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GLENN LONEY'S MUSEUM NOTES
February, 2015 RAMBLES ROUND MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, INSTALLATIONS, & AUCTIONS
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
On Its 70th Anniversary, WORLD WAR II Comes Back To Life at Bonhams: Enola Gay Anyone? *
At AMNH—The American Museum of Natural History: LIFE AT THE LIMITS: Stories of Amazing Species *
At The Brooklyn Museum of Art: BASQUIAT: The Unknown Notebooks *
At The Bard Graduate Center Gallery: FASHIONING THE BODY: An Intimate History of the Silhouette *
THE INTERFACE EXPERIENCE: Forty Years of Personal Computing *
At The Galerie St. Etienne: LEONARD BASKIN: Wunderkammer *
At The Jewish Museum: REVOLUTION OF THE EYE: Modern Art &The Birth of American Television *
Also at the Jewish Museum: REPETITION & DIFFERENCE *
At LCLPA—The Lincoln Center Library for The Performing Arts: SINATRA: An American Icon *
Harlem is… THEATER: 1821 to NOW *
At MMA—The Metropolitan Museum of Art: THE PLAINS INDIANS: Artists of Earth & Sky *
At MCNY—The Museum of the City of New York: SAVING PLACE: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks *
At MoMA—The Museum of Modern Art: SCENES FOR A NEW HERITAGE: Contemporary Art from The Collection *
At The Neue Galerie: GUSTAV KLIMT & ADELE BLOCH BAUER: The Woman in Gold *
At WMAA—The Whitney Museum of American Art: PLAY IT ON YOUR RENZO PIANO! *
On Its 70th Anniversary, WORLD WAR II Comes Back To Life at Bonhams: Enola Gay Anyone?
Not only was the Working Press invited to inspect Major Memorials of World War II—both in the European Theatre [EUCOM] & in the Far Eastern Theatre [FECOM]—but it also could talk to some of the Survivors of that World Shaking/World Shattering Conflict.
The Largest Cluster of TV Cameras was gathered around the Robert Lewis Collection for First Hand Recollections: Lewis was the Co Pilot of the Enola Gay, the B 29 Bomber that dropped the First Atomic Bomb: on Hiroshima…
The Actual Enola Gay is Not on Sale—being Preserved somewhere down in DC—but a Pair of Lewis' Log Books—which record every day that he flew—are estimated at $150,000 to $200,000.
There's also a 48 Star US Flag, flown from LCI 510, the Landing Craft that hit Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944, now known as D Day.
Here's the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, signed on Tokyo Bay way back in 2 September 1945.
Actually, this is Not the Original, but a Copy given to Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, Special Advisor to President Harry Truman, with Initials on the Cover!
There are more Battle Flags—Japanese, German, UK, Anzac, US—than you can shake a Swagger Stick at…
Seeing all these Battle Scarred Trophies, I was reminded of How I Spent My War: way up in Grass Valley [CA], we were planting Victory Gardens & Saving Scrap to Shoot at the Japs.
The Unfortunate American Born Japanese were—just like their Old Country Parents—speedily removed from their Homes, Shops, & Farms all around the Great State of California to be "Relocated " to such Holding Areas as the Santa Anita Racetrack or the Wilds of the Pacific Northwest.
Just as Speedily, all those Homes, Shops, & Farms were rapidly taken over by Decent, Honest, Hard Working, Christian Americans—who had never liked having either Japanese or Chinese Immigrants living virtually in Their Backyards.
When WWII came to a Victorious End, few of the Displaced Japanese were able to Reclaim their Homes, Shops, & Farms…
At AMNH—The American Museum of Natural History: LIFE AT THE LIMITS: Stories of Amazing Species
[Closing 3 January 2016]
How about a Giant Dung Beetle?
Or a Monstrous Dragon Fly?
From the Far Oversized to the Almost Infinitesimal—including Primates & Insects—here are some Amazing & Astounding Models, Videos, & Phun Phacts for All Ages about Our Lesser Friends on Planet Earth.
So you thought you knew All About Owls? Guess Again!
Here's an Owl Skull, as well as a Woodpecker Skull!
