CURATOR'S CHOICE SM
Museums and Exhibitions in New York City and Vicinity
| Home | | Museum Guide | | International | | Architecture & Design | | Theater |
GLENN LONEY'S MUSEUM NOTES
SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS AROUND TOWN IN MAY, 2014
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe’s HEATHERS: The Musical [*****] *
Robert L. Freeman & Steven Lutvak’s A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER [*****] *
Robert Sternin & Prudence Fraser’s UNDER MY SKIN [*****] *
James MacMillan’s "SINCE IT WAS THE DAY OF PREPARATION" [Religious Caution Advised] *
Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s THE RIVALS [*****] *
Christian Rizzo’s Lyon Opera Ballet in ni fleurs, ni ford mustang [Unrate able; Not Unbeat able] *
Jeff Blumenkrantz’s MOVING RIGHT ALONG: The World of Jeff Blumenkrantz [*****] *
David Lang’s battle hymns [***] *
Anthony Giardina’s THE CITY OF CONVERSATION [*****] *
Terry Teachout’s SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF [*****] *
ISH’s Amsterdam Inspired HYPERISH [*****] *
Anton Dudley & Stephanie DiMaggio’s 17 ORCHARD POINT [**] *
Gardner McKay’s SEA MARKS [*****] *
Carole J. Bruford’s SHADES OF BLUE [*****] *
Jon Robin Baitz’s THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE [*****] *
BAM & Brooklyn’s DANCE AFRICA FESTIVAL [*****] *
Gene Ionesco’s THE KILLER [***] *
A Story of Two Museums: An Ethnographic Exhibition *
The Poetry of Parmigianino’s "Schiava Turca" *
ENGLIGHTENMENT & BEAUTY: Sculptures by Houdon & Clodion *
THE POWER OF WORDS & IMAGES IN A WORLD AT WAR *
URS FISCHER *
LAUNCHPAD FOR THE AMERICAN THEATRE: The O’Neill Since 1964 *
CHARLES JAMES: Beyond Fashion *
THE PRE RAPHAELITE LEGACY: British Art & Design *
LOST KINGDOMS: Hindu Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia… *
GATSBY TO GARP: Modern Masterpieces from the Carter Burden Collection *
A DIALOGUE WITH NATURE: Romantic Landscapes from Britain & Germany *
MIRACLES IN MINIATURE: The Art of the Master of Claude de France *
Rembrandt Now On Line at the Morgan: Study His Etchings in the Privacy of Your Own Home! *
MULTIPLE EXPOSURES: Jewelry & Photography *
HOMEFRONT & BATTLEFIELD: Quilts & Context in the Civil War *
SPRING MASTERS NEW YORK *
THIS WAS THE MONTH THAT WAS…
Rough Winds do Shake the Darling Buds of May…
So wrote the Poet, a few Centuries ago.
What might he have Penned, had he experience our Current Climate Change?
Pounding Thundershowers did more than just Shake the Darling Buds: Sheets of Driving Rain stripped many a Flowering Tree of its Precious Petals.
Nonetheless, the Japanese Cherry Trees across the way in Central Park did survive to Bloom Bounteously.
A Sunny Morning was easily Transformed--by Late Afternoon--into a Mini Katrina, wreaking Havoc.
This Weather Uncertainty made Critic Theatre Going an Everyday Adventure.
But there were so many Interesting Productions opening--even after Awards Nominations were over--that anyone really interested in American Theatre needed to See What’s Out There.
Eager to see what had been done to bring an Ayn Rand Novel to the Stage, I boarded a Fifth Avenue MTA Bus M2 under Cloudy Skies.
But, when I reached Eighth Street in Greenwich Village, to change to the M5 for Bleecker Street & Anthem, an Epic Storm had Struck.
I was Without Umbrella, so I joined a Crowd under an Overhang, until I could Dodge the Deluge to get on an Uptown Bus…
Anthem had closed by the time I had an Empty Evening on the Playgoing Calendar, so I will Never Know how a very Minor Rand Novel made it to the stage.
If People with Money are so Smitten with the Writings of Ayn Rand--Not Her Real Name!--why don’t the Koch Brothers fund a Major Revival of Ayn Rand’s Major Drama, The Night of January 16th?
It’s a Courtroom Cliff Hanger, with a Jury impaneled from The Audience!
How About That!
PASSING GLANCES AT SCENES SEEN:
Here are some of the Five Star Stagings that opened in May:
Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe’s HEATHERS: The Musical [*****]
Robert L. Freeman & Steven Lutvak’s A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER [*****]
Robert Sternin & Prudence Fraser’s UNDER MY SKIN [*****]
Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s THE RIVALS [*****]
Jeff Blumenkrantz’s MOVING RIGHT ALONG: The World of Jeff Blumenkrantz [*****]
Anthony Giardina’s THE CITY OF CONVERSATION [*****]
Terry Teachout’s SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF [*****]
ISH’s Amsterdam Inspired HYPERISH [*****]
Gardner McKay’s SEA MARKS [*****]
Carole J. Bruford’s SHADES OF BLUE [*****]
Jon Robin Baitz’s THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE [*****]
Jim Dale’s JUST JIM DALE [*****]
May is the Month when It All Adds Up!
Serious Drama Critics & mere Play Reviewers join to Vote for the Best This or That On or Off Broadway.
But there is an Increasingly Uncomfortable Problem for the Tony Awards©.
They have always been Limited--or Restricted--to New Broadway Productions.
But, with so many Long, Long, Long Running Musicals, some Major Broadway Theatres have been Tied Up for Years now.
Tony Awards© Committee Members cannot give Phantom an Annual Award for Staying Open so very Long, can they?
I love the Interior Decoration of the Winter Garden Theatre, but I feared I’d never see it again--unless I hang on until Age 90--because Mamma Mia! seemed Permanently Established on a Site that was once a Horse & Carriage Rental.
Fortunately, Audiences had been diminishing, so it was moved to a Smaller Venue--the Broadhurst, named for Producer/Playwright George Broadhurst--to make way for Alex Timbers’ Scenery in Constant Motion Rocky.
Once Upon a Time, I was a Tony© Voter--eagerly going over to Radio City Music Hall on Tony Awards© Night, dressed in my Brioni Tux, no less!--but when I began writing for publications like Other Stages & Theatre Week, I was No Longer among The Tony© Voter Elite.
Fortunately, I had been a Voting Member of the Outer Critics Circle since I had first come to Manhattan--after Four Years of Teaching Our Boys Overseas--so All was Not Lost…
It may be, today, difficult to imagine, but there was a Time when Broadway Was It!
Major Critics from Major Newspapers such as the New York Sun, the New York Herald, the New York Post, the New York Telegram, the New York Journal, the New York Tribune, the New York News, the New York World, the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the New York World Journal, & the New York World Journal Tribune--the New York Sun, had already Set, as the Herald Tribune was slowly dying, eventually going to Newspaper Heaven in Paris--would gather Once a Year to Choose the Best Play.
That Was It: a Best Play Award…
Awarded by the Elitist New York Drama Critics Circle, which spurned any Critics or Reviewers who were not in the Employ of Major Newspaper Publishers. Or taking their Time, toiling for Henry Luce.
Plays--even Witty Comedies--were a Form of Literature: you could even give the Very Best of Them a Pulitzer Prize, even if Audiences had Stayed Away in Droves.
Eventually, the Drama Critics Circle discovered Broadway Musicals, adding a Best Musical Award.
These two Prestigious Awards had nothing to do with the Antoinette Perry Awards©, even though many Theatre Goers had No Idea who Antoinette Perry might have been.
[For That Matter, who now vividly remembers George Broadhurst, John Golden, John Cort, Ethel Barrymore, Edwin Booth, David Belasco, Alfred Lunt, Lynne Fontanne, Sam Shubert, Bernie Jacobs, or even Helen Hayes?
[All of The Above have Broadway Theatres named for them.
[Gerry Shoenfeld--of the Shubert Empire--even bestowed Bernie’s Name posthumously on the Royale Theatre, renaming the Plymouth after himself.
[Neil Simon is Fading Fast & "Doc" Simon doesn’t even Own That Neil Simon Theatre.
[Aside from some Very Wealthy Friends, who now really remembers Vivian Beaumont Allen?
[As for Samuel J. Friedman & his Friedman Theatre--formerly The Biltmore Theatre--well…
[Many have No Idea who Eugene O’Neill was, as His Major Dramas are Never Revived & he was Never a Mormon, even though The Book of Mormon is opened Eight Times a Week in the Playhouse that bears His Name.
[The Walter Kerr & the Brooks Atkinson are both named for Once Famous & Beloved Major Critics, who are Still Remembered by Fellow Critics who knew them well--including This Scribe.
The Reason John Gassner, John Mason Brown, & other Non Newspaper Critics founded the Outer Critics Circle was the Sense of Exclusion from the Drama Critics Circle.
There was also a lurking Sense of Superiority, for they believed they knew More About Theatre than any Hired Newspaper Hack.
Oddly enough, however--like the Drama Critics Circle--they Initially Ignored the Rise of Off Broadway Theatre.
When I first came to Manhattan, John Gassner kindly became My Mentor & Substitute Father Figure.
When he had a Disastrous Heart Attack, he asked me to take over his Quarterly Review Column in the Educational Theatre Journal--Yes! Theatre Teachers all over America wanted to know what was Happening on Broadway!--but I included the Early Stirrings of Off Broadway, such as Ted Mann’s Circle in the Square, way off down in Greenwich Village.
When John somewhat recovered, he reserved Broadway for himself, but let me have My Own Column, dedicated to Off Broadway Productions: Shows that he would never see, as he soon Passed On.
Anyway, initially the OCC was not about Giving Awards.
Its Meetings were Opinion Sharing Get Togethers of Relatively Isolated Critics from New Jersey, Connecticut, & even Pennsylvania.
As well as with the Non Mainstream Manhattan Based Critics like John Gassner…
After I came on board, we began giving Awards, but in a Very Small Way & in even Smaller Venues, like Church Basements.
Now we give the Outer Critics Circle Awards in the Historic Eugenia Room at Sardi’s--before Showtime on Late Thursday Afternoons.
This is an Annual Love Fest as the Awards Event is more like a Family Reunion: Everyone in the Room seems to Know & Love Everyone Else.
Well, of course, They are All Winners. The Losers didn’t come…
When Costume Designer William Ivey Long came to the Podium for his Award--only one of Many OCC Awards, by now--he nodded to Several Stars whom he had dressed for the Big Time.
But he promised not to write a Book Telling All…
Each of the OCC Board Members--who are also the Awards Nominators--hosted a Sardi’s Table.
So Little Me was Host at Table #5, with the Fabulous Andrea Martin as Our Star Awards Presenter.
After Andrea had presented her Quota of Awards, a Duty or a Pleasure that also included Presenters Terrence Mann & Billy Porter, of Kinky Boots--she was quite Taken by Surprise to discover that she had to go up to the Podium again!
She had just Won--in a Tie with Mare Willingham of Casa Valentina--for her Impressive Performances in Act One.
Here are the Outer Critics Circle Stars!
[Insert List of OCC Awards Winners]
The Drama Desk began as Weekly Wednesday Luncheons at Sardi’s, where Drama Desk Editors, Performing Arts Reporters, Play Producers, Show Publicists, & even Drama Critics could meet to hear more about New Shows on Broadway, often from the Playwrights, Stars, Directors, & Designers themselves.
Harold Pinter even was induced to explain what his Most Recent Play--Homecoming--actually Meant. This he never did again…
Peter Brook brought most of His Cast for his Innovative & Avant Garde Royal Shakespeare Company Production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream--more Free Lunches than usual!--for which I later created the Official RSC Production Book.
At that time, the only Award we gave was the Vernon Rice Award.
Remember Vernon Rice?
Grantland Rice, the Sports Writer, is the Rice we remember.
Nonetheless, the Drama Desk began to grant Annual Awards: it Increases Visibility.
Otherwise, Who among the Theatre Going Public would have Any Idea Who or What the OCC or the Drama Desk actually Is.
Or Why We Exist: Not just to Honor the "Best" or "Most Outstanding," but also to Talk about Theatre, among Ourselves.
Early on, Drama Desk Awards Dinners were more like the OCC’s--Family Affairs--but, in recent years, they have Morphed into Mini Tony©s.
To Be Seen on TV!
Here are the Drama Desk Stars!
[Insert List of Drama Desk Awards Winners:]
Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe’s HEATHERS: The Musical [*****]
Surviving in High School Is Hell, Especially If You Are Not Popular, Beautiful, or a Heather…
Yes, Susan Stroman & Casey Nicholaw are Great Broadway Choreographers, but Marguerite Derricks & Andy Fickman are shining Off Broadway with the ingenious ways they have kept their Large Cast in Meaningful Motion.
If you think back, you may have seen the Movie, Heathers, with a Shooting Script by Daniel Waters?
Don’t Worry! Murphy & O’Keefe have created a Brilliant & Biting Show about Cliques & Class Warfare in High School. It can Stand Alone, with No Reference to the Film.
At the Show’s Center is Veronica Sawyer [Barrett Wilbert Weed], an Attractive Girl whose Best Friend [Katie Ladner] is an Anxious & Overweight Teen. She also suffers under the name of Martha Dunstock!
Veronica longs to belong to the Super Snooty & Smartly Costumed Heathers, led by Heather Chandler [Elle McLemore], who loves Mocking Geeks & Dorks, as well as all the High School Girls who do not Measure Up.
After her Heathers Makeover, Veronica finds that she is attracted to the Black Coated Romantic Misfit, Jason "J.D." Dean [Ryan McCartan].
This Dangerous Relationship leads to Three Deaths--including the Chief Heather--in which JD has deeply involved Veronica.
JD later attaches a Ticking Time Bomb to their Alma Mater, so it’s Not Unfair to say that Heathers is a Dynamite Show!
Andy Fickman is credited for Direction, with Marguerite Derricks as Choreographer, but it’s impossible to sort out Who Did What because the Entire Show seems Choreographed!
But it’s also a Singing Show, with some Mordantly Clever Lyrics: Beautiful, Dead Girl Walking, Blue, Prom or Hell, Seventeen, & Shine a Light, among Others.
Unless you were sent to an Exclusive Private School--where Everyone is supposed to be Super--you surely will recognize all the Teen Types in Heathers. It’s a Hoot of a Show!
Personal Note: I attended Grass Valley High School [CA] way back in 1941 45, but even then the Athletic Letter Men were Kings.
The Social Queens were Self Elected Members of the Exclusive Katella Club--Katella for Katty.
If you were "Brainy," No One picked on you, but, By Definition, you could not Hope to be Popular. Except at Exam Time, or when the Jocks needed you to write Term Papers for them.
The Chinese American Teens were Brainy, but they were treated as a Race Apart.
There were no African Americans nor any Latinos.
The Real Social Pariahs were the Teens known as "Okies" or "Arkies," who were Depression Era Fugitives from Failed Farms in Oklahoma & Arkansas.
Most of them looked both Shabby & Depressed. Being Snubbed by the Jocks & the Katellas did not help their Self Esteem.
That was almost Seven Decades Ago, but we had the Same Types as the Heathers Teens, but we had nothing to Sing & Dance about.
Homosexuality was something No One had even heard of, unlike the Fag Bashers in Heathers.
Heathers, in fact, closes as something close to a Celebration of Being Gay…
Robert L. Freeman & Steven Lutvak’s A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER [*****]
Removing Noble Relatives from The Line of Succession Is a Total Delight: Hilarious Deaths!
If you are a Theatre Buff, by now you surely know how many Awards Nominations Gentleman’s Guide has received, including Eleven from OCC, the Outer Critics Circle, of which I am both the Historian & a Nominator.
But if you are a Real Theatre Buff, you surely will already have seen Gentleman’s Guide, possibly a Number of Times?
My Luck, as a Nominator, is to be treated with Great Kindness by the Press Agents for Gentleman’s Guide, including Handsome Brown Suede Bound Copies of both The Script & The Lobby Program.
