CURATOR'S CHOICE SM
Museums and Exhibitions in New York City and Vicinity
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GLENN LONEY'S MUSEUM NOTES
CONTENTS, August 2008
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
No Smiles of a Summer-Night: Agony Only… *
On the East-River: Olafur Eliasson's New York City Waterfalls *
THOMAS HOPE: Regency Designer *
FRICK'S VERMEERS REUNITED *
RECENT ACQUISITIONS (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art-Market) *
LOUISE BOURGEOISE *
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME: 10 YEARS OF MUSIC, MUSICIANS, & THE NATIONAL PASTIME *
RICHARD DEACON: ASSEMBLY *
J. M. W. TURNER *
MEDIEVAL & RENAISSANCE TREASURES FROM THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM *
THE ART OF THE ROYAL COURT:Treasures in Pietre-Dure from the Palaces of Europe *
FRAMING A CENTURY: Master Photographers, 1840-1940 *
MASTERPIECES OF MODERN DESIGN: Selections from the Collection *
FRANCESCO CLEMENTE: THE SOPRANOS *
PRAYER-BOOK OF QUEEN CLAUDE DE FRANCE *
DALI: Painting & Film *
GEO/METRIC: Prints & Drawings from the Collection *
HOME DELIVERY: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling *
HENRY MOORE IN AMERICA: The Monumental Sculpture of Henry Moore *
DARWIN'S GARDEN: An Evolutionary Adventure *
THE PARK AVENUE ARMORY *
WHAT MY DAD GAVE ME *
BUCKMINSTER FULLER: Starting with the Universe *
PAUL McCARTHY: Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement--Three Installations, Two-Films *
No Smiles of a Summer-Night: Agony Only…
It was my original-intention to write at some length about the various new exhibitions unveiled recently in New York City. Unfortunately, Summer-Stresses of too many Unwritten Museum & Theatre Reports brought Your Scribe--via ambulance--to the Lenox Hill Hospital Emergency-Room, from which I have just returned, sadder but wiser.
So this Cursory-Survey will have to be much more brief than I had planned. If you are able to see the actual exhibitions for yourself, your eyes will tell you more than words can…
On the East-River: Olafur Eliasson's New York City Waterfalls
[Turning-Off-the-Faucet on 13 October 2008]
There are Four of these Man-Made Waterfalls in the vicinity of South-Street-Seaport. They look, by day, like elongated-rectangles of churning East-River water. And dirty-water, at that…
The most effective--in aesthetic-terms--is the hydro-rectangle foaming & falling under the Great-Stone-Pier of the Brooklyn-Bridge's Brooklyn-side, facing the channel of the River.
The other three Waterfalls descend from boxy-scaffoldings of no aesthetic-interest, although the shimmering sheets of water do have a certain cooling-appeal in a hot summer.
These three are sited, respectively, at the Seaport's Pier 35, at the Brooklyn-Piers--between #4 & #5, & on the waterside at Governor's-Island.
They can be seen most effectively on special Circle-Line cruises, although you can get a good glimpse if you take the free IKEA water-shuttle from South-Street-Seaport over to Red-Hook.
Some say the Cruise is more rewarding at Sunset--especially if you want to photograph the Waterfalls--but, as they are illuminated, an Evening-Cruise might also be a good summer-outing in a sweltering-city.
The Mayor himself, Michael Bloomberg, spoke at the Press-Preview, as these Hydro-Artworks are provided by the Public-Art-Fund, in collaboration with the City of New York! [Now if the City could only stop digging-up Madison Avenue & get it properly paved…]
Some of Olafur Eliasson's Projects, Commissions, & Installations are currently on-view at the Museum of Modern-Art, as well. He is Very-Big at the moment!
Circle-Line's Official 30-Minute Tours leave the dock every 45-minutes, from 9 am to 7 pm. There is also a 60-Minute Zephyr Seaport Liberty Cruise, which includes the Falls, the Statue of Liberty, & other Landmarks.
For Tix: call 866-925-4631 or log-on to www.circlelinedowntown.com
At the Bard Graduate Center Gallery:
[18 West 86th Street/NY, NY 10024/Phone: 212-501-3000]
THOMAS HOPE: Regency Designer
The Sword of Damocles, Richard Westall R.A. (1765-1836), 1812, oil on canvas, Lent courtesy of the Ackland Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ackland Fund
[Closing 16 November 2008]
The fantastic Orientalisme of the Prince-Regent's Royal-Pavilion in Brighton is, for some, the pinnacle of Regency-Style. But when compared with the designs, interiors, & collections of Thomas Hope--who is credited with defining that most elegant Neo-Classical-Style--the Pavilion seems excessive…
Hope designed furniture & interiors, but--as an extremely wealthy patron--he also commissioned paintings, sculptures, & objects d'art that echoed or replicated forms & decors of Ancient Egypt, Greece, & Rome.
He developed his Robert Adam-designed Duchess Street mansion in London as a magnificent showcase for his treasures & his impressive installations of these artworks. The Bard exhibition--which has already been shown at London's Victoria & Albert Museum--presents Hope's own Creations & his Collectibles against the rich backgrounds of their original Duchess Street home.
