Saint Severin, November 2015

 

What is this mysterious building?  Let's go see!

What is this mysterious building? Let’s go see!

A church?  Why write about a church and include it as a gallery crawl?  What can I say, I’m a huge fan of houses of worship, always have been.  I see a church and the door is unlocked, I go in.  I am an admirer of any house of worship, but I don’t as a rule snoop around inside religious structures other than those Roman Catholic.  I don’t want to be disrespectful and I don’t know if other religions have a certain protocol I might infringe upon- like if there are separate areas for men and women, if an area inside is off limits or sacred.  I reserve visiting places like mosques, synagogues, temples or shrines if I am invited or they are open to the general public as a tourist attraction.

So allow me to write about Roman Catholic churches from my perspective as an artist and practicing catholic.  One reason I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame is that they are a very good indication of the type of people who live in the area.  Their interiors and decorations reflect the culture that originally built the church and those using it in the present time.  I particularly love Italian and French churches.  Many are constructed in the “pilgrimage” style- a corridor along the periphery leading to niches and chapels filled with reliquaries or statuary such that a pilgrim can make a circuit around the place without disturbing what’s going on in the center.  They’re usually alot older than those found in the United States and usually full of all kinds of interesting relics, artifacts and creepy things like dried flesh-clad skeletons in glass coffins (what I refer to as “freeze dried saints”) and creepy things in jars like dried hearts and brains.

St Severin did not disappoint.  We were just wandering around the St Germain area on the Rive Gauche just as night had fallen, looking around, thinking about drinks and dinner.  Having walked around streets lined with cafes, many catering to tourists, the serene imposing structure drew us near.

It was the gargoyles that did it.  I had to go in.

I would have walked by but the gargoyles sang to me.

I would have walked by but the gargoyles sang to me.

We happened upon it from the rear and went in a side door.  The church itself was dark, dank, cool and smelling of candle wax and incense.  People in a side chapel were chanting vespers.  Oh boy!  The interior was very stripped down and bare.  Stone walls and floors bare except for a layer of candle soot, movable wooden chairs in the center.  Indications of contemporary life, besides the vespers mass, were in the form of brochures on a wooden table at the rear on subjects like marriage encounters, religious education and support for substance abuse addictions.

I went from niche to niche, not much to see as it was very dark inside.  In one niche sitting on a stone ledge built into the wall, was a glass case containing bones.   Luckily there was a sign to explain that it contained the bones of St Ursula and her friends.  Cool!

20151109_191124

 

20151109_191127

 

20151109_191137

 

20151109_191140

In hindsight I wish we had seen the church in daylight, to take in it’s flamboyant Gothic features , one of my favorite architectural styles.  I encourage you to read about these features in it’s website in the link I included.  It has a very long and interesting history.

Gallery Crawls: Paris, France, November 9 – 13, 2015 Centre Pompidou

Bonjour!  The next several posts will center on the City of Light, Paris France.  I accompanied Bill on his journey to Paris Photo at the Grand Palais.  What started out as a wonderful week of sight seeing, art viewing and gallery crawling ended sadly and abruptly (with a little scary thrown in) but we did manage to feast our eyes on many many visual treasures before most public spaces were shut down for the duration of our trip.  In my opinion, Paris itself is one enormous work of art, but I will try to bring you into the experiences we had at several art institutions that we visited before all public venues were closed down in the aftermath of the horrible terrorist attacks that took place on the evening of Friday, November 13.

Our first stop on the agenda was Centre Pompidou, as we missed it the last time we were in Paris in 2001 and vowed to make it a priority to visit.  I can’t help but experience this structure as the world’s largest human habitrail.  Built with its inner workings on display like an enormous exoskeleton, the Pompidou houses a vast Modern and contemporary art collection.  Forgive me but I was never much of a fan of post modern architecture, but I did appreciate the building as an emblem of its time in architectural history as a wonder.  Going up escalators in glass tubes would be more of a thrill if the escalators did not have a horrific screech of metal on metal every now and then much like having an ice pick thrust into one’s temple, and if the glass were less cloudy.  But as a voyeur I had a wonderful time enjoying the view and looking at roof tops and at Mont St Michel in the distance.

20151109_121458

The World’s Largest Human Habitrail, Centre Pompidou

Vintage Hamster Habitrail, well???

