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Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.

Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:

At the Auction Houses:
At Bonham's on Madison:
At Christie's at Rock Center:
At the AVENUE Antiques, Art, & Design at the Armory Show:
THE FASHION WORLD OF JEAN PAUL GAULTIER: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
Saving Faces:
VERMEER, REMBRANDT, & HALS: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis
Rob & Nick Carter's Transforming Still Life Painting
The Girl with a Pearl Now Collectible Merchandise!
Inauguration of the Louis Rachow Distinguished Service Award in Performing Arts Librarianship:
THE LINE KING: Al Hirschfeld at the New York Public Library's Lincoln Center Facility
PIONEERING POET OF LIGHT: Florence Vandamm & The Vandamm Studio
SILLA: Korea's Golden Kingdom
WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: The Refusal of Time
EDGAR ALLAN POE: Terror of the Soul
LEONARDO DA VINCI: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin
OUT OF HAND: Materializing the Post Digital
VASILY KANDINSKY: From Blaue Reiter to the Bauhaus, 1910-1925
BEAUTY'S LEGACY: Gilded Age Portraits in America
THE ARMORY SHOW AT 100: When New York Exploded into the Modern World
At the TNC Gallery:
Object Theatre, Loft Performance, & The New Psychodrama--Manhattan, 1970-1980


Museum Report for The Month of October 2013


So much for Columbus Day--on 14 October--which date was also shared this year by Eid al Adha & Canadian Thanksgiving.

The Muslim Eids move around in the Calendar, just like Yom Kippur: They dance to a Non Western Drummer

But what are we to think of Columbus Day, when--at least on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan--Proud Italians & less aggressive Spaniards & Caribbean Americans cannot agree to march on the Same Day?

Although Columbus set sail under the Authorization & Funding of Queen Isabella of Spain, you don't see the Spanish Embassy to the UN demanding that it be allowed to join the Italian Columbus Day Parade on Fifth.

No, indeed. This October, they had to march the Day Before

When Columbus set out across the Atlantic--in the Pinta, Niña, & Santa Maria--there was no Unified Italy. That came later, about 1860

So, where is the Overall Italian Justification to Own Columbus?

The Vatican wasn't into Funding Voyages of Discovery & Plunder, although they did send along Missionary Priests to convert the Heathens & make more Confessants at their Altars.

Chris Columbus was nominally a Genovese: that's the Italian Link.

But the Doge of Genoa wasn't about to give him some free Sailing Ships to sail Ever West into Uncharted Waters.

There Be Dragons & Sea Monsters--if the Doge was to believe the Cartography of the Day.

It's a Wonder that Isabella had Spare Cash for the Ships, for she was already so busy with the Spanish Inquisition--eagerly endorsed by the Vatican--rooting out Infidels & Heresy.

Only recently had she & King Ferdinand driven the Moors out of Spain, across the Straights, back into North Africa. But some Pockets of False Belief still survived, including the Sephardic Jews.

Festive Saturdays! What a Wonderful Day for an Auto da Fé, as the Ritual Body Burnings were so Lyrically Celebrated in Leonard Bernstein's Candide.

What if Queen Isabella had known that Columbus had used secret Salutations & Messages in Hebrew Characters at the top of his Letters to his Son?

What if Her Most Catholic Majesty had in Her Service a Secret Genovese Jew?

It doesn't bear Thinking About…


As for 31 October, which in America has become a K Mart Sale of Plastic Pumpkins & Witches Pointy Hats, the True Meaning of Hallowe'en has been almost forgotten.

Fortunately--in Manhattan, at Major Subway Stations--Smiling Evangelicals are glad to give you a Free Pocket Book that will explain what this Initially Religious Festival is all about.

It is the Eve of All Hallows, when the Spirits of the Dead are free--once a year--to walk about, possibly hoping that some Descendant or other may remember them & Pray for their Souls?

But Who--Catholic or Otherwise--will Pray for the Soul of Dracula & Others of the Undead Underworld?

George Romero? Roger Corman?




At the Auction Houses:


At Bonham's on Madison:

There's a lot of Loose Money in Asia--especially in the Post Mao China. Last Season's Asia Auctions--Four of them--at Bonhams raised nearly Nine Million Dollars!

This Fall at Bonhams San Francisco, the Asian Auction achieved over $2.15 Million.

The American Army General John K. Singlaub picked up some fine Jade when he was in China, helping out Nationalist Chinese General Chiang Kai Shek. A Jade Pendant from his Collection brought $50,000.

On 8 October in New York, Bonhams held an Arts of the Samurai Auction.

Shaped like a Conch Shell, a rare Iron Kawari Kubuto sold for $377,000.

This "Eccentrically Shaped Helmet" was the Top Lot in a ferocious Telephone Bidding War.

Although the Bonhams Auction Gallery was packed, most of the Sales were made to Telephone Bidders, with a few exceptions going to On Line Bidders.

