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GLENN LONEY'S MUSEUM NOTES
GLENN LONEY'S JUNE, 2014 RAMBLES ROUND MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, INSTALLATIONS, & AUCTIONS
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
At Christie's Auction House: Latin American Art Works Total $17.6 Million: Fat People Artist Botero Totals $3.4 Million! *
Christie's Auction of Old Masters Racks Up Nearly $18 Million in Sales! *
Before Classic Greek Statues Were Cycladic Marbles: Sales Leaders in Antiquities Auction. *
Last Chance to Own Your Own Vermeer! Saint Praxedis Goes On the Block in London, in July *
Lavish Tiffany Lamps & Elegant Art Deco Designs Win $6 Million in Christie's 20th Century Sales! *
Special Press Preview for Historic 1958 Microchip at Christie's! *
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Black Peter Manuscript Wins $317,000; Salinger Letters Earn $185,000 *
First Impressions at Christie's in July Sale: Something Affordable for Everyone! *
At Bonhams Auction House: THE STORY OF THE 20TH CENTURY *
WORLD WAR II *
Tiffany Studios' Laburnam Lamp "Shined Brightly" at Bonhams: Sold for $425,000! *
Looking Forward to August Auction: National Gold Banknotes of California On the Block! *
At The Frick Collection: At Long Last, Upstairs/Downstairs in the Frick Mansion: How Gilded Age Robber Barons Lived! *
MEN IN ARMOR: El Greco & Pulzone, Face to Face *
At The Guggenheim Museum: UNDER THE SAME SUN: Art from Latin America Today *
ITALIAN FUTURISM 1909 1944: Reconstructing The Universe *
At MMoA--The Metropolitan Museum of Art: GARY WINOGRAND *
At The Morgan Library & Museum: MARKS OF GENIUS: Treasures from the Bodleian Library *
A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT: Spencer Finch at the Morgan *
First The Venice Biennale, Then the Whitney Biennial, & Now: The MAD Biennial! *
At MoMA--The Museum of Modern Art: SITES OF REASON: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions *
At NYHS--The New York Historical Society: MADELINE IN NEW YORK: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans *
"I LIVE. SEND HELP": 100 Years of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee *
THE WORKS: Salon Style at The New York Historical Society *
At The Whitney Museum of American Art: JEFF KOONS: A Retrospective *
As forecast in May's Arts Rambles, Joaquín Torres García's Composition TSF was the Top Winner in the 28 May 2014 Auction of Latin American Art.
His Rectangularily Segmented Composition--which features a Smiling Fish & a Geometric Sailing Ship--was bought for $1,565,000, which might have inspired National Pride in Torres García's Fellow Uruguayans.
But Colombia's Ferdando Botero--who favors Over Inflated Humans, rendered in Bronze--was also a Winner, with $1,445,000 bid for an Oil on Canvas, titled Hombre yendo a la oficina.
Rufino Tamayo's Mujer con sandia set a World Record for a Tamayo Work on Paper: $473,000.
Actually, Tamayo did better with The Frog--bought for $605,000--but then it is Not on Paper.
No, no no! This Mexican Frog was created with Oil & Sand on Canvas.
The Buyer Interest in Artworks from South of the Border is soon to be stoked by Christie's Exclusive Excursion to Mexico City & Mérida in Mid September.
Not only will Prospective Collectors visit Studios of noted Mexican Artists--Dead & Alive--but they will also stay at the Best Hotels & eat at the Best Restaurants!
Not at the Best Western, be it noted! No! Las Alcobas in Mexico DF & at Hacienda San José Cholul in Mérida.
If you are among The Select, you will find yourself walking the Very Streets--or Calles--once walked by Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera…
But, rest assured, you won't find any Bargain Kahlos in the Mercato Sábado.
If you have never heard of Caspar Netscher [1639 1684: Born in Heidelberg & Died in The Hague], you needn't feel Apologetic.
Outside the Art World, how many people can claim Personal Knowledge of His Life & Work?
Not like he was Rembrandt or Franz Hals, after all…
Nonetheless, Netscher's Woman Feeding a Parrot was sold for $5,093,000--a World Record for this Heidelberger.
Also in the Millions: Peter Breughel, the Younger, whose The Payment of Tithes fetched $1,685,000--hardly a Tithing Sum.
Breughel's much smaller Peasants in an Open Wagon was sold for a Smaller Sum: $665,000.
Compared with some Classic Heads in Christie's Antiquities Sales, the Cycladic Marble Heads were not only Very Small, but also Devoid of Eyes & Mouths, with only a Long Thin Triangle of a Nose running down their Ovoid Surfaces.
They looked a bit like Prehistoric Giacometti Faces…
Nonetheless, after Fierce Bidding, the Winner paid $485,000 for the Cycladic Marble Head Early Spedos Variety.
An Egyptian/Ptolemaic Painted Wood Mummy Portrait of a Woman was bought for $341,000.
An elegant Egyptian/Ptolemaic Bronze Cat commanded $198,000.
Even under the Ptolemaic Cleopatras, Egyptians still worshipped Cats, but they didn't know any better, as Christianity had not yet been invented.
