Wednesday, May 20, 2015

KIPS BAY DECORATOR SHOW HOUSE: Review by Polly Guerin

Every year, celebrated interior designers are chosen to transform a luxury Manhattan home into an elegant exhibition of fine furnishings, art and technology and the Kips Bay Decorator Show House does not disappoint, Located at the Arthur Sachs Mansion at 58 East 66 Street in New York City's iconic Lenox Hill neighborhood this annual prestigious event, entrance fee $35, helps to raise critical funds for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club that helps to improve the lives of thousands of bright talented young people. It also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the the club.
Gail Green's "An Artful Loo"
     "An Artful Loo" by Gail Green Interiors is worth taking into account. Inspired by the bold visual beauty and graphic imagery of Keith Harng's artwork, the powder room is designed around Ascot's new ceramic tile collection, carried by Hasting Tile & Bath, called "Game of Fifteen."  A tribute to the Master Graffiti artist, the tiles have anthropomorphic-like themes that are sharp and chic, graphic and poignant.With maze-like forms, at a distance they form a pattern: up close, they form a story. This powder room has a playful ambiance and is truly "An Artful Loo."
          Rich embellishments As you walk through this year's house with your cell phones and note pads, gathering cards,  fresh ideas illuminate the premises,
Alessandra Branca's Living Room
such as, Jamie Drake's front hall, wine-dark walls flecked with Japanese mica. Traditional French Art Deco and beautiful marquetry draw attention as does a mix of periods and styles, such as,  Alessandra Branca's cosy, rosy living room with marine life, candles, books and orchids, the sofa backed by a Chinese lacquer screen.
          The over-the-top red and white gingham dining room, however, is both startling and inviting comments. As I observed; the walls the pillows quite
The Gingham Dining Room 
overwhelm with gingham.
        Pulled Together in 4 Days: Clients of interior designers my rightly wonder how this show house was pulled together with such panache and bravado in four weeks. Charles Pavarini's  "Manhattan Midnight Lounge," a glittering room with a pewter-leaf tavertine marble, myriad LED technologies and deep blue strie walls, in a brilliant remark once told a client, "It's because you were not involved..Yes, once the client/customer gets involved there are often unexpected delays and then even more reason's to become exasperated.

Friday, May 15, 2015

FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life - Review by Polly Guerin

If you ever wanted to visit Frida Kahlo’s garden at the Casa Azul (Blue House), also known as the Museo Frida Kahlo, the artist’s lifelong home outside of Mexico City-- all you need to do is to day trip over to The New York Botanical Garden. Celebrating Frida’s art, her gardens and her life the NYBG exhibition focuses exclusively on Kahlo’s intense interest in the botanical world and her complex use of plant imagery in her paintings. If you are a Kahlo fan as I am, or even a neophyte art enthusiast, this first solo exhibition on Kahlo in New York City in more than ten years, does not disappoint and is on view from May 16 through November 1, 2015.
    
BLUE WALLS FRAMED FRIDA'S GARDEN:: Frida Kahlo is revered as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century and is recognized as an international symbol of Mexican and feminist identity. Her compositions express her unique world view in portraits and still lifes filled with colorful, compelling images of flowers, foliage, fruits and animals. The landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is full of joy in the visual exploration of the colors and textures of Frida Kahlo’s deep connection to the natural world and to Mexico. Passing the indigo-blue replicas of the walls that framed Frida’s home garden, Casa Azul, one is at first startled by the luminosity of the walls as they serve as a backdrop along lava rock paths lined with eye-pleasing flower beds representing the colorful garden plants of Mexico.
     The Casa Azul Pyramid: This leads you to a scale version of the pyramid erected at the Casa Azul. Frida and her husband, famed muralist Diego Rivera were prolific collectors of Mexico’s historical treasures and their home overflowed with rare and unique object d’art of Mexican heritage. The pyramid with its bold yellow and blue accents stands before you in a dramatic display against an indigo blue wall background. It was originally created to display pre-Hispanic art collected by Diego Rivera and here it showcases traditional terra-cotta pots filled with Mexican cacti and succulents. A niche adjacent to the pyramid  provides an intimate insight as it contains a desk and easel, reminding visitors that Kahlo’s work in her studio was intertwined with her life and her garden.

