Monday, November 13, 2017

Bartolome Esteban Murillo, self portrait, ca 1670
The Frick Museum's significant role as the custodian of ancient art is also one of New York's most quiet and revered places to discover the Old Masters and retreat for quiet contemplation in its inner fountain courtyard.  With its rare paintings by the Old Masters The Frick reminds us to remember the great painters who set the ancient course of art history. 
      Paying tribute one of Italy's renowned artist's  achievements, this year marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of one of the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Golden Age, Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617-1682). The exhibition runs through February 4, 2018 after which it moves to London's
National Gallery from February 28 through May 21, 2018.
     Murillo, the self portrait, pictured at the left, ca. 1670, attests to the artist's profession. The elegantly rendered Latin inscription below the portrait translates, "Bartolome Murillo painted himself to fulfill the wishes and prayers of his children." This is a second self-portrait, similar to an earlier one, but the trompe l'oeil stone frame around Murillo's image is more elaborate, decorated with scrolls and idealized foliage.  Flanking the frame, the artist's had engagingly holds the frame and there on the ledgeare the signature attributes of an artist including painter's brushes and palette.  
     
Murillo's Two Women in a Window ca. 1655-60 
Murillo's career was a successful one, and he painted canvases for the most important patrons and churches in Seville, and also created allegorical and genre scenes.  Image Right: Murillo's Two Women remains one of the best known and most mysterious of Murillo's paintings. The affect of these two figures emerging from the window is exceptionally realistic. The women have been identified as servants or prostitutes. A Spanish proverb from the period warns that "a woman at the window a grape of the street." It is interesting to note that the nature of the painting's commission and its message remains, unknown. However, his portraits of 
urchins in the street of Seville are particularly well known, and together with Immaculates and other religious images, they remain his signature works. The Museum Shop offers a richly illustrated publication.
     Concurrently on exhibit are two Venetian Renaissance Masterpieces by the celebrated artist
Pablo Veronese (1528-1588), St. Jerome in the Wilderness and St. Agatha Visited by St. Peter. 
The two rarely seen canvases left Italy for the first time since their creation, over 450 years ago. And thanks to Venetian Heritage and the sponsorship of BVLGARI, they have been fully restored and returned to their original glory. On view through March 28, 2018, this provides a unique opportunity to discover two masterpieces in the Frick's unique setting. 
       
Veronese St. Agatha Visited in Prison by St. Peter (1566-57)
St. Agatha was a third-century martyr from Sicily who lived in Catania at the time of the Christian persecution under Roman emperor Decius. Of noble origin she had pledged her chastity to God and therefore would not yield to the advances of Quintianus, a Roman consul, who was enticed by her beauty. When she refused to worship pagan idols, he sent her to prison where she was tortured and Quintianus ordered her breasts be cut off. In St. Agatha, Veronese sets the scene in Agatha's agony, her wounded breasts a testament to her devotion. In the dark prison cell. she steadies herself against the bench, surprised by two visitors that burst into her cell. A glorious blond angel dressed in light blue holds a long taper, he precedes St. Peter, who stands by the open door. In his left hand he holds the keys to heaven and with his right hand he gestures upward, referring at once to his celestial mission and to Agatha's imminent healing, and possibly death and heavenly reward. The two paintings, Agatha and St. Jerome in the Wilderness (1566-67) are Murano photo credited to: Ufficio Beni Culurali del Patriarcato di Venezia, Accompanying the exhibition is a richly illustrated publication, available in the Museum shop.

      Ta ta Darlings!!!  The dual exhibition is a breathtaking experience, worth your while to spend an hour or two reveling in their remarkable restoration. Then too, before heading out to the cacophony of New York City, take a some time to sit for awhile in the quiet fountain courtyard. Fan mail is always welcome www.pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column to the Blog that resonates with your interest on visionary men, women determined to succeed, the fashion historian and poetry.

