothersbaugh, of the band DEVO. Probably the most random show I’ve seen at any of the school museums I have visited so far. Who even knew he made art?
The exhibit consists of some of his art school work, a fair section about DEVO (are we not men???), and then various pieces that show off the kinds of art he makes, which include sketchy postcards, rugs made from the sketchy postcards, neat manipulations of found vintage photos, the musical contraptions I mentioned above, and, randomly, an ice cream swirl made of polished bronze and the world’s largest crystal ruby (at 30,090 carats).
That last alone would’ve made the visit, worthwhile, even if it struck me as rather Jeff Koons-y.
The Grey Gallery manages NYU’s art collection, but as with many such spaces, deciding whether to visit Grey depends largely on your interest in the current exhibit. That said, the location factor makes it more accessible, if not more appealing, than some other school-related art spaces. I loved the show I saw at Lehman College, but I’m far more likely to find myself with time on my hands in Greenwich Village than the far reaches of the Bronx. I’d recommend stopping in if you happen to be in the vicinity. It makes for a quick, free art snack.