All Told, this Auction brought in $4.6 Million, reconfirming Christie's Leading Position as Auctioneer of Antiquities.
This Very Early Vermeer is one of Only Two Vermeers still in "Private Hands."
Most of the Vermeers are in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum--which has, on occasion, lent them to the Met.
The Portrait of this Lady Saint is the Earliest Dated Vermeer, so Bids may well begin at £6 8 Million.
Saint Praxedis is only one of the Artworks up for Auction from the Collection of the Late Barbara Piasecka Johnson.
The Sales Proceeds will benefit the Good Works of the Barbara Piasecka Johnson Foundation.
Seniors & even Boomers may remember the Legal Kerfluffels when the Fabulously Rich but Anciently Aged Johnson & Johnson Tycoon left His Estate to the Polish Nurse who had so lovingly Cared for Him.
Well, Kids! Had you taken the time to get over to New Jersey more often--with Flowers & Expressions of Love--you might have had this Rare Vermeer in your own "Private Hands."
Huguette M. Clark's Left Behind Possessions Achieve Over $70 Million at Christie's
Soon To Provide Funding for a Charitable Foundation Devoted To Arts & Culture!
Senator William Andrews Clark's Little Girl, Huguette--who learned to play the Violin on a Stradivarius her Dad bought for her--was recently called a Prisoner of a Dollhouse by the Wall Street Journal.
Two new Huguette Biographies--as well as the Fabulous Auction Sales--have put the Clark Fortune & Huguette's Elaborate Eccentricities back, however briefly, In the News.
One is called The Phantom of Fifth Avenue, by Meryl Gordon [Grand Central, $28]; the other is Empty Mansions, by Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell, Jr. [Ballantine, $17].
One of those Empty Mansions was, in fact, a Cliff Top Estate in Santa Barbara. It was always Fully Staffed, but she never visited it after 1953.
Fearing a Nuclear Attack on Manhattan, she bought an Estate in New Canaan, CT, which she named Le Beau Chateau. But she never lived there…
In addition to the Clark Family Mansion on Upper Fifth Avenue--with a Bell Tower, Five Art Galleries, a Swimming Pool, & a Full Time Organist--Huguette later acquired a Fifth Avenue Apartment for her Doll Collection.
There were some 1,200 Dolls, dressed by Dior & Chanel, sitting in High Backed Chairs.
There were also Custom Made Dollhouses--costing as much as $80,000--designed as Castles or Chateaux, with Handmade Furniture & Landscaping.
On some Social Occasions, Huguette would take one of her Dolls as her Escort…
Senator Clark--a Self Made Man, if there ever was one--was a Poor Boy who Went Out West & became a Copper Baron. He even bought a Barren Patch of Desert in Nevada, which became Las Vegas.
He was the Second Richest American, after John D. Rockefeller. When he died, the Clark Fortune was estimated at some $3.4 Billion, adjusted to Current Values.
Yet, when Huguette herself died--at Age 104--she had been living as a Recluse in Beth Israel Medical Center for Twenty Years, watching The Flintstones in her own Suite.
Eventually, she had four or five Strads, handsome handcrafted Harps, Matisses, Manets, Renoirs, Antique Furniture, Fine Jewels…
Huguette Clark became an excellent Painter, favoring Japanese Themes.
So: Huguette's Jewels brought $20,849,000; her Impressionist Paintings achieved $40,927,000--with $27 Million bid for a Monet, but the Clark Family Treasures were sold for only $8.5 Million.
Huguette's Own Paintings--never before sold either at Auction or in Galleries--were sold for $142,625. All Seventeen of Them, even though she surely would not have aspired to be a Paid Painter.
Huguette's John Singer Sargent Girl Fishing won $4,309,000…
If you have any Tiffany Lamps or even one of those Heavily Leaded Stained Glass Tiffany Lamp Shades in the Attic, take it to Christie's!
A Tiffany's Wisteria Lamp just achieved $437,000!
Jean Dunand's 1930 Console Table won $245,000, which demonstrates once again that Art Deco Is Not Dead!
This is the Prototype used in the Nobel Prize Winning Invention designed by Texas Instrument's Jack Kilby. Low Bid Estimate: $1 2 Million…
A World Record was also set for the First American Edition of Herman Melville's Moby Dick, or, The Whale. It was bought for $118,750. Less than JD's Letters to a Young Woman…
When you read about the Multi Million Dollar Sales at Christie's, you could be forgiven for thinking that you could Never Bid in a Christie's Auction.
Of course, if you Live In or are just Visiting Manhattan, you are always Welcome at Christie's in Rock Center.
You can see Museum Quality Artworks completely Free, unlike the Hefty Entry Fees at the Met Museum & MoMA
But on 15 16 July, you can Bid on a Collectible Print or Multiple for as little as $400!
Suggested Opening Bid for the Top Lot is $70,000, but Bidding can begin much Lower Down for some Handsome Prints.
Cy Twombley's Roman Notes V, however, is estimated at $30,000 $50,000.
But then it is, after all, an Offset Colored Lithograph from Cy's Roman Notes Series…
California Dreamer Wayne Theibaud's Hill Street is targeted between $12,000 $18,000.