 

20151109_124012

Up the escalator in a giant glass tube

20151109_124615

Enjoying the view on the escalator

The art works took me awhile to warm up to, but there was the most amazing show of an artist I previously had never heard of:  Wifredo Lam.  His paintings and ceramics spoke to me in ways I crave:  they contained raw emotion and energy in their intense imagery, color and texture.  The exhibition contained dozens of his works from small to monumental and I could have stayed in that one area the entire day just enjoying them.

IMG_20151109_125933

Vases, 1975

IMG_20151109_125415

“Chant des osmoses” 1965

IMG_20151109_125344

La Jungla, 1943

IMG_20151109_130019

The place is so big and has so many floors it’s hard not to get cross eyed looking at everything, and hard to not become desensitized by having so many masterworks together in one space, but there was my all time favorite

 

And a show of  works “Beyond the Vulnerability,” by artist Chen Zhen who died in 2000.

IMG_20151109_130941

“Beyond the Vulnerability” by Chen Zhen

I enjoyed their childlike poignancy as well as the surprise discovery of a 1913 Chagall painting in one of the corridors not too far away that had a particular resonance to it.

IMG_20151109_131200

“L’Homme dans la neige,” 1913, Marc Chagall

The Pompidou is enormous and vast, divided into large rooms with small dark corridors connecting them, all filled with art.  Some of the spaces did not exactly allow for enough distance to experience some of the larger works, and if I were an artist who had works hung in the corridors, with their narrow halls and dark tones, I would have felt like Charlie Brown.  But I did enjoy the outdoor spaces with sculptures in reflecting pools.  Between their serenity and the view it was a wonderful experience.  I also enjoyed this sign posted in one of the exhibition halls.

20151109_134944

I sometimes wish there were warnings in certain rooms that read, “caution, bad art ahead.”

 

One aspect of the museum that I found absolutely striking was the dearth of works by women artists.  I saw maybe one painting by a woman and she was married to another artist featured in the same room.  It boggled my mind that there were no works representing the feminist artists in the 1970’s, or any other female artists for that matter.  Upon exiting the  museum we were stopped by a very nice fellow working for the museum who asked if he could have a moment of our time to answer some questions regarding our visit.  It took more than 5 minutes, but he was nice and trying so hard that we tried to be on our best behavior and not be impatient Americans.  One of the questions posed (it was a written list) asked if we had any comments about the collections.  I did my best not to get on a tear or unleash a rant but did my best to convey my dismay that women artists were so poorly represented and the fact that no feminist art was represented at all.  The poor fellow’s eyes took on that blank look I’ve seen men engage when in the company of a woman on a mission (I get that look alot.)

 

 

 

Paris France, November 8 – November 16 2015

Yes that’s right boys and girls, Bill and I were in Paris during the terrorist attacks.  We went so Bill could attend Paris Photo, going on at Grand Palais from Wednesday November 11 to Sunday November 15.  Or at least that was the plan.  We were able to attend on Wednesday and Thursday, after which Bill felt he had succeeded in what he set out to do:  see what’s out there and who is showing what and where, which left us plenty of days to see the sights, galleries and museums on our bucket list.

Or so we thought.

I will be posting all about what we were able to see before the horrific events that shut all public venues down beginning on the evening of Friday, November 13th. But before I do, I thought I would post an entry from my other blog Notes from a Jersey Girl, just to let you know what it was like to be an American in Paris during the horrific events and the subsequent days.

In the post I refer to something named Fred.  Fred is a taxidermy meerkat we bought at Deyrolle.  You can read about that wonderful place and the experience of purchasing him and why he posed such a travel problem in the Jersey Girl blog.

Paris, France, November 13, 2015: after

IMG_20151113_111207

Notre Dame as seen through the rain from across the street under an awning at Shakespeare and Company

Bill purchased timed tickets for the Picasso Museum for early Saturday morning, so before retiring for the night he set the alarm on his cell phone.  About an hour later it began to go crazy with beeps, dings and buzzes.  What the hell?!  We got up to turn it off, looked at the screen and low and behold there were several texts from friends telling us to stay safe and asking if we were all right.  From our slightly open window I could hear sirens in the distance and a helicopter over head.  Come to think of it, the sirens had been going on for quite some time, beginning after dinner.  Cars with blue lights racing down the streets along the Seine.  We also almost bumped into several people dressed in emergency costume walking over the bridge when we returned from dinner to Ile St Louis.  They didn’t look alarmed so we thought nothing of it.  There was no indication that anything was wrong earlier in the evening.  We took the metro to and from dinner at Boullion Chantier on Blvd Faubourg in Montmartre with friends Nora and Francois, having had a lovely time, with plans to meet up with them after the Picasso museum to go to the Brocante in the Bastille.

