Wednesday, September 9, 2020

CALL and RESPONSE: BETYE SAAR EXHIBIT at THE MORGAN

                                                                                                                              

nd in the in the world of contemporary art. An African American artist known for her work in the medium of assemblage, Saar is a visual storyteller and an accomplished print maker. She is known best for her incisive collages and assemblage sculptures that confront and reclaim racist images.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

DAYTRIPPING TO THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN: By Polly Guerin


As New York City slowly opens up people anxious to get out, after months of guarrantine, need only Day Trip it to The New York Botanical Garden, to reconnect with nature. The reopening of Outdoor Gardens and Collections marks a welcome general oublic.  The best way to get there is by public transportation and Metro North where 250 acres and one million plants await your pleasure to experience nature in all its glory.  New safety protocols in accordance with State of New York requirements wearing masks and social distancing.                                                                                                As the great outdoor adventurer John Burroughs wrote "I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses in order."                                                                                                                               NYBG is an urban oasis and integral part of he cultural fabri of New York City, located in the Bronx. The verdant landscape currently features a trove of vibrant daylilies, hydrangeas, water lilies, and lotuses among its one million plants. Take a leisurely stroll waking paths and trails that crisscross the Garden providing moments of discovery through nature.                                         As the French painter wrote "There are always flowers for those who want to see them."                                                                                                                                                          The  reopened gardens, outdoo collections and natural features include the Native Plant Garden  with its meadow , woodland promenade and centerpiece water feature, Bronx River with its waterfall which runs through the 50-acre Train family forest, layered and colorful patterns and plant group-ings of the Perennial and Herb Gardens, lushly shaded Chilton Azalea Garden, the award-winning Rockefeller Rose Garden, tropical and aquatic plant-filled Conservatory Courtyards and Pools, and so much more to enchant you and soothe your eyes by the glorious colors that have so much significance. As the color therapist's say: Red for life itself, green for healing, blue for spiritual growth, yellow for happiness and sunshine to name a few that remind us that the colors in nature are the perfect tonic to restore one's pent up feelings. As Albert Einstein wrote "Look deep into nature nd then you will understand everything."                                                                                                                The reopening incorporates enhanced safey measures including staff and visitors  over the age of two to wear face coverings and obseerve social distancing pratices; rewuiring time-entry tickets purchased in advance which will promote social distancing and mitigate the risk of crowding in high-traffic areas. TO RESERVE TIMED TICKETS IN ADVANCE visit the NYBG website nybg.org. Visitor Amenities include: Pine tree Cafe (10 a.m-6p.m, limited menu and outdoor seating) Hudson Gardeb Grill Terrace (12-5 pm; snacks and refreshments, including water, and beer.  The Clay Family Picnic Pavillion.  Please check the NYBG websute for a ccmplete list.                                              THE NEW YOK BOTANICAL GARDEN IS LOCATED AT 2900 SOUTHERN BOULEVARD, bRONX, New York 10458.  Visit nybg.org. 

                        

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

HOPE WANTED Exhibit at NYHS By Polly Guerin

Take Care of Each Other, Kings Theater Brooklyn
As New York City slowly gets back on track, the New York Historical Society is the first museum to reopen on August 14 with an outdoor exhibit, HOPE WANTED NEW YORK CITY UNDER QUARANINE.  As the title indicates, the exhibit takes a look back at New York City's traumatic and recent past, its people and environments. Treating the quarantine of New York City as history the New York Historical Society presents images and interviews  relating to the lockdown as early as April of this year.
       Installed in the museum's rear  courtyard located at West 76th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, the exhibition also includes a quiet seating area, surrounded by plants where visitors can record their own experiences of the pandemic in an open aided story booth. These oral histories will be archived by the New York Historical Society. 
      Admission to HOPE WANTED is FREE, but access is limited, and face masks are required for
entry, with social distancing enforced through time entry tickets and on-site safety measures. Tickets are available online at nyhistory,org/hopewanted. The exhibition will be open on Thursdays 11 am-5pm for visitors 65+ and to the general public on Fridays from 10 am - 8 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am-5pm. Audio interviews are accessible to visitors though their cell phones, and exhibition text and audio are offered in both English and Spanish.
     