Also: The Hilarious CD, with the Entire Cast singing & dancing--but, as it is not a Video, one has to imagine the Dancing…
Best of All, I was invited to see Gentleman’s Guide once again, but this time, Up Front, in Aisle Seats!
Initially, on my First Viewing, I admired Jefferson Mays--who impersonates all the Dotty Dysquiths, who are in the way of the Family Outcast, Monty Navarro, from becoming an Earl, with a Family Castle--from a Remote Orchestra Distance.
This time, up close, I could see just How Much Energy is involved in his Incarnations of the Death Doomed Dysquiths.
But even More Energy is expended by the Ingenious Monty--a remarkable Bryce Pinkham--scheming to Eliminate The Dysquith Heirs & balance Two Love Affairs!
All this Generational Hugger Mugger is Colorfully Presented by a Delightful Cast, in what looks like a Pollock’s Toy Theatre, sprinkled with Magic Dust to make it Grow Big.
The Performance Style is rather like that of the Old English Music Halls, but all is executed with Clockwork Precision.
Darko Tresnjak, who staged, has already received Multiple Nominations for Best Director, but Choreographer Peggy Hickey’s Contribution should Not Be Overlooked!
Robert Sternin & Prudence Fraser’s UNDER MY SKIN [*****]
INSTANT ANGELIC SEX CHANGE CHANGES EVERYTHING WITH HEALTH CARE INSURANCE!
This is the Show! Get Tickets Now! Rush Off to the Little Shubert on West Forty Two!
This Season, I’ve seen a lot of Five Star Productions, but nothing quite like Under My Skin, which definitely did get Under My Skin!
Health Care Magnate Harrison Badish III [an hilarious Matt Walton, especially tottering in High Heels] is killed in an Elevator Crash--Fourteen Floors, but forget about the Thirteenth Floor, as No Building Has One--along with his Coffee Carrying Office Intern, Melody Dent [Kerry Butler, very Official, wearing Harrison’s Suit!].
The Apologetic Angel [a glittering Dierdre Friel] who has come to Collect Them agrees to Their Frantic Pleas to give them a New Lease on Life.
Unfortunately, when they Come Back, they’re each in the Other’s Body…
Angelic Mistake! But Who Can Argue with Heaven?
Harrison not only has to go out to Staten Island--he hardly knows where Staten Island is--to look after Melody’s Quarrelsome Clan, but he also has to Undergo Invasive Gynecological Probes for Melody’s Gut Cramps.
Of course, Harrison/Melody’s Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover any of the Essential Tests that reveal a Threatening Cancer.
Not To Mention Aspects of the Operation & Subsidiary Hospital Costs…
Profit Oriented & Shareholder Value Aware Harrison finally realizes that The Company doesn’t Understand The First Thing about Women’s Health Care Needs nor about Senior Care.
So the Annual Share Holder Meeting--when Melody/Harrison announces that Real Health Care is More Important than Shareholder Value--is a Shocker!
For a Moment, the Shares Plummet, but soon Recover, when word gets around about the New Improved Coverage.
Along the Way, however, the Audience has been treated to some Very Sexy Women, in Very Stunning Fashions, all trying to Get into Harrison’s Pants.
Thanks to that Errant Angel, Melody is the Only One to actually do that: Wearing Them in The Office!
Andrew Polk is hilarious in a Number of Roles, including the Invasive Dr. Hurtz--watch out for his Gynecological Probe!
The Ingenious & Ever Changing Setting--including the Crashed Elevator--is the work of Stephen Dobay, with the Elegant but Sexy Costumes created by Lara de Bruijn.
The admirable Kirsten Sanderson staged all this Fast Paced Health Intrigue, but it’s Unfortunate that such a Wonderful Show should open just AFTER all the Award Nominations have been announced.
Had They been a Week or so Earlier, Their Handsome & Hilarious Show would surely have Swept All Categories!
Except, of course, Solo Performance…
James MacMillan’s "SINCE IT WAS THE DAY OF PREPARATION" [Religious Caution Advised]
The Romans Didn’t Break Jesus’ Legs, But This May Not Be Something To Sing About…
Somehow, for Some Reason, I seem to have been added to St. Bart’s Mailing List, for a Handsome Card arrived in the Mail, illustrated with the Handsome Byzantine Basilica of Saint Bartholomew’s Anglican/Episcopalian Headquarters in Manhattan, on Park Avenue, no less.
It urged me to Buy Tickets--priced from $18 to $38: what is it with the "8’s"?--for the US Premiere of James MacMillan’s "SINCE IT WAS THE DAY OF PREPARATION."
MacMillan is a Scottish Composer, who enjoyed a World Premiere of this Choral Work at the Edinburgh International Festival, where they are Eager to Showcase Scots Talent.
I looked Forward to this Event so much that I even Bought Tickets: $15 for Seniors, but, in the event--as the Sanctuary was only Scantly Peopled--I was seated not far from the Talented Performers of Soli Deo Gloria.
That Latin Moniker may seem Pretentious, but it may be meant to suggest that all the Artistic Efforts of this Group are dedicated to the Glory of God Alone…
Well, actually, Soli Deo Gloria must have borrowed St. Bart’s Chamber Singers for this Illustrious Occasion.
Among them are Amanda Sidebottom [Soprano Soloist] & Eliza Bagg [Alto Soloist].
One devoutly hopes that, when Ms. Bagg reaches Senior Status, No One calls her an "Old Bagg."
It could be said of "Since It Was the Day of Preparation" that it gives Early Music a Bad Name, but it is By No Means to be understood as Early Music, even though it softly, slyly opens with Barely Audible Notes from David Walker’s Theorbo--a Medieval Looking Instrument, with an Elongated Finger Board, making it resemble an Overgrown Lute.
I am almost certain that I heard David Walker & his Theorbo last June at the Boston Early Music Festival, but then, who knows…
The Significance of MacMillan’s Title is that it is taken from The Gospel of Saint John [Revised Standard Version], meaning that Palestine’s Orthodox Jews were Preparing for the Sabbath on the Next Day--that Day, of course, was Good Friday, but as there was No Roman Catholic Church yet, No One knew what to call it except The Day of Preparation--when No Live Jews should be Left Hanging on Crosses.
It was the Custom for the Roman Soldiers--Remember! The Jews were not Christ Killers: the Romans did that!--to Break the Legs of the Still Living Crucified to Shock Them Into Death & into The Hereafter.
But it had already been Prophesied that The Messiah should never have a Bone Broken, for some Arcane Reason. So it was Good that the Roman Soldiers found Jesus Already Dead.
Anyway, The Burial--following the Almost Silent Pierced Christ on the Theorbo--was at first Similarly Soft, as played on the Cello, but Bass Jason Whitfield Livened Things Up a Bit.
In fact, Whitfield was the Most Resonant of all the Soloists.
Considering the Sad Saga the Soloists & Chorus have to Relate, it was astonishing how often The Events were sung with such a Hushed Softness.
In the Score itself, however, there were some Crashing Crescendos & Chromatic Arcs, subtly surprising among More Meandering & Gentle Intonations.
The Total Effect--excluding the Soft Keyed Vocals--was of an Eclectic Plundering of Varied Modes of Modern Music.
Rather like a Painterly Abstract Expressionism brought over into Musical Composition.
Nonetheless, if One did not follow the Gospel Libretto printed in the Soli Deo Gloria Program, he would have been Hard Put to know What Was Going On…
The Actual Gospel Text is both Poetic & Prophetic: Deeply Moving, unless you are an Atheist or a Zoroastorian.
MacMillan has improved on Saint John by interpolating some Liturgical Latin Texts from Easter & Pentecost.
Nonetheless, Handel’s Reputation for Religiously Inspired Oratorios is still Secure.
But Georg Friderich Händel was from Hannover, not Scotland…
Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s THE RIVALS [*****]
Dubious Duels Averted in Fashionable 18th Century Bath , While Lovely Lydia Languishes…
Jessica Love, as Sheridan’s Lydia Languish--breathtakingly beautiful in a lavish Period Gown & Fantastic Hairdo--looks as though she has just stepped down from a Gainsborough Portrait.
But Carol Schultz, as the Word Mangling Mrs. Malaprop--ferociously armored in an equally astonishing Period Gown, as well as a Confectionary Wig--is, as she might well say, "the very Pineapple of Perfection."
In fact, thanks to the Design Skills & Ingenious Imagination of Sam Fleming, the Entirely Admirable Cast of this Pearl Theatre Revival of The Rivals look Fabulously & Elegantly Period.
In more than Fifty Years of London Theatre Going, I have seen many Famed British Actors & Actresses--including Laurence Olivier & Maggie Smith--recreate Famous Roles in the Comedies of Richard Brinsley Sheridan & William Wycherley.
The Vintage Brits were Masters of Manners: They played Lydia Languish, Sir Anthony Absolute, Julia Melville, & Bob Acres with Wit & Elegance.
But the Pearl Theatre Ensemble--ably directed by Hal Brooks--does All That & More: they do not merely Show the Roles; they Live Inside Their Characters!
Poor Bob Acres--a wonderfully comical Chris Mixon--the Genial Country Squire who’s come down to Bath, possibly to find a Mrs. Acres, only to find himself Trapped into Fancy Wig & Waistcoat, with a possibly Fatal Duel waiting in the Wings…
Also Amazing: Dan Daily as the Overbearing Sir Anthony Absolute; Brad Heberlee as the Ever Fussing & Fretting Faulkland, constantly in a dither about the Possible Infidelity of his Beloved Julia, patiently embodied by the delightful Rachel Botchan; Sean McNall as the Troublesome Irishman, Sir Lucius O’Trigger…
Although it was the Custom in Restoration & 18th Century British Comedies to give Characters such Character Indicating Names as Absolute, Malaprop, Languish, & Acres--Bob has Lots of Land!--what are we to think of Fag, impersonated by Kambi Gathesha?
Sheridan’s Social Satire was premiered way back in 1775: just One Year before America declared its Independence from Britain, in 1776, if not from its Play Lists & Theatrical Conventions.
What is especially remarkable about The Rivals is that Pearl Theatre Audiences are still laughing riotously at Jokes that are now Over Two Centuries Old!
Sheridan surely understood Something Basic about Human Nature, even if his Satirical Targets were the Excessive Sensibility & Romantic Notions of His Era.
Christian Rizzo’s Lyon Opera Ballet in ni fleurs, ni ford mustang [Unrate able; Not Unbeat able]
What Do All Those Glowing Red Slippers Scattered About the BAM Opera Stage Really Signify?
They have come all the way from Lyon--in Free France--to perform for Three Evenings Only, at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera house!
They are, of course, the Much Talked About Lyon Opera Ballet, led by Christian Rizzo.
In Typical French Fashion--avoiding les Lettres Capitaux as much as possible, Christian Rizzo has Christened the Ballet he brought to Brooklyn: ni fleurs, ni ford mustang…
And so it is that there are Neither Flowers nor a Ford Mustang on stage.
Instead, the Darkened Stage seems to be Littered with Glowing Red High Heeled Slippers: possibly a Tribute to the Glass Slipper of Massenet’s Cendrillon?
Or, perhaps, The Red Shoes?
Initially--aside from the Glowing Footwear--the Stage is Empty, except for a Skeleton hanging high up in the Air, Upstage Right.
Gradually, Individual Forms slink onto the Stage, collapsing Artfully in an Arc, suggesting, perhaps, Victims of Condoleezza Rice’s Mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Instead of Real Music, Gerome Nox has provided an Insistent Thumping/Thrumming, which grows Louder & Louder…
A Dancer who seems to be wearing an Umbrella Like Skirt skitters about & Other Dancers help remove some of those Glowing Slippers.
They soon return in Glittering Black Skin Tight Outfits to clean up the Stage, as that Skeleton slumps down onto the Stage Floor.
Suddenly, it’s Lights Out!
Some Season Subscribers had already brushed past me--in their Rush to Return to Manhattan--when the Ballet was only Half Over.
Now, right in front of me, a Lady was pulling on her coat, preparing to leave.
It’s Not Over?" I asked, incredulously. "This isn’t an Intermission?"
"No," she answered. "Why did you think there would be more of This? Did you want to see More?"
"Not really, but I thought they might return & perform something Typically French…"
"Surrendering, yet again, to the Germans?"
Anyway, I had a Ticket to a Cheese & Wine Reception in the Le Percq Space--on the Mezzanine Level--so I thought I’d go up & receive some Cheese, Wine being Poison to Diabetics…
Imagine My Surprise to see My One Time Brooklyn College Grad Student, BAM’s Executive Producer, Joseph V. Melillo, embracing a Chap clad in Short Pants & what looked like Keds, for a Photo Op!
Yes, indeed! This was the Virtual Choreographer himself, Christian Rizzo: also responsible for the Costumes, as he is Involved in Fashion Design, as well as Other Projects.
In a Program Note, Rizzo explains His Vision: "I see the Stage as a Space of Ritual Passages, a Transformative Place. I use Forms to allow Things to Emerge on Their Own, rather than trying to Show Something. Anything Visible is the Result of what is Not Visible."
Fresno Born Opera Conductor Kent Nagano--recently retired as GMD for the Bavarian State Opera--was formerly at the Opera de Lyon. Could Kent have worked with Rizzo?
The Visit to Brooklyn of the Ballet de l’Opera de Lyon is part of DANSE: A French American Festival of Performance & Ideas, sponsored by the Services Culturelles of the French Embassy…
Jeff Blumenkrantz’s MOVING RIGHT ALONG: The World of Jeff Blumenkrantz [*****]
Sondheimian Stand Alone Songs Brilliantly Orchestrated into Year of Young Adulthood in NYC!
Too Late! Too Late!
If you are reading this any time after 15 May 2014, you missed one of the Greatest New Musical Shows in Manhattan.
In fact, it was premiered & performed for Four Nights Only up at the Manhattan School of Music.
It wonderfully Showcased the Terrific Talents of the Stars of Tomorrow--who could soon become Stars Today, if MOVING RIGHT ALONG: The World of Jeff Blumenkrantz could be moved to Off Broadway.
If you know Jeff Blumenkrantz at all, you may have seen him recently--also Off Broadway--in Murder for Two, in which he hilariously played All the Victims.
But Jeff Blumenkrantz is not just an Actor--even though his Credits include 30 Rock, Law & Order, & Will & Grace--but he is also a Sondheimian Lyricist & Composer.
He even won a Tony Nomination© for his Contribution to Urban Cowboy!
But Stand Alone Songs--be they Ballads, Narratives, Complaints, Comic, or Character--do not Make a Musical.
Fortunately, Carolyn Marlow--who is the Presiding Genius of the American Musical Theatre Program at MSM--has reworked some of Jeff’s Best into a Musical that is Not a Revue, Not Cabaret Turns, but a Hot New Musical Property that should become an Evergreen for Regional, College, & Community Theatres.
Not to Overlook a Transfer to Off Broadway…
The Ingenious Format of MOVING RIGHT ALONG is the Monthly Diary Jottings of a Writers Blocked Young Adult--who is So Obsessed with completing Her Novel that she has No Time for Love.
Marlow has invented Other Young Adults--all more or less Interlocking in some way--who have Big Problems of the Heart and/or Serious Issues in the Head.
Instead of a Formulaic Plot, Marlow has crafted a Character Narrative Through Line for this Funny Sad Songfest.
Pot does not Play a Big Part in this Charming Show, but Sexual Orientation does, now that we are in the Age of Gay Marriage.
In fact, the Entire Second Act of MOVING RIGHT ALONG takes place against the Bar Background of Fifty Shades of Gay.
So this is Not a Show for Decent, God Fearing Christians!
Nor, indeed, for Rush Limbaugh, or Cranky Old White Men…
The Opener, Crowd Control, is a witty appeal to the Audience to Turn off Cell Phones & Unwrap Candies. Or Else!!!!!!!
So many of the Songs are So Special that it could become Wikipedish to List Them All.
But you can Check Out the The Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook Podcast on iTunes or on Jeff’s Own Website.