     Kahlo’s Rare Paintings: Take a stroll along the garden path to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Art Gallery where art treasures on the sixth floor feature an exhibit of  fourteen of Kahlo’s paintings, which highlight the artist’s use of botanical imagery in her work. The paintings focus on her lesser-known yet equally spectacular still lifes and include Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940), Still Life with Parrot and Flag (1951) and Self-Portrait inside a Sunflower (1954). Frida’s still life paintings depict a variety of fruit and flowers, including many native to Mexico, alongside animals, Mexican folk art, and pre-Hispanic objects.
    The Two Fridas:  The painting, The Two Fridas, gets its due recognition in the Britton Rotunda, on the fourth floor of the Library building . Not to be missed, it is an installation of specially commissioned artwork replicating Frida’s dual persona. Contemporary Artist in Residence, Humberto Spindola has re-created an installation of paper dresses that first debuted at the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City in 2009. Inspired by Katho's double self-portrait, The Two FridaS (1939), Spindola re-creates her iconic dresses, one in a native Mexican costume, the other in a Victorian gown, representing Frida’s two lives. He employs acid-free tissue paper and light-resistant pigments to create long-lasting works of fine art evoking traditional 17th- and 18th-century Mexican craft techniques.
   
THORN NECKLACE AND HUMMINGBIRD
    A rich programming compliments the Conservatory and Library exhibitions, including a poetry walk and poetry readings, film screenings, entertainment.  Stop by the Cantina and sit at tables or benches and relax against colorful pillows while sipping typical Mexican cocktail as you listen to lively folk to mariachi music typical of Frieda’s country.   Wide range of programs include lectures, a Film Series, Cooking with Frida demonstrations, and Frida’s Flora and Fauna. Weekends are especially festive with music and dance performances with live music, cocktails and Mexican-inspired dinner menus.
      At The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458. For more information contact call 718.817.8700 or visit www.nybg.org
    A new mobile phone experience, produced in collaboration with the museum of Modern Art, allows visitors to explore the exhibition from anywhere in the world.  

   Ta Ta Darlings!!! Day Tripping to the NYBG is an easy hop on the Metro North. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Please check Polly’s Bogs on www.pollytalk.com and click on the links in the left hand column.


Monday, May 11, 2015

REVOLUTION OF THE EYE, at The Jewish Museum: Review by Polly Guerin

Babs in full blown drama is the first screen you encounter as you enter the Jewish Museum's exhibit "Revolution of the Eye, Modern Art and the Birth of American Television." The exhibit, running through to September 20,  is a stunning tribute to the golden years of American television. It's nostalgic trip back in time when television was innovative, adventuresome and tied into the world of art and its celebrated artists.. Here we see the 23-year old Barbra Streisand dashing about in a  colorful Op-Art dress, singing, "Gotta find someplace...some place where I can just be me,"
     In this excerpt form Ms. Streisand's 1966 CBS showcase "Color Me Barbra," the young starlet dashes about in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the modernist paintings on the walls are more than just backdrop. We see  her interaction with the art while entering portraits, for instance,  by Modigliani and Eakins, while she sings as the women they painted. It's really charming and entertaining and the high spirited Babs delivers an interesting performance that melds art into television with equal panache.
    It was the years from the 1950 to the 1970s when television was a neophyte and network television seeking ways to communicate intermingled with art the of its time. Clips, advertising, periodicals, merchandise reveal the influence of artists from Marcel  Duchamp and Salvatore Dali to Ben Shahn, Saul Bass, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.
     The show takes you on a journey through the years of The Twilight Zone with the surrealism influences of Dali and Magritte that Rod Serling, the shows creator, dutifully acknowledged.This was television for intelligent viewing with a large screen featuring a Chagall-like field of stars on The Twilight Zone, another had a Duchamp spiral. Television then was educational and it was entertaining, and it introduced viewers to innovative and inventive programming. For instance, the influence of modern art and design, such as the famous eye logo, the corporate identity of CBS, is presented in all it incarnations.
   Later sections of the exhibit focus on the influence of Op and Pop art with references to "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In," and "The Ed Sullivan Show."
    Don;t miss this opportunity to take a turn down memory lane when the world of high art onscreen had its finest hour, but died out in the 1970s. Viewers of the exhibition may come away from the.show thinking: "I wish they had shows like that now." At the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, at 92nd Street.
     Ta Ta darlings, Babs never disappoints!.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Log into Polly's Blogs on fashion, beauty, remarkablemen, womendetermined to succeed at www.pollytalk.com and in the left hand column click on the link to the Blog that may resonate with your interest.
   