TIMES SQUARE during Pandemic
"Hope Wanted" is a joint project between writer and human rights activist Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman. At the height of the quarantine they spent and intensive two days, April 8-9, traveling the five boroughs to interview and take photos of ordinary New Yorkers living during an extraordinary 
time of quarantine in New York City.
      Hickman's empathetic photographs of people and their neighborhoods across all five boroughs and Powell's searching interviews  capture both the tragedy of the pandemic as well as the remarkable resilience of New Yorkers---like "Mama Tanya" Fields, an activist and urban famer whose whole family contracted coronavirus, pictured smiling with her six children in the hallway in her Bronx home and photographed on their balcony and in the middle of the street in Queens, Mark Zustovich and Melton Sawyer shar that "self-care has taken anew meaning for us in this era of COVID-19. 
"I'm honored to be part of such a historic exhibit featuring more than 50 of my photographs," said Kay Hickman. "This will be my most important exhibit to date.  In documenting the City at the height of the COVID pandemic you see a rare glimpse of grim and deserted streets, both though Kevin Powell's 12 audio interviews you also get a sense of hope. In viewing this exhibit it is my hope that there is a sense of healing." Kevin Powell is a poet, author and human rights activist and Kay Hickman is a documentary photographer and visionary artist. The exhibition is on views from August 14 to November 29, 2020.
        "Our goal with HOPE WANTED is to honor and celebrate the strength of New Yorkers," said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New York Historical. "We hope this exhibition can offer our visitors a moment of solace to reflect on what they and the city as a whole have experienced in recent months and to better understand this moment in time. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the New York Historical Society."
       HOPE WANTED is part of All in NYC, Public Art Exhibition, showcasing dozens of programs across the city, and initiative launched by NYC and Company.  The New York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street) New York, NY 10024. Follow the museum on social media at @nyhistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Serenity in GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY: By Polly Guerin

Serenity in a Cemetery? You may have reason to consider that question, but let me remind you
that within the wrought iron walls of American cemeteries, beneath the oak trees and glorious tombs here you will find a sacred space to escape the cacophony of the city. 
       
Tranquility Garden Koi Pond Green-Wood
While some people came, as the earliest did, to honor the deceased, individuals of the still-
breathing sort gathered in the cool comfort of a cemetery, to rest, read and even picnic in peace. During the 19th century and especially in its later years, snacking in cemeteries, beneath the shade of oak trees and tombs happened across the United States. Since many of the towns lacked proper recreational areas, many people even had full-blown picnics in their local cemeteries. The tombstone laden fields were the closet thing, then, to modern day public parks. Of special note, Green-Wood's popularity helped to inspire the creation of public parks, including New York City's Central  and Prospect parks.
        Like the Victorians, though picnics are not encouraged, today we can find sanctuary in a cemetery for these places  offer sacred spaces where one can find serene serenity and only the gentle wind will caress your face. Although I am writing about Green-Wood Cemetery, just about any park-like cemetery with magnificent ancient trees, winding paths and  wild flowers might be more convenientbecause Green-Wood Cemetery is located in Brooklyn, New York. 
       Wherever your destination for contemplation or meditation, I suggest that like any other outdoor excursion, that you bring a bottle of water.  In some instances you may find a bench which may at one time welcomed the bereaved and now may serve to accommodate your visit. So sit down and center yourself and release the cares of the day that  are shouldering your thoughts and weighting you down. Breathe in the clean un-polluted air and clear your mind for a refreshing meditation that releases you from the mind wrenching grip of the city.             
Green-Wood Cemetery Winding Path
There is no more peaceful place than a cemetery and Green-Wood with its 478 spectacular 
acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and winding paths provide one of the most  sacred and serene areas in which to sit down and contemplate, restore one's
equilibrium and emerge refreshed and inspired. 
         And you will be in good company, too. Among the permanent notables are baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors.  Leonard Bernstein. Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose stained glass adorns many tombs, the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat rests there as do many other celebrities of stage and screen and prominent families including the Roosevelts.
        Green-Wood's spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths presents four seasons of beauty from century and a half old trees and the largest outdoor collections of 19th and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums.
        You will be in good company among the  permanent residents who will not disturb your
privacy or deep thinking meditation.     
Fort Hamilton Gatehouse Green-Wood
Although the focus of this feature is Green-Wood with its sacred spaces there is first time news that is rather exciting. Over its nearly two-century history Green-Wood has served as inspiration for countless artists--from musicians, to poets, to painters.  Quite recently they announced their first ever
ARTIST-in-RESIDENCE PROGRAM. One artist will have the opportunity to create in Green-Wo0d's Fort Hamilton Gatehouse, using Green-Wood's landmarked cemetery as their muse.
       Applications remain open through September 2. 2020.  It's an extraordinary opportunity for emerging or mid-career artists in the visual or performing arts. The nine-month residency will run from January through September2021.  The selected artist will be provided with a $7,500 honorarium, a private studio space in the Gatehouse, and access to the cemetery's professional staff and archives, and historical collections. For further information please contact: artistinresidence@green-wood.com. 
      In conclusion: Green-Wood Cemetery is located at 500 25th St., Brooklyn, NY 11232, www.green-wood.com. It is a NYC National Landmark and is listed in the National
Registry of Historic Places
         