Now—Thanks to the Internet, Facebook, & Twitter—you can learn All You Need to Know about this Dynamically Designed Interactive Exhibition over on Central Park West.
So why try to describe in Mere Words what you can already experience Vicariously & Vividly or Hands On?
In fact, this Cutting Edge/Life at the Edge/Species Survey is so Ingeniously Interfolded that it's rather like a Baroque Maze, cramming So Much into such Limited Space.
Ordinarily, at a Press Preview, only Certified Adults are admitted, but this Press Op was crowded with Kidz—of All Agez—having a Great Time with the Vestigial Videos.
Yes! There is a LIFE AT THE LIMITS Themed Boutique! Yes, There are T Shirts!
But do you really want a Dung Beetle—Life Sized or Grotesquely Gigantic?
Well, Why Not?
At The Brooklyn Museum of Art: BASQUIAT: The Unknown Notebooks
[Closing 23 August 2015]
What We've All Been Waiting For! Ripped Out Pages of Old Composition Books…
Up in Heaven—or in Paradise, take your pick!—Jean Michel Basquiat must be having a Really Good Laugh…
Who would have thought that all those Torn Out Pages would have now acquired the Hallowed Status of Works of Art?
Fortunately, there are some Iconic Images of Vintage Basquiat Graffiti to add a Bit of Color to the Long, Long Display Cases, filled with Endless Pages of Vintage Scribbles.
There weren't, however, enough Basquiat Composition Books to flesh out a Full Basquiat Gallery Exhibition—as Kehind Wiley has done so brilliantly Upstairs in the Rotunda
So, what should have provided even more Basquiat Revelations ends abruptly at the Intervening Staircase of the Shapiro Wing, with a Basquiat Shop just beyond the Closed Off Continuation Gallery.
This Basquiat Boutique features Basquiat Roller Blade Boards, Basquiat T Shirts, as well as Framed & Matted Basquiat Iconic Images!
Dieter Buchhart is the Independent Curator & Basquiat Scholar responsible for this Strange Show, which even had a Press Preview Walk Through to explain what we were Looking At…
Nonetheless, My Favorite Memory of Jean Michel Basquiat is seeing him Many a Sunday—with Andy Warhol—rummaging through the Trash Barrel on The Street Where I Live.
At The Bard Graduate Center Gallery: FASHIONING THE BODY: An Intimate History of the Silhouette
[Closing 26 July 2015]
Talk About Wasp Waists & Hourglass Figures! Torture Devices or Beauty Enhancements?
Confronted with an Historical Selection of Puffy Bras & Butt Bolsters at the Bard Gallery, I realized that Big Bosoms are really Not My Thing.
For that matter, it's exhausting enough to think of Busy Women Bustling About, without their also having to wear Big Rump Bustles.
The Profusion of Mechanical Devices & Crinoline Cages that are now on display over at Bard, should make you eternally grateful for Casual Fridays!
The Stiffness & Rigidity of the Panniered Gowns worn by the Grandes Demoiselles of the 18th Century French Court guaranteed that they were almost Immobile: Objects to Behold & Admire—even to Envy, especially if they were Close to the King
What's readily apparent—whether in France, England, or America, especially in the 18th Century & the 19th Century—is that the Actual Forms of Fashionable Women were often Twisted, Tormented, Negated, Disguised, & Denied.
Yes, the Fabrics—Silks, Brocades, Damasks, Virtual Tapestries—as well as the Decorative Fripperies were Rich & Handsome.
But the Unfortunate Women inside these Cloth Cages were Trapped, even Imprisoned…
Having just returned from Sa'udi Arabia, where the Women, Wives, Mothers, & Daughters are Shrouded in Black & confined to their Homes, I was struck by the Need of Men to Control Their Women though the ways in which they are Dressed.
Bound Feet in China come also to mind, but at least those Ming Ladies had Lovely Shoes…
Having long ago studied Costume Design & Pattern Drafting at Stanford University, I do know how to cut Fabric for a Free Flowing Watteau Sack, which was an 18th Century Design that was not Confining & Restrictive.
A Bard Bonus is the Colorful Riot of Period Costumes shown on Monitors.
