30 Wednesday Nov 2011
16 Wednesday Nov 2011
12 Saturday Nov 2011
02 Wednesday Nov 2011
30 Wednesday Nov 2011
by Bruce Matthews
24 Thursday Nov 2011
by Sally Steele
16 Wednesday Nov 2011
by Kim Steele
12 Saturday Nov 2011
by Kim Steele
02 Wednesday Nov 2011
by Sally Steele
We have celebrated The Boulevardiers raison de’tre for five years now. Founded on the French pre-occupation of strolling and window gazing in Paris, and London, and Rome. This Publisher was struck by a newly found term, found above, which is crudely translated as “window licking.” Now knowing the decorum of the French, I am convinced that they would not apply this term to their promenading in the trendy section, the Marais, of Paris, which is now the center of all that is cool, hip and expensive. The original center of the City, built in the 13th century by the Knights Templar, much has remained, avoiding destruction by City decree in 1964. The Boulevardiers strolled through this section last summer on the way to L’Orangrie and gazed covetously at the many shops, bakeries and patisseries... and could very well appreciate this phrase.
More reflective of how important this closing was than the claim that, ‘the owners let it go,’ were the results of the auction this week of items from the restaurant. The items went off the hook pricewise. The sign alone, estimated at $5-7,000 sold for $96,000! The ashtrays went for $10,000! (A fifteen-hour marathon auction!) This enthusiasm for artifacts, not only harkens back to the MAD MEN ERA, but also revered to very recently, indicates the longing for a place where the elite and the common folk, albeit New Yorker’s of means, can mingle and gawk at one another in a gorgeous setting. I had my last martini there, last fall.
This Publisher had the fortunate experience to eat there a few times, both with Time Inc. Editors, and with my parents. My Dad exclaimed…"$6.00 for carrots!" once in the POOL ROOM. I did not give it a second thought. I always coveted the chain ball curtains that lined the Grill Room windows to the outside. I intended for years to install them in my home, and even tried to source them at one point unsuccessfully. But the spirit of the restaurant was unique. There was the mention in the Metropolitan Section of the New York Times, of a conversation overheard by the Maître D' on the phone when asked to forward a message to a patron at the bar who was Indian. He inquired, Dot or Feather?
Everything about the place bespoke of power and success. The NY times recently published the seating chart of the patrons. A veritable who’s who of the publishing and financial world of the US. It did shift occasionally over the years since its opening in 1959, from various power brokers and intuitions. A number of the items were reserved for the Metropolitan Museum’s collection. This included the mid-night blue sofas designed by Philip Johnson. Martha Stewart was in attendance. She blurted out that she wished the nickel wine coasters, designed by the infamous architectural critic, Louie Huxtable, to be used at her ‘next’ wedding. A notable Saarinen Tulip table went for $36,000!
There has always been this murky history to the restaurant’s design. The renowned Mies van der Rohe designed the Seagram’s Building for the liquor magnate family, Bronfman. At that time, Philip Johnson was his assistant. Johnson claimed later to be a partner in design which has been disputed, but he was definitely involved in the design of the Four Seasons, which came a few years later.
Mr. Niccolini, the restaurant owner, who used salty language to refer to the building owner, ended the auction carrying a platter of pink cotton candy, a signature desert for the eatery, across the Pool Room upon which various patrons pulled off sections. A patron who flew up from Charleston to pick up ‘whatever’ she could proclaimed, “A place like this won’t happen again!"
Source: New York Times
Italian Fascism finally dies…with the recent death of supporter Licio Gelli. I must say I have a weakness for Fascist architecture. Visiting the Valle de los Caídos ("Valley of the Fallen"), a Catholic basilica and a monumental memorial to the dictator Francisco Franco of Spain shot chills of fear and admiration through my veins. Talk about “reductivism” at its purist, even the most libertarian minded person gasps at this monument. The scoundrel was convicted numerous times for bank fraud and embezzlement but never did hard time, due to his “health” but managed lived till 96 years of age. He personified the glorious phrase only Italians could invent, “dietrologia” which means that the widely held suspicion that behind official government narrative lurks a more sinister explanation.
His political and financial shenanigans set the bar for the unbridled greed that we see on Wall Street today.