Nonetheless, how about: Burning Man, Celebrate, Valentine, Just Because, Hold My Hand, All Because of You, & Breaking Even?
Talk about Cute! Listen to May Day! M’Aider…
Not having Access to The Script, I cannot demonstrate Accuracy, but I thought I heard some Dissing on the Order of: Too Dorky, Too Porky, Too Not New Yorky…
Or should I have heard: Too New Yorky…
No, that sounds Too Dorky, not at all Steve Sondheimian!
The Extremely Talented Cast--some of the Men have Ballet Training!--included Kendrick Pifer, Christopher Lilley, Chelsea Nectow, Kim Johansen, Jody Hinkley, Jacob Lewis Smith, Addie Hamilton, Marley Dove, Sarah Tupper Daniels, Cameron Johnson, & Piers Portfolio.
Doesn’t Piers Portfolio sound like a Stage Name?
Hey! Piers! Can I peer into your Portfolio?
Didn’t John Hinkley Shoot Someone to impress Someone named Jody?
All these MSM Music Masters deserve to Show Their Moves & Stuff Off Broadway: In This Show!
So, Thank You, Carolyn Marlow & Jeff Blumenkrantz!
David Lang’s battle hymns [***]
All Hands On Deck! Including the Collegiate Chorale--Singing on the Intrepid’s Hangar Deck!
A New York Premiere on a Decommissioned US Navy Aircraft Carrier!
I hadn’t visited the Intrepid since the Press Preview when it was metaphorically Re Launched as a Hudson River World War II Museum docked at Pier 86.
In fact, as the Audience for the Collegiate Chorale’s Innovative Concert streamed in, many stopped to inspect the interestingly presented Exhibits.
It was Something of a Stunt to stage David Lang’s battle hymns on the Intrepid’s Hangar Deck, as the Audience--unlike its Usual Tiered Seating in Carnegie Hall--was in Folding Chairs on the Flat Deck Surface, with the Choristers in front of them, more Visible only when they were standing.
The Collegiate Chorale’s Singing Forces were enhanced by the Manhattan Girls Chorus, which was Variously Deployed: In the Aisles, sometimes crouching, & even behind the Audience, on an Upper Level.
A Production Problem was that there had, apparently, been Insufficient Time to Rehearse the Lighting Cues, so Soloists sometimes were initially In the Dark.
What was Especially Admirable in the Performance was the Clarity of Diction of Soloists & Choristers alike.
For this Audial Felicity, Conductor James Bagwell is owed a Vote of Audible Thanks.
There was No Musical Accompaniment: the Collegiate Chorale was singing A Cappella.
Only a Lone Drummer, in that Famed Quotation from Abraham Lincoln: As I would not be a Slave, so I would not be a Master.
Unfortunately, Composer/Lyricist David Lang--who favors Lower Case, rather than Caps--chose to have the Choristers & Soloists Steven Moore, John Kawa, Melissa Kelley, & Elizabeth Smith sing those words Over & Over & Over.
After about a Hundred Repetitions, I turned to a Music Critic Colleague to Share: I think we Got the Message.
The Musical Settings of the Initial Texts that inspired david lang [lower case!] to create battle hymns are fairly effective.
But what are we to think of the Revised Texts themselves?
All of which are printed in the program in lower case…
For a father’s love--based on a Letter in Case of Death in Battle, written by Stephen Ballou--david lang goes Through The Alphabet, beginning with the letter a, so that there must be at least twenty or thirty lines beginning with and.
Also: lots of I, to, that, the, when, with…
Curiously, david lang does not use i when referring to I.
Even in his Rephrasings of Stephen Foster, david lang cannot resist this kind of repetitive word play.
Finally, as with presenting battle hymns on the Hangar Deck of an Aircraft Carrier, this seems a Bit of a Stunt.
Nonetheless, the Collegiate Chorale was, as always, Admirable. Especially in the Face of Invoked Adversity!
But there’s some Good News as well!
In the Upcoming Season, the Chorale will present Not The Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy), based on Monty Python’s Life of Brian, as well as GF Handel’s somewhat Oratorio, Susanna, followed by Kurt Weill & Franz Werfel’s The Road of Promise.
Originally, this was called The Eternal Road, staged by the Legendary Max Reinhardt, in Rock Center’s new Center Theatre. Or was it actually in Radio City Music Hall?
It deals with the Travails & Tragedies of the Jewish People over the Centuries & the Millennia.
At the time of its Initial Production, Max Reinhardt joked that it was odd to have Werfel concoct the Narrative, as he was a Jew who became a Catholic, owing to the Insistence of Alma Mahler Werfel.
Werfel’s new found Catholic Piety also inspired him to craft The Song of Bernadette.
But the Collegiate Chorale has No Plans to present Bernadette, even as an Oratorio…
Anthony Giardina’s THE CITY OF CONVERSATION [*****]
Through Carter & Reagan & Onward to Obama--They Never Stop Talking in Georgetown…
Jan Maxwell is fascinating as Hester Ferris, a famed Georgetown Hostess, at whose Dinners the Great & Influential of Washington’s Political Society can Get Things Done.
Unfortunately for Liberal Agendas in the Fading Carter Era, into Hester’s World comes an Ambitious Girl from America’s Heartland, who has just completed studies at the London School of Economics.
Kristen Bush as the Sleek, Blonde, & Very Determined Anna Fitzgerald has also married Hester’s Not So Bright Son, Colin [Michael Simpson].
For Anna, this was a Good Catch--as they say--because he can help her Gain Access to the Distinguished Movers & Shakers who come to Hester’s Soirées.
Unfortunately for both Hester & Liberal Agendas, both Anna & Colin are soon involved in Defeating Liberals in General & in getting the Liberally Detested Robert Bork into the Sacred Society of Supreme Court Justices.
Nonetheless, Anna manages to produce a Beloved Grandson [Luke Niehaus] for Hester, who adores him.
Unfortunately for Hester, both Her Love & Her Grandson become Pawns in a Republican Power Game.
She has just found a Dynamite Document which--in the Right Hands--will devastate Republican Hopes.
It can also destroy Her Son’s Career as a Rising Republican.
Unless she Tears It Up, she will never see Her Grandson again
Great Issues are at stake as Ronald Reagan is now in the Oval Office, so Hester refuses & loses Her Grandson.
Not to mention Her Only Son, who wasn’t as Bright & Clever as she’d hoped he’d be.
From 1987, this Intriguing Drama moves onward to The Obama Inauguration.
It never, however, leaves Hester’s Lovely Georgetown Mansion Chambers, designed by the Master of Elegant Interiors, John Lee Beatty.
Unexpected Guests are now in Hester’s Living Room: Her Grown Up Grandson [Michael Simpson--again, but Now Gay!] & his African American Lover [Phillip James Brannon].
Ronald Reagan never would have sanctioned Gay Marriage, although he did feel sorry for Rock Hudson, when he was dying of AIDS.
Under Obama, was this really a Problem? Gay Marriage, not AIDS…
Doug Hughes directed, with Site Specific Costumes by Catherine Zuber.
Terry Teachout’s SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF [*****]
End of a Very Long Road for Louie Armstrong: All White Audience & Waldorf Luxury Suite…
Because the Waldorf Hotel was already Fully Booked, Satchmo at the Waldorf had to be presented on the Upstairs Stage of the Westside Theatre.
Nonetheless--thanks to Set Designer Lee Savage-- Enthralled Audiences got to see a fading & reminiscent Louie Armstrong in Dressing Room A of the Waldorf.
John Douglas Thompson is both Foul Mouthed & Sadly Funny, as his Louie Looks Back, is getting it All On Tape.
What is especially effective in his Performance is that he is able to be Louis Armstrong, not only as He Is, on this Almost Final Night, but also As He Was.
But Audiences are getting Two Characters for the Price of One: Thompson can, almost on the instant, become Armstrong’s Trusted Manager--who ultimately disappoints him, owing to Mobster Blackmail.
If you go over to the Westside Theatre to Hear about the Birth of Jazz from its Master, Louis Armstrong, Do Not Expect Him To Blow His Horn!
He will Handle It, but Not Blow It…
Satchmo at the Waldorf is Not a Musical.
Nor are you really at the Waldorf Astoria.
Way over on West 43rd?
What did you expect…
At the very least, you will be Informed, but, at the very best, you should be Thrilled.
Thanks not only to John Douglas Thompson’s Louis Armstrong, but also to Drama Critic Terry Teachout, who wrote this Ingenious Monodrama, based on his Biography of Armstrong, & to Gordon Edelstein, who directed.
ISH’s Amsterdam Inspired HYPERISH [*****]
Break Dancing, Street Dancing, Hip Hop, & Handsprings: Energy Plus from Dutch Based Hypers!
The Stage Setting is a seemingly Random Collection of Boxes, Platforms, & Frames, Over, Under & In Between which Four Very Athletic Young Men & Three Blonde Pony Tailed Young Women Dance, Prance, Parade, Pronounce, & Delineate a Street Scene Inspired View of Modern Life.
Some Segments of Hyperish are Underlit, so you really do have to Squint to see what’s happening up on that Platform.
But most of the Hip Hop & Acrobatic Dance Segments are Highlighted.
This amazing Amsterdam Based Collective is clearly also Inter Racial & Inter National & into Major Social & Personal Problems to which even Young Audiences can relate.
The two Chinese American Kids in front of me were even eager to get into the Aisles of the New Victory Theatre & try out some of the Moves up on Stage.
Some of the Dance Acrobatics would be Challenging even to Cirque du Soleil Headliners.
The Seven Hypers from Hyperish offered only Nine Public Performances, so there may have been some Private Performances as well--between 12 & 18 May--but there was nothing in the New Vic Program about those Missing Dates.
As Hyperish was supported by the Consulate General of the Netherlands--as well as by Dutch Culture USA & Fonds Podium Kunsten NL--there must have been Other Showings.
This was the US Premiere, so Other Kids in Other Cities will soon be thrilled by These Hypers.
Meanwhile, Young New Yorkers will be waiting for a Hyper Hyperish Return in 2015!
Anton Dudley & Stephanie DiMaggio’s 17 ORCHARD POINT [**]
Michelle Pawk Storms the Stage as a Boozy Floozy of a Long Absent Mother…
"Wasn’t that wonderful!"
This wasn’t really a Question, but the Older Woman--dragging what looked like her Carry On Luggage--got into the Elevator down at Theatre Row & seemed to want to Share with me.
We had both spent some Intermission less Time down at 17 Orchard Point, where Co Author Stephanie DiMaggio was onstage as Vera, the Longtime Manager of the Family Apartment House.
One hopes this Bizarre Family Drama is not Semi Autobiographical, but if it is a Form of Therapy, Audiences should not be encouraged to enable such Bizarre Performances as that of Michelle Pawk, as Lydia, Vera’s Loose Moraled, Liquor Loving, Party Girl Mother.
As a Longtime Admirer of Michelle Pawk, I was both amazed & appalled at how she almost literally--but certainly figuratively--Threw Herself into the Persona of Lydia.
Vera is a Plain Looking, Catholic Pious, Sad Young Woman.
She has arranged a Sham Baby Party for her Younger Sister--who is not coming--so she can entice her Long Gone Mother to a kind of Reckoning.
In the course of a Drinking Bout, to decide who will finally get the Family House that Lydia has already Sold--to finance a New Romance--some Truths Are Told.
Vera is not really Lydia’s Daughter!
Vera is not only Plain, disdaining Make Up, but she also does not Drink & is Still a Virgin.
In the Last Minutes of this Odd Play, Vera loses her Virginity--to Leonard, down in the Cellar, whom we never see--after which, she Empties her Foster Mother’s Purse & is Out the Door, presumably to New Adventures…
Stella Powell Jones staged, leading the Creative Team, which--in the Program--outnumbers the Two in the Cast by More Than Twenty Named Credits!
Gardner McKay’s SEA MARKS [*****]
I Must Go Down To The Sea Again: Irish Fisherman Becomes Published Poet, Loses Virginity…
As the Irish say, Patrick Fitzgerald--as the simple Irish Fisherman, Colm--is a "Darlin’ Man."
What’s more, Gardner McKay’s Sea Marks is a "Lovely Play."
It’s also what Broadway Producers call a "Two Hander," which should make it Popular beyond the Hudson, especially where there are eager Irish American Actors.
To Randy American Men it may seem Unbelievable that there are Middle Aged Irish Male Virgins.
But, if you live in an isolated Village--or on an Island--the Mating Availability is scant, especially if you went to school with those Local Girls…
Colm’s Heart & Soul seem bound up in the Irish Sea & Fishing in the Sea, which can be a Dangerous Calling.
Only when a pretty young Lady from Liverpool comes to the Festivities of Distant Cousins does Colm begin to Ponder his Lot in Life.
He begins writing to Timothea--charmingly played by Xanthe Elbrick--describing in Simple Images his Life on the Sea & his Encounters with Mother Nature.
As with such Irish Poets as John Millington Synge--whose Riders to the Sea is a Minor Masterpiece--Colm is almost a Natural Poet, using the most Elemental of Words, Phrases, & Metaphors.
Timothea responds & the Correspondence continues.
What Colm does not know & Timothea doesn’t tell him by Post, is that his Letters are Book Worthy.
When Colm finally leaves his Rocky Shores for Liverpool, he & Timothea Click.
He Loses His Virginity & discovers that he is now a Published Poet.
But, as Brit Poet John Masefield once wrote: I must go down to the Sea again…
Timothea, although involved in Publishing, is not really a City Girl; not a Real Liverpudlian.
She understands Colm’s Need for the Sea, from which he takes His Inspiration.
Being Irish American on the Hudson--or the East River--is, somehow, Not Quite the Same…
Oh! Ciarán O’Reilly staged with subtle skill.
Carole J. Bruford’s SHADES OF BLUE [*****]
This Lovely Lady Should Be Belting Out the Blues on Broadway, Not Only in Cabaret Venues!
Carole Bruford was a Stunner at Town Hall in one of Scott Siegel’s Broadway by the Year Events.
Now, Scott Siegel is presenting Carole in the Metropolitan Room, not so far from Broadway, but still down on West 22nd Street.
Having been Blown Away by Carole Bruford’s fantastic Energy, Passion, & Personality in one of Scott’s Town Hall Mini Extravaganzas, I hastened down to the Metropolitan Room, which is not remotely related to the Metropolitan Opera
It is amazing that such a Petite Blonde Lady can Belt the Blues like the Best of the Old Timers.
Carole can even give a Bluesy Mood to Gershwin’s Summertime, as well as to House of the Rising Sun.
Kurt Weill may have cut his Musical Teeth with Bert Brecht in Weimar Era Berlin, but when Weill went up to Harlem to discover the True Blues, he was able to give Langston Hughes something special for Lonely House.
Carole Bruford makes this Sorrowful Song Achingly Sad.
You may change your mind about Capital Punishment if you hear Carole belt out Send Me To the ‘Lectric Chair.
She really honors Savannah’s Favorite Son, Johnny Mercer, with her rousing rendition of Anywhere I Hang My Hat Is Home.
Not to overlook John Lennon & Paul McCartney, as Carol swings into Oh! Darlin!
How about John Legend’s Who Did That To You?--created for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained…
George Gershwin returns with Carole’s Lament: The Man That Got Away.
I love Art Deco almost as much as I love Dynamic Vocalists, so it was a Distinct Plus to see Carole in a glittering Art Deco Sheath!
Afterward, she told me someone said she looked like the Chrysler Building!
Carole! There’s nothing like Standing Tall when you are Electrifying Audiences.
Please, Scott Siegel! Let’s get Carole J. Bruford on Broadway, preferably in a New Show, written for her. Not Some Old Revival…
Jon Robin Baitz’s THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE [*****]
Autocratic Jewish Publisher Loves Rare Books; People, Not So Much…
Manhattan--in 1987--is a Long Way Off from Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities.
Indeed, the Entire Geldhart Family of Specialty Book Publishers is quite different from those Republican Fascists that Baitz eviscerated in his Palm Springs Saga.
