Friday, August 7, 2009

bathroom still life

Restaurant/cafe bathrooms are one of the great unsung sites of unexpected, serendipitous beauty - not the ones that have been carefully designer-arranged to within a whisker of their individualized lives, but ones that have been treated as alternative spaces for experiments in decor, for the paint or textures that are bolder than elsewhere in the establishment, for windows (usually opaque) with unexpected shadowy leaves and branches showing through them; bathrooms that are repositories of strange autographed photographs and tiny etchings and bits of folk art; that are dark turquoise or dark purple or some other color left over from the 1970s.  

This is the bathroom at Tesuque Village Market (it doesn't seem to have its own website: this Frommer's review is pretty accurate - it's a good enough place for food, though not exceptional, but the site is wonderful and villagey - a different, more rural side of Northern New Mexico, despite all the mega-wealthy homes around in the leafy valley there; close to the Flea Market; the old (Hispanic, Anglo) village merging into the pueblo.   What this photo doesn't show is that above the oddly metallic, rust like part of the walls are sage bundles tied together with colored thread into little figures - somewhere between corn dolls and Zozobra (for they would, indeed, be good to burn to get rid of evil thoughts and feelings at summer's end).   It's a bathroom that's artily decayed in appearance (this picture leaves out the carefully curved metallic lights on the walls, which are positively NYC) - albeit a small and slightly uncomfortable space in which to crouch for photographs...

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