The raking light of fall brings out the Flaneur in me, the season of Flanerie. Elaine Sciolino reminds us of the first establishment of this pastime in literature, “Tableau de Paris,” a twelve volume set of observations the gestalt the of ‘street’ in Paris. Half a century later, this sites’ figurehead, Charles Baudelaire, demarked the ‘wander-spectator’ activity as flaneur. “The crowd is his habitat, as is air for the bird or water for the fish” he quoted.
This activity is so important to the French, that Hermes created a pop-up museum on the left bank to honor its significance. The artistic director of the project, Pierre-Alexis Dumas also created an illustrated book on the subject. It’s a small single room structure with four window displays, including from the collection of a past president, Emile Hermes.
To observe yes, to interact no. The sounds, the smells and the visual jewels glistening in the shop windows- draws us to the streets of Paris, or London or our favorite ville, Roma. And of course, the most animated of them all – the people who stroll and sit and observe in the cafes, not the harried New Yorkers who are irritated by strollers in their path. Years ago, I proposed a story for Life Magazine, on the important promenades of the world, but to no avail. Sadly, it is not an American occupation.
Whether I imagined it as a child or I actually saw the magazine HOLIDAY, I knew it was a gem of graphic design and photography. I knew Slims Aarons was a rock star, even when I was a young photographer. Though I was more interested in ‘real’ journalism, I admired the veneer he lay over celebrities and glamour, locales-who did not want to be there? A few art directors changed the face of magazines - the “golden age of magazines”: Alex Brodovitch, Frank Zachary and Roger Black. They produced a short-lived magazine, Portfolio in 1949, regarded as the “definitive graphic magazine” by The New York Times. Zachary died at age 101 yesterday in East Hampton, NY.
Brodovitch changed the thinking on typography, especially for Harper’s Bazaar, that I subscribed to for years just to see his work (overlaying type); Zachary changed the importance of photography in magazines. The weeklies were in full bloom in the 1960's & 70's, Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Town and Country and Esquire were employing photographers and giving them extravagant exposure. Zachary assigned the greats: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and Arnold Newman.
Born to a Croatian immigrant parents (1914), named Frank Zaharija, his father a steel worker in Pittsburgh, Zachary never attended college, he climbed his way up through hard work. He art directed at Holiday (1951-1964) including being managing editor, Town and Country, Modern Photography to which I subscribed as a child, Travel and Leisure.
I think his brilliance is best described by a friend, Owen Edwards, “Like any good anthropologist, he studied this particular tribe, figured out what most interested them and their habits, and found writers [including Faulkner] and photographers who could show their world in the most entertaining way.”
Publisher’s Musings: Dateline Saigon ~ January 26, 2015
As publisher, I have vowed not to include politics. But after visiting the War Remnants Museum here, which brought tears to my eyes, I think my renewal of the power of photography urged me to reflect on this exhibition, which covers the second floor, of heart wrenching imagery. In an era that has eroded the value of images with self-indulging selfies, seeing photos by some of my heroes, Larry Burrows, Robert Capa and Phillip Jones Griffith (whom I met) rocked me to the core. Burrows and Capa died here. Visitors seemed unable to focus on them.
Life Magazine is well represented here with large reproductions. As an Air Force cadet, I was frightened by what I saw. The images contributed to my request for a Conscientious Objector status. It was considered the first ‘live’ coverage of a war. I remember clearly one issue with tiny pictures of the 58,000 men who died. Both the imagery of the devastation of incursions wreaked on the Vietnamese and the impact the war had on the shooters, it was the darkest period of U.S. history. In the name of stopping Communism, our inexcusable use of Agent Orange is illustrated in the museum in unfathomable images. It is the power of this photography that is widely considered to be what initiated President Johnson’s withdrawal from the war. Despite the pain, it was life-affirming to see the power of photography!
This is Picasso's umpteenth fifteen minutes of fame:
His renovated mansion in Paris, Musée Picasso Paris, has just re-opened after an exorbitant five year renovation, ribbon cut by François Hollande himself, but under the dark shadow of the Cultural minister, Korean-born Fleur Pellerin, who declared she has not ‘read’ a book in years and could not name a book of the recently awarded Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Patrick Modiano, France’s fifteenth in the category.