THE INTERFACE EXPERIENCE: Forty Years of Personal Computing
[Closing 19 July 2015]
Remember how Clunky those first Cell Phones looked?
Here's a chance to look at some Clunky Computers!
How about this 1983 Edition of the GRiD Compass 1109?
From far off 1997, we have the Palm Pilot Professional!
Yes, we also have a 2010 iPad, as well as a Macintosh Plus from 1986, but this Challenging Exhibition is not really so much about Hardware & Software as it is about How They Have Impacted on Our Lives.
What would our Workdays be like if we were still pounding away at that Corona, Olivetti, or Adler?
At The Galerie St. Etienne: LEONARD BASKIN: Wunderkammer
[Closing 2 July 2015]
There are no Unicorn Horns on view in the Wide Ranging Leonard Baskin Celebration at the Galerie St. Etienne…
Nonetheless, Baskin was an Avid Collector of Natural & Man Made Odds & Ends—somewhat similar to the Historic Collectibles that Ended Up in the Wunderkammer of the Prince Cardinal Archbishop of Salzburg.
This Earthly Prince & Heavenly Portal proudly displayed his Unicorn Horns. In fact, you can still see them if you go to the Salzburg Festival this summer!
What Cardinal Sigismund did not know was that those Long Spiral Shanked Ivory Shafts were not Unicorn Horns at all!
No, Indeed! They were Narwhal Tusks…
When was the Last Time you saw a Narwhal Tusk, let alone an Actual Narwhal?
Leonard Baskin's Random Collectibles don't include any Narwhal Tusks, but they are nonetheless Fascinating, not only because they tell us something about what Caught His Eye, but also because he Replicated Repeatedly in some Arresting Artworks now on view.
This Wunderkammer Retrospective is indeed a Chamber of Wonders, for it provides a Sequential Survey of Baskin's Development/Evolution as an Artist, freed from the Arts Isms that infected much of Post War Arts Activity in the United States.
In fact, Baskin actually fled the US, settling in Devon, near the Author/Poet Ted Hughes, the Inventor of Orghast, the Untranslatable Language used by Peter Brook in his Memorable Production of Orghast at Persepolis…
At Galerie St. Etienne, you will be able to Marvel at Baskin's Brutal Bronzes, as well as at his sometimes Tormented Self Portraits.
But, to really get to know Baskin—both as Man & Artist—you will want to See His Show at Jane Kallir's Galerie St. Etienne, as well as reading her Excellent Essay, available both On Line & in The Gallery.
Google or click on http://www.gseart.com…
That's a Lot of Key Strokes, so why not just Google?
Just down 57th Street from Galerie St. Etienne at Marlborough:
Wunderkammer Alert! Manuel Franquelo's Things in a Room
[Closing 16 May 2015]
Here are Six Separate Sections of Wondrous Wunderkammers.
Each Modern Day Wunderkammer looks like an Actual 3D Display.
But They Are Not!
Franquelo has somehow Reversed 3D Printing to Flatten Out his Odd Collections of 3D Objects
Actually, he has Programed a Lucida 3D Laser Scanner to Do His Bidding!
Franquelo's Things in a Room has/have to be Seen to Be Believed.
At The Jewish Museum: REVOLUTION OF THE EYE: Modern Art &The Birth of American Television
[Closing 20 September 2015]
You won't need to wear Dark Glasses in the Ground Floor Galleries of the Jewish Museum.
Its various Nooks & Crannies are crammed with Vintage TV Memorabilia, as well as with Video Screens—large & small—on which you can once again See Your Favorites from the Golden Years of Television.
Years ago, there was an Interesting & Controversial book about How The Jews Invented Hollywood—which they effectually had, in fact, done.
From the Factual & Photographic Testimonies here on display, this might also be said of Those Titans who developed the Networks & designed the Programming, creating Characters, Series, Stars, Logos, & Visual Brands galore.
But the Central Focus is not about Celebrating Jewish Genius & Ingenuity!
No, Indeed! Instead, it's all about Modern Art & its Influence on American TV.