At the Frick Collection:
[1 East 70th Street/NY, NY 10021/Phone: 212-288-0700]
FRICK'S VERMEERS REUNITED
Egon Schiele. Female Nude.1911. Gouache, watercolor and pencil.
[Closing 2 November 2008]
For the first time in a decade, visitors to the Frick-Collection will be able to study & savor all three of the Frick's priceless Vermeers on the same wall!
The three artworks are: Girl Interrupted at her Music, Officer & Laughing Girl, & Mistress & Maid. The latter painting features a young Flemish beauty with a Pearl-Earring, but it is not the canvas that inspired the film.
From 12 to 28 August, Frick visitors will be able to se masterpieces by Bellini, Titian, Holbein, & El Greco in different setting & lighting than has been customary. The Frick Living-Hall is being refurbished, so the Masterpieces must be moved…
At the Galerie St. Etienne:
[24 West 57th Street/NY, NY 10019/Phone: 212-245-6734]
RECENT ACQUISITIONS (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art-Market)
[Closing 26 September 2008]
At the Galerie, you can always count on seeing Old-Friends--and not only on the gallery-walls, as Jane Kallir & her staff are eager to discuss their artists' works. But what is especially interesting this time round--as the Acquisitions seem to be more of the German & Austrian Expressionists on which the Gallery has built its name--is Kallir's excellent & perceptive essay on the State of Art-Collecting at present.
As she notes: "At the moment, it is all about marketing. Art stars have earned a place in the pop-culture pantheon, alongside rock, film, & sports stars…"
What Jane Kallir foresees--growing out of her observations that the primary-subject of artworks of Jeff Koons & Damien Hirst is, in fact, the Market itself--serious art-lovers & collectors need to think about. You can get a copy of her essay & an exhibition-checklist in a three-fold brochure that is a Keeper!
Among the Acquisitions are works by the Usual-Suspects at the Galerie: Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Käthe Kollwitz, Emil Nolde, Egon Schiele, & Paula Modersohn-Becker.
At the Guggenheim Museum:
[1071 Fifth Avenue @89th Street/NY, NY 10128/Phone: 212-423-3500]
[Closing 28 September 2008]
Although the Guggenheim could very well have put one of Louise Bourgeoise's iconic Giant-Spiders in its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Rotunda, it did not follow the lead of the Tate Modern which not so long ago filled its London Turbine-Hall with several of Bourgeoise's immense metal-monsters.
Nonetheless, there was a smaller spider to sit-down-beside-her in the Rotunda: Spider Couple, 2003.
This impressive show is a full-career-retrospective for Bourgeoise, who was born way back in 1911.
Among the works--many of them large-scale--are No Exit, Defiance, Red Room, Partial Recall, & Untitled, which features an alarming red-toned collection of snippers, cutters, & shearers.
One of the most haunting & evocative of the show's Installations is Cell (Choisy) in which a small-scale model of her family's palatial home & tapestry-factory seems protected by a heavy metal-mesh-fence, with a huge Guillotine-blade above, ready to fall…
Echoes of an Unforgettable-Childhood?
At the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library & Museum:
[40 Lincoln Center Plaza/NY /NY 10024/Phone: 212-870-1630]
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME: 10 YEARS OF MUSIC, MUSICIANS, & THE NATIONAL PASTIME
[Closing 31 October 2008]
Yes, there are some real Baseball-Souvenirs in this colorful new show at Lincoln Center's Library of the Performing-Arts. But there are a lot more colorful Covers of Sheet-Music for songs about America's National-Pastime.
All the Big-Names are here: Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, & Mickey Mantle. And many more… There's even a photo of Marilyn Monroe among the 300 items on display.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame--lyrics by Jack Norworth & melody by Albert Von Tilzer--is the Theme of the show, with sections of the lyrics in bold red-letters pasted to the walls. Norworth tried to repeat his success with Let's Get the Umpire's Goat, but it did not catch-on.
Irving Berlin's Along Came Ruth is also among the Vintage-Sheet-Music-Covers.
Thanks to the Miracle of Video, you can both see & hear some great baseball-show-tunes as well.
There is a very attractively-designed free Souvenir-Program on hand for visitors to the show!
At Madison Square Park: Madison Square Art:
[Between Madison & Fifth Avenues @23rd Street/NY, NY 10010/Phone: 212-538-1884]
RICHARD DEACON: ASSEMBLY
Richard Deacon Assembly. May 15 to August 24, 2008
[Closing 24 August 2008]
Continuing its program of Artworks in Madison Square Park, the Park Conservancy has saluted Summer with seven Ceramic-Geometric constructions by Welsh-born Richard Deacon.
They are described in the free park-brochure as being "large, brilliantly-colored," but one of them looks more like it's wearing a Camouflage-Cover to avoid an Iraqui-Attack.
