Yes, Stark Insider is All Things West Coast. Being based out of San Francisco means our travels and stories here typically takes us around the Bay Area, and occasionally up and down the West Coast. But not always. Sometimes, like any of you I’m guessing, we take trips to far away places, like, in this case, something known as the East Coast. Specifically, New York City.

Loni Stark is here working on art. So that means I’m here too, working on never-ending storyboards, short films and some scripts too for various Stark Insider projects. Once again I’ve brought along my current video tool of choice, the Panasonic GH5 mirrorless camera. After spending a few days (in amazing) NYC it makes me wonder how our experiences here will manifest themselves into our work — if at all. Part of the idea I think of being surrounded by new places and people and things to do is the hope it will inspire creativity, somehow, some way. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing there is some scientific research related to the brain and exposure to new experiences. As they say, it’s good to occasionally step out of your comfort zone.

In any case, for the first 3 days here in NYC, we took in as much art as possible. That meant touring 3 of the most significant museums: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Metropolitan Art Museum (The Met), and The Whitney. All new experiences to me.

In addition to spending the better part of the day walking and walking and walking even more through vast galleries and enjoying some incredible docent-led tours, we splurged a little, and enjoyed some of the dining experiences each place had to offer — it was the perfect way to energize mid-day, letting stuff soak in a little, before heading back for more. (and there is always more).

Here’s a quick recap of the first three days of the Stark Insider visit to NYC.

Day 1: MoMA

MoMA was a must see of course. We love SF MoMA, and the famed New York Museum of Modern Art was as expected an outstanding experience. Loni and I were particularly impressed with the Van Gogh collection. We didn’t expect to see this many pieces. Needless to say you can spend hours studying his stunning works, brushwork and composition.

“Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh.
“Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907) by Pablo Picasso
“Last Supper” (1986) by Andy Warhol.

If you want to splurge during your visit to MoMA, consider booking at The Modern. Surprisingly enough, for even this jaded San Francisco guy, MoMA has a tw0 Michelin star rated restaurant. I was thinking it might be “stuffy” and not for me. But turns out this is a relaxed place with slick decor, and very friendly and efficient service. Food was pretty decent too. Okay, it was pretty great.

Duck with Panasonic GH5 ready to shoot in a moment’s notice!
Now that’s what I call presentation.
Von Trapp family beer — The Sound of Music style lager.



Courtyard at MoMA.
Probably more impressive during the summer, but still… Snowman in a box!
I’m always amazed how tall, and often skinny, buildings here are in NYC. The mix of old and new is really quite something to experience.

Day 2: The Met

While I’m certainly no art historian or expert, if I had to sum up the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in NYC I’d call it the Louvre of the West. It’s a massive place. Modern. Oceania, Americas. Egyptian. Medieval. Decorative. Roman. Greek. African. You name it, chances are The Met has your favorites. Walking through the palacial halls I was indeed reminded of my visit to Paris a few years back (stay tuned, 3 Days in Paris video… finally?). Though we only spent a day here, if you really wanted to dig deep and see as much as possible you’d likely need three days or so. In fact, admission at The Met is good for three days so that’s a convenient perk for those who have the time and inclination.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Photo Tour
Entrance to The Met in NYC.
The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art - Photo Tour
One of my favorite pieces and associated stories related to this Power Figure from the Republic of Congo. The idea was he could help settle grievances. If you had an issue or problem with someone you’d stick a nail (or sharp object) into the body of the sculpture. Mythical forces would then help alleviate the conflict. Evil be gone! BTW- this stop was part of the superb “Museum Highlights” tour, free with admission and highly recommended.
Power Figure The Met sketch by Loni Stark
Sketch by Loni Stark. © 2019 Stark.
The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art - Photo Tour
The scene at the The Met’s Reimagining Modernism exhibition. A+
One of my favorites at The Met. Abstraction. Post-industrial modernism and more. A feast for the imagination.
Loni Stark in a contemplative showdown with Mark Rothko.
Studying this whimsical piece by Jean Dubuffet I couldn’t help but wonder how many other artists he influenced? Maybe even someone like filmmaker Tim Burton?
Hall of European Sculpture. A bit reminiscent of a place like Musee d’Orsay in Paris… a bit.

Day 3: The Whitney

We had heard good things about The Whitney so we made it the last stop on our 3 day NYC art tour. I’m glad we did because by chance three floors were dedicated to famed American artist Andy Warhol with Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again. “Contradictory, complex, enduring and essential,” writes museum director Adam D. Weinberg in the guide introducing the Warhol exhibition. Featuring works from the 1960s through to the 1980s this is apparently the largest Warhol exhibition in quite some time. What I especially liked about the presentation is that although, yes, Campbell Soup cans were on display, they weren’t the focus nor where they omnipresent. Rather, we learned about Warhol’s early career as a corporate artist. I found his work designing artwork and ads for women’s shoes for I. Miller particularly fascinating — there was something Mad Men about the whole thing, shimmering gold shoes and all. Then there was Andy Warhol famously eating a Burger King hamburger (Whopper!). Performance art for the ages. And, of course, we are taken through the whole Death & Disaster stages, not to mention his obsession with celebrity (Elvis, Marilyn Monroe) and his experimental film projects.

Andy Warhol self-portrait, about a year before his untimely death.
Lunch break at Untitled.
“Masks” (1986) from “Where We Are: Selections from Whitney’s Collection, 1900-1960” (Floor 7). Hmmm. Fish in Fridge?
An incredible video wall installation greets us at “Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965-2018”. Created by Korean Nam June Paik, Fin de Siecle II feels like the 80s personified.

Fin de Siecle II 1989 by Nam June Paik video wall

View of NYC skyline from atop The Whitney observation deck.
Yes, we exited through the gift shop…

Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the time to get to The Guggenheim and a few other places. I guess that’s just a convenient excuse to come back to New York again soon.