OK to see the Artifacts on your Cell Phone, but it's more interesting to see them Up Close.

How about the Haramaki Edo Period Chest Armor, with all of its Original Accoutrements? It sold for $341,000.

Samurai Swords & Sword Fittings also sold well. A 17th Century Daisho by Inoe Shinkai fetched $87,500.

In November, Bonhams New York is to auction a Magnificent Baga Mask, from the Guinea Coastal Region. Bidding Range: $400,000 to $600,000.

This Sale will include Oceanic & Pre Columbian Art as well as that of Africa


At Christie's at Rock Center:

From the Photo--surrounded by their Treasures--Anthony Hall & Charles Posey look like a pair of Wealthy Old White Confirmed Bachelors.

They wouldn't be Out of Place in Gore Vidal's The City & The Pillar

But Christie's had dubbed them, for the Sale of their Gilded Furnishings & Objects d'Art: Arbiters of Style.

So very many Red Upholstered Chairs!

So Very Much of the Very Very Muchness of it All…

Nonetheless, the Hall Posey Auction realized almost Two Million Dollars.

Good that it Went for Sale, to be redistributed.

Rather than being Buried with Them, like King Tut's Treasures


At the AVENUE Antiques, Art, & Design at the Armory Show:

Sponsored by AVENUE Magazine--which they leave Free at our Co op--this October Installation at the Park Avenue Armory spaciously graced the Wade Thompson Drill Floor, with Lavishly Appointed Dealer Booths, some of which looked like Minor Museums.

Not only were Entire Booths themselves Works of Art, but many had Individual Artworks that Bidders at Christie's would be eager to acquire.

The Advantage at the Armory is that you can Haggle, while--at Christie's--some On Line Chinese or Internet Russian Mega Millionaire is going to Outbid you by a Wide Margin.

As Any Dealer worthy of the Name now has his Own Website, it seems pointless to try to describe in Mere Words the Beauty or the Unique Qualities of many of the Paintings, Sculptures, Graphics, Furnishings, Jewels, Silver, Glass, Ceramics, & Tchotschkes on offer.

So: Here are the Web Sites or E Mail Addresses of the Dealers whose Collections most impressed:

•The William Secord Gallery: Secord specializes in Dog Paintings. But not in the Sense of: "That Painting is a Real Dog…"

No! Most of Secord's Dogs--both 19th & 20th Century Canines--have a Special Appeal. It's in the Eyes!

When Mrs. Gotbucks' Pet Poodle is looking right at you, you just have to Fall in Love!

Google or Contact:


Arcadia Gallery: Google or Contact:

Rehs Contemporary Galleries: Google or Contact:

MS Rau Antiques: Google or Contact:

Holden Luntz Gallery: Google or Contact:

Saddle River Gallery: Google or Contact:

Milord Antiquités: Google or Contact:

John Atzbach: Google or Contact:

[He has an impressive Collection of Imperial Russian Antiques & Art Objects, including Fabergé.]

Philip Colleck Ltd: Google or Contact:

Kinghams Art Pottery Ltd: Google or Contact:

Sylvia Powell Decorative Arts: Google or Contact:

However, a Special Shout Out for the Individual Booth of Russ Schleipman, Photographer Extraordinaire.

When I passed by, Russ was tinkering with a Magnificent Bronze Sculpture--or so I thought. But it proved to be a most Unusual Telescope, bound for the Smithsonian.

The Walls of his Booth were glowing with some stunning Photographs he has made: Unforgettable

But Russ Schleipman is also a Master of Optics. He even showed me remarkable Close Up Photos of the Craters of the Moon that he had recently made, using his Telescopic Lenses.

I had hoped for some Photos of the Exact Spot on Mars that Newt Gingrich is going to use for his Mars Colonization Project, but apparently the Koch Brothers have not yet given him the Mega Bucks he will need to Relocate the Republican Party into Outer Space

You can Google the Boston Based Russ Schleipman, for he has a variety of Web Addresses.


At The Brooklyn Museum:


THE FASHION WORLD OF JEAN PAUL GAULTIER: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

[Closing 23 February 2014]

This Overwhelming Exposure to Cutting Edge Fashion Overkill has already been seen in San Francisco, Madrid, Montreal, & Dallas.

The often S&M Inflected Designs of Jean Paul Gualtier make the Annual Met Costume Institute Gala Shows look Pathetique.

The Late Alexander MacQueen came close, but his Archive couldn't begin to match the Costume Profusion now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, in an elaborate Presentational Framework.

Gualtier's distinctive & trendy Fashions are not for Ordinary Street Wear. Nor are they Understated enough for a Met Opera Gala.

When you look at the Conical Bustiers designed for Madonna, you just know it's all about Sex: Attraction & Repulsion

But here also are Unforgettable Outfits he has designed for Beyoncé, Marion Cotillard, Catherine Deneuve, & Lady Gaga!