As the irascible & autocratic Pater Familias, John Noble is at times deliberately Ignoble in the High Handed Manner in which he deals with Eager Authors & with his Three Children, each of whom has Shares of Stock in the Family Imprint.
As Isaac Geldhart--Money Heart, in rough translation--Noble systematically humiliates Martin [Daniel Eric Gold], the Son who is a Professor of Landscape Design; Aaron [Carter Hudson], the Son who is trying to save the Firm from Bankruptcy, & Sarah [Halley Feiffer], the Performance Art Daughter, whom he derides as a Clown.
Isaac Geldhart is a Complicated, Conflicted, Self Condemned Man.
Hiding until he could escape the Nazis, Geldhart avoided Concentration Camp Extermination, unlike the Rest of His Relatives.
Few in the Audiences at this Handsome 2econd Stage Production will have known Anyone who Survived the Nazi Purge of Non Aryans--while their Parents, Siblings, Aunties, & Cousins went to their Deaths in Dachau, Auschwitz, or Mauthhäusen.
But be assured that Such Survivors--especially those who Made New Lives in America--lived out those Lives with a Constant Sense of Guilt that they had Escaped, perhaps by a Quirk of Fate, but certainly Undeservedly…
Isaac Geldhart is trying--in an Odd Sense--to Assuage His Guilt by publishing an Endless & Sales Ruinous Succession of Holocaust Memoirs & similar Jewish Themed Books.
The Time Frame is 1987 1990--long before Amazon Books & Kindles began to Kill Off Publishing in General--but Isaac’s Judaic Obsessions are already driving the Firm to the Edge of Bankruptcy. Or a Japanese Takeover…
Nonetheless, Isaac Geldhart is Inflexible & Unmovable.
Aaron--who is desperately trying to Save the Firm by publishing Titles that the Public will actually Want to Buy--is treated like a Book Keeper. Not only that: Isacc frequently calls Aaron a Book Keeper, in front of his Despairing Brother & Sister.
But Isaac is an Equal Opportunity Insulter: Martin is frequently a "Gardner," although Isaac knows perfectly well what his Actual Profession is, frequently reminding Martin who paid for his College Education.
Amid the Towering Bookshelves of the Impressive Office--handsomely designed by Anita Louizos–Isaac revels in his Self Righteousness & in his Very Expensive Shoes.
Might this be another form of Guilt Displacement?
Isaac has all these Hand Made Shoes, while Post War Photographs of Piles of Confiscated Shoes were all the Visible Testimonies that remained of Proscribed Jews, who were shortly thereafter Incinerated in the Ovens…
Three Years after the Office Confrontation, an Aged, Still Irascible, & Angrily Forgetful Isaac is at home in his Lavish Gramercy Park Apartment: Snow is softly falling outside the Tall Windows.
He is visited by an African American Professional Woman who has come to Evaluate both Isaac & His Situation: Aaron is concerned & an angry Martin is just in the Next Room.
Isaac at one point begins to believe that Ms. Hackett [Charlayne Woodward] has come to buy Rare Books.
He shows her some of His Treasures, including a very rare Picture Postcard, painted by a very young Adolf Hitler, when he was in Vienna, trying unsuccessfully to be admitted to the Kunst Akademie.
It is obliquely evident that Isaac is trying, in this Odd Way, to Understand Who Hitler Was & Why the Holocaust could have been Generated by such a Sensitive Young Artist.
Marge Hacket has her Own Problems.
Her Late Husband was a Borough President, who stole Millions in Office & committed Suicide on a Long Island Highway.
This recalls the Tragic Trajectory of Donald Mannes, the Late Queens Borough President: a True Story, alas…
The Lights Die on Isaac’s Gramercy Park Rare Books Lair, leaving Geldhart Family Problems somewhat Unresolved.
Will Isaac take Marge out to Dinner, as he suggests?
Trip Cullman staged, with Dialect Coaching by Stephen Gabis.
BAM & Brooklyn’s DANCE AFRICA FESTIVAL [*****]
African American Street Fair Outside; Dynamic Drumming & Floor Stomping Dancing Inside!
Baba Chuck Davis welcomed One & All to the 37th Annual Dance Africa Festival over in Brooklyn, with a sprawling Street Fair outside the BAM Opera House on Lafayette & oozing into all the Side Streets.
As always, Tribute was paid to those who have gone on to join The Ancestors.
This Year of 2014 evoked Memorials for Baba Bill Grant, Baba Amiri Baraka--once known as the Dissident Playwright, Leroi Jones, & Tata Nelson Mandela.
Even African Slaves--who died over Two Centuries ago--were honored in absentia at the Long Forgotten African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan.
Baba Chuck Davis put the Overflow Audience at ease, inviting them to the Grande Bantaba, or Great Dancing Ground.
Drums were soon Pounding, with Feet rhythmically Stomping on the Bantaba, as the Groupe Bakomanga, from Madagascar, showed Native New Yorkers such Traditional Dances as the Famadihana & the Sakalava.
In Colorful Costumes, the Malagasys danced as though Possessed.
This shouldn’t have been surprising for the Sakalava Explores the Experience of being Possessed by Magic!
Also stirring up a Dance Tempest on stage were the Asase Yaa African American Dance Theatre from Brooklyn, the AACC Dance & Drum Company from Buffalo, & BAM’s own Restoration Dance Africa Ensemble.
Not only the Opera House, but also the new BAM Fisher Theatre & even the nearby Mark Morris Dance Center were pressed into Special Event Service.
Although BAM--under the Initial Leadership of Harvey Lichtenstein--has tended to Program High Profile International Productions, often at Broadway Prices, it has never forgotten that its Near Neighbors are largely African American.
That is why Harvey Lichtenstein was always insistent that Festivals such as Dance Africa should also be an Important Aspect of BAM’s Community Programming.
Dance Africa is always a Resounding & Refreshing Change from a Japanese Macbeth, a Restoration Revival, or a Baroque Opera.
Way back in the 1970s, when Air Afrique invited me to get acquainted with West African Arts & Artists--in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Dahomey, & Côte Ivoire--I experienced almost an Entire Month of such High Powered Tribal & Traditional Drumming & Dancing as Baba Chuck Davis & Dance Africa crammed into One Sunday Afternoon.
My Photo Reportage, A West African Arts Safari, will soon be On Line on the Glenn Loney Bookshelf of ArtsArchive.com.
Gene Ionesco’s THE KILLER [***]
Waiting To Die, Waiting To Die, Waiting To Die: Will This Absurdist Marathon Ever End?
The Killer, according to the Playbill© Program--was "Written by" Eugene Ionesco & "Translated by" Michael Feingold.
The Hero--or Anti Hero, if you prefer--is Ionesco’s Everyman, Berenger.
You may remember him from Rhinoceros?
Everyone was Going Crazy, turning into Rhinocerii, but Berenger resolved to remain a Human, even as his Beloved Daisy was beginning to Eat the Flowers at their Restaurant Table.
As The Killer opens, Berenger [an ever credulous Goof, played by Michael Shannon] is being shown around The Radiant City by The Architect [coolly mimed by Robert Stanton].
Before Ionesco drafted this drama, Le Corbusier had designed a "Radiant City" in Marseilles, which even now is desperately in need of an Architectural Make Over.
In Ionesco’s Absurdist World, this Radiant City is Perfect in every way: a Manufactured Paradise.
It is also at The End of All Bus Lines, for some Arcane Reason.
But there’s a Big Problem, as Berenger discovers when a Rock drops down from Overhead.
A Killer has penetrated this Paradise. No One is Safe, except, apparently, The Architect.
Anyway, Moving On: Berenger has returned to Grimy Reality to Enlist the Aid of his Spooky Friend, Edward [Paul Sparks], to track down The Killer.
Along their way, they encounter a Fascist Street Rally, led by Ma Piper [the always fascinating Kristine Nielsen], whose Symbol is a White Goose. She soon hopes to have Her Followers doing The Goose Step, with Free Soup for All!
This Interlude is right out of George Orwell’s 1984, but No Matter, as the Play is something of a Socio Politico Philosophical Catch All.
Inventively staged by Darko Tresnjak--who has justly been winning Major Awards for his staging of Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder & who also Heads the Hartford Stage--The Killer, nonetheless, goes on far too long.
Translator Michael Feingold has expressed surprise that The Killer has "so rarely been produced in America--and virtually never, since its original staging in New York."
There’s a Very Good Reason for that Seeming Neglect.
Ionescu has Made His Point long before the Two Intermission Evening is Over…
Program Materials point out Ionescu’s Fear of Death & Dying.
He was not, as the Poet has said: "…half in love with Easeful Death."
But it was not the Romanian Playwright--living in Paris & writing in French--who labeled his works as Absurdist Plays.
That was the Brit Critic, Martin Esslin, who coined the Term to label a Swath of Then Contemporary Dramatists, including Edward Albee.
Jim Dale’s JUST JIM DALE [*****]
Who Is Better Qualified To Impersonate Jim Dale, If Not The Man Himself? Harry Potter, Maybe?
If you remember Jim Dale on Broadway as Phineas Taylor Barnum, you surely saw a Top Notch Performer--with a Variety of Skills, including Tight Rope Walking!
What’s Amazing is that Jim is still at the Top of His Form, even though he Googles or Wikipedias at 78 Years.
His new One Man Show recaps all the Wonder Years, including those spent Touring British Music Halls.
So it’s hardly surprising that this charming Song & Dance Man can still Warble a Lyric & Twinkle His Toes.
Indeed, some of the Lyrics in Just Jim Dale were written by the Man Himself.
How about Georgy Girl…
Becoming a Pop Star--as well as a Pop Songwriter--prepared Jim for Yeoman Comedy in Fourteen of the famed Carry On films.
But there was Life after Barnum & other Stage Triumphs: All the Harry Potter Voices in all Seven of those Harry Potter Audio Books!
That Monumental Challenge led Jim to earning his First Entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
He created 134 Different Voices for Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix.
That’s what it says in the Playbill©…
Well, they’d have to be Different, wouldn’t they? All the Same doesn’t win Guinness Records.
But just look what Jim did next!
He Topped Himself with 147 Different Voices in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows.
That was Jim’s Second Guinness World Record.
The Third Record--you’ve surely heard of Broken Records: not Shattered Shellac--was recorded because Jim Dale occupied the First Six Places in the Top Ten Audio Books in America & Canada.
All very well, as the English are fond of saying, but those of us who were Too Lazy to actually read J.K. Rowling’s Literary Goldmine didn’t get to See Jim Perform Live.
Full Disclosure: I had already heard some of Jim’s rib tickling Hilarious Stories, long before His Winning Show came to Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre.
Years & Years Ago, Jim was a Star in the Young Vic Ensemble, which took its name from the Old Vic, which was then the Home of the new National Theatre, before its Solid Concrete Thames Side Complex was completed.
The Young Vic Ensemble had been invited to the Holland Festival, at which I was a Summer Regular, reporting for Various Journals.
I loved their Show, so the Press Chief set up a Pub Lunch with Jim & we kind of Bonded.
He was so Talented & so Outgoing: I was immediately charmed.
Jim Dale is also a Great Interview: You could write pages just retelling his Stories & Tales.
I was then also an Edinburgh Festival Regular, so imagine my surprise, not so long after, to find Jim playing Autolycus, one of Shakespeare’s most Mendacious Clowns.
This was in a Hyper Innovative Staging that Frank Dunlop devised in an Edinburgh Skating Rink.
But the Greatest Triumph of the Young Vic Ensemble was Frank’s Outrageous Reworking of Molière’s Les fourberies de Scapin.
Frank renamed this French Farce somewhat Englished as Scapino!
Harvey Lichtenstein brought it over from London for Adventurous Audiences at BAM--the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
This was More Than OK as it had a lot of Song & Dance in it, including Jim leaping over the tops of Orchestra Seats to be Right in Your Face.
Scapino was so popular it had to be moved over to Manhattan.
College & Community Theatres wanted to stage the Young Vic Version--Not the one Molière wrote…
Because I already knew both Jim Dale & Frank Dunlop--having also recently created the Official Royal Shakespeare Company Production Book of the Peter Brook Production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream--the same Publisher commissioned me to do the same for the Dale/Dunlop Scapino.
More Great Interviews with Jim followed, plus Demonstrations of how Jim made all those Stage Tricks really work.
If you Google Scapino, there may still be some copies of The Frank Dunlop Young Vic Production of Scapino! floating around out there…
I haven’t seen a Royalty Check in some Seasons, so the Publisher’s Stock may have been exhausted.
This Blue Covered Paperback has a Title Extension: …a Long Way Off from Molière, by Frank Dunlop & Jim Dale--the Authorized Acting Edition.
It was published way back in MCMLXXV, by the Dramatic Publishing Company.
The Company Name didn’t mean that there was a lot of Drama up in Wilton [CT] in the Local Office, but only that Publisher Chris Sergel specialized in producing Acting Versions of recently popular Plays produced On & Off Broadway.
Thanks to Larry Olivier--who was the Chief Honcho at the National Theatre, still at the Old Vic--Jim was cast in The National Health, which could make Tea Party Republican Death Panels look sick.
If you had been taken to Emergency when Jim was On Duty, you could have Died from Laughing!
I wish I could have done a Production Book for The National Health, but the celebrated New Yorker Drama Critic, Kenneth Tynan, had just become Sir Larry’s--or Lord Olivier’s, if you prefer--Dramaturg & Right Hand.
Interviewing Tynan, I had--on several occasions--brought him to the Point of Stuttering, which was Embarrassing to us both.
Ken did not like to be Challenged…
But Jim was always a Sweetheart Interview!
He’s also a Barrel of Fun at the Laura Pels Theatre, so Go See Jim!
Scapino! is a Roundabout Theatre Production, so Jim Dale is an Old Hand at the Roundabout, having already appeared in their Memorable Stagings of Privates on Parade, Joe Egg, The Threepenny Opera, & The Road to Mecca.
RAMBLES ROUND MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, INSTALLATIONS, & AUCTIONS--
New Book in Town: The Supermodel & the Brillo Box--Secrets of the Auction Business!
The Global Art Market in 2012 generated $42 Billion in Sales.
That Staggering Sum doesn’t mean that all those Art Sales were from Painter to Patron or from Sculptor to Major Museum.
As for Performance Art, how can you Sell It, Buy It, & Preserve It?
Deep Freeze the Performers?
Author & Art Market Critic Don Thompson notes that the $42 Billion is about the GDP of Yemen or Ethiopia.
Just across the Arabian Peninsula from Yemen, in the Arab Emirates, however, there is Money To Burn.
Well, it is, after all, Oil Money, so it may be Especially Inflammable…
Big Money Winners at Christie’s & Sotheby’s Auction Sales often are bound for New Museums in Qatar & Abu Dhabi.
More often, an Auctioned Art Work will end up locked up "in a Warehouse in New Jersey," where No One can see it.
It may well have been Bought by a Banker or by a Ruble Rich Russian Oligarch--who is just Stock Piling it, hoping for an Increase in Value.
This is why Your Roving Arts Reporter so often Photographs the Paintings, Sculptures, Sketches, Posters, Objects d’Art, Vintage Photos, & "Important Furniture" on offer at Christie’s.
You would never have been invited to see that Million Dollar Manet in the Lavish Mansion of its Previous Owner.
Nor will Vlad Putin’s Best Friend go over to New Jersey with the Storage Keys to show it to you.
Gilded Age Plutocrats may have had Mansions full of Old Masters, but they often--like Morgan & Lehman--founded Museums to show their Treasures to the Public.
That doesn’t happen much anymore.
Almost alone among Major Collectors at Home & Abroad is Alice Walton--the Wal Mart Heiress--who has actually Founded a Museum to share her American Artworks with the Paying Public.
That’s why Your Roving Arts Reporter & INFOTOGRAPHY™ Arts Archive Photographer went down to Crystal Bridges to See & Photograph the Extensive Collection.
The Current Auction Fevers are largely fueled by "Caucasian & Chinese Men vying for Dominance."
Women are "Entirely Excluded."
