The sunny weather this week has been such a nice spring surprise following so many days of relentless rain! The past couple of days have been so pretty and pleasant, and I can’t help but want to spend all of my time outdoors. Luckily I have – I’ve been taking a photography class this week, and every day we get outside for a bit to shoot around Union Square. It has been such a nice change of pace!
Apart from the countless street performers, Hare Krishna worshipers and chess players, Union Square is also home to a fantastic farmers’ market open 4 days a week. I love visiting all of the farmers’ markets throughout the city during this time of year to check out all of the new varieties of fruits and veggies, making their way out of winter hibernation. I’ve started seeing rhubarb, peaches and cherries, and I couldn’t be more thrilled (to start baking!!).
Even though rhubarb is technically a vegetable, the bright pink and green stalks are usually cooked with sugar and prepared like a fruit in pies, tarts and countless other recipes. I tend to follow this trend and stick it in desserts, and here I’ve stuck it in a rustic cake with plenty of sugar and crunchy almonds.
Discovering rhubarb at the local farmers’ markets this season also coincided with my discovery of another new “Barb” around the city – conception artist Barbara Kruger’s new installation at the High Line. Kruger is an appropriation artist, who along with her contemporaries like Jenny Holzer, Richard Prince and Laurie Simmons, started creating art using images borrowed from mass media and advertising. Their work encouraged a discourse about issues relating to the perception and power of images and representation. A former graphic designer at Conde Nast, Kruger’s work critiqued the overwhelming consumerism affecting society, and our interaction with advertisers who may or may not have our best interests in mind.
Most of Kruger’s work consists of black and white photographs overlaid with directive captions in basic fonts like Helvetica and Futura. Her current piece at the High Line is a large black, white and red hand-painted mural (painted by a professional sign company in New York) that reads: “BLIND IDEALISM IS REACTIONARY SCARY DEADLY.” The text is an adaption of a quote from Afro-Caribbean philosopher and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), whose life work was centered around the human, social and cultural consequences of decolonization. Kruger has used this quote in a several of her works, and interprets it to mean “how we are to one another” within “the days and nights that construct us.”
The work is part of the High Line’s public art project, and is on view until March 31, 2017. Go see it during this nice weather! Even better if you plan a High Line picnic and bring along some of this cake!
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Featured art: Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…), 2016, mixed media