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

STUDIO 54: NIGHT MAGIC at The Brooklyn Museum: Review By Polly Guerin


The first exhibition to trace the groundbreaking artistic achievements and social politics of the 
historic nightclub Studio 54 takes center stage in the NIGHT MAGIC: STUDIO 54 exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum through July 5, 2020.
With its lasting influence on nightclub design, cinema and fashion STUDIO 54 remains a nostalgic reminder of the revolutionary creativity, expressive freedom, and sexual liberation celebrated at the world-renowned nightclub. You can be there vicariously viewing over 650 objects ranging from fashion photography, drawings, and film to stage sets and music. Behind the velvet rope, partygoers of all backgrounds and lifestyles could come together for radiant nights of music, dazzling lights, and the popular song and dance, "The Hustle."  Image: Bianca Jagger riding a white horse at Studio 54. Photographer Rose Hartman. 
        LOCATION/LOCATION: Set in a former opera house in Midtown Manhattan, with the stage innovatively re-envisioned as a dance floor, Studio 54 became a space of sexual, gender, and creative liberation, where every patron could feel like a star.
     Studio 54's cutting edge décor and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems set it apart from other nightclubs of the time, attracting artists, fashion designers, musicians, celebrities whose visits were vividly chronicled by notable photographers.     
The Brooklyn Museum presentation which takes cues from Studio 54's famed interior design, presents the nearly 650 objects drawn from both the Museum's collection and Studio 54 cofounder Ian Schager's personal collection. Featuring fashion photography, film, original blueprints, music and never-before-exhibited costume illustrations, set proposals, and designs, STUDIO 54: NIGHT MAGIC documents the 33 months that the club was open, and the talented stage and lighting designs, DJs, artists, fashion designers, and who brought the iconic showplace to life. Image: A party reveler in costume.
       Although it was open for only three years---April 26, 1977 to February 2, 1980---Studio 54 was arguably the most iconic nightclub to emerge in the twentieth century. Set in a former opera house in Midtown Manhattan with the stage innovatively re-envisioned as a dance floor, Studio 54 became a space to be seen and to mingle among the multiple personalities of stage, screen and celebrity. STUDIO 54 has come to represent the visual height of disco-era America: glamorous people in glamorous fashions, surrounding by gleaming lights and glitter dancing the night into dawn away in a magical night. 
       STUDIO 54 was founded in 1977 by Brooklyn-born entrepreneurs Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, who met while students at Syracuse University. They had dreams of opening of opening a nightclub in in the center of New York City, where roller-skating rings, Black and Latinx dance culture, and gary underground were gaining popularity.       
From the moment STUDIO 54 opened, its cutting-edge décor and state-of-the-art sound system and lights set it apart from other clubs at the time, attracting the fashion intelligentsia, musicians and celebrities to bask in its limelight. Celebrities including Andy Jackson, Bianca Jagger, Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Farrah Fawcett, Liza Minelli, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Truman Capote. Singers Grace Jones, Diana Ross, and Donna Summer all performed at Studio 54.  Fashion designers Stephen Burrows, Diane von Furstenberg, Halston, Norma Kamali, KENZO, Calvin Klein,  Issey Myaki, Claude Montana, Zandra Rhodes, Yves Saint Laurent, Fernando Sanchez,  and Georgio
Sant'Angelo were frequently present. Image: Celebrity visitors: Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote, and Paloma Picasso at Studio 54 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images.
      The design of th exhibition itself is inspired by SUDIO 54's original lighting and features innovative sets and audio elements that highlight the popular music and film of the era---including chart-topping songs like "Le Freak" famously written after the band Chic was denied entry to the nightclub's 1977 New Year's eve party, and "I Will Survive," Gloria Gaynor's B side that became an anthem after it was championed by Studio 54 DJ Richie Kaczor. STUDIO 54 IS A TIMED TICKET EXHIBIITON. The Brooklyn Museum, 290 Eastern Parkway. 718-638-5000. 8www.brooklynmuseum.org.
      Ta Ta Darlings! Let's wear some outrageous outfit and trip over to the Brooklyn Museum
where vicarious thrills of a bygone era will ignite STUDIO 54: NIGHT MAGIC once again.
Fan mail welcome email pollytalknyc@gmail.com 