TV Haters may well think that most that's Seen on the Screen is Visual Junk or Endless Housewives of Wherever USA.
If so, that was Not Always So.
In its Beginnings, American Television—in both Inspiration & Design—ingeniously adapted the Arts Ideas & Images of such Modern Arts Greats as Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Georgia O'Keeffe, Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, & the Ubiquitous Andy Warhol.
So: Here's Andy!
A Lot of Andy—including the Headless Warhol, his Andy Head lying on the Floor, still Talking…
The Ubiquitous Talk Show Host, Ed Sullivan, once again Parades His Celebrities across the Black & White Screen.
This is Not About Ed Sullivan Being Jewish: he was of Ostensibly Irish Descent…
Rather, the Vintage Clips are intended to remind us how Ed & His Crew used Ideas of Modernity to Jazz Up what could have become a Brain Deadening Routine.
Ernie Kovaks certainly earns Pride of Place as an Arts Innovator, although some did regard his Nairobi Trio as being Potentially Racist.
Even Cartoon Characters are featured, but you aren't supposed to Photograph Any Batman Footage…
I thought I even saw—not a Pussy Cat—but Howdy Doody over in a corner…
Most of my Colleagues seemed delighted to Encounter Old Friends on TV Monitors, but much of this was Lost on Me, because My Mother—when TV was only in its Infancy—had decided that Television, like Movies & Live Theatre, was Evil: Not To Be Watched!
Living & Teaching Abroad in the 1950s, I also missed some Important Arts Developments in TV Broadcasting.
On my Return Stateside, I was either Teaching Nights at Brooklyn College or reviewing Broadway Plays.
Which has More Dramatic Appeal: Ed Sullivan or Eugene O'Neill?
Revolution of the Eye is not Focused on Ed!
Here's Rod Serling! There's Saul Bass & Ben Shahn!
Also at the Jewish Museum: REPETITION & DIFFERENCE
[Closing 9 August 2015]
Andy Warhol certainly Takes the Cake for creating Replications & Multiples.
Most of the Contemporary Artists in this show are Widely Unknown, but they are also Somewhat Warholian, having Replicated Hanukkah Lamps, Mezuzot, Skullcaps, Torah Binders, & Tyrian Shekels…
The Outside Walls of the Repetition Galleries are Plastered With Textual Replications.
Unfortunately, the Exhibition was Closed to the Public, in order to Focus Attention on Modern Art & Network TV…
LAURIE SIMMONS: How We See
[Closing 9 August 2015]
Well, we didn't see Laurie's Visual Explorations—also Closed to the Public, in order to Focus Attention on Modern Art & Network TV.
But the Free Brochure explains that Laurie has been fascinated by the Doll Girls Subculture & High School Annual Photos.
Looking Forward to Looking at Laurie next time at the Jewish Museum…
Chantal Joffe in the Foyer—Portraits of Famous Jewish Women:
Wow! Look at what those School Kids have done with their Paints & Brushes!
Oh oh! This is not Teen Ager Outside Art at all…
Chantal Joffe—who lives & works in London—has been Commissioned by the Jewish Museum to create this Collection of Oil on Board Images of such Notable Jewish Women as Rosa Luxemburg, Alice B. Toklas, Golda Meier, Susan Sontag, Anna Freud, Hannah Arendt, & Diane Arbus.
At LCLPA—The Lincoln Center Library for The Performing Arts: SINATRA: An American Icon
[Closing 4 September 2015]
The Iconic Frank Sinatra had at least One Thing in Common with Sir Winston Churchill & George Bush: He was a devoted Amateur Painter!
In fact, his Painters Studio Corner has been reproduced in this wide ranging Lincoln Center Exhibition.
Sinatra seems to have favored Clowns as Subject Matter, just as he favored Jack Daniels as his On Stage Beverage of Choice.
Not only have the Archives of Capitol Records been pried open for Signature Sinatra Souvenirs, but Hollywood Vaults & Sinatra Family Archives have all yielded up Treasures.
Yes, there are Sinatra Career Time Line Panels.
Yes, there are both Audio & Video Terminals.
Yes, there are Movie Posters galore, not to overlook all those Albums & Awards…
You can even take a Selfie with Sinatra & Yourself!