While the Hairstyles, Make Up, & Footwear that Gualtier has created for each of his Outfits are often astonishing, it is the Elaborate Decorative Torso Panels that make so many of the Display Fashions almost unforgettable.

Two Thousand of those Mythical Belgian Nuns could have gone Blind doing all that Embroidery & Appliqué

The Enhanced Performance Costumes & Haute Couture Fashions are organized into such Categories as: The Odyssey, The Boudoir, Muses, Metropolis, Punk Cancan, Urban Jungle, & Skin Deep.

The Rotunda of the Brooklyn Museum is Inner Circled by Arcs of Outrageous Gaultier Styles. But the Mannequins are not Faceless & Dead.

No! They smile & cajole. Some even wink at you!

Their Living Faces are projected onto otherwise Blank Heads, thanks to the Digital Technology of Lucie Jolicoeur, who is revolutionizing the way Fashionable Clothes are shown in the Shoppes & Malls.

This is a Major Major Major Blockbuster Exhibition & it is over in Brooklyn!

Do Not Miss It!

If you want to see some of the Exciting Provocations that Gaultier has created over his amazing Four Decade Career, click onto the Website

It's easier to Google than having to read some Feeble Words about these Astounding Constructions!


Saving Faces:

As for Living Faces or Animatronics--or whatever the Trade Term is--Time was when you could see them In Action at the Mormon Visitors Center, across Broadway from Lincoln Center.

The Technology had been developed by Walt Disney Enterprises©, as I was told.

Not only could you see a Mormon Family enjoying a Picnic somewhere in the Utah Woods, but you could also see the Surprise on the Face of The Prophet, Joseph Smith, when he discovered the Golden Plates on the Hill Cumorah, as foretold to him by the Angel Moroni

I used to take Visiting Friends from The Continent to see these Far Western Wonders for Free.

But the Down Side was that Young Mormon Missionaries would frequently call, with Gifts of the Book of Mormon.

The Actual Book, not Theatre Tickets


At The Frick Collection:


VERMEER, REMBRANDT, & HALS: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis

[Closing 19 January 2014]

Yes, Amsterdam & Rotterdam both have World Class Museums.

In Haarlem, you can see a King's Ransom of Frans Hals Portraits.

Even Leyden, Utrecht, Delft, & Dordrecht have Impressive Collections.

But only the Capital of the Nederlands, The Hague, possesses the Mauritishuis.

Currently, it is being Renovated & Enlarged, with an Underground Connection to an Art Deco Building across the way.

So, it has been able to loan out some of its Masterworks from the 17th Century Golden Age of Dutch Masters.

The Most Celebrated of the Loaned Canvases is, of course, The Girl with a Pearl Earring…

But also among the Golden Fifteen are Rembrandt's Susanna, Man with a Feathered Beret, & Simeon's Song of Praise.

There are two Magnificent Portraits by Frans Hals, as well as Works by Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, & Nicolaes Maes' The Old Lacemaker.

Curiously, the Mauritishuis has lent only One Vermeer--that famed Icon, The Girl with a Pearl Earring--so the Frick's own Important Vermeers seem even more Important than usual.


The Digital Age Comes To The Frick:

Rob & Nick Carter's Transforming Still Life Painting

All that is Flesh will Perish. Flowers Bloom, Wither, & Die.

Even the most Prosperous Dutchmen recognized the Vanity of Human Aspirations.

That's why there were those Naked Skulls in Memento Mori paintings…

The Carters use Digital Technology to remind us of the Mortality of Things.

Using Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder's Vase of Flowers in a Window, their Three Hour Film Loop shows the Lovely Flowers declining & dying, devoured by Insects, as the Pictorial Background also darkens.


The Girl with a Pearl Now Collectible Merchandise!

That Iconic Vermeer, The Girl with a Pearl Earring [c1665], has now become not only a Tote Bag, but also Wrist Watch, an Eyeglass Case, an Address Book, a Calendar, a Brooch, a T Shirt, & of course, a Mug!

You could say that her Mug is on the Mug

For a Change of Iconography, you can, instead, have a Goldfinch Tote Bag, or a Goldfinch Notebook, or a Goldfinch Puzzle, or even a Goldfinch Mug.

This Goldfink is perching on Wall Bracket in Carel Fabritius' 1654 Painting of The Goldfinch.

Oh! There are also Pearl Earrings & Pearl Necklaces, but The Girl's Image is not engraved upon them…


At The Lincoln Center Library & Museum for the Performing Arts:


Inauguration of the Louis Rachow Distinguished Service Award in Performing Arts Librarianship:

In the Bruno Walter Auditorium of the NYPL's Performing Arts Library Facility, Martie Lo Monaco was given the first Louis Rachow Award.