Monday, March 9, 2020

THE NATURE OF COLOR at American Museum of Natural History: Review By Polly Guerin

Color is around us, shaping our emotions, our actions and our surroundings yet, we pass through each day unaware of the great impact color has on all aspects of our lives and the living species in nature.
      . THE NATURE OF COLOR, which opens today at The American Museum of Natural History, simutaneously celebrates its 150th anniversary.  The museum demystifies the meaning and influence of color , with a new interactive exhibition that  lets visitors explore the role and the power ot color in the natural world, in human cultures, and in our personal lives. It's vibrant, it's entertaining, and answers questions that stir up our emotions as we learn: Why do colors make us happy, while others make us, well blue?  How did pink come to be associated with femininity in Western culture and blue become America's favorite color?  This fun, family-friendly exhibition resonates with all the child-like wonder of discovery. It is immersed in color themes with models, cultural objects, interactive exhibits that invite visitors to play, experiment and explore the science of color, how colors make us feel, and how plants and animal use color to help them survive and reproduce.  
In
Interactive Color Paytime
FEELING COLOR: Color affects our mood, our perceptions and our behavior. The color red for example may elicit emotions and dramatic behavior, red correction ink may be negative but a stunning red gown by American fashion designer, Brandon Maxwell introduces a dramatic, entrance-making statement. The dress was the finale in Maxwell's Fall -Winter 2020 show, which was hosted by the Museum during New York Fashion week in February COLOR IN NATURE  Visitors will be able to see an example of camouflage in the Nature of Color with live leaf-tailed geckoes, which evolved to
blend with dried leaves and tree bark. Color is just as important in the plant world, where pollinators get cues on which flowers to visits based on the color. Humminbirds, for example, prefer red flowers, bees are attracted to blue, moths seek white and other light-colored blossoms, and flies are drawn to dark flowers. PHYSICS OF COLOR explores the physics of color in an immersive color-changing room and a ight lab with hands-on activities to discover that white light is actually a mixture of colors, play a video interactive---on kiosks or from their mobile devices---that examine how colors affect emotions and "paint" without the mess in a floor to ceiling color play interactive just by moving
your hands. 
FEELING COLOR; Colors affect our mood, our perceptions, even our behavior. There is plenty of evidence that colors inspire deep feelings in almost everyone.  For this reason
marketers choose colors carefully, as consumers often make up their minds based on color alone. An example, BLUE is the most popular color for corporate logos, as this color is often associated with trustworthiness and competence. In this section visitors will explore the different feelings colors can evoke by arranging colored tiles to create pleasing or clashing combinations and share their personal reactions to colors on a big screen. MAKING COLOR: The Nature of Color explores the rich history of BLUE PIGMENTS in particular, with objects from the Museum's anthropological collection and an interactive that will demonstrate the process of dying indigo fabric. Natural indigo has been used o create some of the blue hues of Japanese artwork, African textiles, and the first blue jeans. 
       Ta Ta Darlings. THE NATURE OF COLOR resonates with interest for everyone with exploration and entertainment whilst demystifying the colors in our daily life. Fan mail always
welcome: pollytalknyc@gmail.com. 
   