Bill fired up the laptop and logged into the NY Times website.  Holy moly terrorist attacks in Paris, right under our noses!  Around the same time we could hear people milling around outside our door and lots of muffled buzzes of cellphones logging messages in vibrate mode outside our room.  120 dead at a concert!  A bomb going off at a soccer stadium?!  Restaurants and cafes attacked?!  OMG!  I lay there in my nice comfy bed staring at the grey sky, listening to the sirens and the helicopter.  No, please God, not again.  I was in lower Manhattan during the September 11 attacks, what now?  We called my mother.  We answered texts.  We frantically texted friends in Paris.  We slept about 2 hours.

“Bon jour, comment va votre famille?” is all I could formulate, right or wrong, reaching into the nether regions of my memory banks to high school French.  I practiced in the shower so I could ask the very nice lady who cleans our rooms and the man who fetches our morning coffee if their families were all accounted for.  They stopped in their tracks, a slight hitch in their steps, a deviation from the morning routine.  Each looked at me and smiled and said everyone was ok, thank you, and for me to be CAREFUL and wished me good day.

Why am I here at this auspicious moment?  Was it just an accident of time and place or am I here for a reason?  Why am I in the midst of terrorist action yet again?  All I could think of was God must want me here, but why?  Being over 50, and reading that most of the dead, terrorists included, were in their 20’s with the days of their whole lives in front of them spread like jewels, my heart went to the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  No one should ever have to bury a child.  Then I got angry.  Let me tell you, if I had to pick between sadness, depression or anger I’d take anger any day.  Anger gives you energy.  Anger gets you moving.  Anger gives you fuel to put one foot in front of the other.  Depression and sadness make you take to your bed and pull the covers over your head.  That will not do if your life maybe at stake and who knows what the light of day would bring for us?  No way am I curling up in a corner for some terrorist, no way, no how.  If I’m going down I’m going down swinging for the bleachers.

So we got up, showered, dressed, ate breakfast and went out the door.  My first stop was the church about a block away.  On September 11, before heading home, I stopped in the nearest church I could find.  On September 11, 2001, in New York City, the door to every house of worship was flung open.  Men and women of the clergy paced outside.  People of every color, persuasion, ethnicity, religion, non-religion seemed to be inside each one, stopping for a moment to take a breath before continuing on.  I kicked myself this morning for not remembering my rosary beads.  Anyway, I just needed to go to church to regroup.  I get there, and there’s a sign that it’s closed for the entire day!  I snuck inside anyway and was quickly ushered out.  Wow!  So different than at home.  I guess church is just another public placed closed by the government on this day.  I suppose it’s for my safety but to be real, if I’m going to die, the best place for me to die would be in church.  I’d already be in God’s house, I’m sure the tunnel with the white light at the end would be just through a hallway off the nave, right?  A real cultural correction for me!

So we wandered around a bit.  Bill wanted to go to the Bastille.  I thought he was nuts.  Let’s go to a place the French are really patriotic about when there’s a Jihad going on, oh let’s do!  Then we went to the aqueduct now converted to a park on top, stores below.  Bill wanted to walk on top.  Hello- ducks on parade in a shooting gallery! I don’t think so!  We managed to wander back to the hotel, but really, aside from a line of people snaking around the block to give blood at a clinic, and public buildings closed, there was no indication that anything was wrong.  I was surprised.

My friend Marybeth said if people were like fruit, Americans would be peaches:  soft and sweet on the outside but hard on the inside, while the French are like melons:  hard on the outside but soft and sweet in the middle.  Well the French were putting us Americans to shame.  Heels down, chin up, grab mane was the mantra of the day for everyone we passed on the street.  I was impressed.  Rather than run around like hysterical squirrels the way I do in a crisis, they carried on, hard shells intact.