My Longtime Colleague & Friend, Lou Rachow, has been the Librarian of the Hampden Booth Library at the Players, the Librarian of the ITI US--or International Theatre Institute of UNESCO, as well as the Editor of TLA's Broadside & now TLA's Historian.

The Theatre Library Association--of which I have been a Longtime Member Supporter--is composed primarily of Theatre Librarians, but also of those who Love Theatre & Books about Theatre.

This is our 75th Anniversary

But, when I arrived late--owing to MTA Bus Delays--there were only 19 People in an Auditorium that used to be almost filled at our Annual Meetings.

Can it be that the Internet & Amazon Books On Line are killing off Theatre Libraries?

At least I was able to take some Photos of Lou Rachow & a beaming Martie LoMonaco, one of our most active TLA Presidents.


THE LINE KING: Al Hirschfeld at the New York Public Library's Lincoln Center Facility

[Closing 4 January 2014]

With the Passing of Theatre Caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, the Paper of Record lost one of its most Beloved & Admired Chroniclers of Things Theatrical on Broadway & Off.

Every Sunday, Theatre Fans would study that week's Hirschfeld, looking for the Ninas that he had hidden in his drawings of the Latest Shows.

The artfully installed Line King Exhibition up at Lincoln Center celebrates not only his New York Times Graphic Reports, but also his many Illustrations for Theatre Posters, Books, Album Covers, & What Have You.

How about Zero Mostel & Eli Wallach in Rhinoceros?

The Three Faces of the Multi Talented Leonard Bernstein?

Martha Graham, in Agony & in Ecstasy?

George Bernard Shaw as a Puppet Master!

There is also a Lavishly Illustrated & absolutely Free Brochure for this Show of Shows.

It opens, appropriately enough, with a Lively Introduction by Louise Kerz Hirschfeld.

When I was once invited to Lunch at the Hirschfeld Mansion on the Upper East Side, Louise reminded me that I first met her as Louise Kerz, when I did an Interview with her late husband, Leo Kerz, who had ingeniously designed Eugène Ionesco's Rhinoceros on Broadway.

The Hirschfeld Home is a Noble Town House, now transformed into a Hirschfeld Archive, complete with the Barber Chair in which Al Hirschfeld used to sit when inking his Definitive Visions of Broadway Stars & their Dramatic Vehicles


PIONEERING POET OF LIGHT: Florence Vandamm & The Vandamm Studio

[Closing 28 February 2014]

Way back when, Florence Vandamm was the Broadway Theatre Photographer.

No Production worthy of Broadway would ask anyone else to Photograph its Stars & its Major Scenes.

Now, in the Vincent Astor Gallery, many of Florence's most Famed Images are on display.

As well as Contact Sheets of Portrait Photos of some of the most Beloved Stars in the Broadway Firmament

How about Katharine Cornell, Lynn Fontanne, or Gertrude Lawrence?

Remember Miriam Hopkins, anyone?

Humphrey Bogart was certainly Better Looking than Oscar Hammerstein II. But not by much

As with Line King, there's also a Free Brochure, but it is illustrated with Black & White Images. Color Film was not then Very Big.


At the Metropolitan Museum of Art:


SILLA: Korea's Golden Kingdom

[Closing 23 February 2014]

Thank God--Oops!--Thank Buddha that the Monarchs of Silla didn't practice Cremation.

Had they done so, then there would be no Korean National Treasures--exhumed from their Royal Tombs--to inform us of their Wealth, Culture, & Power.

Like the Ancient Egyptians--Centuries before the Sillans--their Rulers buried their Crowns, Jewels, & Ritual Artifacts with their Remains.

Now, some 130 Precious Objects--including some remarkable Buddha Images--are at the Met Museum, on loan from the National Museums in Seoul & in Gyeongju, which now stands above the Sites of these formerly Buried Treasures.

Among the Objects are Ceramics & Glassware from Other Eurasian Cultures, indicating the long vanished Prestige & Trade Linkages of the Silla Kingdom.

North Korea's Despotic Ruler can make No Claim on these Magnificent Testimonies to the Past.

They were found below the DMZ

"This show is not to be missed," said Thomas Campbell, Director & CEO of the Metropolitan Museum.

While that is hardly an Original Observation, it is surely what one must say when there are so many Korean Dignitaries & Press Representatives thronging the Intimate Exhibition.


WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: The Refusal of Time

[On View until 11 May 2914]

The South African Genius, William Kentridge, currently has an Opera Production that he designed on view over at the Other Met: the Metropolitan Opera.

This is The Nose, from ENO, in London.

If you cannot afford the Vastly Overpriced Orchestra Seats, you can at least enjoy a Series of Challenging & even Hilarious Kentridge Animated Visuals & Eccentric Videos at the Met Museum.