Monday, March 2, 2020

EILEEN GRAY at Bard Graduate Center Gallery: Review by Polly Guerin

The designer and architect  Eileen Gray, whose highly original and daring designs anticipated many of today's modern design, receives due homage at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery, located at 18 West 86th Street on view through July 12, 2020.
      This is the first in-depth exhibition in the United States to examine her total oeuvre with
200 works, including never before exhibited furniture, lacquer works, architectural drawings and archival material. Gray's long and distinguished career began in the early 1900s and continued until her death in 1976.  On view are rarely seen architectural drawings and photographs of Gray's most famous house, E 1027, and other architectural projects. EILEEN GRAY was a pioneer in modern design and architecture, and one of the few women to practice professionally in those fields before WWII.  Although she was born into a distinguished household in Ireland Gray remained steadfast to her creativity at first in London and later in Paris. By 1910 Gray and fellow schoolmate Evelyn Wyld, established a workshop to produce carpets and wall hangings. Gray's interest in Japanese lacquer forged an alliance with Japanese craftsman Seizo Sugawara with whom she formed a successful partnership, and Gray's lacquer screens attest to her achievement as a superb lacquer artist.  
    
Eileen Gray Dresser 
In 1922 she opened in Paris, Galerie Jean Desert, at 217, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore, where she sold furniture and rugs. Distinguished luminaries of the day including James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Elsa Schiaparelli were among her customers. The Galerie also served as an exhibition space for modern art, making Gray, albeit under a male pseudonym, one of the first
female gallerists. Image: Eileen Gray Dresser, 1926-1929. Painted wood, aluminum, glass, cork, aluminum leaf. Centre Pompidou, Musee national d 'art modern, Paris. Purchase, 1922, AM 1922 -1-6, (c) Centre Pompidou, Mnam-CCI, Dist. RMN-GP, Jean Claude Planchet,
        From the 1920s Gray produced architectural projects for private the public commissions. In  1926 she started work on a new holiday home near Monaco on the French Riviera where she
planned to live with her lover the Romanian architect, Jean Badovici.  Together, they experimented with ideas about modern, vernacular architecture, and worked on Architecture Vivante, one of the first French magazines devoted exclusively to architecture.  The construction of thei house took three years was named E 1027, a code for the lovers' names.  
      
E 1027 Above the Bay of Monaco
The multiple facets of E 1027---an iconic work of modern architecture---are presented though drawing, photographs, and furniture.
Located above a dramatic site above the Bay of Monaco, Gray created furniture for the house that elucidates her unique approach to modern design. Eleven pieces of furniture Gray designed specifically for E 1027 include the Transat Chair, an adjustable side table and a dressing table with pivoting drawers. Image: View of the South façade of E 1027 taken from the sea, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, n.d. Centre Pompidou, Bibliotheque Kandinsky, Paris. Fond Eileen Gray. A replica of E 1027 is on display. 
      The exhibition reveals Gray's versatility as a designer of many types of furniture including the Bibendum chair which resembled the Michelin man with tube-like shapes sitting on a chromed steel frame. GALLERY PROGRAMS and EXHIBITION TOURS and for information about hours and admission visit: bgc.bard.edu/gallery.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Eileen Gray is as modern today as she was in the Art Deco era. Her designs
resonate with collectors and new buyers discovering her today will find her furniture a perfect fit in modern interiors.  Fan mail weleome: pollytalknhc@gmail.com