Tuesday, November 30, 2004

American Art Auction @ Sotheby’s 11/30/04

American paintings, drawings and sculpture
including property from the collection of Rita and Daniel Fraad
Sotheby's Auction House

I stopped by to see the exhibit and I was surprised by both the amount and the quality of the art on view. Especially impressive were the number of Winslow Homer paintings, several of very high quality. I was particularly struck by a painting by Guy Pene Du Bois (an old favorite of mine). His work reminds me of a bygone era, of “olde New York” where dinner jackets, five-o clocktails and pre-theater dinners were the order of the day.
Paris Railroad Station
I am planning to stop by tomorrow to catch the auction in the late afternoon. More to follow...

Duccio, the Met just had to have one...

Well, what would you do if you needed just one more painting by a great progenitor of western painting to "fill-out" your collection? And it was only 45 million dollars? Buy, of course. Which is just what the Metropolitan Museum did a few weeks back.
"More than a few eyebrows went up when the Metropolitan Museum of Art confirmed this week that it had bought a painting by an early Renaissance master, and the price was reported to exceed $45 million. The price is interesting, and so is the painter -- Duccio di Buoninsegna..." NY Times, 11/13/2004

Duccio and the Art of Siena

This site provides a good intro. to Duccio's style comparing his work with that of Giotto - also a great progenitor of western painting...


Great images of major works by the Sienese master.

More images of paintings by Duccio
There is a "Madonna and Child" on this web site that is similiar in look and feel to the painting recently purchased by the Met.

The Art Newspaper The full story of the Met's purchase, with an image of said painting.

BTW (By the way), this painting is slightly smaller than the 8 1/2" by 11" paper in your ink-jet printer...IMHO (In my humble opinion), this is a great purchase at any price. But then again, I didn't buy it ... but I'll be happy to visit it. I hope you will too.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Raphael's "La Fornarina" @ The Frick

I almost forgot to add Raphael's "La Fornarina" to my list of must-see art this Fall. This is a no-brainer, the Palazzo Barberini in Rome being too far a trip. This enigmatic (Raphael's "Mona Lisa"?) painting is traveling to this hemisphere for the first and probably last time.
Raphael's Fornarina on View in the United States for the First Time: Three-City Tour Begins at New York's Frick Collection
I haven't been to the Frick in quite some time as it has a stiff adimssion fee but I did regret not seeing four versions of "The Purification of the Temple" by El Greco at the Frick when they were there a few years back. Luckily for me the four paintings were included in the subsequent El Greco show at the Met.
Also, kudos to the Met on the purchase of a delicate Duccio, the first to grace their collection. More on this later...

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Greatest Showplace on Earth!

"Chelsea...the greatest showplace for contemporary art on Earth" Roberta Smith - NY Times 11/28/04
Wow, there it is. I am amazed and astonished that it has happened so quickly but then "Chelsea is SoHo on crack" as the saying goes. It's the go-go eighties all over again with a group show of the tragically unhip - David Salle and his gate crashers from way back when: Clemente, Haring and Basquiat. Planned for the Tony Shrafazzi gallery, this show should be telling: will it be well-recieved? I hope not. It was bad enough the first time around to have all these over-inflated egos commanding all the high prices and prestige. What is happening in Chelsea right now owes nothing to the eighties.

Like it or not, much of what is on view in Chelsea galleries is of the twenty-first century: high tech materials, digital video and projection, post-post-modern thinking and wildly idiosyncratic excess characterize an emergent new art that moves at a rapid clip and morphs in a dizzying array of styles, attitudes and persona owing in equal parts to science fiction, the internet, and late-stage capitalism. Not to say that we are in a "Golden Age" but definitely one that is fresh, vibrant and in some way, promising.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Just a quick stop in Chelsea...

On my way to play some basketball at Chelsea Piers, I stopped by the Elizabeth Dee Gallery. I was annoyed by the cloying and simplistic images of Christoph Steinmeyer. On the other hand I admired the craft and wit of Chris Sauter. There is a full size four poster bed with a gash in the mattress that, on closer inspection, turns out to be a minature sort of Grand Canyon/Hoover Damesque diorama - weird as a beard, man.