Of the seven works, four comprise the Assembly series, of which the piece noted-above must be one. They are said to be four variations on geometric-relationships, "each presenting an economy of form crossed with an earthly solidity…"
Moreover, they are "large-scale, elegant structures composed of richly glazed & patterned ceramic elements which present a tactile & visual sculpture experience."
I thought they looked rather ugly, obvious, even contrived, but at least Deacon has found a new Art-Gimmick that cannot easily be confused with the Public-Sculptures of Richard Serra or Aristide Malliol.
But it's great that the Madison Square Park Conservancy keeps trying with Large-Scale artworks. Roxy Paine's Silver-Trees were great: sorry to see them come down.
In the meantime, the Conservancy is also offering programs under the titles Mad. Sq. Reads, Mad. Sq. Kids programs, & Mad. Sq. Music 2008!
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
[1000 Fifth Avenue @82nd Street/NY, NY 10028/Phone: 212-535-7710]
J. M. W. TURNER
[Closing 21 September 2008]
JMW Turner--the painter-genius who was an Impressionist long before either art-critics or artists introduced the Concept--actually had names to match those oft-cited Initials: Joseph Mallord William!
His Painterly-Misfortune in his Era--he was born in the 18th Century, after all: 1775--was to be so far in advance of his Academe-ridden times, that he was frequently criticized, often harshly, rather than hailed as the Modern-Master that he was.
Turner saw landscapes, seascapes, architecture , & human-striving quite differently from his peers. Where Academic-Exactitude was the rule, Turner often painted his scenes & subjects in blazes of blinding-light or smokey-shadows.
Now at the Met Museum you can savor some of his greatest works, including The Burning of the Houses of Lords & Commons. Over half the 140 oils & watercolors on-view are on loan from the Turner Bequest at the Tate in London.
This is the most comprehensive collection of Turner's wide-ranging & often visionary works. From the Tate come such masterpieces as The Shipwreck, The Thames Near Walton Bridge, The Field of Waterloo, The Battle of Trafalgar, & Snow Storm: Hannibal & His Army Crossing the Alps.
There are also such astonishments as Fall of the Rhine, Schaffhausen, from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Sheerness as Seen from the Nore, from Houston's Museum of Fine Arts, Fishmarket on the Sands, from Kansas City's Nelson-Atkins Museum, Raby Castle, from Baltimore's Walters Art Museum, & Mortlake Terrace, from Washington's National Gallery of Art.
Other American Art-Museums lending to this splendid exhibition include Yale & the Getty. Not to overlook the number of British City Museums outside London & the sacred Tate…
New York City is blessed with some Major Turners at the Met itself & at the Frick Collection, as well as some masterful watercolors at the Morgan Library & Museum.
But the Tate has the Lion's-Share, so it is a wonderful--perhaps Once-in-a-Lifetime--Opportunity to see such a brilliant Survey of Turner's Artworks outside London-town!
MEDIEVAL & RENAISSANCE TREASURES FROM THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM
[Closing 17 August 2008]
London's Victoria & Albert Museum--fondly known as the V&A--is also honoring the Met with some very impressive--even priceless--artworks while it prepares new galleries for them at home
There are only 35 of them--they didn't send the entire gallery--but they are all exquisite & they represent a range of artistic-creativity from 300 AD to 1600, when Curators decided to put a stop to the Renaissance.
This is necessarily a small-scale show, but nonetheless powerful. Among the Treasures: Donatello's bronze Putto with Fish, Pisano's ivory of Christ-Crucified, the Carolingian cover of the Lorsch Gospels, & Da Vinci's Codex Forster I.
Of course, Leonardo--who lived out his life in France, instead of his native-land--didn't give this one of his priceless Notebooks the Forster-name.
He would have had no Concept of an Art-Collector with such a name. Medicis & Milano were more to his taste.
Nor, for that matter, would Da Vinci have understood why his most celebrated notebook--with his remarkable drawings of previously-unimagined inventions--should be known as the Armand Hammer Codex! Computer-Software Mogul Bill Gates subsequently bought it but did not put Microsoft's Logo on Leonardo.
Other small-scale V&A Masterpieces--shown in that intimate ante-chamber to the Lehman Collection--include a Dragon Aquamanile, The Saint Nicholas Crozier, The Symmachi Panel, the Reliquary Casket of St. Thomas Becket--if you touched it, you might be Healed, Veit Stoss' Virgin & Child, Antico's Antropos, Nicola da Urbino's Bowl with Gonzaga Arms, impaling Este, a Medici-Flask, & a Leaf of the Consular Diptych of Anastasius!
Unlike the British-Museum--that vast repository of Monuments of the Ancient-World--the vast & sprawling V&A is focused on curating the Decorative-Arts, including great plaster-casts of Antique Decors & Ornament.
THE ART OF THE ROYAL COURT: Treasures in Pietre-Dure from the Palaces of Europe
[Closing 21 September 2008]
Pietre-Dure means literally Hard-Stones, but not in the sense of granite or even marble. Instead, these stones are semi-precious, such as Agate, Crystal, Lapis-Lazuli, Malachite, & other colorful hardstones.