But this is Not Entirely True, for the Sheika of Qatar is one of the Biggest Buyers of Major Modern Masterpieces.
Even with Ever Rising Museum Admission Prices, few American or European Musea can compete with Deep Pocketed Bankers, CEOs, & Oligarchs for Major Prizes.
Edvard Münch’s The Scream was sold, in fact, to Leon Black, of Apollo Global Management.
Whatever his Apollo Group may Manage, Black was able to Out Bid Everyone Else: Sold! $119.9 Million!
That would have bought Edvard Münch enough Norwegian Dried Fish to Last him a Lifetime!
Were Manet, Monet, & Renoir alive today, how could they share in the Multi Millions their Artworks now command?
No Way, José…
Even though Millions are being Bid for the Artistic Achievements of the likes of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, & Murakami--all of whose "Artworks" are, in a very real sense, "Factory Made"--there may be some satisfaction in knowing that the Captains of Industry are Getting What They Deserve.
It has been said that Koons & Hirst "…whose work routinely sells for Stupid Amounts of Money, are Adolescent Pranksters, responsible for some of the Least Interesting Art ever made."
At Christie’s Auction House:
Whoever Thought American Art Was Inferior To That of European Modern Masters?
That Cliché Is Shattered at Christie’s: $64 Million Total Realized in 22 May 2014 Auction!
Forget all those Scoffers who dismissed Norman Rockwell as merely an Illustrator.
Rockwell’s The Rookie (Red Sox Locker Room) was bought for $22,565,000 by a Private US Collector!
Rockwell didn’t do so well with his Patriotic Pageantry: Spirit of America. It brought only $1,085,000…
Not far behind Rockwell’s Best Bid was Thomas Moran, with his Victorian Vision of The Grand Canyon of the Colorado, which sold for $12,485,000.
Edward Hopper’s Coast Guard Boat 1--not as compelling as Hopper’s Night Owls in a Café--nonetheless was purchased for $1,745,000.
Also Sea Related was Stuart Davis’ Anchors, which sold for $1,805,000.
From Edgar Bronfman’s Estate came Milton Avery’s The Mandolin Player, sold for $1,445,000.
Edgar’s Heirs could buy a lot of Mandolin Picks with that cash, while knocking back some Shots of Seagrams, the Family Franchise.
Suggested Bidding for Composition TSF Set Between $1 1.5 Million: Dollars, Not Pesos!
Latin American Art, over the years, has Become Very Big with International Collectors.
So Christie’s Spring Auction--on 28 May--has excited a lot of Pre Sale Interest.
Among the Usual Suspects will be Fernando Botero, Wilfredo Lam, Jésus Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz Diaz, Beatriz Milhazes, & Rufino Tamayo, with his Iconic Mujer con sandia.
But Joaquín Torres García may be the Star, with his Composition TSF expected to Make at Least a Million.
Month of May Proves Month of Million Dollar Plus Plus Plus Auction Sales at Christie’s!
It was hoped that the Impressionist & Modern Art May Auctions at Christie’s would break the Four Hundred Million Dollar Mark, but in Early May, the First Report was of only $285.9 Million…
Soon after, however, came a Report of Sales Totals of $325,845,625, but that was only for the Period 6 7 May.
Hopes Were High for Evening Sale of Post War & Contemporary Art on 13 May:
"In the Region of $500 Million…" So Here Are Some Results of Sales of Modern Masters!
Some Even More Important Auctions were to Follow: How much would be bid for that Silver Monster Vintage Railroad Train, with Tanker Cars for Jim Beam Bourbon?
This was another of those Jeff Koons Specials, with a Marvelous Silver Catalog that was produced Only for Potential Bidders, so there are no Collector Copies available for Love or Money.
Jeff Koons’ Early Signature Sculpture of Two Basketballs Suspended in a Tank of Water was also Up for Auction. But not in the Same Sale…
Here are some Representative Winning Bids--just in case you have a Monet, Manet, or Modigliani at home that you’d like to send to Christie’s for Auction, to Pay for the Kids College:
Claude Monet: Nymphéas [Oil on Canvas] sold for $27,045,000.
Pablo Picasso: Portrait de femme (Dora Maar) [Oil on Panel] sold for $22,565,000.
Amadeo Modigliani: Jeune homme roux assis [Oil on Canvas] sold for $17,637,000.
Wassily Kandinsky: Strandszene [Oil on Board] sold for $17,189,000.
Joan Miró: Le serpent à coquelicots traînant sur un champ de violettes people par des lézards en deuil [Oil & Mixed Media on Board] sold for $12,485,000.
Pierre Auguste Renoir: Jeune filles jouant au Volant [Oil on Canvas] sold for $11,365,000.
Well, You Get the Idea…
"Important Silver" Brings Christie’s Consigners Nearly $2.5 Million, Minus Fees & Charges…
If you are Crazy about the Sea & the Ships that Sail upon it, then you might well have envied the Collector who snapped up The Good Ship St. Andrew for a mere $533,000.
This is an Historic Evocation, in Sterling Silver, of a British Three Master--under Full Sail--though it would surely have Sunk, had Omar Ramsden made it Full Scale…
Paul Revere’s Silver Quart Cann [sic] was sold for an even $100,000.
Treasures of American Heiress Huguette Clark on the Block on 18 June:
$Ten Million Estimate for an Old Fiddle, Found in a Family Closet…
Good that Someone found that Old Violin in a Closet in the Clark’s Fifth Avenue Apartment!
It was, in fact, the famous Kreutzer Stradivari, which Huguette Clark’s Parents, Senator & Mrs. William A. Clark, had bought for their Teen Age Daughter to play.
Whether the Young Huguette played Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata on it is not now known, but surely she must have.
This Major Sale will include Gilded Age Interior Furnishings, as well as Major Paintings by William Merritt Chase & John Singer Sargent.
The Clark Fortune had come out of the ground, literally, as it was founded on Copper Mines.
The Clarks were famed for their Formal Dinners & Elegant Life Style, so Tiffany & Cartier Treasures will abound.
LIMITLESS: Iconic Photographs from National Geographic/Editor’s Choice
The National Geographic Magazine has, apparently, a Limitless Archive of Famous Photos, many Lensed by "Renowned Award Winning Photographers."
From 12 27 May, Christie’s was privileged to offer On Line Bidders some Seventy Lots, chosen by the National Geographic Senior Editor, Elizabeth Krist.
Bids began at $400 [cheap at that price] & Photos will be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity!
At Bonhams Auction House:
Audrey Hepburn’s Designer Chapeaux Are Prized "Entertainment Memorabilia" Collector Items!
Bonhams Los Angeles celebrated Audrey Hepburn’s Birthday by Auctioning Off her Givenchy Headgear, worn for her Cover Portrait Photo on the November 1964 Issue of Vogue.
A Phone Bidder "took home" this Handsome Jade Green Velvet Hat for $46,250.
Hepburn’s Hat from Funny Face sold in 2013 for $87,500.
Entertainment Memorabilia--including Iconic Rock & Roll Posters--do very well at Bonhams LA, which is currently Accepting Consignments for its Second Auction in Partnership with Ted Turner’s Classic Movies, titled: "There’s No Place Like Hollywood."
With Flagships in London, Manhattan, & Los Angeles, Bonhams styles itself as "The Third Largest International Fine Art Auction House."
One presumes the Rankings must go like this: Christie’s, Sothebys, Bonhams, Phillips…
American Art On View & On Sale: 21 May Auction Featured Frieske, Bierstadt, Sargent, & Catlin.
If you’ve never heard of the American Painter Frederick Carl Frieske, look him up in Wikipedia…
He had a house in Giverney, near that of Claude Monet. It was in his Giverny Garden that he painted The Garden Chair, which recently sold at Bonham’s for $962,000.
Not quite a Christie’s Million, but still…
Western American Painter George Catlin’s Blackfoot Indian Group brought $338,000.
Catlin traveled with Lewis & Clark on that Famous Expedition, depicting the Lives & Customs of more than Fifty Indian Tribes.
That was Long Before the US Treaty Breakers put them in "Reservations."
Albert Bierstadt--famed for his Breathtaking Western Landscapes--was represented by Brook in the Woods, a tranquil Woodland Scene that looked nothing remotely like Yosemite Falls.
Nonetheless, it fetched $146,500.
Famed American Sculptors were also represented: The 19th Century’s Hiram Powers, with Ginevra.
The 20th Century’s Art Deco Master, Paul Manship, figuratively won $60,000 for his Briseis.
What would Rockefeller Center look like without all those Paul Manship Bronzes?
Bonhams Stages The Story of the 20th Century: Important Documents & Photos in June Auction.
If you have $20,000 to $30,000 to spare--after Mortgage Payments--you might want to bid for Robert Frost’s Autograph Manuscript of Gold for Christmas.
Frost’s The Road Not Taken, The Hired Man, or Mending Wall are not On Offer…
But there will be many Famous Faces & Autographs available.
How about a Personally Inscribed Photo of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy?
This Kennedy Keepsake was once the Valued Treasure of NATO Commander General Lauris Norstadt, whom President Kennedy describes as a "Distinguished American Soldier."
My own Kennedy Autographed Photo is, however, not yet Up for Auction.
A Cover Letter from JFK’s Personal Secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, assures me that "…he is most grateful for your confidence and support."
Not only that: Ms. Lincoln also "extends the President’s every good wish."
When I used to go down to Georgetown once a month, in the Good Old Days, I stayed with the Dean of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
The Dean lived just across the street from Senator Jack Kennedy & his Lovely Wife, Jackie, whom we often saw departing for some Elegant Reception or Dinner or Whatever.
Did you know that Lincoln’s Personal Secretary was a Kennedy?
An Interesting Happenstance: Lincoln Kennedy; Kennedy Lincoln…
At Sotheby’s Auction House:
Looking Forward To Evening Auction of Contemporary Art on 30 June 2014 in London!
Christie’s! Eat Your Heart Out!
Your Jeff Koons Aquarium has only Two Spaulding Basketballs in it…
Over at Sotheby’s--on Far Distant York Avenue--their Jeff Koons Aquarium contains Three Spaulding Basketballs!
You Must, by now, Understand that Multi Millionaire Art Creator Jeff Koons does not actually Make much of the Signature Artwork that is marketed under His Name.
No, indeed! He hires Talented Artisans to do that.
Jeff Koons is the Idea Man: he Gets the Concept, even, perhaps, Sketching Outlines of what the Finished Product should look like.
So, those Ubiquitous Trademark Balloon Dogs were not Fabricated by Jeff.
The Koons Basketballs are almost an Afterthought, standing in the Entry Hall leading to a Full Sotheby Floor of Contemporary Art.
Much of this is as "Important" as anything Christie’s has had to offer in Recent Auctions.
Sotheby’s also has the Advantage of having More Spacious Space in which to show its Sale Headliners.
As Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Auction is to be an "End of Monther" in London in June, it is Thoughtful that Sotheby’s has brought these Modern Astonishments across the Atlantic for American Bidders to Have a Look.
Suggested Starting Bids for Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on Light Ground) range from $25,000,000 to $35,000,000.
This is Not Unusual for Bacons, especially now that he is Dead & cannot make More of these.
Nonetheless, had I been George Dyer, looking at the Studies for the First Time, I’d have Called My Doctor immediately. Or Cancelled the Portrait?
Here’s an Elemental Andy Warhol: Dollar Sign (Yellow).
The Actual Dollar Sign is Slightly Slanted & a Somewhat Scumbled Black. The Ground is Yellow…
Suggested Starting Bids range from $5,060,000 to $6,750,000.
Obviously, this won’t do Andy any good, for He Is Also Dead.
When I was writing for Andy in Inter/View, he never paid me more than $25. I should have kept those Autographed Warhol Checks…
Andy may Fare Better with his Nine Multicolored Marilyns (Reversal Series), for the Suggested Starting Bids range from $6,750,000 to $10,130,000.
How about a Square of Painted Panel that is Nothing But Blue all over?
This has Suggested Starting Bids ranging from $4,220,000 to $5,910,000.
Its Title is Untitled Blue Monochrome.
Aha! But it is an Yves Klein!
A White Canvas with a Trademark Downward Central Slash has Suggested Starting Bids ranging from $3,710,000 to $5,060,000.
Its Title is Concetto Spaziale, Attesa…
On its Verso, Lucio Fontana has inscribed: Dovrei andare a Parigi con Crippa.
Was he taking the Baby along to Paris?
Not for Auction: Selling Exhibitions at Sotheby’s include Vasarely, Dubuffet, & Guiness Jewelry.
In a Darkened Room, the Geometric Optical Tricks of Viktor Vasarely gleam Fluorescently.
In another Chamber--cleverly decorated with Signature Visual References--a Festival of Jean Dubuffet’s Quirky Canvases & Contorted Sculptures merrily Cavort, awaiting Deep Pursed Art Collectors.
For these, you do not Bid. You Pay the Price, although That may be Negotiable.
As for the Guinness Jewelry, it is not fashioned by any of the Guinness Brewing Heirs, but is, instead, presented by the Louisa Guinness Gallery.
Among the Expensive Oddments are Cufflinks, Rings, & Earrings by Anish Kapoor.
Also: Handsome Bracelets, Necklaces, Cufflinks, & Earrings by Claude LaLanne, as well as Bracelets, Chokers, Cufflinks, Rings, & Earrings by Sophia Vari.
Art Fairs in Mid Town: Three on One May Weekend, Plus Frieze on Randall’s Island…
Whose Dumb Idea was it to schedule Three Major Art Fairs in Manhattan on One Weekend?
Not only was it Exhaustive to try to Run Hither & Thither to have a Really Close Look at all the Dealer Booths & Wares in Several Sites, but it was occasionally unsettling to see the Same Artists on view in Several Booths: Déjà Vu & then some…
But it wasn’t just about Artworks--Mainstream & Outsider--but also about Architecture & Design: Interior, Exterior, Urban, Industrial, Landscape, even Digital!
From 9 to 20 May 2014, NYC X DESIGN was Celebrated Citywide.
When the Weather is slowly improving in May, wouldn’t it make More Sense to schedule the new Downtown Fair, Pulse, & Outsider Art on Three Different Weekends?
If Dealers are hoping to Make Sales--rather than offer a Museum Experience for Weekenders--obviously Not So Many Purses are going to spring open on Only One Weekend.
Something to Remember: Once Upon a Time, it made Serious Sense for an Arts Reporter to provide Word Pictures of the Art on Offer.
Now, Thanks to the Miracle of The Internet, every Arts Fair & every Dealer & every Gallery has its own Illustrated Website.
That means, of course, that even Potential Purchasers & Itinerant Arts Reporters could save Shoe Leather by staying at home with iPhones, iPads, or Historic Laptops!
Downtown Fair in the Lex Avenue 69th Regiment Armory:
No, No, No! This is Not the Park Avenue Armory!
That Landmarked Fortress is now more a Performing Arts Center & Weekend Dealer Haven than an Active Military Outpost.
The Lexington Avenue 69th Regiment Armory is still the Original Bastion of "The Fighting 69th," with Military Vehicles parked outside & Camouflage Clad Sergeants at the ready inside.
But this Armory has a Tradition of Sharing with the Arts, as it was The Site of that shocking Armory Show of 1923, the Arts Outrage that introduced many Manhattan Collectors to the Horrors of Modern Art, on both sides of the Atlantic.
The newly inaugurated Downtown Fair makes Good Use of the Drill Floor Space, but it is not as Spacious as the Wade Thompson Drill Hall over on Park.
That is All to the Good, for, when you enter, it doesn’t look like it’s going to Take All Day to Make the Rounds of all the Dealer Booths.
Here are some of the Dealers whose Offerings were Impressive:
The Danese/Corey Gallery was showing Deborah Butterfield’s "not yet titled" Bronze Horse Made of Branch Fragments.
Another one of these Butterfield Skeleton Horses is in the Stanford University Art Gallery…
From the United Kingdom came Archeus/Post Modern, showing the late Ruth Osawa’s "Untitled."