For the Gala Opening of this Tightly Packed but Deftly Organized Show, Celebrities were able to don Signature Sinatra Black Fedoras, as well as Sinatra Formal Attire, drinking from Sinatra Glasses.
The Press Preview was overloaded with TV Cameras, so Surveys of the Show have already been shown on Network & Cable.
If you Google the Lincoln Center Library of Performing Arts or SINATRA, you will surely see many of the Collectible Items on display.
What you will not see are the Fingernail Parings of the Five Year Old Frank…
But the Sinatra Family seems to have saved almost everything else.
Nancy & Frank Jr have been Good Stewards of their Fabulous Father's Fame.
The Kid from Hoboken came a very long way from Downscale New Jersey…
Harlem is… THEATER: 1821 to NOW
[Closing 2 May 2015]
Presented on Vertical Panels, Harlem is… THEATER: 1821 to NOW takes us on an Uptown Trip, celebrating such Seminal African American Theatre Projects as the Faison Firehouse Theatre, Blackberry Productions, & the New Federal Theatre.
Oddly Absent is the once much admired NEC or Negro Ensemble Company of Douglas Turner Ward & Bobby Hooks…
But the NEC was first founded in the East Village—far off from Harlem—on the Corner of Second Avenue & St Marks Place.
Way back in 1821, Harlem was still occupied by the Descendents of Prosperous Dutch Settlers, so the African Grove Theatre—with its Amazing Shakespearean Star, Ira Aldrich, had to be Way Down Town.
But Aldrich was never invited nor allowed to play Shakespeare on any of Manhattan's Whites Only Stages.
Instead, this Imposing Black Actor made an Outstanding Career in England & on The Continent.
Ira Aldrich lies buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Polish Lodz, where he died en route to Petersburg to perform for the Tsar of All the Russias.
Members of Polish Actors Equity still place a fresh White Carnation every day on his Grave Monument.
Of course, when I was in Lodz to report on both its Opera & its Theatres, I made a point of going to the Cemetery to photograph that Monument for INFOTOGRAPHY™.
At MMA—The Metropolitan Museum of Art: THE PLAINS INDIANS: Artists of Earth & Sky
[Closing 10 May 2015]
Raiding some 81 Institutions at home & abroad—including France & Switzerland—the Met Museum has assembled a Wide Ranging Historical Survey of American Plains Indians Artworks.
The American Museum of Natural History should be Green with Envy!
How about a Cured Leather Buffalo Skin decorated with Famous Battles?
How about a Skin showing the Death of Sitting Bull?
Fortunately, Shiny Plastic Sequins were not among the Tradeable Goodies foisted off on Plains Indians Womenfolk—"Squaw " is now a No No—but White Traders did do a Good Business in Colored Glass & Ceramic Beads.
Some of the Beadwork on view is not only Colorful, but also of Intricate Design or of Historical Significance.
A Head & Neck Horse Cover even features Beaded American Flag Images!
Failing Commercial Beads or Home Fired Clays, some Indian Craftsmen & Craftswomen found that Colored Porcupine Quills could be even more Interesting on Moccasins or Jackets.
Both Ritual/Ceremonial Objects & Souvenir Trade Collectibles are on view.
For More Information & Dazzling Indian Images, you can Google Plains Indians or go directly to the Met Museum Website.
The way Technologies are Developing Digitally, it is already possible to Visit the Met Online, but that is No Substitute for actually seeing these Remarkable Indian Artifacts up close.
At MCNY—The Museum of the City of New York: SAVING PLACE: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks
[Closing 13 September 2016]
Not To Be Missed!
School Kids, Art Historians, Golden Agers, Rapacious Developers, Mayor Di Blasio, & Ordinary New Yorkers: All Ought To See & Study this Fascinating Survey of What Has Been Lost—as well as What We Have Saved.
I say We because I have spent many hours down at the Board of Estimate & Elsewhere—along with Dedicated Colleagues from the Municipal Art Society, the New York Art Deco Society, as well as the National Trust for Historic Preservation & the World Monument Fund—trying to Save Our Local Architectural Heritage.