If you can get it for a Low Bid, you certainly won't be singing The Hill Street Blues.
Hey! Did you know that you can buy a Handsome & Collectible Watch at Christie's at any time: No Bidding. No Auctions.
[Auction Date: 4 June 2014]
The True Story of the Twentieth Century will probably never be Completely Known, but some Significant Examples of its Historical Artifacts were On Sale in Early June at Bonhams Manhattan.
As Displayed & variously Deployed in reflecting Glass Cases--whose Glare didn't help--some were literally Closed Books, while Others seemed to be merely Piles of Papers, with Explanatory Labels.
But, even if much of this Material was of Archival or Museum Quality, Bonhams is Not a Museum, with Artful Curatorial Displays.
For Potential Buyers, of course, Staff Members are always eager to Unlock the Cases & provide Closer Looks.
Also--unlike Museums like the Met or MoMA--Bonhams does not Charge Admission.
If you were interested in inspecting the Paintings, Sculptures, Books, Manuscripts, Battle Flags, or Uniforms on offer, you were welcome to do so.
But if you would like to experience The Story of the 20th Century in something more like a Museum Format, then you will want to have a copy of the Handsome Catalogue!
It costs $35 & you can order a copy at www.bonhams.com.
But be Careful when Ordering: you might find yourself actually Bidding on an Autograph Letter from Albert Einstein.
At a Casual Glance--looking over the Varied Lots on offer--you might well think that the 20th Century was all about Men & What Men Thought & What Men Did.
Like Make Wars, Sign Peace Treaties, Devise Computers, Enable the Internet…
Early in the 20th Century, here are the Wright Brothers, with Photos of that Kitty Hawk Success & Letters as well.
How about being Up in the Air in a German Zeppelin?
Here's a Section of the Infrastructure of the great Graf Hindenburg Zeppelin that exploded over New Jersey!
Plus a Photo of the Zeppelin in Flames!
Whatever became of all that Carry On Baggage?
But the World of Literature is Not Neglected: How about an Inscribed Photo of Robert Frost?
Or all Seven of TE Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom--with a Commanding Portrait of Lawrence of Arabia.
Here's an Oz Book; Ezra Pound's Seventy Cantos; hilarious drawings by Dr. Seuss; Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, recording the Thought of Chairman Mao.
Autograph Letters from "Bill" Faulkner & Other Literary Luminaries, as well as John Steinbeck's Manuscript for Sweet Thursday.
This is a Novel my Mother's Family detested because it depicts the Monterey County Sheriff as Something of a Villain.
Although Steinbeck occasionally used the Real Names of Residents of the Salinas Valley--Adam Trask, in East of Eden, was once a Reality--more often he Changed Their Names.
Cousin Carl Abbott was the County Sheriff & he harassed the Bums in Sweet Thursday, as well as Madame Flora's Girls, in Cannery Row…
But in Death? Cousin Carl & Cousin Bertha are buried together in a Plot only a few paces from the Hamilton Family Plot, where Steinbeck is interred.
Sale Results: All Told & Totaled: $1.6 Million…
The Top Lot was the Collection of Futurist/Suprematist/Art Deco ish Intricately Detailed Colored Drawings of Yakov Chemikhov, who was one of those Russki Artists who did their Best Work before Stalin condemned Modernity, in favor of Socialist Realism.
Someone bid $425,000 for the Chemikhov Trove, with a bid of $173,000 for the Chemikhov Archive, including drawings inspired by Angkor Wat, Aztec, & Mayan Ruins.
Alan Turing's Computer Science Publication First Edition: On Computable Numbers was bought for $50,000.
Two of Steve Jobs' Original Signs for the Apple HQ in Cupertino, CA, were sold for $28,000.
[Auction Date: 5 June 2014]
Those who actually lived through the Second World War--but who were unable to get over to Bonhams, before all these Archival Treasures were Auctioned Off--will surely find the Handsome Catalogue [$35] an Effective Reminder of What It Took to Defeat the Nazis & the Japs.
Yes, we did call them The Japs!
Comic Book Heroes even called them Japanazis--conflating the Names of Our Two Enemies.
Mussolini's Fascist Troops didn't really Count because every one knew that the Italians were really Lovers, Not Fighters.
Or: Adoremus Non Pugnamos, as the Allies phrased it…
Oddly enough, although there are enough Swastikas to please any Neo Nazi Collector, there are far more Rising Sun Banners.
During World War II, we all thought that we'd Hang both Emperor Hirohito & Admiral Tojo when we had Won.
Whatever happened to That Plan?
General Douglas MacArthur Happened. He saved Hirohito, understanding the Importance of returning a Shattered Japan to a Semblance of Order.
So here are Photos & Autographs & Insignia of General MacArthur, as well as of General George S. Patton & Other Allied Warlords.
The Transcripts of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials are here, with Death Sentences for Hermann Goering--who Cheated Death with a Concealed Capsule--as well as other Nazi Monsters.
How about a Battered Chunk of the Actual Plane that Rudolf Hess crashed in Scotland, on a Doomed Mission to Seek Peace?