This from the press release:
"Just Married, an installation by Chris Sauter in Gallery 2, will comprise a bed with a system of canyons carved into its foam mattress. Tiny dams, telephone poles, and electrical towers punctuate this Lilliputian expanse with the evidence of humanity’s presence."
545 WEST 20TH STREET. Until 12/18/04

After basketball, on the way back I peeked in at the Gagosian Gallery on 24th St. I was impressed with the sheer virtuosity of paint handling in the new work by Mark Tansey. From upclose these paintings are really loose and painterly yet the images coalesce into surprisingly realistic seas, rock faces and glaciers when viewed from across the gallery. The classic game of near/far that was perfected by Velasquez and the Impressionists is here given a fresh new shift. The images on the web really do not do these paintings any justice, They are huge paintings that need to be seen close up to really get a sense of their charms.
555 WEST 24TH STREET. Until 12/18/04

Thursday, November 25, 2004

MoMA is "All That"

It's definitely bigger and better, and more crowded. Of course there are crowds; people are excited to see their "old friends" Vincent, Henri, Pablo and Jackson again. Membership has its privledges: skip the lines and feel free to return whenever you feel like it for only $75. Another tip: don't bring an umbrella unless you like standing in long lines for mandatory check-in (another line I skipped since I got wet on the way it was a compensatory perk).

Walk, don't run to the refurbished MoMA.
There is a new reading room where you can browse through their offerings, like in Barnes and Noble. I discovered a new publication: "Frank Lloyd Wright The Interactive Portfolio" a must-have for me. This book inclubes many facsimile reproductions of drawings, plans, memoralbilia and correspondance. A great teaching tool.


The Kandinsky's never looked better. His four canvas Panels for Edwin R. Campbell No. 1, No. 2, No. 3,and
No. 4
of 1914 have pride of place. I have always looked at these paintings as abstract representation of the four seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.

James Rosenquist"F-11" looks resplendent in a space that seems like it was made for it. Click on "full view" from this page to see an interesting view of this immense painting.

The view from all of the bridges in the upper floors of the immense atrium.

Monday, November 22, 2004

VIVA and the Skyscraper Museum

"Visual Index to the Virtual Archive" ... VIVA is a great resource for exploring NYC neighborhoods online. VIVA was created by the folks at the Skyscraper Museum:
"an innovative visually-based interface that uses a 3-D computer model of Manhattan as a click-on map, allowing Web visitors to view the city, present and past, and to access the Museum's collections through an on-line, searchable database"
Now, this is what I'm talking about...this is what the wide weird web is supposed to provide: rich, interesting, interactive information for the taking.
****Four Stars****(Five when it gets more complete!)
The Skyscraper Museum

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Have you been to DIA Beacon? See the "enviro-architectural-envelopments of elemental and vertigo-inducing behemoths"

If you haven't been to the DIA Beacon yet, go. The Dia:Beacon is a museum for Dia Art Foundation's renowned collection of art from the 1960s to the present. With only a $10. admission fee (MoMA has set up a new paradigm where $10. is now a bargain) and a scant 50 mile ride up the east side of the Hudson River by train or auto from NYC, there is no excuse to not check it out. On a recent trip I was thrilled to see the torqued ellipses of Richard Serra in a space that is ample and complements the rich and varied surfaces of the rusted Cor-ten Steel plates that have become a signature aspect ot his work. Sculpture is too small a word for these enviro-architectural-envelopments of elemental and vertigo-inducing behemoths.
The DIA web site:
For Info. and directions
For someone else's humble opinion:
"The New Hudson River School"
Here's a good review by John Haberman, this site has plenty to whet your appetite for a day trip to DIA:Beacon.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Best New Media art in NYC: "The Street"

That's right, a 6-minute animation by Lars Arrhenius "The Street" at Feigen Contemporary (535 West 20th St., Chelsea, through Dec.23rd) is absolutely the best new media work I've seen in quite some time. It is based on a simple premise:
"What if the blocky universal symbols for man and woman, like those designating public restrooms, had lives of their own?" -Roberta Smith, NYTimes
Go see this show if you like your art in an amusing yet thought-provoking form. Animation is not just for kids and the latest 3D Pixar project notwithstanding, this is a must-see. "The Street" can only be seen in one place and it's here, right now.
See it and keep those cards and letters coming.
Lars Arrhenius
C-prints by Lars

London Underground, also by Lars

Check it out, fresh and funky C-prints of the London tube.