Back on home turf, there are two private gallery showings of his work that rival any museum exhibitions, in fact many of the pieces were loaned from museums. They almost seem to challenge one another, since they are both top tier galleries, The Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea and Pace Gallery, both in New York. The Gagosian is a photograph-based exhibition, titled "Picasso & the camera" curated by an old friend of his, John Richardson, designed by a Las Vegas show designer David Korens. There are many images of his various mistresses, s well as films. Despite his reputation as a misogynist, the museum’s president, Anne Baldassari, denies this but claims he only had difficulty maintaining relationships. I saw the MoMa exhibition in the 1990's of his with a room dedicated to his various wives and mistresses and the progressive horrification of their faces as he lost interest in them. Quite revealing. The Pace exhibition focuses in a different direction. On his enduring relationship with his last wife Jacqueline Roque, until his death, with tender imagery and a loving hand.
As an artist, I cannot help but to admire his vitality and fecundity. I read a memoir of life in the South of France, especially the summer jaunts to the country with the likes of Francoise Gilot. To top off the adoration, the exhibition at the Met of Lauder’s Cubist collection (Interesting Openings below) features many of his paintings from that period.
On every trip to NY, I visit one of my favorite urban spaces, The Grand Central Oyster Bar. Between my passion for oysters and my adoration for Guastavino's tile craft, this is my ideal spot. We traveled to 103rd Street this last trip to enjoy a beautifully illustrated and informative exhibition at The Museum of New York, of his sumptuous tilework throughout New York employed by McKim, Mead and White, and NY City (including the recently uncovered bottom to the Queensborough Bridge, now a Farmer's Market).
Guastavino tile is the "Tile Arch System" patented in the United States in 1885 by Valencian (Spanish) architect and builder Rafael Guastavino (1842–1908). Guastavino vaulting is a technique for constructing robust, self-supporting arches and architectural vaults using interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar to form a thin skin, with the tiles following the curve of the roof as opposed to horizontally (corbelling), or perpendicular to the curve (as in Roman vaulting). This is known as timbrel vaulting, because of supposed likeness to the skin of a timbrel or tambourine. It is also called "Catalan vaulting" and "compression-only thin-tile vaulting".
Guastavino tile is found in some of New York’s most prominent Beaux-Arts landmarks and in major buildings across the United States.
"CreatureCast is a collaborative blog produced by members of the Dunn Lab at Brown University, along with assorted friends. This project, which is focussed on zoology in the broad sense, serves as a forum to present original content that we have produced and observations by others that we find interesting and beautiful."
CreatureCast from CreatureCast, Dunn Lab, Brown University
November 30, 2016 – April 24, 2017
The Centre Pompidou will present a major retrospective of the work of American artist Cy Twombly from November 30, 2016 through April 24, 2017, bringing together works from public and private collections around the world.
The comprehensive showcase will be structured around three major cycles – “Nine Discourses on Commodus,” 1963, “Fifty Days at Iliam,” 1978, and “Coronation of Sesostris,” 2000 – and will span the artist’s entire career, from his first works in the early 1950s to his last paintings.
Presented chronologically and featuring some 140 paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures, the exhibition will provide what the Centre Pompidou describes as “a clear picture of an extraordinarily rich body of work which is both intellectual and sensual.”
In addition to emphasizing the importance of series and cycles in Twombly’s practice, through which he reinvented history painting, the exhibition will also highlight the artist’s close relationship with Paris.
CENTRE POMPIDOU: CENTRE POMPIDOU
December 1, 2016 – April 2, 2017
The first US artist to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1963, Robert Rauschenberg blazed a new trail for art in the second half of the twentieth century. This exhibition at Tate Modern will be the first posthumous retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg’s work in the UK, as well as the first comprehensive exhibition in almost twenty years.
Moving between painting, sculpture, photography, print-making, installation and performance, he refused to accept conventional boundaries in art and in life, his quest for innovation fired by his boundless curiosity, enthusiasm for collaboration and passion for travel.
Bringing together a tightly edited selection of key works from different periods, Robert Rauschenberg will provide a long overdue opportunity to discover a remarkably consistent artistic trajectory which steadfastly refused to be straight-jacketed by rules and conventions.
Each chapter of Rauschenberg’s six-decade career will be represented by major works including loans that rarely travel. Among these is a selection of his Combines, hybrids between painting and sculpture, as well as his graphic screenprints which signal Rauschenberg’s early commitment to political activism. These signature bodies of work will be preceded by his early experiments at Black Mountain College, a hotbed for innovation in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and his first collaborations with fellow artists and friends John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, David Tudor and Cy Twombly. The artist’s work with Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T), an organisation which developed collaboration between artists and engineers in the 1960s, will be explored, showing how he helped to blur the boundaries between the visual arts, dance and science.