The Viewing Room is rather Dark, with Scrap Board Screens on Three Sides, plus a Throbbing Engine in the midst of a Scattering of Chairs.

As the various Segments are looped, you may well want to seize a Seat, waiting for the Eventual Return of a Special Optical Favorite.

Essentially, the Kentridge Images deal with the History of Standards & Measures of Time.

Metronomes get quite a Work Out

The Met shares The Refusal of Time with SFMoMA, so there must be Two Copies of the Digital Record: One for the East & One for the Far West.

Thomas Campbell--Director & CEO of the Metropolitan Museum--has said that the Acquisition of Kentridge's remarkable Meditation on Standards & Time Measurement "…signals the Metropolitan's strong commitment to the Art of Today."

Although the Met is already a Major Repository of some Five Thousand Years of Artistic Heritage, it continues to keep pace with Artistic Invention & even Arty Trendiness.

NYMoMA, Eat Your Heart Out…

SFMoMA! Thank God, you are at a Safe Distance!


At The Morgan Library & Museum:


EDGAR ALLAN POE: Terror of the Soul

[Closing 26 January 2014]

Can it be that the Morgan's Curators deliberately waited for Halloween Month to Celebrate the Life, Writings, & Genius of Edgar Allan Poe?

This Textually Rich Show is mounted against a Deep Red Background, just Bloody enough to remind you that Poe's Ethereal Poetry--at least in Annabel Lee--is not what the World most remembers about him.

No! It is those Tales of Horror--those almost Modern Gothic Tales--that still fascinate.

For those who love the Morgan for its Visuals: Its Illuminated Manuscripts & Renaissance Sketches, this Exhibition is Image Poor, but showcases Priceless Manuscript after Priceless Manuscript.

Not all of them by Poe either: Here's Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles!

Nor are Images entirely absent: Unfortunately, some of Poe's Daguerreotypes seem to have seen Better Days

But why are Portrait Photos of Oscar Wilde, Vlad Nabakov, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Bernard Shaw, WH Auden, TS Eliot & Other Greats also on the walls?

They were not only interested in or influenced by Poe's Themes & Styles, but they were also eager to acknowledge that.

Here's a First Day Poe Cover that has Stephen King all over it: Yes, the Modern Master of Horror is a Poe Acolyte.

What Poe might have thought of Carrie is an Open Question, but he certainly would have loved The Shining.

Even when Poe was still having difficulty in America being recognized as a Serious Artist, the greatest of the French Art & Intellectual Establishment claimed him as One of Their Own.

Poe's Raven was translated by Mallarmé & illustrated by Éduard Manet!

Rimbaud, Verlaine, Baudelaire, Valéry: all owed a Poetic Debt to Edgar Allan Poe--who never had money enough to make the Trans Atlantic Crossing to Paris.

What would later French Writers of Policiérs have done without Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue?

Well, the French do love Jerry Lewis, but that's quite a different Matter of Taste

In Poe's Own Time in New York--when The Raven would be published in Tiny Hand Set Type on the Front Page of the Daily Tribune--don't imagine that he was the Center of Attention among the Movers & Shakers of New York Society.

A desperate Shabby Scribbler like EA Poe among the Astors!

The Very Idea!

Even as Mrs. Astor may have been planning a Masked Ball down on Astor Place, do not think for a moment that she would send a Carriage up into the desolate reaches of Upper Manhattan to fetch Poe to the Festivities.

Who Knows: He might have told Mrs. Astor about that Cask of Amontillado down in her Basement?

Or come as the Masque of the Red Death

While the Astors & Their Set were Mindlessly Dancing, Poe's poor dying wife, Virginia, had the Family Cat in her Bosom to keep warm.

Fortunately, the Fortunes of the House of Astor were not to be those of the House of Usher.

But just think what might have happened, had Poe lived on & been able to enjoy Franchise Rights in later works inspired by his Genius: How about Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde?

Poe was not only a Poet & a Teller of Tales, but he was also an incisive Literary Critic.

The current Exhibition does not have the Scope to examine this Area in detail, but it might be worth the while for some Poe Addicts to seek out his Philosophy of Composition.

There, you will discover how he constructed such works as Annabel Lee, The Raven, & Ulalume.

What, Poe asked himself, is the Most Beautiful Subject in the World?

It is a Beautiful Woman!

But what is even more Beautiful than that?

It is That Woman Dead--because then she is Forever Unattainable!

I was a Child & She was a Child, in that Kingdom by the Sea

Quoth The Raven: NEVERMORE!

Aha! From afar off, one hears the Tintinabulation of The Bells


LEONARDO DA VINCI: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin

[Closing 2 February 2014]

For the first time ever in New York, Leonardo's Codex on the Flight of Birds is now on view at the Morgan.

This fascinating Exploration of the Way in which Birds can soar & stay aloft comes to the Morgan from Torino, where the Royal Library has a Priceless Trove of Original Leonardo Sketches & Notes.