And speaking of hysterical squirrels, how the hell am I going to get Fred on an airplane in his huge white cardboard box during a state of high terrorist alert?!  Lastly, how do I categorize this installment?  I was just thinking yesterday that this was the first trip Bill and I have taken in years that doesn’t qualify as a wife survival test.  But then again….  Is this a diary?  Survival test?  A rant?  Maybe all 3.

Let me close with one of my favorite prayers apropos of the occasion.  It’s to my favorite uber saint, Saint Michael the Archangel.  If you are not familiar with the hierarchy, archangels trump superheros.  They have amazing powers and are not to be trifled with.  As I pray the following words I envision the AK 47 wielding, grenade tossing demons wrecking havoc over the innocent souls in Paris, who did nothing to deserve their fate other than be in the wrong place at the wrong time, being stuffed straight back into hell where they belong, to atone mightily for all eternity:

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen..

 

Autumn Frolics: the Performing Arts

20151104_183836

Crowned Queen of the Public Theater lobby

Although if given the choice I will choose to experience the fine arts most any day, Bill and I go to the theater and other performing arts events a lot- more than we watch television or go to the movies. I’ll try to cover as best I can what we’ve seen in any given season. From now until the end of November we’re going to the theater practically every week.

We have memberships to Lincoln Center and the Public Theater. I like the Public better as it’s in my old stomping ground of the Village, close to the apartment, has intimate venues, cutting edge material, tickets are a fraction of those found on Broadway and best of all, the people watching is fantastic.

Not to be rude or anything, but sometimes going to Lincoln Center can be depressing. At times the audience in the Mitzi Newhouse or the Vivian Beaumont resembles a display of fossils at The Museum of Natural History (I’m afraid I’m represented in this same bunch so don’t think I’m singling anyone out, ok?)

The Public is a more youthful, energetic and exciting venue to me. Mind you, I was going to the Public back in the day where a lot of my NYU school chums were part of the cast, the bathrooms rivaled those at CBGB in terms of lack of sanitation and depravity, and if one were smart one would sit near the fire exit. Nowadays, the place is lively, bright, buzzing and fun. There’s a bar, café, nightclub, restaurant, sparkling clean bathrooms and first-rate theaters.

Another venue off the beaten path is a real sleeper called the Kasser Theater on the campus of Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, NJ. It is 6 miles from home, has indoor, affordable parking in the same building as the theater, has cutting edge venues covering all the performing arts, and all tickets are $20 for a brand new theater with amazing acoustics. It also is located within a stone’s throw to all the wonderful dining Montclair and the environs have to offer. Many of the venues are experimental and cutting edge. In a way there’s something for everyone but not for everyone at the same time. But hey, for $20 who cares if you don’t like the piece, right? A lot less complicated and cheaper than seeing a clunker on Broadway, and you’re in bed around the time you would just be about hitting the Lincoln Tunnel for the long, late slog home.

So far we’ve seen 3 performances, one at the Kassar, Rooms of Light: The Life of Photographs A Song Cycle and 2 at the Public, Barbeque and The First Daughters Suite. The music for Rooms of Light was composed by Fred Hersch. What I’m about to explain is complicated so pay attention, because there’s a Cincinnati connection involved. Like the phenomenon of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, there always seems to be a Cincinnati connection involved when it comes to fine art, music or interesting people. Bill is from Cincinnati. He comes from a long line of Cincinnati Westheimers. When his parents were alive and I visited, if I paid for something with a credit card while there, whoever was processing it would see my last name then ask how Charles and May were and which one of the boys was I married to.

Whenever and wherever we are, if we meet somebody really interesting, or are introduced to a phenomenal artist or musician and ask where they’re from they’ll inevitably say Cincinnati. That’s just the way it is. Cincinnati is a great place to be from, just in my humble opinion, not a great place to live in permanently (it has to do with the food.) Anyway, Fred Hersch is the son of Florence (Flo) Hoffheimer, who was married to the now departed Harry Hoffheimer, who was one of my mother in law May Westheimer’s best friends. Get it?

So that was one of the reasons why we wanted to see the show. Another was the title. It had the words “Rooms of Light” and “Photographs” in the same sentence. Regardless, it was very very good. There was a small live orchestra and several singers who performed 19 short pieces, sometimes solo and many times with each other. I enjoyed them all. The venue was perfect as the Kasser is small and the acoustics are incredible. It was sparsely attended but we recognized many faces in the audience and it was a great time. We pre paid for our parking ($6!) so were home in record time, and since it wasn’t too far from home, I cooked beforehand. It was a really nice, stress free, enjoyable night.