Monday, May 4, 2015

CHINA'S IMPACT ON WESTERN FASHION By Polly Guerin


In a way, "China: Through the Looking Glass," on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 7 through August 16, 2015, is not about China per se, but a fantasy tour of high fashion juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains and other art. Films like "The World of Suzy Wong," reveal enchanting reflections through the looking glass of Chinese imagery and fashion.
   In this collaboration between the Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art, the exhibition explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries.
   The expansive exhibition starts with a mirrored dark tunnel  that at times I found too dark to navigate while video clips of Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Lost Emperor" leads to the dragon robe worn by Puyl, The Last Emperor, when he was four years old.  The effect is in dramatic contrast with the centuries-old Chinese costumes and all-gold mannequins decked out with designer creations by Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Paul Poiret, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy and Vivienne Tam to name a few. From the earliest period of European contact with China in the 16th century, the West has been enchanted with the enigmatic objects and imagery from the East, providing inspiration for fashion designers , whose fashions are infused at every turn with romance, and through the looking glass make-believe.
  The Mad Hatter, London-based milliner Stephen Jones, created over 120 or elaborate headpieces that add whimsical charm to the mannequins' heads.
   The Department of Asian Art gets its most striking transformation. Production designer, Nathan Crowley, has created a moon like projection for the bamboo forest that rises in The Astor Court.  It features a thematic vignette dedicated to Chinese opera, focusing on John Galliano's spring 2003 Christian Dior Haute Couture collection.
    The exhibit features more than 140 examples of Haute Couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside masterpieces of Chinese Art. Film representations of China are incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China have been shaped by narratives that draw upon popular culture. It allows us to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which we understand the richness of Chinese history.
    Andrew Bolton, Curator, The Costume Institute , organized the exhibition and the esteemed filmmaker Won Kar-Wai is the exhibition's artistic director working with his longtime collaborator William Chang, who supervised styling.
   
A book, China: Through the Looking Glass, by Andrew Bolton, has text by Mei Mei Rado, Wong Kar Wai, Homay King, Harold Koda and an interview with John Galliano, and is illustrated with new photographs. The Yale University Press book, a gold-stamped edition is $45.  An opening concert with pianist Lang Lang takes place in the Great Hall on May 14. For further information check the Museum's website www.metmuseum.org/ChinaLookingGlass.
   Ta Ta Darlings!!! It's a fascinating exhibition that takes visitors through the looking glass into China's influence past and present.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc.gmail.com.  Check out Polly's Blogs on www.pollytalk.com.