The Turin Librarians have also sent along Leonardo's Head of a Young Woman, as well as some other Facial & Figure Studies.

The Morgan has contributed its own Codex Huygens, which its Titular Owner believed was in Leonardo's Own Hand. Not so…

But this 16th Century Treatise on Painting appears to have been copied from Leonardo's now lost Original.

You can actually Leaf Through the Bird Flight Codex by pressing one of Your Digits on a Digital Screen.

If you want to read what Leonardo wrote about Bird Bones & Wing Muscles, however, you will need a Mirror!

Curiously, Leonardo was able to write Backwards. In Reverso

Apprenticed in Florence to Verrocchio, Leonardo--who has born in Vinci: hence, da Vinci--found his First Munificent Patron in Milan, where the Powerful Sforzas ruled.

Not only did Leonardo glorify that Famed Family, he also designed the Fortifications for Milan!

Not to forget his Almost Legendary Last Supper

But he died in Francophone Amboise, where that Elegant Monarch, François Premiere, had invited him to create more Wonders.

Representing the Piemontese Regione, where Torino is situated, an Italian Official opened the Press Preview with an Address in Italian!


When I was last in Turin--for the Art Olympics Installations of the Winter Olympics--almost all of the Artists, Museum Curators, & Gallerists with whom I spoke had Excellent Commands of Spoken English.

Considering how ferociously American Troops fought to drive the Nazis out of Italy--fraternizing along the way--it was not surprising how many people in Reggio Emilia, Milano, Torino, & Parma spoke almost colloquial American English.

Missed at the Morgan was the Leonardo Codex that once bore the name of Armand Hammer.

At that time it was called Codex Hammer.

When Armand went to his Last Reward, as I recall, it was put up for Auction.

Didn't Bill Gates buy it, making it Codex Gates?

Just asking…


At MAD--The Museum of Art & Design:


OUT OF HAND: Materializing the Post Digital

[Closing 6 July 2014]

Yes! Here They all are!

All the Really Trendy Artists

How about Anish Kapoor? Chuck Close?

Maya Lin? Zaha Hadid? Frank Stella!

Not to Overlook the Digital 3 D Creations of Roxy Paine & Hiroshi Sugimoto

It is amazing what can be Constructed with Digital Three D Printers, guided by Computer Generated Design Instructions.

But Robotic Machines can also be Digitally Instructed to remove Material from Solid Blocks of Stone or Steel, to create Amazing Objects.

Among the Amazements now on view at MAD is the Wobbly Man of Richard Dupont, which he has ingeniously titled Untitled (#5).

My Very Favorite looks like a Gothic Cathedral twisted & transformed into a Feral Animal.

But it also has Gothic Cathedral Wheels…

Aha! It's not Milan Cathedral on a Bender after all.

No! it is Wim Delvoye's Twisted Dump Truck.

Softkill Design is showing Prototype for a 3D Printed House, but it looks like a Fabricated Dinosaur Skull.

The Bone Armchair of Joris Laarman looks sturdy enough to sit in, but the Baroquely Formed Clone Chair of Julian Mayor suggests that its Splayed Legs might shoot outward if an Obscenely Obese Grande Dame were to rest Her Posterior there, however briefly.

But here's Frank Stella's K. 162, a Tortured Enameled Metal Mess, well worthy of the Digital Age.

As we are still living in the Digital Age--not Beyond It--it's puzzling that these Fascinating Works are referred to in the Exhibition Title as Post Digital

Oh Oh! NIKE is also on view, with its Nike Vapor Laser Talon.


At The Neue Galerie:


VASILY KANDINSKY: From Blaue Reiter to the Bauhaus, 1910-1925

[Closing 10 February 2014]

Actually, when you go to the Neue Galerie--up at Fifth & 86th--you won't see the Totemic Blaue Reiter Blue Horse.

That is currently on view in Munich at the Lenbach Haus & Museum, where there are far more colorful Kandinsky's than the Gallery Space of the Neue Galerie could possibly accommodate.

Munich also has a much closer affinity for Kandinsky & His Circle, including Painters of the Secession & Die Brücke.

Before Kandinsky arrived at the Bauhaus, he was living & painting in the Rus Haus in Murnau, which he shared with Gabriele Münter.

Bavarian Murnau is between Munich & Oberammergau, if you are thinking of Making a Pilgrimage.

You can visit Münter's Chalet like House, now also a Museum. You can even admire the Carved Wooden Staircase, colorfully decorated by Kandinsky.

From the Upper Window of the Bedroom, you can see the same View of Murnau that both Kandinsky & Münter have so Totemically Painted.

Neither Münter nor Kandinsky ever visited Upper Fifth Avenue, so we have no Münter View of Central Park, alas…

But just a few Blocks up Fifth from the Neue Galerie, we do have the Guggenheim Museum, which has the Largest Kandinsky Collection in the Americas!