Top Secret Invasion Plans for Omaha Beach?
Sale Results: All Told & Totaled: $1.5 Million…
Someone now owns that Chunk of Rudolf Hess's Shot Down Messerschmitt, recovered after Hess fled to Scotland to seek an End to Nazi Craziness.
This Anonymous Collector paid $8,125 for that bit of World War II Memorabilia.
But General George Patton's 3rd Army Personal Guidon was acquired for $37,500.
Aha! Another of those 3rd Army Guidons, plus Three Frames of Patton's Medal, Ribbons, & Insignia won $50,000.
As for the Pacific Theatre of the Second World War, an Imperial Letter, signed by Emperor Hirohito, brought $15,000.
Two Harry S. Truman Signings, however, fetched Much More:
Winning Bidders paid $72,100 for President Truman's Signed Announcement of the Bombing of Hiroshima & $21,250 for President Truman's Signed Announcement of the Surrender of Japan.
We were going to Hang Hirohito, but That Didn't Work Out…
But how about the Flight Log of the Enola Gay, the Plane that Dropped the Bomb?
Somebody dropped $86,500 for that Historic Journal, much, much more than Hirohito's Signature was worth.
As for Nazi Secrets, that rare ENIGMA Three Rotor Enciphering Machine that Bonhams had in its Madison Avenue Show Window? On the Block for $92,500!
But the Enigma Code Book sold for $146,500!
Without the Code Book, how would you know How to Encipher?
The famed Norden Bombsight went for only $3,750…
Over at Christie's, a Tiffany Studio's Wisteria Lamp just achieved $437,000!
So, it's a Toss Up where you will have your Tiffany Lamps auctioned when you really Need Cash!
The First National Bank of Stockton, CA, could hardly have issued these Rare Notes, had it not been for the California Gold Rush of 1848/9.
Before there was Free Silver, we were on the Gold Standard!
Stockton, in fact, is not far from Sutter's Mill, where Gold was Discovered in 1848.
For that matter, Stockton is not far from where I grew up, Grass Valley, CA: the Heart of the Northern Mines, where my Grandfather, Thomas Loney, was an Amalgamator for the North Star Mines.
Henry Clay Frick always wanted to share his Fabulous Old Masters & French Impressionists with the General Public.
He also wanted to let Ordinary Folks have a Peek at the way Barons of The Gilded Age actually lived.
But, as long as Helen Clay Frick was still Alive--using the Family Quarters on the Second Floor, when in Town--it was not possible for Anyone but Staff to ascend that Handsome Stairway or even have a Close Look at both of the Organ Manuals.
Once, during an Organ Concert, I was given a glance at the Upper Floor Elegance…
The Frick is not only planning to open the Second Floor to Visitors, but also to add a New Addition, consistent with the Historic Architecture.
There were once Three Townhouses adjacent to the Frick, but they were demolished to make way for that Enclosed Garden.
It's almost a Secret Garden because--although you can see it through the Heavily Barred Fence on East 70th Street--you cannot Enter into this Privileged Enclosure.
I don't have access to the Plans of Davis Brody Bond--who not long ago enclosed the Exterior Loggia, creating the Portico Gallery--but possibly that somewhat Secret Garden will have to go?
Late Breaking Bulletin: Heidi Rosenau, of the Frick's Media Relations Office, has just sent me the Rendering of the Future Façade of the East 70th Street Frontage!
Yes! The Garden has Got to Go!
Davis Brody Bond will also renovate the Existing Amenities, the Theatre, & the Major Galleries.
What the Public probably won't get to see is that Bowling Alley in the Frick Basement--really Downstairs--where the Children of Privilege once played.
If you go to Clayton--the Original Frick Mansion, outside Pittsburgh--you will see another Bowling Alley, as well as Helen Clay Frick's Bedroom!
El Greco Year at the Frick!
[Closing 26 October 2014]
Opening in August, El Greco's Full Length Portrait of Vincenzo Anastagi will be paired with Scipione Pulzone's Jacopo Boncompagni.
But There's Even More!
When the Met Museum opens its El Greco in New York Exhibition in November, The Frick will group all Three of its El Grecos-- Vincenzo Anastagi, St. Jerome, & Purification of the Temple--Together on One Wall!
[Closing 1 October 2014]
Contemporary Latin American Art & Artists have long been popular at Major Auction Houses, even though many Major American Museums do not yet have Latin American Galleries.
Here's a Repeat from the Christie's Report above:
"Joaquín Torres García's Composition TSF was the Top Winner in the 28 May 2014 Auction of Latin American Art.
"His Rectangularily Segmented Composition--which features a Smiling Fish & a Geometric Sailing Ship--was bought for $1,565,000, which might have inspired National Pride in Torres García's Fellow Uruguayans."
The current UBS MAP Global Art Initiative at the Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue is designed to introduce some Important & Innovative Latin American Artists to a Much Wider Public.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Rotunda is not the only Guggenheim Museum, after all!
But Joaquín Torres García is not among this Collegial Group of Comparative Youngsters--many of whom were at the Press Opening to discuss their Works & their Visions.
Gabriel Orozco [b. 1962] has already had Major Exposure at MoMA.