Monday, April 27, 2015

JOHN FAIRCHILD, The Man Who Changed Fashion by Polly Guerin

John B. Fairchild 1927-2015
Portrait by Irving Penn
To most business people the name John B.Fairchild does not resonate with their business experience, but to the fashion industry John B. Fairchild, the publishing tycoon of Women's Wear Daily, is a super hero who changed the way the world looked at fashion.
   I attended his memorial service at the Church of the Ascension in lower Manhattan this morning and Bill Cunningham,  the New York Times' photo journalist was front and center snapping photographs of arriving fashion designers and fashionistas.
   I wanted to attend and pay my respects because during the publication's halcyon days I was an editor in the fashion department and remember what an exhilarating time it was to work there.
   I was.escorted to a seat right in the middle of the fashion luminaries too numerous to mention. Oh yes, Anna Wintour was there and Pierre Berge, the late Yves Saint Laurent patron, spoke, but his inaudible speech was lost to most everyone's ears. Leonard Lauder made up for that with a robust speech in which he talked about how Fairchild was witty, effortlessly stylish, chivalrous and endlessly curious. And how Fairchild changed an industry reporting newspaper into a publication that everyone wanted to read, including women of influence outside the industry, and gave them a glossy magazine called W too. Then in 1983 he founded the original M magazine---the first cover of which featured Prince Philip.
  Fairchild had engaging relationships with the late Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass. He was always in a rush and ready to stir things up.. He coined the phrases Ladies Who Lunch, Jackie O, Beautiful People, and Fashion Victim to name a few. He was the Bard of the 60s, 70s, and 80's, and on a positive note, he had a very keen eye for stirring the industry up like a conductor on the stage of fashion..  Lauder concluded, "An era closes but our John Fairchild is with us forever."
   As for WWD, it has moved on and ceased print publication on Friday, April 24, but it is not deserting the print business altogether. The Fairchild organization is launching a weekly edition of WWD with deeper context, timely analysis and compelling graphics, As as for the late Inspirer-In-Chief John B. Fairchild, he  would insist, a touch of silly.In fact the publication is also now hyper-daily via WWD.com (open 24-7), a digital daily PDF edition.
  Ta Ta darlings!!! I shall miss my morning coffee reading WWD, but times must move with technology and alas we now have the digital version. fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc.gmail.com.  Check in on Polly's Blogs on fashion, poetry from the heart, womendetermined to succeed and visionary men on www.pollytalk.com



Monday, April 20, 2015

LAFAYETTE'S RETURN and the Hermione: Review by Polly Guerin


One of the big historical events of 2015 takes us back to 1780, when the French frigate called the Hermione
brought the Marquis de Layayette with exciting news of renewed French aid for the American Revolution.
   "The Frigate of Liberty" in which Lafayette sailed to American has historical significance in its role in turning the tide of the American Revolutionary War.What does this mean to you?
    Thomas Fleming the eminent author and board member of the New York Revolutionary Round Table, summed up what the Hermoine means.He declared that without Lafayette, there probably would not have been a French alliance, and with the French alliance, America would have lost its war of independence.
"She sails like a bird," the Marquis de Lafayette wrote about the Hermione, the ship that carried him and a decisive stache of arms across the Atlantic in aid of the nascent American Revolution.
   The Hermione is an invaluable part of history and the idea of reconstructing an authentic, historical replica of the Hermione, made by hand using the techniques of the eighteenth century, was conceived in 1993 by the organization French Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America. The reconstructed Hermione is a work of pure craftsmanship in glorious original colors. This is a riveting event and in the summer of this year, a reconstructed Hermione returns to America leaving from France and visiting ports along the east coast of the United States for a summer of celebrations, spending the fourth of July in New York. 