But they also had David Hockney, Lucian Freud, & Agnes Martin on offer.
Actually, Osawa’s Signature Sculptures--a Selection of which were recently on view at Christie’s, on the 20th Floor of the Simon Schuster Bldg--defy Simple Titles.
The One on offer is described thusly: "Hanging Single Lobed Five Layer Continuous Form Within a Form."
Contessa Gallery was showing Street Art by Thierry Guetta, "now known as Mr. Brainwash."
The Cynthia Corbett Gallery was presenting ar.chi.tec.ton.ic, featuring Andy Buress & Tom Leighton.
If you needed another Calder, Sandy was on display, as were Keith Haring & Andy Warhol.
In Fifty Years, will there still be Enough Warhols to Go Around?
The Warhol Foundation is selling off lots of Archival Stuff, including Andy’s Old Polaroids…
Outsider Art Fair at Center 548--Almost at the Chelsea Piers:
Who is the Official Dealer in Henry Darger Artworks?
The American Folk Art Museum--whose Award Winning Ex Home is now being destroyed by MoMA, so they can Accommodate More Crowds--used to display an Amazing Array of Darger’s Odd Writings & Long Watercolor Panels of those Little Girls with Penises.
But Bits & Pieces of Darger Works now turn up in various Dealer Booths.
When I saw those Inscribed Skulls, I was interested to discover that they were being shown by Galerie Toxic, which is at home in Lux City, Luxembourg.
But what hath Edward Deeds gone & done with all those Pencil Sketches on Note Pad Forms from State Hospital No. 3?
Hirschl & Adler were showing a Remarkable Range of Images made by this Obsesed Man--who spent much of his Life in a Madhouse, although it was an Ingeniously Designed Insane Asylum.
George Widener’s Visions are also Astonishing. Consider his Time Lapse, from Ricco Maresca.
Art Brut was brought from Swiss Lausanne by Galerie du Marché.
Traditional Americana was represented by Just Folk, from Summerland, CA, which is only Six Miles South of Santa Barbara.
Possibly because I once used to live on Emerson Street in Berkeley, I am partial to The Ames Gallery, located over on Cedar Street.
More than that, however, I admire their Offerings of the Visionary AG Rizzoli & Alex Maldonado.
But they also have some of Jim Bauer’s Tiny Metal Sculptures, made of Common Oddments. His Elephant has a Shower Nozzle for his Trunk.
They have some Tramp Art, as well as the Vintage Visions of Esther Hammerman.
Gray Carter/Objects of Art--from McLean, VA, Home to the CIA--offered a Handsome Brochure, even if one was not Acquiring Outsider Art.
Fascinatingly Complex was Stephanie Lucas’ Masse, but the Fantasy Medieval Castle of Julian Nemethy was almost Otherworldly, with the Germanic Title of Zwingen Burg.
Although Jane Kallir, at Galerie St Etienne, specializes in Austrian & German Expressionists, she also has some Unsettling Images made by Madmen, notably Adolf Wölfli.
Grandma Moses was her Father’s Discovery, having made Anna Mary Robertson certainly one of America’s Most Famous Outsiders, but Kallir also has some Henry Darger Watercolors.
At Marion Harris’ Booth, one could savor the Paperback Title of a Modern Shakespeare Edition: A LOAD OF FUSS ABOUT FUCK ALL.
Pulse Contemporary Art Fair, at The Metropolitan Pavilion:
From the Official Press Release, it appears that Pulse is not only concerned with Providing a Platform for Emerging Galleries & Artists, but it also--at its Art Fairs in both Manhattan & Miami--wants Visitors to have a Dynamic Experience.
Pulse has Artist, Dealer, & Curator Panels, as well as a Pulse Prize.
Among Previous Pulse Prize Winners are: Cristina De Middel, Marjolijn De Wit, Sigrid Viir, & Duke Riley.
One of My Very Favorite Galleries is Waterhouse & Dodd, with Showplaces in both London & Manhattan.
I’ve actually never been to either Gallery, but I have come to admire their Showmanship, at various Art Fairs, with the Handsomely Printed Catalogues & Brochures they produce.
If you can get your hands on the Jean François Rauzier Hyperphotos Catalogue, Never Let It Go!
His Visions of Layered Images are Astounding: Vestibule, for example, is no Mere Corridor.
Instead, it is a Multi Level Grand Barok Treppenhaus, with Vista upon Vista of Great Windows, White Columns, & White Marble Stairs, studded with Baroque Statues & Side Staircases!
Photo Shop Gone Crazy!
For his Super Crowded Vision of Manhattan, Jean François Rauzier seems to have photographed each Historic Building--as well as anything in between--separately, then pasted them together, so Distinctly does Each Structure Stand Out.
Made in New York is a Series of Brownstones & Apartment Buildings with Prominent Fire Escapes shrouding their Façades.
On some of those Fire Escapes are standing such Notables as Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mel Brooks, Al Pacino, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, & James Gandolfini.
A Grand Baroque Library--such as one might find in Vienna in the Hofburg--is transformed by Jean François Rauzier into Endlessly Rising Shelves of Books.
This Vision he calls Longue Histoire…
Look! Look at all those Empty Folding Chairs, standing in that Meadow, looking outward toward that Big Steaming Tower!
Look! Look at all those Empty Folding Chairs, standing in near a Sand Trap in Smooth Mowed Greensward on a Tree Lined Golf Course!
Look! Look at all those Empty Folding Chairs, standing on an Auto Free Elevated Autobahn, somewhere in Europe…
These are the Enigmatic Images of Art Photographer Aleix Plademunt, who calls them Espectadores.
Aleix is represented by galerieolivierwaltman, of 74, rue mazarine, in Paris, France…
But Waltman Ortega can also be found in Miami!
Why Oh, Why Oh is that Girl up on a branch of that Furiously Red Tree crying so Hopelessly?
Perhaps only Armando Marino--the Responsible Artist--can tell you.
After checking out Armando Marino at Pulse, see more of his Artwork at Gallery Thomas Jaeckel in Manhattan.
For Something Entirely Different, how about Travis Somerville’s Collage of an 1864 Harper’s Weekly Cover featuring an Engraving of General Sheridan, joined by a grinning Col. Harlan Sanders, seated on the ground, with a Big Bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken [Original Recipe] on his Lap.
Plus a Negro Lad, behind Sheridan, with his Hand Raised. Does he want to Leave the Tent?
Somerville’s American Rhetoric--represented by Beta Pictoris, of Birmingham, AL--functions as Anti Nostalgia, or so Travis Somerville is said to Believe.
But Anti Nostalgia will only work for you if you spend some time actually Looking At It…
Check Out Zadok Gallery way down in Miami, FL!
One of My Favorites in Manhattan--also on view at Pulse--is Davidson Contemporary, on Fifth Avenue, close to Prada & Abercrombie & Fitch.
Keep Your Finger on Pulse!
At the Brooklyn Museum of Art:
AI WEI WEI: According to What?
[Closing 10 August 2014]
The Big Thing about Communist/Capitalist China’s Arts Bad Boy Ai Wei Wei is not so much that he was Imprisoned & Interrogated by the Chinese Thought Police--Effectual Inheritors of the Thought of Chairman Mao--along with having his Studio Destroyed by Bulldozers, even though his Birds Nest Design of the Signature Stadium of the International Olympic Games in Beijing was Admired World Wide, but that his Signature Art Works seem to be Everywhere on Exhibition…
Or can it be that I seem to be Following the International Tour of According to What?
I first saw & photographed Ai Wei Wei’s Moon Chest--a Pristine Row of Wooden Boxes, with Two Viewing Holes each--in Kunsthaus Bregenz, during the Bregenz Festival several seasons ago.
Also On View were his Map of China & China Log, both made from Tieli Wood, taken from Dismantled Temples of the Quing Dynasty.
Chairman Mao--who would certainly Be Appalled to see what Modern China Has Become: Towering Skyscrapers in Downtown Shanghai; Bullet Trains; Cross Country Freeways--wanted to Destroy All Evidence of Ancient Religious Traditions.
So there was a Surplus of Temple Wood Elements for Ai Wei Wei to work with.
Missing from the Brooklyn Museum Show is the remarkable Wooden Replica of Modern Beijing & Wooden Designs for the Olympic Stadium.
From that Bregenz Show, I still have my Red Bag, bearing the Legend: Free Ai Wei Wei!
At that time, Ai Wei Wei was still In Custody.
At the Brooklyn Museum, there are Six Huge Rectangular Boxes, together labeled S. A. C. R. E. D.
If you get up on Foot Rest & peer down into a Rectangular Window in the Top of any Box, you will see Models of Ai Wei Wei in Prison: Eating, Being Interrogated, &&&&
The Problem for Ai Wei Wei seems to be that he Uses Art to Criticize the Post Maoist Government in Beijing.
Being Photographed dropping a Han Dynasty Urn so that it will Break into Many Shards might have, in fact, Delighted Chairman Mao, a Break with Tradition & The Past!
But to fill an Entire Gallery with Hundreds of Pounds of Straightened Rebar is a Direct Challenge to a Provincial Government that could Allow the Use of Defective Materials in Public Schools, causing the Deaths of Scores of School Children.
These Varied Lengths of Cement Reinforcement Steel have been supposedly Straightened from the Crumpled Condition in which they were found when a School Collapsed…
New to me at the Brooklyn Museum was that Ceiling Snake that is symbolically composed of Dead School Children’s Back Packs.
But these look so Bright Shiny New that they were surely not Recovered from the Dead Bodies?
Previously seen at the Met Museum--but now over in Brooklyn--is Ai Wei Wei’s Coca Cola Vase.
Ai Wei Wei has slyly painted the Coca Cola Logo on the side of a Neolithic Chinese Vase, circa. 5,000 3,000 BCE. [As in: Before Christian Era, which doesn’t sound at all Maoist!]
Yes, there are all those Porcelain Crabs on the floor of the Brooklyn Museum, not to Overlook the Two Bowls of Pearls, or the Sad Possessions of Dispossessed Woman Advocate for Sex Workers.
What we do not have over at the Brooklyn Museum are those Million Porcelain Sunflower Seeds that Ai Wei Wei made for the Tate Modern in London!
What we do have are all those Massed Bicycles, now on view in the Atrium of the Brooklyn Museum--but not as many as were shown Outside the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC.
Nor do we see, over in Brooklyn, the Hundred Antique Chinese Chairs Ai Wei Wei contributed to one of those Documenta Exhibitions in Kassel.
You could be forgiven--after seeing this Extensive Exhibition--for thinking that Ai Wei Wei has a Genius for Self Promotion…
CHICAGO IN L. A.: Judy Chicago’s Early Work, 1963 74
[Closing 10 August 2014]
Judy was born in Chicago as Judith Cohen, but she removed herself to the West Coast & was part of all that Art Ferment in the Sixties.
She is now Seventy Five Years Old & the Brooklyn Museum is celebrating that Anniversary with Examples of Her Early Work, a lot of which seems to be concerned with Pastel Colors & Color Charts.
Some of the Artifacts on view are Plastic--that is to say that they are Three Dimensional--in the Manner of those Three Inverted V Shapes which are, in fact, Latex Paint on Canvas Covered Plywood!
My Favorite among Judy’s varied & often Somewhat Centrifugal Paintings--how about: Through the Flower, Queen Victoria, or Female Rejection Drawing?--is that Majestic Icon called Heaven Is for White Men Only.
But, like Carl Orff with Carmina Burana, Judy Chicago will probably be Best Remembered for her Triangular Dinner Party, with Bizarre Vagina Like Ceramic Table Settings for Famous Women through History.
This is Permanently Installed in the Feminist Dedicated Sackler Galleries of the Brooklyn Museum!
SWOON: Submerged Motherlands
[Closing 10 August 2014]
When you next visit the Fifth Floor Atrium of the Brooklyn Museum, you may well be Astounded at what Swoon has constructed in that Lofty Domed Space!
Central is a Towering Fantasy Tree--an Immense Fairy Like Fantasy Redwood Giant--flanked by what seem to be a Beached Boat & a Battered Platform, both Loaded with Stuff.
They looked Vaguely Familiar--I was certain I’d seen them somewhere else--but they were Initially Constructed to Sail Down the Grand Canal in Venice: Swimming Cities of the Serenissima was the Title Swoon assigned to this Uninvited Entry in the 2009 Venice Biennale.
The Two Odd Crafts are largely composed of New York City Garbage, which Swoon somehow transported to Slovenia, where a Crew of Thirty helped her sail them to Venice, collecting more Oddments along the Waterways…
Swoon’s Epic Tree rises to the 72 Foot Summit of the Atrium Dome, but its Entrancing Lacy Lightness is achieved with Swoon’s Signature Cut Paper Foliage, much of which is also splayed around the Atrium Floor, along with some Super Large People Images.
You have to See for Yourself Submerged Motherlands to have Some Sense of what Swoon is Up To…
Hurricane Sandy is evoked, with New York City as one of Two Submerged Motherlands.
The Other is called Doggerland, Swoon’s Name for the Long Vanished Landmass that once connected Britain to The Continent.
This almost Mythical Land Link was destroyed by a Tsunami some Eight Thousand Years Ago.
At least that’s the Environmental Agency that Swoon swears made Doggerland Go To the Dogs, figuratively speaking…
As you may well understand--even before Actually Seeing Submerged Motherlands--Swoon is Environmentally Aware & really worried about People & Climate Change.
The Video showing how Swoon & her Co Workers Spray Painted the Atrium & otherwise Transformed it, is an Artwork in itself!
Swoon is a "Brooklyn Artist" but Swoon is Not Her Real Name.
She was Born & possibly Christened as Caledonia Dance Curry.
At the CUNY Grad Center’s James Gallery:
A Story of Two Museums: An Ethnographic Exhibition
[Closing 7 June 2014]
The Visual & Narrative Link between the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles [CA] & the Museum of American Art in Berlin [DE] is that they are both--in a Certain Sense--Museums about Museums & Collections.
The altogether remarkable Museum of Jurassic Technology seems like a Renaissance Cabinet of Wonders, but on a Larger Scale than that Wunder Kammer still maintained in Salzburg Cathedral, the Odd Collections of the Prince Archbishops of Salzburg, who still believed in Unicorns & Mermaids…
At least they still have some Unicorn Horns on display…
I have never visited the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, but they seem to have Loaned CUNY the Most Representative of their Treasures: Well Worth a Visit, if not to LA, at least to CUNY!
As for the Museum of American Art--founded in 2004, to inform Berliners about the Burgeoning Art Scene across the Atlantic--I have visited it but did not realize how many Documenta Catalogs they have to Share Abroad.
Documenta takes place in Kassel, every so often, & it was there that I first saw all those Ancient Chinese Chairs that were the Artwork shown by China’s Ai Wei Wei!
Anyway, you do not have to go to Berlin to know about Modern American Art, but it might be interesting to see how Berliners are looking at us!
At the Frick Collection:
The Poetry of Parmigianino’s "Schiava Turca"
[Closing 20 July 2014]
Parma is famed for its Parma Ham & its Parmesan Cheese--not to Overlook its Fabled Charterhouse: Stendahl’s Chartreuse di Parme--but it also has a Famous Son, the Renaissance Painter, Parmigianino.
The Occasion for Excitement at the Frick is the Loan from the Galleria Nazionale di Parma of Parmigianino’s Enigmatic Portrait of the so called "Schiava Turca," or "Turkish Slave."
Because Parmigianino’s Unknown Sitter seems to be wearing a Turban, it was long ago wrongly assumed that this was possibly a Portrait of a Female Slave, perhaps even an Unfortunate confined in a Turkish Harem?
But just One Look at the Lavish Gown, the Elaborately Ostrich Feathered Fan & the Richly Jeweled Headgear should have suggested that this Enigmatically Smiling Lady was Never a Slave, Turkish or Otherwise.
While her Mysterious Smile is hardly Mona Lisa Quality, over time Experts have speculated about Who--among Parmigianino’s Female Acquaintances--might have been His Sitter.