Some of these they have loaned to the Current Show, which also draws on Private Collections & Major Museums at home & abroad--including Fondation Beyeler in Basel.

Although the Kandinsky Dates for this show are 1910 1925, his Murnau: Street with Horse Drawn Carriage dates from 1909.

If you prefer Kandinsky's wildly wacky & colorful Geometric Abstractions, there is Circles within a Circle on view, dating from 1923.

Most impressive, however, is the Reconstruction of the Mural Room he created for the Juriefrei Kunstscahu in Berlin in 1922.

Ah, Those Weimar Era Artists!

Why submit your Ground Breaking, Rule Breaking Artworks to a Jury of Old Fogies?

As for the Bauhaus--which was founded in Weimar, but moved to Dessau & later to Berlin, where the Nazis closed it down--some Kandinsky Sketches for Bauhaus Theatricals are also on display.

There is even an Entire Gallery devoted to the distinctive Jugendstil Posters of the 1910s & the 1920s.

For those who are not familiar with this Term--a Style of Youth, so to speak--it is midway between French Art Nouveau & American Art Deco.

Among Kandinsky's Colleagues & Contemporaries also in this Astonishing Exhibition are Paul Klee, Franz Marc--he who loved Colorful Horses, Marcel Breuer, August Macke, Marianne von Werefkin, László Moholy Nagy, & of course, Gabriele Münter.


At The New York Historical Society:


BEAUTY'S LEGACY: Gilded Age Portraits in America

[Closing 9 March 2014]

It's in their Eyes!

Just look into the Eyes of some of the full length Handsome Portraits of Manhattan's Movers & Shakers of the 1890s!

If they are looking down directly at you, it's often difficult to realize that these are Only Paintings.

Mrs. William Waldorf Astor won't come down off that wall to accept your Obeisance.

But the Eminent Pastor Henry Codman Potter looks as if he'd like to give you a Good Talking To

As for the Affluent Arrogance of James Hazen Hyde, you really wouldn't want to Annoy this Dapper Gentleman.

The Titans of the so called Gilded Age--when there were no Income Taxes & no Federal Regulations to Strangle Free Enterprise--loved to have their own Portraits painted, to adorn their Town houses & Mansions.

But, even more, they were eager to show off the Rich & Handsome Ladies they had married--often the Union of Two Great Fortunes, of Ancestral Dutch & Vintage English Lines--a more restrained form of showing off Live Trophy Wives, than is practiced today.

What is More: they strove to have the most famed & skilled of American Painters record them & Their Progeny for Posterity. How about Eastman Johnson?

Here is John Singer Sargent's Portrait of Mrs. Jacob Wendel.

There is James Montgomery Flagg's haughty Portrait of the lovely but imperious Nellie McCormick Flagg.

Flagg, it may be remembered, was famed for his Image of Uncle Sam Wants You

But Native American Brushes were not good enough for some: "No, Carolus Duran must do my Portrait!"

Also popular as Portraitists to the Millionaires: Anders Zorn of Sweden & William Adolphe Bouguereau of France.

The New York Historical Society has a Horde of Painterly Treasures in its Vaults, some left to it by the actual Portrait Sitters.

Here are Rosalie & Leonard Lewisohn, Leaders in the German Jewish Set.

Over here is Samuel Ward McAllister, who was the Arbiter of Mrs. Astor's "Four Hundred"--the Exact Number who could fit into her Ballroom

But what is Gilded Age about a handsome Portrait of Mrs. Martha Custis Washington?

George may well have been the Father of His Country, but he was no Titan of the Gilded Age. He was a Gentleman Farmer of Virginia. Also: a Distinguished Military Man

The Apparent Explanation is that this Custis Portrait was painted, not way back in the 18th Century, but in the 1860s

You may be surprised to see a handsome Miniature of Mrs. Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, but--after the Emperor Napoleon had met his Waterloo--Brother Jerome had a Chicken Farm in New Jersey!


THE ARMORY SHOW AT 100: When New York Exploded into the Modern World

[Closing 23 February 2014]

Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus!

But No! The famed Armory Show of 1913 was not held in the Park Avenue Armory!

The Armory in Question still stands, but it is located down on Lexington Avenue, between 25th & 26th Streets.

This is the 69th Regiment Armory--Historic Home of the "Fighting Irish," although it's unfortunate that that Number also signifies Something horrifying to Irish Roman Catholic Clergy--with a very large Drill Floor, ideal for setting up Temporary Walls for hanging Paintings.

But, because the Works to be Unveiled in 1913 were anything but Academic & Conservative, they would have found No Home in any Major Manhattan Museum.

Imagine the Horror of The Art Establishment to be confronted by Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase?