Not only Paintings, Sculpture, & Installations are now on view at the Guggenheim, but Innovative Videos as well.
Thanks, once again, to the Miracle of the Internet, you can go On Line & look at some of these, which saves trying to describe them in Mere Words: Guggenheim.org/MAP
You can Listen to Curators & Artists, read Blog Posts, & join in the On Line Discussion.
Because UBS is itself a Global Enterprise, its Interest in Focusing on the Art & Artists of Three Major Regions--Latin America, South & Southeast Asia, North Africa & the Middle East--is both Admirable & Understandable.
But, as the Title of this Exhibition suggests--Under the Same Sun--neither the Artists nor the Nations they represent are in any way The Same.
The Range & Variety of Inspiration is dazzling!
You may have thought that Colored Slides in Carousels & Slide Shows were a Thing of the Past?
How about a Gallery filled with Slide Projectors & Carousels, but projecting Nothing but White Light--on a Randomly Sited Gaggle of Screen Surfaces?
This could suggest Censorship under Brutal Dictatorships. Or it might also imply that We--in the North--know almost Nothing about our Neighbors to the South?
That those Blank Screens are a Visible Metaphor for our Collective Tabula Rasa…
Among the Sunny Southern Sun Nations included in this Show are Peru, Uruguay, Guatemala, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, & Venezuela.
Closer to Home are Cuba, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, & Mexico.
Some of the Artworks connect directly with the Social & the Political.
Not just the Colonial Influences of Spain & Portugal, but also the US Monroe Doctrined Influences & Incursions.
Rivane Neuenschwander has mounted a Five Shelved Rack of Picture Postcards: Mapa Mundi/BR (Postal).
You are welcome to choose one of them for your Own Collection, but they are not really Tourist Views.
One of My Favorite Art Inventions is Marta Minujin's Statue of Liberty Laid Down (with Public Watching).
But Look! Here's Gabriel Orozco with Piñanona.
How about Wilfred Prieto's Yes/No? This Installation consists of Two Electric Fans Standing Tall, wafting Air about the Gallery.
When I saw that Giant Supermarket Shopping Cart made of Fluorescent Tubes, I thought immediately of Dan Flavin.
Others did as well, but this is actually an Invention of Iván Navarro: Homeless Lamp, the Juice Sucker, complete with Accompanying Video!
It was announced at the Press Conference that all the Artworks on view have been Acquired by the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund.
[Closing 1 September 2014]
Would Mussolini have been Possible had there not first been Marinetti & Futurismo?
Inaugurated with the First Futurist Manifesto, Futurism was to become fascinated with Machines, Masculinity, Industrialization, Aerodynamics, Speed, Power, & War.
As launched by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, it was a Blast Against The Past for a Sterile & Impotent Italy that had only its Antiquities & its Renaissance to Celebrate.
Initially, it made its Mark through Literature & Painting, but it soon found Pregnant Outlets in Architecture, Design, Typography, & Performing Arts.
Those Bold, Bare, Modernist White Marble Arched Façades that Tourists still see around Rome are not only Monuments to Mussolini's Make Over, but also Impressive Examples of what I consider Fascist Art Deco.
This begins with Imperial Roman Architectural Forms, then Stripping Away the Caesarian Decorations.
Washington, DC, also has some Elemental Imperial Structures, but No One makes the Connection with Marinetti & Futurism. Certainly not with Benito Mussolini…
When, years ago, I was the Founder/Editor of The Art Deco News--later rechristened The Modernist, as mere Deco Design was Too Limiting--I devoted an Entire Issue to Marinetti & Futurismo.
Although those of the Press who came to the Guggenheim for the Latin American Artists were discouraged from going Up or Down the Rotunda Ramp to inspect the Paintings, Plans, Printings, & Sculptures up close, I could, nonetheless, see in the Distance a Cubist Boccioni that I had featured in The Modernist, as well as some Geometric Abstractions by Balla, Benedetta, Carrà, & Severini.
Benedetta's Speeding Motorboat is a Swirling Geometric Wonder, evoking Rapidly Expanding Waves in the Wake of the High Speed Craft which is Zooming toward the Hazy Horizon.
I regret that I cannot provide a First Hand Fuller Report, but, for some Unexplained Reason, I seemed to have Fallen Off the Guggenheim Press List, except for UBS Sponsored Events.
Thus, I also missed the previous Christopher Wool Retrospective, alas…
[Closing 21 September 2014]
If you already are a Fan of WeeGee or Diane Arbus, the Black & White Photos of Gary Winogrand--described in the Met Museum's Press Materials as an "Iconic Street Photographer"--may well seem little more than Random Snapshots of Odd Individuals or Crowded Masses, with almost No Sense of Pictorial Composition.
Nonetheless, the Met Museum has filled some Six Galleries with Winogrand Prints, Contact Sheets, Wall Texts, & even Video Screens.
Initially, I thought the Met Museum was mounting this Grand Winogrand Show because, way back in 1969, Winogrand photographed the Met on the occasion of its One Hundreth Birthday.
The Met Museum's Press Release describes these Shots as "a Famed Series of Photographs."