A New York Historical Society exhibition, Lafayette's Return: The Boy General," the
American Revolution and the Hermione, focuses on both the recreated ship and Lafayette himself , the Boy General,  whose close friendship with George Washington and diplomatic networks in Paris helped win the war. The exhibit highlights Lafayette's early years from his initial advocacy on behalf of the Revolution in the late 1770s to the Hermione's voyage in 1780 and the events leading to the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781.                                                                                                                                                       Celebrating this historic event the French Institute Alliance Francaise, FIAF, presents the world premiere of  the play Hermione Project Lafayette on Wednesday April 22 at 7:30 pm and an additional date, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 pm. Tickets $25 with code SM25, the FIAF Box Office 1 800 982 2787.  An opening night benefit dinner, catered by award-winning chef Daniel Boulud's Feast & Fetes in FIAF's Le Skyroom $400 includes the performance and dinner on April 22. The event venue  for the two performances is at the Alliance Francaise, Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street
  Discover this incredible story of the young Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution. The play celebrates the historic return to the United States of the Hermione, an authentic reconstruction. 
At the age of 19, Lafayette sailed to as a volunteer soldier In this new play inspired by letters between Lafayette and his wife, follow the young couple's life of adventure, and their political brinkmanship in securing support for the American cause from a reluctant king. 
   Ta Ta darlings!!! The Hermione is an event not to missed. For further information about the Hermione's exact sailing dates check with the website Friends of Hermione-Lafayette.
For information about the The New York American Revolutionary Round Table, NYARRT contact chairman David Jacobs, at djacobs01@snet.net. 
   The exhibit, Lafayette's Return: "The Boy General," the American Revolution and the Hermione, opens May 19 and extends through to August 16, 2015 at New York Historical Society, NYHS, located at 79th Street and Central Park West. The Hermione event is a truly historical adventure that has resonates for all members of the family.. 
   Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc.gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click on the link to Polly's blogs on fashion, womendeterminedtosucceed, visonarymen or poetry in the left hand column.
   

Monday, April 13, 2015

SULTANS of DECCAN INDIA: Opulence and Fantasy: Review by Polly Guerin

Parrot Perched on a Mango tree with tethered ram
The ever enriching exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sultan of Deccan India, 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy, brings visitors into a world of charm and great beauty with some 200 of the finest works from major international, private and royal collections. The exhibition opening April 20 runs through July 26, 20l5 in the first -floor exhibition gallery. It explores the character of Deccani art in various media: poetic lyricism in painting; lively created metal work; and a distinguishing tradition of textile production. Why is Deccan history so important? Because it will resonate with your creative senses to inspire and be amazed by the distinctive Indo-Islamic art and culture.
   The Deccan plateau of south-central India was home to a succession of highly cultured Muslim Kingdoms with a rich artistic heritage. Under their patronage in the 16th and 17th centuries, foreign influences---notably from Iran, Turkey, eastern Africa, and Europe--combined with ancient and prevailing Indian traditions to create a distinctive Indo-Islamic art and culture. A highlight is the presentation of all the known masterpieces and several new discoveries in painting, the greatest art of the Deccan.
   Diamonds on display will dazzle your imagination. Some of the largest ever found originated in the great mines of the Deccan. From antiquity until the 18th and 19th centuries, when diamonds were discovered in Brazil and Africa, India was virtually the sole source of these precious gems. Whether given as diplomatic gifts or trade by merchants, India's diamond reached an appreciative audience among European royalty.  Among the treasures from Golconda---whose diamond mines were the source of such diamonds as the legendary Kohinoor---will be a group of magnificent gems to feast your eyes on, from international royal collections, including the "Idol's Eye" and "Agra" diamonds.
In addition, look for the gilt steel armor shoes fit for a Sultan.  
Manuscript of Nyjumal-Ulum (Stars of Science)
                                                               Magnificent Textiles shown include spectacular large painted textiles, several over nine feet in height and all richly painted with motifs drawn from Indian, Islamic, and European art. These are shown along with sumptuous royal objects made of inlaid and gilded metal, precious jewels, carved wood, and stone architectural elements, many of which draw inspiration from the art of Safavid Persia and Ottoman Turkey.
   The Deccan plateau by the 16th century included immigrants from Central Asia and Iran, African military slaves, native-born Muslim nobles, European missionaries, merchants,
and mercenaries.
As a result, it boasted one of the most cosmopolitan societies of the early modern world.  To provide a glimpse into this dynamic, yet little-known society, the exhibition focuses chiefly on the courtly art of the kingdoms of Bijapur, Ahmaadnagar, Bidar and Golconda. These dynamic centers of royal patronage drew some of the greatest artists, writers, poets and musicians of the period.
  Ta Ta Darlings!!! The exhibition's  incredible treasure trove of artifacts is both breathtaking and an awesome reminder of the great artisan talent of centuries ago.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Check out Polly's Blog links on www.pollytalk.com.
Gilt Steel armored shoes for a Sultan