Horror on Horror! Paul Gauguin, Vince Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Constantin Brancusi, Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia…

Those American Adventurers who had been to Paris & had already recognized the New Genius of the Impressionists, the Cubists & even the stunning Sur Reality of Duchamp's fractured Action Images, knew that most of New York was In for a Shock.

Titled the International Exhibition of Modern Art, this Revolutionary Show is now seen as inspiring "Seismic Shifts in American Culture, Politics, & Society."

Well, Tectonic Plates did not actually shift, but the Western World was on the Brink of War & America was still metaphorically trapped in the Nineteenth Century.

But it wasn't just the European Avant Garde that shocked & astonished: Emerging American Talents were also on view!

Robert Henri, Childe Hassam, Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Marin, & John Sloan

Sloan contributed a Watercolor of the Woolworth Building, then the World's Tallest Building, completed in 1913.

Some Ninety of the Original Artworks from the 1913 Armory Show are now on view over on Central Park West, along with Text & Pictorial Documentation to put them all In Context.

It is amazing that so many of these Modern Masterpieces could have been once again assembled--from so many far flung Collectors & Museums.

Because there are so many Artworks--Paintings, Sculptures, Drawings--the Second Floor Gallery is almost as Crowded as the Armory was way back in 1913.

And, because this is a Real Blockbuster of a Show, the Gallery is also crowded with Live Art Lovers!

There was even a Line to get into the Gallery

The Magnificent Show Catalogue weighs that Metaphoric Ton, but it is so wonderfully presented--with strikingly detailed Full Page Color Reproductions & excellent & informative Background Essays--that it would be well worth your while to Reinforce your Coffee Table, so it will be able to Bear the Weight.


At the TNC Gallery:

Hey! Aren't those Two of the Simpsons nailed to that Cross?

Not to Worry!

It's only another one of those Crazy CAVA Stained Glass Window Light Boxes

The ingenious Joseph Cavalieri has combined Medieval Stained Glass Techniques with Modern Images & LED Lights to create Something Entirely Different.

The Simpsons are framed in Gothic Arches, with Unplugged TV Sets littered below the Cross & Mauritz Escher Birds flying by.

But this is not the Only Crucifixion!

No, Here's La Crocifissione di Moe as well.

Here's Henri III, every inch--although we only see His Head, Whole & Cut in Half--a Renaissance Gentleman & Monarch.

But over there is Jackie O in White--Lit from Behind, with Scores of Glass Cells, celebrating her Wardrobe.

Not only is Joseph Cavalieri a Master of Painting on Glass, but his Mastery of the Artful Leading of the Fired Glass Pieces is also Outstanding.

He has enjoyed Residencies in various Nations, with his Workshops at MAD on Columbus Circle especially insightful.

Now, for a Brief Moment, examples of his Ingenious Imagination are on view down on First Avenue, at the Theatre for the New City Gallery.


At The Whitney Museum of American Art:



Object Theatre, Loft Performance, & The New Psychodrama--Manhattan, 1970-1980

[Closing February 2014]

Amazing that so many of the Soi Disant Artistes represented in this amusing Grab Bag of a Show are still Alive!

Some of them will even be Performing or Talking at the Whitney--where American Art of All Sorts is King--in the Coming Weeks.

In selecting the Decade of the Seventies, Curator Jay Sanders has dedicated the Various Installations to exploring--among other Performance Manifestations--the "New Psychodrama" that supposedly flourished in Various Spaces, mostly in Downtown Manhattan.

Thus, he does not have to deal with "Happenings," whether at the Judson Memorial Church or even up at the Guggenheim, which was then desperate to be Trendy.

Also deftly avoided are the Anarchies of The Living Theatre & the Grotesqueries of the Theatre of the Ridiculous.

Still, some Big Names in this Visual Survey--such as Robert Wilson & Richard Foreman--certainly had their Roots in the Turbulent Sixties.

Foreman & Wilson are still Operational--Wilson will soon be working with Marina Abramowics [sp?] over at the Park Avenue Armory--so their Psychodrama is not longer so very New.

Thanks to the Miracle of Video--as well as what Psycho Dramatic Germans call Schmall Film--it is possible to witness Fragments or Entirenesses of Distinctive Performances.

Lots of Kinky Props are also on view: be careful not to step over the Black Tapes on the Whitney's Poured Concrete Floor, as you might brush up against some Old Gym Shoes!

Fortunately, most of these Performance Mavens mapped out their Psychotic Adventures, so there are Reams of Notes & Sheets of Sketches!

The Façade of The Squat Theatre has been re imagined for this show…

Among the Loft Luminaries are Erika Beckman, Laurie Anderson, Mike Kelley, Jill Kroesen, John Zorn, Jack Smith & Michael Smith, Jared Bark, Julia Heyward, Ralston Farina, Vito Acconci, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, & one of my Favorites, Theodora Skipitares, often welcomed by Ellen Stewart at LaMaMa.




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