_DSC0550-01

Resting up for 2 hours of Barbeque at The Public

Bill is in charge of booking tickets for shows at Lincoln Center. I’m in charge of The Public. 3 performances caught my eye, all closing in November, so I stacked them up consecutively from late October to the middle of November. The first performance was Barbeque. I’m not going to tell you a lot about it as there is a plot twist involved and I don’t want to be a spoiler. Let me tell you that we had great seats, the set was minimal but got the point across and the casting and acting was first rate. It was a long performance, over 2 hours and neither of us got tired or bored or fidgety at all which is huge. I’m usually elbowing Bill in the ribs as he tends to do the subway roll (falls asleep, head lolls down, he jerks awake ad infinitum) or I’m digging my fingernails into my palms to stay awake. Not this time. Definitely a must see.

We saw First Daughter Suite last week. It’s a musical. This stage was set with the audience in a “u” shape around the stage and a live orchestra in a scrim covered mezzanine behind it. Minimal sets but the acting, singing, script and score made the play come alive. Two acts with 2 separate pieces in each act, again an event over a two hours long that didn’t feel like it. Each piece involves mothers and daughters of sitting presidents during difficult times in their presidencies. When Bill and I go to a play and read in the Playbill that it’s a musical we always have an “uh-oh” moment. Bill hates opera (the phrase “strangling cats” gets tossed about a lot) so if that “o” word is even hinted we’re out of there. Thankfully we took a chance on Hamilton with happy results so fingers and toes were crossed for this play too.

Fortunately, it was terrific. Some of the acting was so believable I couldn’t separate in my mind the real person from the actress, especially Carly Tamer as Amy Carter, Rachel Bay Jones as Rosalynn Carter AND a completely credible Laura Bush, Caissie Levy as Patti Davis, Alison Fraser as Nancy Reagan and most notably for me, Mary Testa as Barbara Bush.

We have a 3rd play coming up at The Public, Before Your Very Eyes. Don’t ask me what it’s about. I never read any sort of review before seeing the play. It ruins it for me as I’m very impressionable, so I’ll report back after we see it, but so far so good! So check in with me for my next theatrical review, but first we’re going to spend a week in PARIS!

A bientot!

 

Gallery Crawls, September/October 2015: Denver, Colorado

20151007_153330

Exploring fine art in Mile High City

 

Denver, CO:

My museum i.d. got a work out at the Denver MCA where we took in the Marilyn Minter show, Pretty Dirty. I am a huge fan of her work. I love her mash up of beauty and the grotesque as commentary on the fashion industry’s definition of the feminine ideal. She is a feminist after my own heart as she brings the average viewer to places they ordinarily wouldn’t entertain, to give them a glimpse behind the façade of beauty to reveal its hidden cruelties. I particularly responded to her videos and photo realist paintings.

20151007_152155

Me in front of Marilyn Minter’s “Kicksilver,” 2009, Wallpaper at the Denver MCA.

Alas my i.d. did not charm the nice folks at the Denver Botanic Gardens into waiving the entry fee, but the visit was worth every penny. Flowers were blooming everywhere, each garden more spectacular than the other. A highlight of the visit was Deborah Butterfield’s The Nature of Horses sculptures placed throughout the venue. Their gestural grace and beauty translated in painted bronze cast from scavenged wood bring to my mind the ghostly “Performed Invisbility” works of Anna Mendietta.  There was a wonderful video of her making these magnificent works that is a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes for an artist to create work, from inspiration to execution.

20151009_101950

Entrance to Denver Botanic Garden

 

20151009_110321

The gardens were a riot of color

 

20151009_114127

“Crane,” 2006 by Deborah Butterfield

The art scene is hopping in Mile High City. It seems you can’t throw a rock without hitting a gallery everywhere you go, but a great concentration can be found on Broadway and Santa Fe Drive.