Now, Aimee Ng surveys all the Speculations in a Handsome Exhibition Catalogue: The Poetry of Parmigianino’s "Schiava Turca," published by the Frick.
So that this will not seem like a One Portrait Show, "Schiava Turca," is Metaphorically Escorted by Parmigianino’s Portrait of a Man, as well as by two of the Frick’s own Titians: Portrait of a Man in a Red Cap & Pietro Aretino.
For Good Measure, the Frick’s Handsome Treasure, Portrait of Lodovico Capponi, by Agnolo Bronzino, has also been Hung in the Oval Gallery.
For the Record: Parmigianino’s Real Name was Francesco Mazzola [1503 1540: Not a Long Lifespan], but his Parmesan Dimunitive followed him everywhere.
In fact, Very Soon, all the way to San Francisco, where "Schiava Turca" will be shown at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park.
Aimee Ng’s Study of this Portrait is fascinating: Who Could This Woman Have Been?
What is the Significance of that Winged White Horse [Pegasus?] in the glowing Golden Sunburst on Her Costly Turban?
For That Matter: Is there some Hidden Significance in the Official Name of the Loaning Museum?
Look at It Closely: Galleria Nazionale…
Remember Benito Mussolini: Il Duce?
Remember how Italy was allied with those National Socialist Germans above the Alps?
How About Galleria NAZIonale…
Oh: Ordinarily, the Frick’s haunting St. Francis in the Desert, by Giovanni Bellini, would be flanked by the Two Titians now in the Oval Gallery.
Replacing them are two Renaissance Visions of St. Jerome in the Wilderness: one by Fra Bartolommeo; the other, by Benvenutro Tisi, but both On Loan from the Alana Collection.
ENGLIGHTENMENT & BEAUTY: Sculptures by Houdon & Clodion
[From 1 April 2014 to 5 April 2015]
Considering that the much vaunted 18th Century French Enlightenment culminated in the French Revolution of 1789--with the Beheading even of some Enlightened Aristocrats & the Smashing of the Stained Glass Windows of Chartres Cathedral--it is amazing that both Famed French Sculptors, Houdon & Clodion, survived that Terminal Turbulence.
Even More Amazing about their Personal & Artistic Survival is the Fact that they served Noble Patrons--not Revolting Peasants--basing their Remarkable Portrait Busts & Terra Cotta Figures on Classic Models studied in Rome, where they had both won the Prix de Rome.
The Frick doesn’t own that Famous Houdon Bust of Ben Franklin, but its Elegant Houdon Sculptural Image of La Comtesse du Cayla--carved more than a Decade before Marie Antoinette Lost Her Head--is a Study in Stone, so to speak.
Clodion--whose Real Name was Claude Michel--may be seen as the Lesser of the Two, but the Elegance of his Terra Cottas, such as The Three Graces is Classic Roman indeed.
Both Clodion’s & Houdon’s Works in the Frick Collection will be on view in the Now Enclosed Portico of the Frick Mansion on Fifth Avenue, but they will rotate, joined by Loans from Private Collections.
At the Grolier Club Galleries:
THE POWER OF WORDS & IMAGES IN A WORLD AT WAR
[Closing 2 August 2014]
Anyone who lived through World War II--sometimes called the Second World War--will surely be deeply affected by this wide ranging Exhibition of Posters, Photos, Propaganda, Newspapers, Telegrams & other Important Artifacts of a World at War.
It comes to the Grolier from the Museum of World War II in Boston, founded by Grolier Member Kenneth W. Rendell.
Not only are such American Patriotic Posters as that Buy War Bonds--with Uncle Sam up in the Clouds, clutching a Billowing American Flag--boldly displayed, but also Calls To Arms from the Nazi & Japanese Enemies.
Adolf Hitler’s attempts to influence All Aspects of German Life--including his Attacks on Degenerate Art--are documented, helping to explain why he could rally the Deutsches Volk to fight for Domination of Europe.
Some Anne Frank Artifacts recall the Holocaust, but there are also Japanese Patriotic Banners & the Teletype of FDR’s "Day of Infamy" Speech.
There’s even a Movie Poster for Casablanca, which was released just before the US Invasion of North Africa…
For those who were born long after the Japanese Bombed Pearl Harbor [Sunday, December Seventh, a Date that will Live in Infamy], this is also an Important Exhibition, not only to Learn About Our Past, but also to help avoid World War III, which some Angry Old White Men think we need to Launch, to prove that we are Still Exceptional.
These Words & Images help the Grolier Club mark the 75th Anniversary of the Outbreak of World War II.
The Public is Welcome & the Exhibition is Free: Mon--Sat, 10am--5pm.
At the Lever House Art Collection:
[Closing 30 May 2014]
You can not only Look At these Three Dimensional Photo Models of Common Objects--mounted on Mirror Boxes--but you can also See Through Their Joints to Park Avenue just outside the Lever Gallery.
Urs Fischer was born in Zurich, but that did not stop him from settling in New York.
In this Show, he has sprinkled some 26 Mirror Boxes--with Five Digitally Photographed Visible Sides of such Objects as a Banana, a Pencil, a Camera, a Clothes Pin, & a Twenty Dollar Bill, Much Enlarged--around the Rigid Architectural Space of the Gallery.
These Wonderful Mirror Boxes have Titles such as Erica, Cecille, & Brenda.
Oh, Don’t Ask Why…
Nota Bene: Outside the Lever Galley, there is an Open Courtyard where you can Sit, Read, Snack, or Whatever.
There is also usually some kind of Sculpture on view in the Open.
Once Upon a Time, this Object was a Pregnant Woman, with her Mid Section Partially Dissected.
Currently, the Open Space is dominated by a Giant Bronzed Rat, modeled on those Inflatable Gray Rats you can see around the City, in front of Work Sites that are not employing the Union Workers whose Blown Up Rats those are…
Intimidation by Rodent Power!
At The Lincoln Center Library of Performing Arts:
LAUNCHPAD FOR THE AMERICAN THEATRE: The O’Neill Since 1964
[Closing 16 September 2014]
Eugene O’Neill has been Dead for a very long time, but His Ghost Goes Marching On!
Seldom does Broadway do him the Honor of a Revival of, say, Mourning Becomes Electra.
It’s also been a Long Time since Broadway has seen O’Neill’s Biographical Epic, Long Day’s Journey into Night.
But the Actual House that inspired that Powerful Family Drama is up in Waterford, CT.
It was & is an Inspiration to all the Theatre Greats & Theatre Hopefuls who trek up to Waterford every Summer to Learn & Share at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center.
The Center was founded--with a generous Land Grant from the City of Waterford--by Producer George C. White, who had an Epic Vision of what might be achieved on what has now become Sacred Ground.
When I first was summoned up to the O’Neill, I was asked to write about the Varied Activities & Workshops, especially about the Play Readings, in which Broadway Talents were trying out New Scripts which might make their way down to Broadway.
In the Event, almost Anything that was selected for Readings or Rehearsals at the O’Neill was subsequently produced in Manhattan, more often Off Broadway, but often with the same Actors who had tried them out at the O’Neill.
Over time, these are some of the Important Organizations that were Birthed at the O’Neill Center: the National Theatre of the Deaf, the National Critics Institute, the National Theatre Institute, the National Music Theatre Conference, the Cabaret & Performance Conference, & the National Puppetry Conference.
Yes, Gene! Even Puppets came up to Waterford!
Even though you wrote No Puppet Plays for them…
No! No! That’s not Quite Right: I did once see a Puppet Performance of O’Neill’s Emperor Jones.
Almost Everyone who is Anyone in American Theatre--with some Foreign Theatre Guests as well--has been up to the O’Neill Center, even as a Beginner or a Tony Winner©.
Broadway Designer David Hayes founded the National Theatre of the Deaf, which was an Amazing Undertaking.
Because I’d previously written about David’s Design Work, he asked me to keep Critical Tabs on his Kids.
More important for me, however, was the Founding of the National Critics Institute, where Established Critics would critique the Novice Notices of Critic Hopefuls, reviewing some of the Day’s Play Readings or Rehearsals.
Ernie Schier, Master Critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer, was eventually in charge.
For some Strange Reason, Ernie thought I could provide a Cultural Dimension to the Program, so I was periodically invited to come up to the O’Neill & give a Culture Lecture on some Subject of Universal Interest or Speculation that had Nothing at all to do with Theatre in particular.
My dear friend & Critic Colleague, Dan Sullivan, was later in charge of the National Critics Institute, where he said he’d learned how to be a Critic "on the hoof."
Dan was First String Drama Critic for the LA Times, for which he’d made me a New York Stringer.
Thanks to those Initial Critics Workshops, a Powerhouse Group of Drama Critics from around the Nation formed ACTA--the American Theatre Critics Association--of which I’m a Longtime Member.
I’m also on the Board of FACTA--the ACTA Foundation--for which I hope soon to establish a Glenn Loney Charitable Trust Award for Theatre Designers.
Our Founders even recorded their Early Impressions of the O’Neill Center & its work in Under the Copper Beech--the Last Copies of which were finally distributed at our Annual Conference down in Louisville at the Humana Festival…
Now, my old friend & Playwright/Critic Colleague, Jeff Sweet, has written a book about the Whole Works up at the O’Neill, Puppets & All…
Jeff has titled his Extensive Report: The O’Neill: The Transformation of the Modern American Theatre.
Yes: that is exactly what happened up at the O’Neill: it changed the way we Write Plays, the way we Act in Plays, the way we Direct Plays, the way we Design Plays, the way we Produce Plays, the way we Review Plays, even the way Puppets Play…
Fortunately, the Publication of Jeff Sweet’s Admirable Book coincides with the Opening of the Admirable Exhibition at the Lincoln Center Library–for the Performing Arts: Launchpad of the American Theatre: The O’Neill Since 1964.
With Posters, Photos, Printed Reviews, Portraits, Production Scenes, & even Puppets, everything is Covered in this Admirably Designed Presentation.
What is Not Included is what it was like--when at the O’Neill--to Bunk in a Dorm of the Connecticut College for Women.
They had Co Educational Showers!
Even Gene O’Neill might have been a bit Non Plussed at the sight of Naked Coeds so early in the Morning…
At The Met--The Metropolitan Museum of Art:
GOYA & THE ALTAMIRA FAMILY
The Count of Altamira was a Director of El Banco de España, so he obviously could afford to engage Francisco Goya y Lucientes to paint some Family Portraits.
Somehow, the Met, over the years, managed to acquire Two of Them.
One is the so called "Red Boy," Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga.
The Other--from the Met’s Robert Lehman Collection--is a Portrait of Manuel’s Mother & Sister, La Condesa de Altamira y la sua Hija, Maria Agustina.
Goya’s Portrait of Le Conde himself still belongs to El Banco, which has generously--but temporarily--lent it to the Met.
From an Anonymous Private Collection comes another Goya Altamira Portrait: Manuel Osorio’s Brother, Vincente Joaquin de Toledo.
A Fifth Altamira Portrait comes from the Cleveland Museum of Art: This is Juan Maria Osorio, but he was portrayed in paint by one of Goya’s Pupils, Agustin Esteve.
Seeing these Goyas en suite was rather like seeing a similar Goya Family Portrait Gallery at Madrid’s Prado recently.
[Closing 10 August 2014]
The Glory Days of Lavish High Society Balls may be over in Manhattan, but the Met’s Costume Institute--now renamed in Honor of Anna Wintour--has temporarily brought them back with its Elegant Parade of Charles James’ High Fashion Gowns.
In Honor of this Exhibition, New York Magazine has just published Photo Portraits of some of Manhattan’s Surviving Grandes Dames, including Gloria Vanderbilt, who still looks Fabulous at Ninety!
Owing to the Complicated Set Up of the Great Tent over the Main Steps of the Met Museum, Entry there was Not Possible, so a Breach was made in the Complicated Street Lane Swallowing Set Up for the David H. Koch Memorial Fountains & Plazas, soon to open, running along the Classical Façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Our Tiny Tunnel Entry was Blocked to the Press until Exactly Twelve O’Clock High, so the Long Queue of Arts Reporters must have missed the Earlier Official Ribbon Cutting for the New Anna Wintour Costume Center.
It was Rumored--along the Press Waiting Line--that Michelle Obama had come up from DC to cut the Ribbon.
But when we were finally allowed to Shuffle on in, there was No Trace of the First Lady of the Nation, nor of that Devil Wears Prada Lady…
There was, however, a Problem with this Exhibition.
Half of it is in the Downstairs Cellar of the Costume Institute, barely Illuminated in the Otherwise Stygian Darkness that has come to be the Vision Defying Hallmark of Costume Shows.
To view the Other Half, one has to trudge through the Egyptian Galleries, temporarily Denuded of all those Glass Showcases so Costume Institute Gala Guests could freely Promenade To & Fro, between the Polar Points of the Charles James Fashions.
In the Central Atrium Court of the Met Museum a Huge Bulging Floral Dress Form was being stuffed with Thousands of Orange Yellow Roses, their Lives Cut Short for this Show.
Carpets were also being cut for all the Floors & Halls, so the Feet of the Rich would not have to touch the Actual Terrazzo or Marble Chips Composites.
When One finally passed through the Greek Antiquities, another Stygian Chamber was awaiting, filled with more Charles James Fashions, Sparely Illuminated, but Crowded with Press Photographers & Ink Stained Scribes--Leaking Ballpoints?--bumping into One Another in the Semi Darkness.
Actually, making Notes on a Paper Pad is now Passé, as iPads & iPhones are The Thing.
But What Is It with these Costume Institute Shows that they have to be Shown in Shadows?
This worked rather well--even Dramatically--for Alexander MacQueen, who committed Suicide before he could see his Met Show.
But it did not exactly Illuminate Punk Fashion the following Season.
Are the Silks, Satins, & Rayons of the Gowns of Charles James so Sensitive to Light that they cannot have some Soft Spotlights on them, so One can clearly see how the Magic Works.
Well, it’s not exactly Magic with Charles James.
James was, if anything, a Scientist, an Engineer when he Constructed a New Gown.
Unlike some Designers of High Fashion, who Drape Fabrics on Dress Dummies or Live Models to decide how to Cut, Fold, Pleat, Seam, or Stitch the High Priced Yardage into Fabulous Fashions, Charles James Design Engineered his Gowns.
There are Actual Design Process Models, as well as Intriguing Videos, that show How He Did It.
It has been said that James considered himself an Artist, with a Sculptor’s Eye & a Scientist’s Logic.
Almost all of the James Gowns on view Look Like Sculptures!
Thee are some 65 of them to Visually Savor, if not Emotionally Devour.
The new Anna Wintour Costume Center now has a Lizzie & Jonathan Tisch Gallery, as well as the Carl & Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery, in which James’ Scrapbooks & Sketches are on view.
Among the Classic Gowns on display are James’ Butterfly, Tree, Clover Leaf, & Swan.
Charles James was Not Obsessed with Ball Gowns; he also designed Clothes for Day Wear.
But Both were influenced by his attention to: Spirals & Wraps, Drapes & Folds, Platonic Form, & Anatomical Cut--which suggests that the Resultant Gown or Suit ought to suit the Body for which it had been designed.
That Impressive Rose Studded Dress Form in the Atrium was the Design Inspiration of Raul Avila & it surely must have impressed The Gala Chair, Aerin Lauder, as well as Co Chairs Bradley Cooper, Oscar de la Renta, Sarah Jessica Parker, Anna Wintour, & Lizzie & Jonathan Tisch.
If you have a Gallery named for you, Feeding you is the Least the Met can do to Show Its Gratitude!
THE PRE RAPHAELITE LEGACY: British Art & Design
[Closing 26 October 2014]
What did it Mean for a Trio of British Artists to become Pre Raphaelites?
What was so Wrong about the way Raphael Painted--or with His Subject Matter?
Effectually, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne Jones, & William Morris were turning their Metaphoric Backs on the Staid, Stolid, & Stifling Academic Art that ruled in Britain.
They were seeking a kind of Freedom of Line & Imagination that they believed they had Rediscovered in the Artists of the Italian Renaissance.