In the mid-1960s Rauschenberg left New York for Florida and began to travel extensively across Europe, the Americas and Asia. His Cardboards from the early 1970s, a wry comment on the forces of globalization, and his sumptuous fabric works such as The Jammers, inspired by his visit to the Indian textile centre of Ahmedabad will be included in the show. The epic project Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI), which was completed between 1984 and 1991 taking in China, Cuba and Tibet, will also be on display.
Performance remained a key interest for Rauschenberg as did his interest in pushing the limits of image-making with new materials such as printing on translucent textiles, polished steel or oxydised copper, or with vegetable inks indicating his continued concern for the environment.
TATE MODERN: TATE MODERN
JEAN TINGUELY – Machine Spectacle
October 1, 2016 – March 5, 2017
The Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925–1991) played a key role in the rise of kinetic art in the fifties. With over a hundred machine sculptures, most of which are in working order, paired with films, photos, drawings, and archive materials, the presentation takes the public on a chronological and thematic journey of Tinguely’s artistic development and ideas, from his love of absurd play to his fascination for destruction and ephemerality.
The presentation features his early wire sculptures and reliefs, in which Tinguely imitated and animated the abstract paintings of artists such as Malevich, Miró, and Klee; the interactive drawing machines and wild dancing installations constructed from salvaged metal, waste materials, and discarded clothing; and his streamlined, military-looking black sculptures. Tinguely’s self-destructive performances are a special feature of the Stedelijk presentation. The enormous installations Tinguely created between 1960–1970 (Homage to New York, Étude pour une fin du monde No. 1, Study for an End of the World No. 2, and La Vittoria) were designed to spectacularly disintegrate in a barrage of sound.
The presentation also spotlights the exhibitions Tinguely organized at the Stedelijk, Bewogen Beweging (1961) and Dylaby (1962), and the gigantic sculptures he later produced: HON – en katedral (“SHE – a cathedral,” 1966), Crocrodrome (1977) and the extraordinary Le Cyclop (1969–1994), which is still on display outside Paris. The survey ends with a dramatic grand finale, the remarkable, room-filling installation, Mengele-Totentanz (1986), a disturbing display of light and shadow never previously shown in the Netherlands. Tinguely realized the work after witnessing a devastating fire, reclaiming objects from the ashes to piece together his installation: scorched beams, agricultural machinery (made by the Mengele company), and animal skeletons. The final piece is a gigantic memento mori, yet also an invocation of the Nazi concentration camps. Its juddering movements and piercing sounds evoke a haunting, grisly mood.
STEDELIJK MUSEUM: STEDELIJK MUSEUM
L'ESPIRIT du BAUHAUS, l’objet en question
October 19, 2016 – February 26, 2017
The exhibition begins by exploring the Bauhaus’s sources, ranging from the organization of the construction of the cathedrals and the arts of Asia to the German avant-garde, the British Arts & Crafts movement and the Viennese utopias, including the Wiener Werkstätte.
When he created the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar, Walter Gropius was pursuing Henry Van de Velde’s ambition to forge an alliance of industry, modernity and the aesthetics of the Deutscher Werkbund, (an association of architects and industrialists of which he and Peter Behrens were members). This concept stemmed directly from the ideas forged by William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement, for whom art had to respond to the needs of society, and for whom the traditional distinction between the fine arts and craftsmanship was obsolete. In his manifesto, Gropius radicalized these ideas, making them the core of the school’s pedagogy because “there is no essential difference between artist and the artisan.” To fully illustrate this, emblematic objects by William Morris, Henry Van de Velde, Peter Behrens, and artists from the Wiener Werkstätte such as Koloman Moser and Josef Hoffmann, will be displayed alongside works produced by the Bauhaus.
Gropius based the school’s organization on the medieval master-journeyman-apprentice hierarchy of transmission of knowledge and skills, on craftsmanship as the foundation of all teaching, and the involvement of all the arts in a communal project. For Gropius, the supreme model was the organization of the guilds that worked together to build the cathedrals, with all crafts and trades collaborating to achieve the “work.” Gothic triptych pinnacles and lecterns illustrate the precepts of the Bauhaus manifesto, epitomized by Lyonel Feiniger’s Cathedral as an emblem of the total work or art and social unity.