This is a Floor Filling Array of Vintage Photos, Building Models, Chunks of Art Deco Ceramics, Dense Documentation, & Provocative Propaganda, all in Service of Heightening Awareness, even as Hungry Builders & Potential Renters are Lurking Around the Corner…
Here's Penn Station being Torn Apart!
There's Grand Central Under Threat…
How about that Red Tower they were going to build over Carnegie Hall?
Rather than Catalogue or Describe all the Famous—even Infamous—New York Landmarks included in this Wide Ranging Exploration, why not Click on the Museum Website & See for Yourself?
Better Still! Go See the Show!
At MoMA—The Museum of Modern Art: SCENES FOR A NEW HERITAGE: Contemporary Art from The Collection
[Closing March 2016]
OK. It's like this: MoMA has a Lot of Artworks that have not been On View for some time.
But MoMA Curators have also managed to Lay Hands on some New Stuff, some of which still Looks Like the Old Stuff.
Nonetheless, I was gratified to see that MoMA has acquired Nalini Malani's Gamepieces, which I first saw Endlessly Revolving in a White Box Chamber in Historic Kassel at DOCUMENTA 2013.
These Transparent Plastic Cylinders—adorned with Period Images—slowly spin high in the air, with Spotlights throwing those Human/Animal/Vegetable Images on the White Walls.
Unfortunately, some of the Artist Photographs in this Year Long Show are Banal & Amateurish. One Wall even features Tall Panels of Deliberately Fuzzed Photos.
Yes, here's Murakami again, with one of those Cartoonish Monster Faces that he so favors—Three Panels Worth of Murakami!
This is called 727, which may refer to an Airplane, but actually looks like a Chinese New Year Dragon on Meds.
Oddly Interesting is Alfredo Jarr's Lament of the Images: A Big Black Box contains an Immense White Screen with Blinding White Light.
No Projections. No Videos…
Outside this Visual Void was a Light Panel—White Letters on Black Ground, lit from behind, of course—which suggested the Metaphoric Meaning of Jarr's Lament.
Microsoft's Trillionaire Founder, Bill Gates, is burying his Multi Billion Collection of Historic Print Photos deep inside Iron Mountain in Pennsylvania.
This may keep the Silver Nitrate Surfaces from corroding or vanishing entirely.
But Gates' Corbis Collections & The Bettmann Archive will never again see Light of Day.
Fortunately, Bill & Melinda have had all of the Images Digitized!
The Info Panel also notes that Gates has acquired Reproduction Rights to Major Artworks in most of the World's Major Museums.
Fortunately, none of the Actual Artworks will be buried in Iron Mountain.
The French have probably already buried the real Mona Lisa, but possibly in the Alps, rather than in Far Off Pennsylvania?
At The Neue Galerie: GUSTAV KLIMT & ADELE BLOCH BAUER: The Woman in Gold
[Closing 7 September 2015]
See Helen Mirren in The Woman in Gold at the Movies! See Die Schöne Adele at the Neue Galerie!
When Ronald Lauder purchased that Scintillatingly Golden Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer for his Gallery of German & Austrian Expressionist Art, that was the Highest Price Ever Paid for such a Stunning Modern Painting
Sales at Christie's have long since eclipsed that Golden Price Tag, but nothing recently On the Auction Block can compare with Gustav Klimt's Chromatic Tribute to one of Vienna's Great Beauties of the Jahrhundert Wende.
This Current Salute to both Adele & Gustav provides both Textual & Visual Time Lines for Artist & Subject.
Obviously, it also provides a Golden Excuse to see Golden Adele once again at the Fifth Avenue Gallery, as well as some Vintage Klimts & shimmering Jugendstil Silver from the Wiener Werkstätte.
Russian Expressionists will come along in May, but Adele & Gus will still be on hand until Autumn.
At WMAA—The Whitney Museum of American Art: PLAY IT ON YOUR RENZO PIANO!
New Whitney Opens Multi Storied Museum Mountain in Meatpacking District…
Superlatives are In Order!
Design Titan Renzo Piano has Outdone Himelf: The New Whitney, down on Gansevoort Street, cost some $422 Million.