While in themselves objects of beauty, when cut & polished into specific shapes & forms, these stones were even more highly-prized as they were worked into compositions & structures such as Ornate-Tabletops, Intricately-decorated Jewel-Chests, Lavish Collector's-Cabinets, or as splendid Furniture & Architectural Inlays.
Some outstanding examples are already in New York Museums, such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Morgan, the Frick, & the Metropolitan. But for this dazzling show Masterpieces are on-view that have never before Crossed the Atlantic.
Among these seldom-seen Treasures are objects from the Medici-Collections in the Pitti-Palace, the Palazzo-Vecchio, the Uffizi, & the Opificio della Pietre-Dure in Firenze.
Some are on loan from Queen Elizabeth II, from the Royal-Collections in Buckingham-Palace, priceless artworks that have never before been shown outside the Palace.
From the city that was formerly Leningrad, the Hermitage-Museum has shared the Stroganov-Tazza. From the V&A, the Kimbolton-Cabinet. And from Vienna's Hofburg, a Florentine Console-table-top, featuring an Allegory of Water.
Dresden's famed Grünes Gewölbe--the Green-Vault--has lent an 18th Century Bust of a Woman, by Heermann & Hübner. The University of Uppsala in Sweden has sent an ornate door from the Collector's-Cabinet of King Gustavus-Adolphus--whose Protestant-Armies finally defeated the Habsburg's Catholic-Forces in the Thirty-Years-War.
[This Pious & Furious Scandinavian-King didn't live to see that. Poor old Gus died from a wound at the Battle of Lützen: he never saw Sweden again. But the Bloody-Shirt in which he died is in Stockholm's National-Museum for all to see!]
Pietre-Dure wonders are also on loan from the Louvre, Munich's Kunstkammer, & from Museums in Kassel, Minneapolis, & even the Getty in Los Angeles!
If you are able to see these remarkable works at the Met, be sure to find the richly-ornamented Barbarini-Cabinet & the elaborate Baroque Prie-dieu concocted for the Electress-Palatine!
The Royal-Court inclusion in the show's title underlines the fact that only the Rich & Powerful could afford such treasures, which were often used as Diplomatic-Gifts or presents for Dynastic-Weddings.
FRAMING A CENTURY: Master Photographers, 1840-1940
[Closing 1 September 2008]
Thirteen may be Unlucky, but that is the precise number of Famous-Photographers Met-Curators have chosen to represent the First One-Hundred-Years of Photography.
Certainly William Henry Fox Talbot was virtually the Father of Photography, but you will not find any Daguerreotypes in this show. Louis Daguerre's camera made stiffly-posed Portrait-Photos, not Masterworks. Edinbugh's David Octavius Hill's historic-images are also not on-view.
But there are 10 to 12 Iconic-Works each by Brassaï, Eugène Atget, Roger Fenton, Man Ray, Walker Evans, Gustave Le Gray, Juliet Margaret Cameron, Carleton Watkins, Nadar, Charles Marville, Edouard Baldus, & Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Forget about Weegee: the International Center of Photography already put him In-Focus.
MASTERPIECES OF MODERN DESIGN: Selections from the Collection
[Opened 6 May 2008]
In this provocative sampling of Decorative-Arts from the Met's Permanent-Collections--only 10 per cent on-view at any one time, they say--Modern seems to begin at the close of the Gilded-Age or the Belle-Époque. In this case, the object-d'art is Richard Riemerschmid's 1898 Jugendstil Candlestick.
Scotland's Charles Rennie Mackinstosh & England's Charles Robert Ashbee, representatives of the Art-Nouveau & Arts & Crafts Movements respectively are handsomely represented. As are Lalique & Ruhlmann for French Art-Deco, with the Wiener Werkstätte talents of Josef Hoffmann & Otto Prutscher also on-view.
From the Bauhaus--founded in Weimar, moved to Dessau--Josef Albers, Marianne Brandt, & Marcel Breuer are the Big-Names. Other designers of note in Modern-Times included in this show: Paul Frankel, Eliel Saarinen, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Charles & Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, Shiela Hicks, Michael Graves, & the genius of "Memphis" design, Ettore Sottsass!
Not to overlook the Jean Dupas verre-eglomise golden-panels for the Normandie--noted in the last Curators-Choice report. Nor the Arts-Decoratifs of Jean Dunand, Jean Puiforcat, as well as Lalique & Ruhlmann…
Even work by the Iranian-born architect Zaha Hadid is included, along with the flamboyant glass-blowing of Dale Chihuly.
At the Metropolitan Opera Gallery-Met:
[Lincoln Center Plaza/Metropolitan Opera]
FRANCESCO CLEMENTE: THE SOPRANOS
[Closing 15 July/Reopening 16 September 2008]
The flamboyant painter Francesco Clemente has permitted the Met Opera's Gallery-Met to hang Eight-Sopranos. The star-studded roster: Diana Damrau, Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu, Sussn Graham, Karita Mattila, Anna Netrebko, & Deborah Voigt!