In Germany, there were enough exhibitions, museum collections and publications on Asian art to influence artists. Théodor Bogler and Marianne Brandt shared the same quest for simple forms and use of materials in everyday objects exemplified by Chinese and Japanese crafts, while Taoist thought infused the reflections on contrast, composition and rhythm by artists such as Johannes Itten and Wassily Kandinsky.
In 1923, Gropius organized the first Bauhaus exhibition, with as its centerpiece the Haus am Horn, a house created by all the school’s workshops. This exhibition’s huge impact did much to publicize Bauhaus’s ideas and work. But Itten’s expressionist tendencies were beginning to gain ascendency over Theo Van Doesburg’s ideas. Modernism and constructivism prompted Gropius to change the Bauhaus’s motto to “Art and technology, a new unity.”
The Bauhaus’s legacy has been considerable, and although its influence pervaded all fields of creation from 1933, spread by the teachers and students who fled Germany, the exhibition focuses on its most recent echoes. At the museum’s invitation, the artist Mathieu Mercier has chosen creations by forty-nine artists, designers, graphic designers and fashion designers, all born after 1960 and who, like him, are working in the Bauhaus spirit, seeing no distinction between art and the applied arts.
MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS: MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS
JEAN NOUVEL: MES MEUBLES D’ARCHITECTE. SENS ET ESSENCE
October 27, 2016 – February 12, 2017
The Museum of Decorative Arts is devoting an exhibition to furniture and objects of Jean Nouvel, one of the few contemporary architects collected since 1987. Beyond a mere retrospective, it thus initiates a dialogue with the place, its history and its collection. The exhibition "Jean Nouvel, architect of my furniture" unfolds over the museum of medieval and Renaissance galleries to those assigned to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but also in the areas dedicated to graphic design collections and advertising which he signed the development in 1998, creating new situations, such as interference.
MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS: MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS
MASTERWORKS: Unpacking Fashion
November 18, 2016 – February 5, 2017
The Costume Institute's fall 2016 exhibition will feature significant acquisitions of the past 10 years and explore how the department has honed its collecting strategy to amass masterworks of the highest aesthetic and technical quality, including iconic works by designers who have changed fashion history and advanced fashion as an art form. During the seven decades since The Costume Institute became part of The Met in 1946, that collecting strategy has shifted from creating a collection of Western high fashion that is encyclopedic in breadth to one focused on acquiring masterworks.
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM: METROPOLITAN MUSEUM
RENÉ MAGRITTE: La trahison des images
September 21, 2016 – January 23, 2017
The exhibition “Magritte: La trahison des images” offers a completely new approach to the work of the Belgian artist René Magritte. Featuring both well-known masterpieces and other less familiar works, all drawn from leading public and private collections, it offers a fresh look at one of the key figures of Modern art.
The latest in the series of monographic exhibitions the Centre Pompidou has devoted to major figures in 20th-century art ¬– “Edward Munch: L’œil moderne”, “Matisse: Paires et séries” and “Duchamp: La peinture, même” – this exhibition brings together around one hundred paintings, drawings and documents offering a fresh approach to the painter. “Magritte: La trahison des images” explores the artist’s interest in philosophy, an interest that would culminate in the publication of Foucault’s Ceci n’est pas une pipe (1973), born out of the writers discussions with the artist.
In a 1936 lecture, Magritte declared that Les affinités électives, painted in 1932, marked a turning point in his work – his abandonring of the automatism and random chance of early Surrealism. Showing an egg enclosed in a cage, this was the first of his paintings intended to solve what he termed a “problem”. After randomness and a “chance encounter between sewing machines and umbrellas” came a relentlessly logical method that sought solutions to the “problems” of women, of chairs, of shoes, of rain… The exhibition opens with Magritte’s research on these problems, which mark the “reasoning” turn in his art.
Magritte’s art is characterized by a series of motifs – curtains, shadows, words, flames, bodies in pieces, and more – which he endlessly arranges and re-arranges. The exhibition replaces of these into each to one of painting’s foundational narratives and hence to the philosophical challenge to visual representation: the curtains with the antique fend of in realism illustrated by the contest of Zeuxis and Parrhasius; words with the biblical story of the Adoration of the Golden Calf, that counterposes the text of the law to pagan image; flames and enclosed spaces with Plato’s Allegory of the Cave; shadows with Pliny the Elder’s account of the invention of painting.
CENTRE POMPIDOU: CENTRE POMPIDOU