It boasts Nine Stories, not all of which are Open to the Public.
Sited at the Downtown Entrance to the High Line, it offers Outdoor Terraces, as well as Indoor Ambulatories that echo the Outdoor Astonishments: Water Towers, Once Derelict Warehouses, Barry Diller or Frank Gehry on a Clear Day…
Every Floor, Every Elevator, Every Gallery, Even Every Water Fountain has been given Naming Rights.
The Great & Famous of New York City—as well as the Merely Rich—now have Their Names & Logos engraved or inscribed all over the Arts Areas.
But the Extraordinary Expansion of what was once Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's attempt to Draw Attention to the work of Emerging American Artists has now given the Permanent Collection a Real Sense of Permanence.
Never before have so many Iconic American Masterpieces been on view!
Yes, there's some All American Crap as well, but what would American Art be without those fabled Whitney Biennials, wherein a Pile of Random Junk is dumped on the Pristine White Whitney Floors & dignified with the Artful Appellation of an Artist Installation?
Formerly, in the Old Whitney, some Fugitive Samples from the Distinguished Permanent Collection would be on view on the Upper Floor, leaving Acres of Space on Lower Floors for the likes of Schnabel, Basquiat, or Benglis.
In fact, the Best Thing about the Old Whitney was often its Marcel Breuer Showcase…
Even Worse—at least for those who wanted to make a Selfie or Two—any time you took out your Digital Nikon or Olympus, a Stalwart Museum Guard would shout: NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS!
Or Words To That Effect…
Now, down on Gansevoort Street, Everyone was having a Photo Fest: No Holds or Shots Barred—except inside the Black Lines protecting some random Artist Installation.
But maybe this New Found Photographic Freedom was only a Function of Press Day?
Or it may be following the Free Photo Trend that's sweeping The Continent & the British Isles…
The Iconic American Artworks—Georgia O'Keeffe, Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, Sandy Calder—are handsomely displayed, as noted by Art Critic Jerry Salz of New York Magazine.
His Architect Critic Colleague, Justin Davidson, has Reservations, however, about the Piano Design.
It's not exactly a Grand Piano, although it is Very Big.
Jerry Salz suggests that this Overgrown Piano Nobile could be a Hospital or a Pharmaceutical Company.
In its Outline, it looks rather like the Central Section of a Cargo Ship.
But what really matters is what is Inside the Good Ship Whitney.
When the Whitney moved from its MoMA Hugging Space on West 54th Street, it had only 2,000 Artworks in its Collection.
Now, the Permanent Collection boasts some 21,000 Works in Various Mediums, created by some 3,000 Artists.
No less than 600 Artworks by no less than 400 Artists—Some Living; Some Dead—are currently on view at the Bottom End of the High Line,
They are presented under the Robert Frost Inspired Generic: America Is Hard To See…
Actually—aside from Renting an Avis & taking to the Open Road—America, in its Wide Visual Variety, is not so difficult to Encompass in this Initial Whitney Installation.
Not all of these Often Iconic Artworks will remain on view. There are, after all, Four Floors of Gallery Potential…
From all those Former Slaughter Houses transformed into Trendy Upscale Eateries to the Emerging Edibles Enclaves, it is a Certainty that Reservations will indeed be Required.
Curiously, although the New Whitney provided Pages & Pages of Press Info—plus a Weighty Whitney Picture Packed Catalogue—there was No CD in the Press Kit!
One Potential Problem few seem to have bothered about is another Hurricane Sandy…
But there are what look like Brass Coins running alongside the Piano: Flood Control, one hopes!
Gansevoort is Old New Amsterdam Dutch for Goose Ford, so where once Goosey Goosey Gander was wont to wander, they will Cook Your Goose in a Former Meat Packery, which later became an S & M Basement like The Anvil.
I can hardly wait for the next Whitney Biennial! The Potential Exhibition Space having been so Exponentially Enlarged…
Will there be enough Emerging American Installationists to send the Permanent Collection back into Permanent Hiding?
Copyright © Glenn Loney 2015. No re publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, Curator's Choice." Reproduction rights please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.