But No! The Exhibition Initiative began with SF MoMA, in San Francisco, & The National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC.
There is even going to be an International Tour, to reveal "…for the First Time the Full Sweep of His Career."
When Winogrand died, at Age 56, he left behind some 6,500 Rolls of Undeveloped Film--which were later Processed by MoMA's Photo Department.
The Met Museum's Press Release also notes that "…Winogrand is Widely Considered one of the Greatest Photographers of the Twentieth Century."
This is a Consideration that had Totally Escaped me, based on Repeated Viewings of His Body of Work…
But let some Black & White Images from this Grandiose Show Speak for Themselves:
[Closing 14 September 2014]
Oxford University's Bodleian Library has just sent over from England a Copy of the Magna Carta!
This one dates from 1217, so it is certainly not the Original that King John signed at Runnymede in 1215.
The Bodleian--along with other Oxford University Department Libraries--is one of the Largest Book Repositories in the World.
A Copy of Every Book Published in Britain must be deposited here.
Also, at the Stationers Office, of course, where I used to go to hunt for Obscure Tomes.
The Astounding Loans now at the Morgan cover Varied Forms of Genius spanning Two Millenia.
The Oldest Manuscript is a Papyrus Fragment of a Poem by Sappho.
But here is also the Original Dust Jacket Design for The Hobbit.
It was Forbidden--even for those of us with Press Passes--to Photograph this Artwork, for it is Copyrighted by the Tolkein Estate.
Here's Shakespeare's 1623 First Folio, with some Interesting Notes pasted into the Cover Board.
How about Manuscript Pages of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Tale?
Medieval & Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts abound: One illustrating Boccaccio's Il Filocolo--or Love's Labour--is especially Intricate.
The Young Elizabeth [later: Good Queen Bess] copied, in a Fine Handed Manuscript, Margaret of Navarre's Le mirior de l'âme péchéresse.
There is a Handsome Copy of Holbein's Portrait of Erasmus, but the Image of Sir Thomas Bodley--whose own Library was the Fundament of Oxford's Treasure House--is a tiny Miniature.
Unlike Bill Clinton--who apparently didn't Inhale when he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford--I had to take a Day Trip Bus up to Oxford for my First View of the Bodleian.
But I did buy some Books at Blackwell's Bookstore, which is a Sponsor of this Current Bibliophiliac Dream.
[Closing 11 January 2015]
When JP Morgan's Library, Office, & Morgan Mansion were finally Architecturally United by the Four Story Glass Atrium known as the Gilbert Court, this Light Flooded Space seemed to Cry Out for Site Specific Artworks, not only Aloft in all that Empty Air, but also Adorning the Vast Fenestrations.
Now, Spencer Finch follows the Lead of Mark di Suvero, Xu Bing, & Ellsworth Kelly.
Finch has been inspired by the fascinating Medieval Illuminations made to illustrate a Book of Hours for Queen Claude of France. These tiny but minutely detailed Scenes of Daily Life are currently on view in the adjacent Thaw Gallery.
Not only has Finch covered the Clear Glass Panes with Colored Films to suggest the Pages of a Contemporary Book of Hours, but he has also suspended Colored Glass Panes in the Atrium Air, refracting & reflecting the Ambient Sunlight through the Days of Summer & Autumn, but Marking Secular Holidays as well.
Sir Isaac Newton's Birthday--on 4 January 2015--will be Highlighted with Red Colored Glass, to align with the Sun's Arc across the Gilbert Court exactly at Noon on those Wintery Days.
Among Finch's Commissions are The River That Flows Both Ways, created for the High Line, & Trying To Remember the Color of the Sun on That September Morning, recalling the Death of the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001.
The Hudson River flows Both Ways?
Sure does! Tide comes in, Tide goes out…
That's the Sea; not the Soap.
At MAD--The Museum of Arts & Design: NYC MAKERS: The MAD Biennial
[Closing 12 October 2014]
It is perhaps a Good Thing that these Biennials only occur Every Two Years…
If they were Semi Annual--instead of Biennial--MAD Curators would have to be Endlessly Scouring All Five Boroughs of Greater New York City in order to discover "…Highly Skilled Individuals who apply an Outstanding Level of Workmanship to the Creation of Objects or Environments that Shape Our Everyday Lives."
Looking Over the Random Assortment of Arts Oddities that, more or less, Fill Two Floors of the Former Huntington Hartford Gallery of Art, I was struck by the Strange Similarities of Many Entries to the Pretentious Stuff we saw over at the Whitney not so long ago.
That's The Whitney, BJK, or Before Jeff Koons…
While there are, indeed, some Arresting Artisanal Artworks, I saw nothing that has Shaped My Everyday Life, alas.
But that may well be because I do not have an Everyday Life, what with running off to Press Previews at MAD, The Whitney, The Morgan, The Frick, & The Met.
Anyway, there are some--or "approximately"--100 Creations in this show, crafted by "Highly Skilled Individuals."
Among the "Featured Participants" are Laurie Anderson, Gaetano Pesce, Caroline Woolard, & The Metropolitan Opera!