Renée & Deborah should sue…
But then Clemente seems to have painted these slap-dash portraits at two-week intervals this Spring. Just in time to show them at the Met!
Unfortunately--or fortunately--the Gallery has to be closed for two-months while the Met is renovated.
At the Morgan Library & Museum:
[225 Madison Avenue @36th Street/NY, NY 10016/Phone: 212-685-0008]
PRAYER-BOOK OF QUEEN CLAUDE DE FRANCE
[On-View from 20 May 2008]
Although Queen Claude's priceless Prayer-Book is only 2 ¾" x 2", it contains 132 illustrations of great delicacy & beauty. It was created around the time of her Coronation.
Queen Claude was memorialized by the eccentric English poetess, Edith Sitwell: "When Great Queen Claude was dead/They buried her deep in the Potting-Shed…"
Her grieving husband, King François Premier, probably did no such thing, but it rhymes!
Claude died at 24, having borne seven children in ten years. She was married at 14, rather like Juliet. After Queen Claude came Mary, Queen of Scots…
This lovely & delicate little Prayer-Book was the jewel of the Collection of Alexandre Rosenberg, a dedicated New York Rare-Book dealer & collector. His widow gave it to the Morgan.
Paired wth Queen Claude's Missal is a second Prayer-Book, this one illuminated for Queen Anne of Bretagne, who was Claude's mother, as well as the Queen of King Charles VIII, then of King Louis XII, when Charles died. No, she did not marry her own son…
The Morgan is also showing its Gutenberg Bibles, which are now seldom seen.
At the Municipal Art Society:
457 Madison Avenue/NY, NY 10022/Phone: 212-935-3960][
The Muni Art Society moved from Madison Avenue to Eighth Avenue & 41st Street--at the NY Times Center--to hold its 115th Annual Meeting & award some Certificates of Merit to Outstanding Community Initiatives which are making New York City a better place to live.
Voice for the Future of Our City was the slogan or motto of the heavily-attended Event, with many of the City's Movers & Shakers in attendance.
One of the award-winners, American Ballroom Theatre's "Dancing-Classrooms" gave a demo-performance before the awards got underway.
Kids in schools all over the city are now learning Ballroom-Dancing to increase their self-confidence & self-esteem. The program is so successful it is being copied in other American cities, as well as abroad!
Justin Rockefeller presented a Certificate to José the Beaver, a Mascot for the Bronx River Alliance.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg wasn't able to b e present to accept the Certificate for 311, but it was his idea. This Public-Service hot-line has had some 65-million calls since its inauguration!
Certificates also went to Solar One & the Long Island Cultural-Alliance, which co-ordinates & vitalizes community-activities at PS I, the Noguchi Museum, & other arts-organizations in Queens.
Jeanne DuPont & Andrea Williams were honored with the Yolanda Garcia & the Stubbs Davis Awards, respectively.
The estimable Kent Barwick, Muni-Arts' dedicated President, presided genially.
At MoMA/The Museum of Modern Art:
[11 West 53rd Street/NY, NY 10019/Phone: 212-708-9400]
DALI: Painting & Film
[Closing 15 September 2008]
They do say the Third Time is the Charm!
I saw this intriguing Dali & Film show last Summer at the Tate Modern on the Thames. Then I saw it again this Spring in the Dali Museum in Floridian St. Petersburg.
But now at MoMA, I have been able to take the time to study the paintings & drawings more closely. At the Tate, I was more fascinated by the film-clips from Un Chien anadalou & L'Age d'or, as well as those from Spellbound, with Gregory Peck, and Destino, an animation.
Almost as interesting are the film-projects that did not come to fruition…
Among the Dali canvases paralleling & explicating the film-conceptions & executions are such works as Portrait of Colonel Jack Warner & Portrait of Laurence Olivier in the role of Richard III.
No, seriously! They are in this show, but so are Illumined Pleasures, The First Days of Spring, Solitude, Remorse or Sphinx Embedded in the Sand, & that fantastic sculpture, Retrospective Bust of a Woman, with a long loaf of French-bread on her head.
GEO/METRIC: Prints & Drawings from the Collection
[Closing 18 August 2008]
These Eye-Dazzling/Puzzling artworks are mostly optically-challenging, but also a delight to study. They do, however, echo a recent MoMA show of similar design/pattern conceptions.
Nonetheless, what a reward to have out-of-storage such works as those from Josef Albers' Homage to the Square & Jean Arp's Collage with Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance.
Other Modern-Masters of Patterns & Optical-Tricks include: Daniel Buren, Vasily Kandinsky, Kurt Schwitters, Georges Braque, Hannah Höch, Ellsworth Kelly, Bridget Riley, Lyubov Popova, Donald Judd, Frank Stella, Robert Ryman, François Morellet, Pablo Picasso, Gabriel Orozco, László Moholy-Nagy, & of course Blinky Palermo!
Well, Everyone who's Everyone seems included…
HOME DELIVERY: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling
[Closing 20 October 2008]
This you won't forget anytime soon. Five full-scale contemporary pre-fabricated houses have been constructed on the vacant-lot to the West of MoMA.
