Frank Stella: A Retrospective

Last week, D invited me to the reception of a new Frank Stella exhibition at the new Whitney Museum location on Gansevoort. I'm not usually one to go out on a Thursday night (because I'm old now and a notoriously introverted homebody amongst my friends) but since I hadn't seen D in a while and I hadn't had a dosage of art in a while, I trekked out on the train.
We decided to enjoy a fancy little meal prior to the show so we met up at Buddakan.

We had asked to be seated downstairs when making the dinner reservation, but apparently, you have to be v. clear and specify that you want to be seated downstairs in the main dining area because we were escorted to some side hallway area with secluded tables. The gentleman seating us was kind enough to check if there was anything available in the main area and we ended up seated between two different parties at the main dining table.
Before we got into the menu, we asked for a couple of cocktails. D went for the 'haze' cocktail which was a mix of vodka, sake, lychee, and grapefruit bitters. It was super sweet and fragrant, thanks to the lychee. I went for the 'benevolence' cocktail which was made with lemon rum, pavan, watermelon, and thai basil. It was so refreshing and light; I definitely recommend this one, especially to anyone who likes cocktails where the alcohol taste is completely masked.
After asking the waiter for some suggestions and looking at the fare that our neighbors had ordered, we made our choices. To start, we shared the scallion and short rib pancake. A crispy scallion pancake was generously topped with really tender short rib seasoned kind of like a Korean galbi jjim (think savory and sweet) and piles of pickled Asian pear. It was definitely a thumbs up from us.
Next, we shared the chili rock shrimp. The tender shrimp was coated in a light and crispy breading and then tossed in a sharp and spicy sauce. There were little chunks of pineapple scattered throughout, which added a nice sweet contrast and prevented the fried shrimp from feeling too greasy.
For one of our mains, we ordered the shrimp and lobster chow fun. Tender rice noodles, a savory sauce, and plenty of vegetables made this a delicious dish but what made it really memorable was the giant chunks of lobster and humongous shrimp, which was cooked perfectly.
For our second entree, we had the Chinese sausage fried rice. This was based on our waiter's recommendation who said it was a staff favorite. The rice was really fragrant with the scent of sesame oil and it was full of bits of crisp sausage. The real winner though, was the soft poached egg nestled on top. We sort of just dug into it and let the yolk mix in with the rice which made it really rich and unctuous and amazing.
And just to avoid any tedious queues for the restrooms at the Whitney, we decided to take advantage of our location at Buddakan. The bathrooms are gorgeous, by the way, and worth visiting. I know this is weird, but I always love checking out the bathrooms at fancy restaurants.
With our bellies bursting with food, we trudged over to the Whitney. The place was packed with people so instead of waiting like cattle for the giant elevators, we decided to work off some of our dinner by taking the stairs.
I absolutely loved this exhibit, especially the more precise, geometric pieces. As much as I can appreciate organic pieces, the math lover in me is constantly drawn to straight lines and right angles.
I also really enjoyed his use of color. There's something really refreshing to me about his use of bold and bright colors and I especially loved the pops of fluorescent colors in several of his works.
I had never actually seen any of Frank Stella's sculptural work so this was pretty new and exciting. I was surprised because I had only known about his more "geometric" paintings. However, even these more organic pieces had a precision to them that still tugged at my physics brain.
This piece really caught my eye because there were some glittery, reflective elements that reminded me of a mermaid fin.
And these little mini sculptures were fawned over by many. So cute!
Since we had walked around the entire space, we were gearing up to go back downstairs when an older gentleman insisted we head outside to see "two really interesting pieces."
It was definitely worth enduring the chilly evening air. The moon was bright and the city was glowing. And of course, the giant sculptures were quite grand and awesome.
Before we parted ways, we got ourselves a (free) drink and then wandered into a Jared Madere installation. It was pretty cool.
By then it was creeping up on 10PM and I knew I'd be turning into a pumpkin soon so we hugged and parted ways. I hopped onto my train home and proceeded to Instagram the evening's shenanigans before taking a little nap.