Oh! Although the American Airlines has its Very Own Theatre down on Forty Deuce, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the Official Airline of MAD!
Mere Words cannot Adequately--or even Artisanally--describe the NYC Makers Makings, so why not Click on MAD's Website to have a look for yourself?
[Closing 28 September 2014]
This is, fortunately, a Small Scale Show, with Sixteen Works by Thirteen Artists, only Five of which are Titled Untitled.
That is: The Works are Untitled, not the Artists, who certainly seem to Feel Themselves Entitled.
Being Acquired by MoMA will do that to an Artist, especially when He or She is included in a Major Exhibition, however Intimate.
The Show's Title--Sites of Reason--is taken from Gertrude Stein, famous for her Reinvention of the Uses of the English Language in Print: A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose…
But this Title is from Stein's Tender Buttons, in fact.
The Curatorial Premise of this Odd Collection is that the Artworks on view "…articulate Relationships between Ideas & the Physical World, considering Image, Text, Gesture, & Voice--& Hybrids of These--as Sites of Exchange between Aesthetic, Conceptual, & Political Concerns."
For its Pristine Simplicity, my Favorite is Peter Downsborough's Ingenious Usage of Wooden Dowels.
Over in a Corner of the Gallery--by a Modernist MoMA Window--there is a Short Thin Dowel rising out of the Wooden Floor.
From the Plastered Ceiling descends a Longer Thin Dowel, not connecting with the Lower Dowel.
Downsborough's Sculptures--of which this is, apparently, an Example--are said to "…articulate Space much like a Drawn Line, calling Attention to Subtle Shifts in its Surrounding Environment as it remains Unchanged."
Well, There You Have It!
Peter Downsborough's Works have "…reframed the Viewer's Perception of Space…"
Nonetheless, he has simply Titled this Artwork: Two Poles.
At the Entrance to this Eclectic Show are Nine Sheets of Typed Text of Five Essays by Singaporean Simryn Gill.
The Curatorial Take on these Typed Sheets is: "Using the Printed Word as Source Material, the Artist often Appropriates & Transforms Text, raising Questions about Legibility & Representation."
Like Jeff Koons, Simryn Gill doesn't have to Make the Actual Artwork.
Her Concept Is Enough: So Gill hired a Typist to Type Out her Five Essays on a Manual Typewriter, Over & Over & Over.
From The Curator: "The Highly Personal, Lengthy Texts are Enormous, Densely Printed, & Virtually Indecipherable." [Caps & Hyphens added for Increased Emphasis, another Form of Artistic Appropriation…]
Simryn Gill has Titled these Densely Typed Pages: Where to draw the line…
There is some Playful Use of Typography & Numeral Types in this Show, as well as some Mirrors mounted at Various Angles, bearing the Title of: Tilt/Swing (360º field of vision, version 1).
Seth Price's Essay with Knots uses Ropes & Knots "lassoed" to tie together Translucent Panels with Texts that Appropriate some Historic Images, including one from Albrecht Dürer.
This Work also exists as a Printed Book "Available in Stores," as well as a Free PDF you can access on Seth Price's Website.
Most Colorful is/are the Series of Posters that Eve Fowler has Created, using Phrases from Gertrude Stein!
Originally, the Posters were posted around LA--on Posts & Walls, one assumes--in an Effort to Transpose Stein's Language "…from the Intimate Experience of Reading a Book onto the Direct Interaction with Advertising in The Public Realm."
How About That!
Next Step: Transposing Stein's Language "…from the Intimate Experience of Reading a Book onto a Special Apple App for Direct Interaction with Your Mobile Phone!
Well, There You Have It!
[Closing 19 October 2014]
Yes, there is Eloise, if you please, but she's a Fictive Resident of the Plaza Hotel.
This Colorful Exhibition at the New York Historical Society--only One Hyphen in that Entire Title!--celebrates Madeline, a Fictive Resident of Lugwig Bemelmans' Imagination.
In his Inimitable Style, Bemelmans imagined Madeline in Paris, in London, & in Manhattan.
Colorful Drawings from All Six of Bemelmans' Madeline Books are on display, as are Copies of the Actual Books so Kids can Read while their Parents Gawk.
Yes, there is still a Bemelmans Bar over in the Hotel Carlyle, but it was the Demise of the Ritz Hotel that aroused his Artistic Ardor.
Bemelmans' Line Drawings of the Patrons, Passions, & Privileges of the Ritz--now Long Gone--Evoke an Era.
Not only is the Bemelmans Show artfully installed, but some of His Signature Images have been integrated into the Interior Decoration.
At the Press Preview, Madeleines were served: those Precious Parisian Pastries that so aroused Marcel Proust.
In fact, Strolling through these Lively Galleries, you may have your own Remembrance of Things Past…
[Closing 21 September 2014]
The Major Eye Catcher in this Corridor Installation--which has Important Documentation of Photos, Texts, Telegrams, & Tschotschkes in Glass Cases--is a Life Sized Photo Mural, including a Ship that would take Abused European Jews to their New Home in The Holy Land, now known as Israel!
If, by some Quirk of Fate, you had survived Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen, Dachau, or Mauthausen, there was an In Gathering waiting for you in the former Province of Palestine, previously a British Mandate.