Up on the Museum's 6th floor, you will discover some 60 historical & modern projects, including four-commissions for this show, with a rich documentation of pre-fabrication going back to 1833 & involving varied materials.
The Build-It-Yourself Craze is far from over…
At the New York Botanical Garden:
[Bronx River Parkway @ Fordham Road/Bronx, NY 10024/Phone: 718-817-8700]
HENRY MOORE IN AMERICA: The Monumental Sculpture of Henry Moore
[Closing 2 November 2008]
Although that immense reclining Henry Moore figure that used to grace the Lincoln-Center wading-pool between Avery Fischer Hall & the Viv Beaumont Theatre has vanished, while Union-Card-Enfanchised Vandals rip up all the concrete & natural adornments, there are Twenty Major Pieces of Moore Monumental Sculptures on-view in the New York Botanical Garden, up in the Bronx!
Because of the imposing-size of many of Moore's works, most have been installed as Singles to grace some Urban-Plaza or otherwise gapingly-empty Skyscraper-Atrium, rather than be experienced in multiples in Vast-Landscapes, as Moore really intended.
At the Botanical-Garden opening, David Mitchinson--who is Head of Collections & Exhibitions for the Henry Moore Foundation--noted that Moore's large-scale works are on display in the grounds of Perry Green, the sculptor's English-Estate in Hertfordshire & now home of the Moore Foundation.
But the current powerful displaying of the 20 sculptures in the Manicured-Nature of the Botanical Garden, Mitchinson noted, is just what Moore would have wished.
As the Garden is extensive--250-acres!--all the sculptures can be seen on a Free Tram-Ride, from which you are fee to dismount to study the works up-close--something Moore also wished: Do Touch the Artworks! And catch the next Tram to the next Moore…
Among the works on-view are some of Moore's best-known creations: Draped Reclining Mother & Baby, Seated Woman, Goslar Warrior, Oval with Points, Locking Piece, & Large Totem Head.
A sense of Moore's work-habits can be gained from the Library-Lobby-Exhibit of Moore's small clay Maquettes & sculpting-tools. There are also photographs of Moore at work.
DARWIN'S GARDEN: An Evolutionary Adventure
[Opened 25 April 2008]
Scattered around the 250-acres of the NY Botanical Garden are smartly-designed signs, staked in the soil, that draw attention to a species of a plant or tree which interested Charles Darwin in his studies leading to the formulation of his Celebrated Theory of Evolution.
[Creationism or Intelligent-Design cannot so easily be demonstrated & documented…]
But the Main-Attraction is in the famed glass-house Enid Haupt Conservatory. Here, among Darwin's kitchen-garden blooms, stands the exterior of Darwin's beloved home--Down House in Kent--plus a suggestion of its interior, where Darwin carried out plant-experiments.
Some of these experiments with living-plants are replicated for Botanical Garden visitors. Have a close-look at some Venus Fly-traps!
Darwin's experiences on the Voyage of the Beagle were, of course, seminal to the Evolution of his Theory. But he didn't get all his ideas from Galapagos Turtles or Fruit-Flies, as this kitchen-garden section of the show explains. Actually, the kitchen-garden was the special-project of Emma, Charles Darwin's loving & long-suffering wife.
Several seasons ago, the American Museum of Natural History reconstructed Darwin's Down House Study--equipped with some of his original instruments. This important exhibition also focused on the Discovery of the Theory & Fact of Evolution.
It is too bad these two shows could not have been open at the same time. But the catalogue of the Natural History exhibition is still available. And the Botanical Garden catalogue is certainly current. So, even if you cannot come up to the Bronx, you can have some sense of what Darwin was doing out there in the Pacific & at home at Down House, in Emma's garden: in print--with impressive illustrations!
In any case, in a hot hot New York Summer, escape to the wonderful glades & forests of the Botanical Garden is a Mitzvah in itself!
THE PARK AVENUE ARMORY
[643 Park Avenue @ 67th Street]
In recent years, the only way you could see the fantastic Orientalisme of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Room at the Park Avenue Armory was to be invited to the Opening-Parties of Antique-Shows benefiting the Brooklyn Museum or the East-Side Settlement-House, or some such worthy charity.
If you tried to take a photo, the attendants or even some Military-Personnel would be ready to jump you. Even though the Function & Memorial Rooms had been designed by Stanford White, the Herter Bros. & other leading architect-designers, as well as Tiffany!
Aside from Works on Paper, the Book-Fairs, the Modernism dealer-sales, & Winter-Antiques, the Armory was still used by the National-Guard. As Park Avenue Residents soon re-discovered immediately after 9/11, with tank-like vehicles parked in the side-streets near Hunter-College.
There was even a Bavarian-Themed Army-Mess on an upper-floor. As a Korean-Vet, I could take advantage of this, but the food was terrible. Just like in the Army all those years ago…
Now the Park Avenue Armory Conservancy is beginning to restore the historic-interiors to their original glories. It is also making these chambers available for exhibitions of the Horrors of the Whitney Biennale…
Not only that: the Conservancy is determined to make the Armory "One of New York's Greatest Spaces for Epic, Contemporary Art." There is a handsome brochure available, with great photos of the Interiors, especially the vast Drill-Hall. For a copy & more info, log on to www.armoryonpark.org!
