LLG Travels: Museum of Art & Design (& the perfect NY brunch)

by Sasha Wilkins on November 15, 2011 · 6 comments

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This my friends, this is where you need to have brunch in New York. My feelings on the subject of brunch are well-documented. This time last year I wrote, “I hate brunch. Not the ritual, but the mediocre food served by restaurants that have no business to be serving eggs Benedict (even the couscous place opposite my old St Mark’s Place apt was at it), at vastly inflated prices to endless lines of grumpy, hungry people. Never will I understand the New Yorker’s fervent desire to stand in a line for 30, 60, 90 minutes just to eat, in a city that has a restaurant every 50 yards. Insanity.”

For some reason tho, MAD, Manhattan’s Museum of Art & Design gets continually over-looked, both in terms of art and food. And that, my friends, means no queues for brunch in its delightful, airy  top floor restaurant, Robert, with KILLER views over Central Park. (Take my advice and book a table by the window well in advance.)

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Judy & I had intended to meet in Williams Sonoma at Columbus Circle, before jumping the A train to the Cloisters (The Met’s renaissance outpost at the top of the island), and brunch at the New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tyron Park, far, far away from the tourist madness of midtown and the brunch-crazed hordes downtown. But we were both running late as per, and as we stood dithering outside the subway, I glanced over at the MAD building, all gleaming in the sun at the end of Central Park South.

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And had me a thought: I think there’s a restaurant up there… And so there is. Even tho it was 1230hrs we got a table for two as walk-ins, which never happens in this city, and sat down happily to super strong Americanos and an excellent mushroom omelette, possibly the best I’ve had in New York, a city that seems to pride itself on churning out disgusting omelette pastiches. Yes, Mr McNally, I’m talking about your restaurants.  (And all the more surprising, given that restaurants with views generally serve inedible food to the gawking tourists, who care only for vistas and naught for what is on their plate.)

After lunch we explored the three current exhibits. First up, Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design. I was in heaven. From Harry Bertoia to Herman Miller, the exhibit looked at the intersection of craft and modern design.

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Then Korean Eye: Energy and Matter.New work by contemporary Korean artists, which was thought provoking.

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and then beyond wonderful,  Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler, with contributions  from the art world’s superstars, including a few big British names too: Sam Taylor Wood, Grayson Perry, Dinos Chapman all figured strongly.

I adore the permanent jewellery galleries here as, whatever the exhibition in the large glass cases above, the large sliding drawers under the cases are filled with jewellery. I could spend hours going through them all. Its not immediately obvious that you can pull the drawers out – but do otherwise you’ll miss some extraordinary pieces.

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I highly recommend visiting if you are in Midtown – MAD often gets overlooked by MoMA, The Met et al, but it’s slap bang by Central Park, a bargain $15 to visit, is a perfect size for an hour visit, (or longer), feeds you lovely food if you so choose, and has a shop of drooooling loveliness (if you are a design/jewellery fiend like me), and which doesn’t need an entrance fee to access.

Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art & Design. October 12, 2011 – January 15, 2012
Korean Eye: Energy and Matter. November 1, 2011 – February 19, 2012

Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler. September 20, 2011 – January 8, 2012

The Museum of Arts & Design. 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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