We visited several galleries highlighted by Solace, a show of sculptural forms of household objects dipped in latex and shaped into wall hangings by ­­­­­Amber Cobb at the Gildar Gallery on Broadway. Cobb’s wall hung works, common household objects coated in latex and hung on walls were at times grotesque, mysterious, sensuous and evocative. Solace is a show worth seeing in my humble opinion.  Also on display were fanciful ceramic horses and other figurines one would have in a child’s bedroom that were dripped with white plastic. My favorite in this series was Transitional Figure 8, a figurine seemingly dripping in white plastic. I responded to the way the liquid plastic had dried on and off the piece, leaving what looked like sticky drips in columns off the piece that pooled around and under it. In my opinion the drippy, white plastic coatings of these objects evoke the sugar-coated, sweet, fond memories figurines such as these would evoke if one were to stumble upon them in an attic box or at a jumble sale.

20151009_133704

“Transitional Figure 8” by Amber Cobb on view at the Gildar Gallery

We cruised down Santa Fe Drive, another gallery hotbed. There truly is something for everyone’s fine art taste on this boulevard. I enjoyed visiting Mai Wyn Fine Art. Mai Wyn Schantz was there creating one of her wonderful oil on stainless steel portraits of animals. She was in the process of setting up one of the steel “canvases” with masking tape and was very generous with her time and let me take photos of her studio. The gallery had many fine works to enjoy as well.

20151009_141232

Mai Wyn Schantz preparing one of her steel canvases for painting an animal portrait.

20151009_141248

Mai Wyn Schantz in her studio.

Whenever we are in the area we always stop in Space Gallery. Housed in an industrial style contemporary structure, the exhibition space and façade is as interesting as the art showcased within. The space is a great venue for events as well as exhibition space for fine art. This time I enjoyed paintings and sculptural forms. In particular I was attracted to paintings by Betsy Stewart.

To be totally biased, my favorite 2 stops were at abecedarian gallery for the Content: Artifact show, featuring one of Bill’s 3D printed sculptural works, “Celluose” on the exhibition poster, and Mike Wright Gallery, that had a show that ran from July until September entitled “Paperwork” that featured three of Bill’s large format panorama images from his Borderlands series. We had very nice visits at both galleries and it was so nice to see people as excited about Bill’s work as me.

20151009_145246

Entrance to abecedarian gallery, note the image is of Bill’s 3D printed sculpture “Cellulose!” 😀

20151009_161957

Works of “Danze” exhibit on view at Mike Wright Gallery during our visit.

Bill firmly believes that Denver, Colorado is the place to be at the moment for fine artists. It was fun having him squire me around and show me his favorite places.

Gallery Crawls, September-October 2015, New Jersey

20151020_114944

Hamilton, NJ:

Let’s All Go to Grounds For Sculpture!!!

On Tuesday, Oct. 20 Bill and I experienced a real treat:  a personal tour of current exhibits and the sculpture gardens at Grounds For Sculpture, given by friend, artist and Executive Director Gary Garrido Schneider.

Our first stop was a tour of some of the indoor exhibits including massive wall hangings by artist Robert Lobe.  My favorite was ” Appalachian Forest, 2010″ a hammered aluminum and oil on linen wall hanging incorporating a large format photographic image done by his wife, Kathleen Gillje.

 

attachment

Appalachian Forest, 2010 Hammered aluminum and oil on linen Robert Lobe and Kathleen Gilje

The next 2 rooms were devoted to site specific wall/floor sculptures Force of Nature, Shiro by Jae Ko.  Using the very simple material of plain rolled paper, the artist created sensuous static pendulous forms on the walls, spilling onto the floor that evoked in my spirit a sense peaceful fluid movement.   I particularly enjoyed the shadows and sense of depth created by her graceful and deliberate placement of bulges in the rolls of paper as she stacked them one on top the other to create the sculptures.

attachment-2

Wall hanging by Jae Ko, “Forces of Nature, Shiro” exhibit, East Gallery, Grounds for Sculpture

attachment-1

Wall hanging by Jae Ko, “Forces of Nature, Shiro” exhibit, East Gallery, Grounds for Sculpture

 

20151020_113851

Gary and Bill in front of one of Jae Ko’s “Forces of Nature- Shiro” sculptures, East Gallery, Grounds for Sculpture. Sorry it’s so over exposed!

 

Gary then took us on a walking tour of the gardens and grounds.  We saw some amazing installations.  The grounds host some amazing trees and other flora, sculptures in and of themselves, but their juxtaposition with the massive sculptures alternated between breathtaking and delightful.