Some angry Park Ave Millionaire is taking-out full-page ads in the New York Sun, protesting all this new & potentially-noisy activity, which will apparently disturb the calm of Aged Co-op Denizens.
But the results thus far are really impressive. Here is my report on the current Epic-Production of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Die Soldaten--lifted from our companion-website, the New York Theatre-Wire:
Die Soldaten is one of the most powerful & innovative productions of a modern-opera ever to be seen in Manhattan. The Met could not match it, nor could New York City Opera when they staged this challenging 12-tone work of Musik-Theater many seasons ago.
One reason for the stunning impact of Soldaten--chronicling the tragic/pathetic destruction of a naïve girl, with dreams of Marriage-Above-Her-Station--is its presentation in the vast Drill-Hall of the historic Park-Avenue-Armory. This remarkable staging is the Centerpiece of the Lincoln Center Festival.
The Audience perches in two stepped-sections of seating which are mounted on three broad sets of railroad-tracks, so that the audience moves slowly back & forth on either side of a narrow raised-stage that stretches the length of the Hall.
This effectively puts the spectators in the midst of the rapidly-unfolding scenes, showing the pretty Marie's swift ruination at the hands of callous men, not all of them Officers or Soldiers.
As written by JMR Lenz in the late 18th Century, the drama is not an Anti-War play--despite its Soldiers title--but rather about men who do not respect women. And their about foolish Victims.
In this David Pountney-directed production for the Ruhr-Triennale, the costumes are effectively Prussian/Victorian, but there is also a modern-relevance to this sad story, underlined by Bernd Alois Zimmerman's powerful, if difficult, score.
At the close--to show the degradations to which Marie has been ironically reduced--she is serially-raped by Three Santa-Clauses carrying tiny Christmas-Trees.
[It could be argued that Alban Berg's opera Wozzek deals with the Marie/Officer problem more simply & economically: Berg's unfortunate anti-heroine is also named Marie…]
Claudia Barainsky is remarkable in the vocally, emotionally, & physically-demanding role of the head-strong Marie. Claudio Otelli is also strong as her first fiancé, the discarded Stoltzius, who joins the Napoleonic-Army to poison her Officer-Lover--and himself…
Other admirable talents from the Bochum-Opera ensemble include Johann Till, Andreas Conrad, Hanna Schwarz, Peter Hoare, Kathryn Harries, Helen Field, & Kay Stiefermann. The Army-Chaplain--who needs to read his Bible more closely--is Jochen Schmekenbecher.
Steven Sloane conducted the Bochumer-Symphoniker, specially-augmented for this powerful score. Unfortunately, not all of the Sound-Effects--such as the Shriek-bänder--Zimmerman required could be provided. One of the reasons this opera is so seldom staged…
Incidental-Notes: I had the good-fortune to see the original Köln Soldaten production, as well as an impressive Munich mounting at the Bavarian State Opera. Through a Mutual-Friend, I was also able to interview the depressive Zimmermann not long before he committed suicide…
Just before curtain-time--although there was no curtain at the Armory--I greeted the director, David Pountney, who seemed pleased to be reminded that I had interviewed him long ago when he was The Man at the English National Opera, or ENO. And I am also a 51-year-regular at Austria's Bregenz-Festival, where Pountney is the current Intendant.
[Live Entertainment's July issue opens with my report on the current Bregenz-Festival Lake-Stage production of Puccini's Tosca. It is titled: I've Got My Eye On You. The reason: the Visual-Center of the stage is an Immense-Eye--animated by pistons, axles, & cranes--that can function as a variety of stage-spaces in various conformations.]
As for the Ruhr & its Triennale, this former Industrial-Powerhouse of Germany--think of Two World-Wars & the firms of Krupp & Thyssen, among others--is now, like Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Detroit, & other American Manufacturing-Centers, filled with empty-factories, dis-used Gasometers, & defunct Assembly-Lines.
Desperate to perk up the dying-economies of Ruhr-Cities such as Essen, Dortmund, & Duisberg--as well as Bochum & Wuppertal--home to Dance-Theatre innovator, Pina Bausch--the Powers-That-Be have opted for Cultural-Tourism, with often Monumental summer-productions in former factories & other Industrial-Relics.
The Triennale was created, fortuitously, when Intendant Gerard Mortier was no long welcome as Chief of the Salzburg-Festival. It provided Mortier with a useful-roost until he moved on to the Paris-Opera, from which he now comes to the New York City Opera!