Feigen Comtemporary site.
The Quicktime video doesn't do it justice, but that's all there is, so you have to get out the house and see the real deal.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Twenty-Dollar MoMA? Take Your Mama!

Well, I'm gonna hafta weigh-in on this one:
"Yes, twenty dollars is a whole lotta dinaro to get in to the new MoMA but if you're serious about modern art you can become a member for only $75. and have unlimited free admission for a year: it's the best bargain in New York!"

Yeah, yeah, I know. You're not convinced. Read More and don't forget to respond.
Local Brooklyn painter gets indignant and publicity mad!
MoMA's $20 Admission [Felix Salmon]
More on the Bru-ha-ha
Open Letter to Greg Allen [Todd Gibson, From the Floor]
The Homeless Museum
Does this museum need a home?
$20: Such An Easy Target [Modern Art Notes]
Blah, blah, blah
Y Tu MoMA Tambien [Modern Art Notes]

The final word on this tangled web we weave:
The Twenty-Dollar MoMA? Take Your Mama, it might do you both some good.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Marilyn Monroe @ the BMA

Went to the Brooklyn Museum of Art today to see portraits of children by John Singer Sargent, and also to see an exhibit of photographs of Marilyn Monroe at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Sargent was singularly spectacular in his usual fashion, yet it seemed to be all surface and nuance... but what a surface!
The stunner of the day were the images of Marilyn which were riveting, revealing and rapacious providing depth, intimacy and intimations of mortality and morality. More on this later.
Stopped by the Elizabeth Dee Gallery earlier in the day, after a romp at Chelsea Piers. The installation by Virgil Marti in the small space on West 20th St. seemed contrived, tacky and a little too retro for my taste. Although I was lucky to see the show as it was being dismantled ( it closed yesterday) but I was disappointed by the yard sale nature of the presentation. Let's just say I don't get it.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What Art to see in NYC : Fall 04

Wowie-zowie! Fall in NYC and the Art world is in full swing after a sleepy summer. It is like springtime for art in the autumn in nueva york.
Here is my "to do" list, check back to see reviews and postings related to this rejuvenating and refreshing encounter with the best in museums, galleries and off-beat locales not-just-for-locals.
My short-list (not in order of prominence or priority):
Frank Lloyd Wright: The Vertical Dimension @the Skyscraper Museum, through Jan. 9.
FLW designs for a "Mile-High Building"downtown. This new museum has been on my list, But FLW is a must-see anywhere, anytime.
Picasso-Beckman/Beckman-Picasso @Richard Feigen & Co. 34 E.69th St. through Jan. 31.
Ditto for Pablo and Max, two giants in a tete-a-tete.
The Aztec Empire @ the Guggenheim Museum through Feb. 15
Aztecs in "Wrights revenge?" Sounds corny but I've heard it works.
Romare Bearden @ the Whitney through Jan 9th. Also Isamu Noguchi through Jan. 16.
Two perrennial favs. at the uptown concrete bunker for difficult art during difficult times.
Josef and Anni Albers: Designs for Living @ the Cooper Hewitt through Feb. 9.
The Bauhaus is Dead! Long Live the Bauhaus!
There's a lot to "gosee" in the next two months (this is just the short list, long list to follow).
My taste is neatly encapsulated here with Picasso/Albers/Wright in the forefront and Bearden/Noguchi/Beckman as a backdrop. Did I fail to mention John Singer Sargent at the Brooklyn Museum of Art? So it goes...
PS-I'm reading Ada Louise Huxtable's elegant and emminent biography of Frank Lloyd Wright,
can't put it down yet I want to savor the fine writing and delicious story.