Of course, there were already Semitic Peoples living there--where their Forbears had lived for Centuries--but many of them had to Move Aside, in order to Fulfill Biblical Prophecy…
Next Year, in Tel Aviv!
[Closing 8 February 2015]
In the Vast Long Hall, where recently John James Audubon's Originals of Birds of America were on view, now the Walls are teeming--from Floor to Ceiling, in the best High Victorian Manner--with some of the Most Famous & Most Iconic Salon Paintings from The Gilded Age & Before.
They looked like Old Friends, not only because I have seen, loved, & photographed some of them a number of times before this, but also because I saw some of them down at Crystal Bridges, in Alice Walton's Fabulous Museum of American Art.
They were On Loan, while the New York Historical Society was being Reborn.
If ever the New York Historical Society desperately needs Funds, it will surely find an Avid Buyer in Alice Walton, a Wal Mart Heiress…
Just strolling along the Painting Crammed Walls, you can have a Quick Course in American History.
Here are Our Founding Father & Mother, George & Martha!
There are Puritan Pilgrims going off to Church!
Indian Chiefs? American Inventors? Blacksmiths? Horse Stables? African Americans? Autumnal Landscapes? Niagara Falls? Religious Pieties? Ordinary People? Urban Myths?
Frankly, not only because the New York Historical Society is going to have an Afternoon Bemelmans Tea on tap, School Teachers should Find an Excuse to bring All Their Classes--Repeatedly, as they Progress from Grade to Grade Upward & Onward to Brooklyn, Queens, Hunter, or Medgar Evers Colleges--to Have a Hands On Experience of New York History!
In the Ingenious Remodeling of the Museum, many Tiny Treasures have been exhumed from The Vaults to be ranged along the Foyer Walls or even buried Under Glass in the floor beneath you!
Much of NY History is now also Digitized…
The Henry Luce Fourth Floor Treasure Trove is rather like a Mini Museum, with Stacked Artifacts & Racks of Artworks on Sliding Tracks.
The Wide Ranging Documentary Film about New York City is worth the Price of Admission alone.
The Children's Museum downstairs is more fun than a Circus Side Show. You can Interact with Almost Everything!
There is also a Souvenir Packed Gift Shop, as well as a Glad Café. Forget about those Ballads of Sad Cafés…
[Closing 27 September 2014]
Yes, Billionaire Art Hoarders, this is the Last Hurrah for the Whitney Museum, at least as Marcel Breuer envisioned it.
Jeff Koons--or at least Tons of his Art Works, thanks to Major–International Gallerist Larry Gagosian--now occupies all Four Major Floors of the Whitney.
Also, thanks to Larry Gagosian, Koons' Split Rocker--that Flower Studded Sculpture now in place in Rock Center Plaza--will awe Summer Tourists who do not have to pay to see this Hatched Horse Head, whereas the Whitney is by no means Free.
This Self Serving Show will travel to the Pompidou in Paris, then onward to the Guggenheim/Bilbao, where I just saw Jeff Koons' Flower Puppy, quietly squatting outside that Frank Ghery Designed Reason to Visit Bilbao.
Yes, Art Lovers far & wide, there is an Entire Gallery filled with Vacuum Cleaners in Water Tanks, as well as those Underwater Basketballs.
One Tiny Gallery, off at one side, has a Warning Sign: Advising Parents about the inadvisability of exposing Young Children to the Huge Scale Blowup of Jeff licking Italian Porn Star Ciccolina's Labia, as well as a Blowup of Penetration…
Shocked--just So Stunningly Shocked--I shielded My Tired Old Eyes, so if there was also a Photo Blowup of a Blow Job, I did not see it.
The Galleries are organized Thematically: There is one with Witch Balls attached to what appear to be White Plaster Sculptures, some of them Copies from the Antique World.
Much of what's on view already seems like Déjà Vu: I saw that Life Sized Ceramic of Michael Jackson with his Pet Ape or Monkey at SF MoMA years & years ago.
Actually, you can learn more about Jeff Koons, His Art, & His Career from the Extended Puff Piece in Vanity Fair, where he is shown Exercising Naked, as well as In Bed with his Current Wife--he divorced Ciccolina Long, Long Ago--as well as with Hordes of His Children.
Here's a Two Page Spread of the Painting Section of Koons' Studios: a Seeming, Teeming Army--or maybe only a Battalion or Squad--of Apprentice Artists is Painting Koons' Antiquity Series.
Koons is, after all, largely a Conceptual Artist--like Damien Hirst, without the Cross Sections of Cows in Formaldehyde.
He Concieves or Designs the Concepts, then hires Expert Artisans to Fabricate Them.
Jeff Koons employs no less than 128 People in His Studios!
Oh, after Koons closes, the Whitney moves to New HQ down on the Storm Threatened Hudson River Bankside. Not at all near Public Transportation…
The Met Museum has taken an Eight Year Lease on the Breuer Building, the Better to Show its Collection of Contemporary Art, now hidden down in back, with a View of Cleopatra's Needle, encased in Wooden Scaffolding.
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