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Flimm has followed Mortier to the Ruhr, so it is he who is to be thanked for inviting David Pountney to stage Soldaten. Since last summer, however, Flimm is now Intendant of the Salzburg-Festival…
In case the Dollar recovers by 2010, you may want to make your reservations to visit the Ruhr as Europe's Culture-Capital. Initially, this European-Union Cultural-Initiative saluted single cities like Paris, Berlin, & Brussels. Now, some 53 Ruhr Cities have combined to create a potentially-impressive program for the entire year of 2010. More than 2,000 projects are under consideration…
At Rockefeller Center:
WHAT MY DAD GAVE ME
[Being Dismantled 20 July 2008]
Do they still make Erector-Sets?
In the Age of the Great Depression, the architecture-loving toymaker, AC Gilbert, developed a system of punched-out & pressed strips of shiny metal that could be screwed together to make all kinds of structures & even cars & trucks & other machines: The Erector-Set!
Now the ingenious cutting-edge artist Chris Burden has designed a Giant Erector-Construction that suggests the Empire State Building--or the RCA Building, for it stands at the Fifth Avenue entrance of the Rockefeller-Center Promenade, with the RCA in back of it.
This Erector-Skyscraper is 65-feet-tall! Effectively, that is six-stories high!
Burden would have not stopped until he reached 100-feet, but engineers were worried about winds & stresses. No sense in killing French-Tourists for Art…
There are hundreds-of-thousands of Erector-pieces in this 16,000-pound construction, which was assembled in sections in Topanga-Canyon, far from Manhattan's Madding-Crowd.
Unlike Albrecht Dürer & Leonardo Da Vinci, Burden did not create this artwork all by himself. Instead, like Jeff Koons, he ideated the Concept, designed it, then found worker-bees to fabricate it for him. Under his Super-Vision, of course…
As AC Gilbert also devised the more rustic building-set of Lincoln-Logs--not to forget the AC Gilbert Chemistry-Set--maybe the next Burden-Project will be the World's Biggest Log-Cabin? Or the World's Biggest Phosphate Explosion in a High-School Toilet!
At the Whitney Museum of American Art:
[945 Madison Avenue @75th Street/NY, NY 10021/Phone: 800-WHITNEY]
BUCKMINSTER FULLER: Starting with the Universe
[Closing 21 September 2008]
One of the biggest attractions at the Montreal Expo '67 was the Buckminster Fuller-designed Geodesic-Dome that en-shelled the American-Pavilion's optimistic-exhibitions of current Life South of the Border. The Canadian-Border, that is…
Although Fuller was virtually the first American Architect & Engineer to think in "Green" terms, most of his ideas & concepts remained theoretical, although he did design & create models of Dymaxion-Houses, some of which are now on-view at the Whitney.
Fuller also functioned as a Poet, an Artist, a Philosopher, a Prophet, & a Visionary--which is almost the same thing. Certainly his affiliation with other Artists, Writers, & Thinkers at Black Mountain College in North Carolina was mutually-stimulating to all involved.
This Retrospective could not come at a better time, Environmentally-Speaking. And the wide-ranging Bucky Fuller show at the Whitney is colorfully-designed & constantly-intriguing.
PAUL McCARTHY: Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement--Three Installations, Two-Films
[Closing 12 October 2008]
Shortly before this floor-filling show opened at the Whitney, several Paul McCarthy Installation/Constructions failed to sell in London at auction. Could this be a Sign…
Considering their size--the room-space they require--a Millionaire-Collector would have to have an enormous Living-Room or a Dia Art-Foundation in an old Nabisco Biscuit-Factory in Beacon, NY, in order to show-off his Taste. And his Money's Buying-Power…
Several years ago in Munich, at the Haus der Kunst, I wandered through some McCarthy-Territory--I think there was a Covered-Wagon or some such--& I wondered for whom--or even WHY--he was making these large-scale constructions, with electric-cables scattered about: Watch Your Feet!
At the Whitney, the novelty is seeing the whole room of McCarthyisms reflected in Mirrors. One could say that the McCarthy-Magic is all Smoke & Mirrors.
But there is no Smoke or even Mist. That could have aided the illusion that there is something Profound on view here. The Mirrors, however, Save the Day. This is the Whitney-Equivalent of the Olafur Eliasson Installations over at MoMA. Thank G-d McCarthy does not do Waterfalls…
Naturally, the Whitney justifies this use of its precious space under the Customary-Mantra that seems to fit all Modern-American-Artists, whether shown at the Whitney or at MoMA: "…one of the most influential artists of his generation." [Italics-added. Ed]
But there's more, as Curator Chrissie Iles gushes: "Of all the artists who emerged out of the transformative period of the 1960s in America, Paul McCarthy arguably expresses the existential-neurosis released by that moment in its most extreme form… In McCarthy's disorienting environments we become unsure of where the boundary between authority & freedom lies, and where the real world ends & fantasy begins." [Chrissie, you've got to be joking? Ed]
Wait, there's even more: "In McCarthy's work, the body is symbolized by architectural-forms that function both as the container & the producer of internal-anxiety…"
Fortunately, you can experience Existential-Neurosis & Internal-Anxiety every time you go to the Whitney, even if Installations by Paul McCarthy are not on-view…
Copyright © Glenn Loney 2008. No re-publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, Curator's Choice." Reproduction rights please contact: email@example.com.
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