20151020_114323

20151020_114841

It was very hard to choose a favorite.  Perhaps the highlight of the day was being treated to a fabulous lunch next to the rustic fireplace in the dining room of Rats Restaurant nestled beside a pond decorated with landscaping reminiscent of Claude Monet’s town Giverny.

The crystal clear, crisp fall weather was the perfect day to view this amazing place and it was a thrill to be taken around by and to spend time with Gary.

Augusta, NJ:

The last weekend of September was the perfect time to check out the 45th Annual Fine Craft Fair benefitting Peters Valley Craft Center, held at the Sussex County Fair Grounds. This had been on my bucket list for a long time and it did not disappoint. I got to see some very high-level quality craft items and meet some wonderful artists as well as get a jump on Christmas shopping for friends and myself.

In particular I enjoyed a glass blowing demonstration given from the Glass Routes traveling furnace truck (as well as purchasing 4 of their very well priced clear glass tumblers fresh from the furnace,) raku works by Linda Garrabrandt and Peter Syak, who was had his travel kiln fired up at his booth, and a visit with fellow potter and MAM instructor Carla Horowitz who had organized the impressive NJ Potters Guild booth.

Lastly, I picked up two amazing pieces from the ArtBags booth- a black and grey cowhide bag that can convert to a purse, shoulder bag or backpack for me (that traveled completely flat in my suitcase to Denver and looked great around town) and a really cool looking neoprene purse that unzippers completely flat for traveling for a friend. I found all items at this booth very creative, useful and fun.

Sorry but I don’t have any images from this wonderful event.  To be honest I was too busy flitting from booth to booth to remember to whip out my camera AND, alot of craft fair booth proprietors frown on having their items photographed for the understandable reason that many people do this to duplicate their hard work.  I hope you will click on the links I’ve provided to see some amazing wares.

Gallery Crawls, September/October 2015: Chelsea, NYC

Welcome to my first Gallery Crawl installment, Sept/Oct 2015. After spending the summer outdoors it was fun to return to prowling galleries and museums to see what everyone else in the art world is up to. Compared to me, everyone is very productive, creative and innovative.

Chelsea, NYC:

Wearing my gallery crawl face in Chelsea

Wearing my gallery crawl face in Chelsea

In September, I saw 2 bodies of work that inspired me, in particular, Stay Gold, works by Gregory Hayes at Nancy Margolis Gallery. To me, the works had a little bit of influence of Sol Lewitt, a dash of Agnes Martin and a hint of Tibetan sand mandala. Another show that caught my eye was the breath taking large format photographs of cathedrals in Facades, works by Markus Brunetti at Yossi Milo Gallery.

 

In October we were pleasantly surprised by works in several shows. Based on what we’ve been seeing both in Chelsea and Denver, photorealism is making a comeback. I enjoy photorealism, the mastery of the media astounds me. If you get a chance, don’t miss the an impressive show of the incredible soft pastel on paper works in SLIP by Zaria Forman at Winston Wachter Fine Arts.

 

Also not to be missed are the Japanese Propaganda Kinomos from 1905 – 1941 at the Edward Thorp Gallery. We happened upon it completely at random, it pays to go above the first floor in gallery buildings!!! At first I thought I was looking at work by a contemporary artist making anti-war commentary by painting on kimonos, but when I read that these indeed were actual antique kimonos made to be worn I was floored.

Rocking the Roy Lichtenstein mural at the Gagosian

Rocking the Roy Lichtenstein mural at the Gagosian

A huge treat was seeing Roy Lichtenstein’s Greene Street Mural at the Gagosian Gallery. His works have a special place in my heart as I worked for him and his family on 3 projects in my days as a construction consultant. One of the highlights of my career was going to his studio on Washington Street in the West Village and notarizing his signature. What a thrill!

Gallery Crawls

20151007_153330

Thomas Edison said , “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”  In think I have the 99% perspiration part of it down.  I’m a pretty hard worker, always was.  I like to throw myself into things with all my effort and all my heart.  The trick is finding something worth while in which to immerse myself so as not to waste the effort.  That is where the inspiration part comes in handy.

Hence, the gallery crawls.  Every month or so I hope to show you galleries I’ve visited, art I’ve seen, artists I’ve met, people, places and things that have inspired me and fueled my art making.