Led by Rossetti, who was a Poet as well as a Painter, this New Movement led to a Remarkable Revolution in Painting, Sculpture, & Design--including Interior Design, with William Morris’ wonderfully Intricate Wallpapers, as well as Stained Glass, Table Ware, Textiles, & Furniture.
Not to Overlook the Pre Raphaelite Designs of Kelmscott Press Printed Books.
There was more than a Whiff of Medievalism in the Pre Raphaelite Painters, but they certainly knew how to Romanticize their Images of Beautiful Women.
This is a Small Scale Show--in the Met’s Lehman Wing--but all of the Met Museum Artifacts are Artfully Precious.
There is also a Complementary Exhibition of actual Italian Renaissance Drawings, downstairs in the Lehman Wing.
It’s worth noting that the Wallpapers of William Morris have really never gone Out of Fashion & are still Marketed today.
Not only that: The Design Styles of the Pre Raphaelites were the British Equivalent of French Art Nouveau & German/Austrian Jugendstil.
Strange as it may seem, an Original Edward Burne Jones Outline Drawing, for a Large Stained Glass Window, was once on view in the American Victorian Museum in Nevada City, California!
The Museum is Long Gone, as are its Teddy Bear Founders & the Burne Jones, as well.
Not to forget the Pre Raphaelite Artifacts I gave to the Museum, as well as that Great Yellow Wax Seal of the Young Victoria, on Horseback on one side, but Enthroned on the Verso.
The Lesson of This, I guess, is that you should Leave Stuff to the Met, not to some Cockamamie Museum out in the High Sierra Gold Country…
LOST KINGDOMS: Hindu Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia…
[Closing 27 July 2014]
Fortunately for the Development of Hindu Buddhist Art in Southeast Asia in the First Millennium, there were then No Christian Missionaries on the Ground.
Otherwise, we might have Images of the Christ with a Long Elephant Trunk, a kind of Jesus Ganesha.
Instead of a Hindu Goddess with Eight Arms, perhaps these Imaginary Missionaries would have encouraged an Eight Armed Virgin Mary, with Eight Swords--instead of Seven--plunged into Her Sacred Heart?
The All Too Familiar Christian Iconography, however, cannot compete with the Stone God Wonders now on display at the Met in Lost Kingdoms.
For Roman Catholics, it’s hard enough to keep All the Saints sorted out--especially as New Saints are now frequently added to the Devotional List--but what a Quandry it must have occasioned for a Devout Hindu Worshiper, to decide to which God, Goddess, or Aspect of a God Head to make Sacrifices & Offer Prayers.
The Impressively Installed Met God Show features some 160 Sculptures--No Painted Images--from Hindu & Buddhist Temples & Royal Palaces, ranging from very small Bronzes to Immense Stone Slabs.
Some are National Treasures, loaned by Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, & Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
To install some of these Heavyweight Gods, the Met must have had to have the Loan of a Crane to get them into Place.
A few of the God Figures are so sleek & slim & unadorned with Additional Arms that they seem almost Pharaonic.
Could Early Egyptian Art Influences have penetrated into Asia?
At The Morgan Library & Museum:
GATSBY TO GARP: Modern Masterpieces from the Carter Burden Collection
[Closing 7 September 2014]
OK! So it was Dumb of me to have removed that Dust Jacket from my copy of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye…
It was even Dumber not to have kept my First Edition of Catcher in the Rye, even without that Eminently Collectible Dust Jacket.
Over at the Park Avenue Armory--at every Antique Book Show--I marvel at the Prices set for a Pristine Copy of Catcher in the Rye, necessarily with that Eminently Collectible Dust Jacket.
Just Imagine! Here’s a Copy of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, with an Inscription to his Son inside!
Well, maybe the Kid needed the Cash. Or he was Never Right with his Cranky Dad?
So, do not throw out that First Edition of Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop that your Old Lesbian Aunt so treasured.
His Manhattan Eminence, the Late Carter Burden [d. 1996], sometime City Councilman, had the First Edition Virus in a Very Virulent Form.
Carter Burden paid Top Dollar for thousands of First Editions of Twentieth Century American Books.
Preferably with Personal Inscriptions & Authors’ Annotations…
Corrected Galley Proofs & Manuscripts were also Prized.
Fortunately for the Morgan Library, after Burden’s Sudden Death, his Family--did this include Amanda Burden, also recently in the City Employ?--gave the Library Museum some Twelve Thousand of his First Editions.
Here is Allen Ginsberg; here Ezra Pound, here Sylvia Plath, here Henry James, here John Steinbeck; here Ernie Hemingway, here Philip Roth, here Scott Fitzgerald, here Gertrude Stein, here Toni Morrison, Jack Kerouac, here Langston Hughes, here Tennessee Williams, here William Faulkner, here John Updike, & here John Irving--hence the Garp in the Show’s Title.
These Bibliophiliac Treasures range from the Magisterial Henry James--an American who chose to live in England, to the Lost Generation, the Harlem Renaissance, & The Beats.
Looking at some of these Dust Jacketed First Editions, I realized--not without some Pangs of Regret--that I once had also owned them, with Dust Jackets Intact.
But No Personal Inscriptions…
Occasionally, I’d see Allen Ginsberg at the Sugar Bowl, when we were both Professors at Brooklyn College.
But I never thought to bring along my First Edition of Howl, to have Allen Inscribe It.
I did have Personally Inscribed First Editions of some of Joe Orton’s Plays, because we were Pen Pals.
But those are now in the Berg Manuscript Collection of the New York Public Library.
And Joe was, after all, a Dissident Brit, not a Collectible American Author…
A DIALOGUE WITH NATURE: Romantic Landscapes from Britain & Germany
[Closing 7 September 2014]
These are perhaps Minor Masterpieces, even though they are only Small Scaled Drawings, Watercolors, & Oil Sketches of various European Landscape Vistas.
If they are not, in fact, generally viewed as Masterpieces, certainly most of the Artists whose works are on view at the Morgan are Acknowledged Masters of the Romantic Era.
Some, like Caspar David Friedrich’s Landscape on Rügen, with Shepherd & Flocks, are almost Photographic in their Representations of Nature.
I once made a point of going to the Island of Rügen to check out the Scenes Caspar David Friedrich had used in his Drawings & Paintings.
Much more Fantasy Enhanced are the Romantic Views of Joseph Mallord William Turner, famed for his Burning of the Houses of Parliament, sketched virtually on site during the Conflagration.
But here are no Great Thames River Visions.
Instead, On Lake Lucerne & Turner’s Lake View of the City of Lucerne, with its famed Dance of Death Bridge, crossing the Lake, have a Dream Like Quality.
For me, however, any Sighting of that Totentanz Brücke reminds me unpleasantly of that Almost Fatal Day beside Lake Lucerne, when I was preparing to photograph the Dance of Death Bridge & Fell Over Backward.
Having previously Fallen Forward on My Head--after Photographing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco--which led to Eight Holes in My Head to Drain the Still Leaking Blood under My Skull, this was Not Helpful.
I doubt I shall ever see Luzern again, although they continue to send me Press Invites to the Annual Lucerne Festival…
When the Berlin Wall was still standing, the Best of Caspar David Friedrich was in the Staatmuseum in Weimar, in the Heart of the DDR.
I told the Show Curator that I’d been able to get a General Press Visa--from the Polizei Präsident of East Berlin--that permitted me to rove around the German Democratic Republic, especially checking out the Friedrichs in Weimar.
Goethe ran the Court Theatre there. Schiller could be seen on a Clear Day.
But you don’t have to go to either Lucerne or Weimar to appreciate the Romantic Visions of Artists like Carl Philipp Fohr, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Girtin, John Robert Cozens, Johann Georg Wagner, & Samuel Palmer, whose Oak Tree & Beech, Lullingstone Park is Magnificent.
You may well think of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy as a Dead German Composer--famed for his Wedding March--but here’s his Sketch of an Open Window, from his Sketchbook of 1837 39…
This interesting Window View is on loan from London’s Courtald Gallery, as are some of the Other Impressive Landscapes.
MIRACLES IN MINIATURE: The Art of the Master of Claude de France
[Closing 14 September 2014]
The Actual Name of the Master Illuminator who created the two tiny Prayer Books for Queen Claude of France--now on Darkened Display at the Morgan--is Unknown.
Or: Unbekannt, as the Germans are fond of saying…
Nonetheless, this Unknown Master must have had Very Good Eyesight, for the Fanatically Detailed Miniatures he painted for Queen Claude are bound in Very Tiny Books, measuring 2 Inches by 2½ Inches.
Queen Claude must have also had Very Good Eyesight--or a Very Powerful Magnifying Glass?
One of the Prayer Books is what is known as a Book of Hours, indicating the Proper Prayers for Each Hour of a Royal Roman Catholic’s Praying Day.
After the Official Press Tour, I suggested to the Curatorial Expert--the estimable Roger Wieck--that Queen Claude might have been Regally Angry when the Master delivered her Devotional Aid:
"Look here! I commissioned you to Illuminate for me a Book of Hours.
"But what have you done? This is so small, I’d call it a Book of Minutes!"
To which the Curator Wieck genially replied: "How about a Book of Seconds?"
So I shared with him a Verse Fragment from the English Poet, Edith Sitwell: "When Great Queen Claude was dead/They buried her deep in the Potting Shed…"
He had never heard this Claudian Reference, but he did share with me that Queen Claude was a Great Lover of Gardens & Gardening!
Does Anyone know where Queen Claude is actually Buried?
Tours? Lyon? Rheims? Paris?
In this Tiny Exhibition--in the Tiny Clare Eddy Thaw Gallery--there is a Touch Screen, so you can Digitally Leaf Through the Birth, Life, & Death of Jesus Christ, without having to put on Cotton Gloves & a Face Mask.
In fact, there is Much now at the Morgan that you can Access literally On Line…
Rembrandt Now On Line at the Morgan: Study His Etchings in the Privacy of Your Own Home!
Both Museum Directors & Curators try to restrict Access to Rare Sketches, Engravings, & Etchings by the Old Masters.
Exposure to any kind of Light can be Harmful, not to mention the Dangers involved in Handling such Treasures.
Oddly enough, when I first went to the Albertina in Vienna, after World War II, I asked to see Albrecht Dürer’s Original Sketch of that Famous Rabbit.
I was given a pair of Cotton Gloves; the Acid Free Manuscript Box was brought from the Archives, & There It Was: Dürer’s Rabbit!
In my Very Own Almost Shaking Hands…
Well, That was Then & This is Now.
Even a few years ago, Morgan Curators & Archivists would have to have a Very Good Reason to let me look at a Rembrandt Etching.
Now, I can go on line & look at the Morgan’s Entire Collection of Rembrandt Etchings!
Even with a Zoom Feature, so you can study Details--that formerly would only have been revealed by a Magnifying Glass…
Five Hundred Music Manuscripts are already available On Line, including Autograph Scores by Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, & Bach.
In Progress is the Digitizing of the Morgan’s Unparalleled Collection of almost Twelve Thousand Drawings.
Visit the Morgan at: www.themorgan.org
Of course, the Morgan’s Entire Staff hopes you will also come In Person to look at its Handsomely Installed Special Exhibitions: See the actual First Edition of The Great Gatsby!
Not a Digitized Version!
At MAD--The Museum of Arts & Design:
MULTIPLE EXPOSURES: Jewelry & Photography
[Closing 14 September 2014]
Looking at the Necklaces, Brooches, Rings, & Bracelets that feature some Form of Photography as Part of the Artists’ Design Concept, it would seem that Neither the Photographs Nor the Jewelry complement each other strikingly enough to pursue this Newly Opened Avenue down All Four Lanes.
All Too Often, Small Photos--especially on Necklaces--are almost Impossible to Decipher, seeming only a Design Conceit, like a Fleck of Decoration.
Nonetheless, that has not deterred such Artists as Gabriela Sánchez y Sánchez de la Barquera, Otto Künzli, Kiff Slemmons, Wafaa Bilal, Sooyeon Kim, Iris Nieuwenburg, & Bettina Speckner from Giving This a Try, especially in this Digital Age, when we are freed from the Tyranny of Kodachrome.
Oh, Kodachromes, Tintypes, & even Daguerreotypes are Not Neglected, but the Onslaught of Selfies, as well as Internet Available Images--give New Meaning to Social, Political, & Cultural Issues.
Or so say this Show’s Spokespersons…
Also, International Jewelry Artists are exploring Changing Concepts of Beauty & the Human Body, probing Perceptions of Memory & Desire, as well as Questioning the Broader Relation of Jewelry to Society & Personal Identity.
Do You Really Need a Nipple Ring with Your Photo on it?
At New York Historical Society:
HOMEFRONT & BATTLEFIELD: Quilts & Context in the Civil War
[Closing 24 August 2014]
Some collect First Editions.
Others collect Antique Quilts--Individuals, Families, & Museums.
This is Historically Fortunate for the Current Exhibition at the New York Historical Society, for the Amazing Quilts on display all have a Story to Tell: about the Civil War, its Causes, & its Aftermath.
Consider the Quilt made with Uniform Cloth from a Zouave Union Uniform from the Schuylkill Armory in Philadelphia.
It features Patriotic, Military, & Zouave Images on a field of slanted slashes of Uniform Cloth.
It was probably made for a Zouave, returning from The War Between the States, as the Johnny Rebels called this National Conflagration.
Although Union Soldiers, the Zouaves were not Boys in Blue, as were the Mass of Union Soldiery.
Oddly enough, their Distinctive Dress made them look a bit like Turkish Waiters.
There are a number of Outstanding Quilts in this Civil War Context, including Luncinda Ward Honstain’s "Reconciliation Quilt," which is composed of 84 Squares depicting Freed Slaves, People finally at Peace, & even Jeff Davis, Ex President of the Confederacy.
Every Quilt has a Story, but the Most Plain & Pitiable of all was made by Two Slave Women who probably had No Access to really Good Cloth.
In a very real Sense, this Show is not only about War, but also about Cloth, Fabric, Manufactured Textiles: Wool was challenging Cotton in the Markets…
Northerners didn’t need Slaves or Plantations to grow Sheep & Shear Them.
Flags & Banners made of Cloth--as well as actual Uniforms & Civilian Clothing--add Visual Interest & Historical Context to this fascinating & ingeniously installed Exhibition.
At The Park Avenue Armory:
[From 1 4 May 2014]
And now for Something Entirely Different!
Most Dealer Shows at the 69th Regiment Park Avenue Armory have Sedate Rows of Dealer Booths, side by side, with as many as Four Two Sided Rows in the Central Space of the Wade Thompson Drill Hall.
This is, of course, Confining & almost Ghetto Like…
For the Entirely New Spring Masters: Art & Design, Antiquity Through the 20th Century, Architect/Designer Rafael Viñoly has re imagined the Vast Space with a Series of Interlocking Hexagonal Booths that Open Out the Space in ways previously Unimaginable.
As One entered this Treasure Rich Show, the Glittering Chandeliers & Ornate Period Mirrors of Ronald Phillips LTD made it seem like an Entry into a Period Palace of Wonders!
What’s more, Rafael Viñoly’s Ingenious Design made it possible to Walk Through the Open Booths, from One Treasure House to Another.
Instead of Walking Past what might be considered Tight Packed Rows of Push Carts, but without the Wheels…
Some real Museum Quality Antiques & Old Master Paintings were On Display.
One wondered what Baroque Basilica had been Plundered to make available such a Handsome Selection of Religious Statuary: Jesus! Jesus & Mary!
Both Continental & American Dealers were represented, including Moeller Fine Art, Waterhouse & Dodd, Primavera Gallery, Leo Kaplan, Hollis Taggart, David Findlay, jr.
Click on the Sprigng Masters Website for some Photo Views of the Rafael Viñoly Hexagonals, as well as some Outstanding Artworks:
Copyright © Glenn Loney 2014. No re publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, Curator's Choice." Reproduction rights please contact: email@example.com.
Return to Curator's Choice Table of Contents