Angel and I recently drove out to Connecticut for a weekend. There were three must-dos on my agenda: Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and Fall Foliage. We hung around the towns of Ridgefield, New Milford, and Kent and got to indulge in all three, and then some.
We checked into a B&B in Ridgefield called West Lane Inn, booking a room with the premise that it was a cute little colonial house with funky wallpapers in a cozy town not having the slightest clue that the town is actually rampant with rich old white people and giant houses. We felt a bit out of place but enjoyed the king size bed. More enjoyable was making a horrendous mess and having room service clean it all up the next day. The crazy wallpaper nearly drove us insane and I was tempted to peel all of it off. It was nice to get to watch tv and cancel out silence with rambling white noise. I wanted to stay there a few more days just doing absolutely nothing. Come to think of it, we didn’t get to jump on the bed. OMG Angel if you’re reading this we have to go back there so we can jump on the bed.
We landed Friday night, which was actually a stupid idea because we spent $200/night and arrived at 10pm, to have a drink then sleep. Note to self: don’t waste $200/night just to get there quick, drink, and sleep. We amused ourselves though that night finding a Bronx-based Motown band performing in front a group of fun loving older peeps at Georgetown Saloon. They really knew how to boogie. For the life of us we couldn’t find a single damn bar with folks like us in them, it was creepy. And strange.
Saturday we drove out to Macedonia State Park in Kent and took a short walk along the trail. Fall foliage was beautiful and we collected leaves and got naked on top of a rock amongst other things. We walked that walk of shame as folks passed and we struggled to swiftly put our clothes back on. It was funny.
We roamed around a couple towns, but a shitload of candy from a candy store, a shitload of books from a bookstore, swiped a shitload of stale muffins for free from a cafe, and bought a shitload of vintage stuff from the vintage shop. We had a hard time finding a place to eat because there didn’t seem to be many appetizing places to eat not to mention everything closes at the ridiculous hour of 10pm if not earlier. We found this giant food truck on the road called Sclafani Street Food and we prized ourselves with some serious cheese fries, sausage and onions, and cheese steak sandwiches. We were STUFFED.
On Sunday we sprang up nice and early and drove up to Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market. I’ve visited once with my friend Peter and if you’ve never been, it’s a fucking treasure trove of a whole lot of cheap finds for your hobbies and home decorations. Individual vendors, and there must be hundreds of them, take up a giant parking lot and sell a bunch of old family goods for quite the affordable price, which is what vintage flea market shopping really should be like. Above is a sampling of all my goods, including a Hermes scarf for $20, plates for $10 and under (check out that gone with the wind plate!), aprons for $4, frames for $10 and under, tins for the same, a wicker shelf for $5, bottles for $1, and that sweet lamp was $15. The books were from the bookstore and cost me a lot of money. But I’ve been dying to get the NYT cookbook and it’s finally in my hands!
We had brunch at this spot in town called Bissell and I made the mistake of ordering crab cake eggs benedict. I keep forgetting I don’t like fried stuff, especially if there’s fish in it. We stuffed ourselves with some more candy worms and chocolate and headed on out to Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. It’s a whole lot smaller than I expected, they deliberately don’t have a permanent collection, and I realize more than ever the difference of experiencing art in NY as opposed to anywhere else. You get my gist?
The current exhibitions included panoramic illustrations of architecture and roads by artist Rackstraw Downes which were meticulously and skillfully drafted but I can do without them. Brooklyn based artist KAWS installed large scale sculptures and wall installations as well as displaying toys and consumable goods that were weak translations of pop art, manga, murakami and koonsesque obsession. Beryl Korot intermingled elements of text and weaving to concoct videos and installations pertaining to weaving, thought provoking stimulators, and codified repetitive patternmaking. A series of photographs by John Shearer during his time as a photojournalist are the worst of them all as each image is unsuccessfully digitally manipulated with isolated color palettes and dull poses. Their political statements and documentations not withstanding the formal executions were a failure. I walked out disappointed and was looking forward to find what Fritz Haeg was doing there but didn’t find much other than a sign that he was there at some point building a garden.
I was pretty ready to head back to Brooklyn at that point and though I may not have any interest in visiting Ridgefield and New Milford ever again I’d be curious to experience art more in cities outside New York. Boston, D.C., Phili, what have you, I want to know more about art communities outside NY, if they feel the insecurity of being so close yet so far from as gargantuan of a world as the art world in NY and how quality, concepts, and production differ from town to town. A touring of the east coast art scene might ensue.