Monday, October 23, 2017

LOVING VINCENT, A Masterpiece: Review By Polly Guerin

No other artist has attracted more legends and controversy over his death than Vincent van Gogh. Variously labelled a madman, a genius, even a layabout, the real Vincent is at once revealed in his letters, and obscured by myth and time. Vincent himself said in his last letter, 'We cannot speak other than by our paintings'. The film LOVING VINCENT takes Vincent at his word and lets the paintings tell the real story of Vincent van Gogh's life. 
      The film is an art lover's dream with storytelling charm that sheds new light on the great artist, so misunderstood, bullied and so under appreciated in his time. His genius was great but sadly he sold but one painting during his entire life. LOVING VINCENT can be enjoyed as a gigantic painting, bursting with colors, mesmerizing with its reproductions of familiar faces and places, but as remarkable as Vincent's brilliant paintings, is the portrayal of his passionate and ill-fated life, and mysterious death. 
      It was first shot as a live action film with actors, and then hand-painted over frame-by-frame in oils.  The final effect is an interaction of the performance of the actors playing Vincent's famous portraits and the performance of the painting animators, bringing those characters into the medium of paint.
     This is a first time in cinematic history that a movie has been created exclusively using handmade paintings in an animated feature film.   Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting hand-painted by 125 professional oil painters who painted directly onto the rushes while trying to remain as faithful as possible to Van Gogh's technique and style.  The start and end of each shot is the exact copy of one of Van Gogh's works. A total of 94 paintings were fully reproduced, and 31 ere partially recreated.    
       The result is an example pure visual enchantment in which some of the world's most renowned paintings are animated, such as The Starry Night, Portrait of Dr. Cachet, Wheatfield with Crows, and The Night Cafe, pictured right. And we also meet again Doctor Gachet, and his daughter Marguerite Gachet. Then too, he painted many other famous faces that match the famous paintings they portray.  
Jospeh Roulin, Postman
The film begins in the summer of 1891, one year after Van Gogh's suicide. Armand Roulin, is asked by his father, the postman, Joseph Roulin, one of Van Gogh's favorite models,  to deliver a posthumous letter to Van Gogh's brother Theo. Armand, who becomes a central character in the film, is not pleased with the task as he never approved of his father's friendship with the artist. Yet he dutifully goes to Paris only to learn that Theo, devastated by the death of his brother, had only lived a few months after Vincent's suicide. He then travels to Auvers-sur-Oise to shed light on the mysterious circumstances surrounding Vincent's death.   Armand becomes central to the investigation, 'Was Vincent murdered,' and in so doing encounters Dr. Gachet and questions him about the real circumstances behind Vincent's death. Alas you will have to see the movie to find out.     
The Cafe Terrace Place de Forum, Arles
Breathing life into Van Gogh's painting was written and directed by young Polish director Dorota Kobiela and the British producer Hugh Welchman. produced by Poland's BreakThru Films & UK's Trademark films.  The duo animated a selection of oil paintings created in the style of the Dutch master to portray the final weeks of the painter's life in Auvers-sur-Oise in the Paris region, where he was staying at the time of his death in the south of France. The collaborators drew inspiration for the film from the wealth of letters Van Gogh exchanged with his family.  

      Find LOVING VINCENT at local movie theaters. The film introduces theater actor Robert Gulaczyk in his first film role as Vincent van Gogh, and Armand Roulin, central to the story, is played by Douglas Booth.  Sharing the spotlight Chris O'Dowd is the Postman, Joseph Roulin.
      Doctor Gachet is portrayed by Jerome Flynn and his daughter Marguerite Gachet is played by Saoirse Ronan; Helen McCrory plays Louise Chevelier, house-keeper to Doctor Gachet. Notable, too, is Aidan Turner is the Boatman from Vincent's Bank of the Oise-sur-Oise painting. Thanks to the magazine FRANCE-AMERIQUE for story details.
      Ta Ta Darlings! I loved this film, but I had a feeling of great sadness after viewing how Van Gogh was tormented by local bullies in Auvers-sur-Oise, and disrespected by local individuals, and then, too, did he really commit suicide or was he murdered?
     Fan mail always welcome please send your comments to pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left hand column to the blog that resonates with your interest on visionary men, women determined to succeed, the fashion historian and poetry.

Monday, October 16, 2017

KOREAN SPIRIT & CULtURE PROMOTION PROJECT: kSCPP: Review by Polly Guerin

King Sejong the Great
Korea is a land of beauty and fascination. Its language of antiquity came from King Sejong the Great, but its standard today reflects a modern country that holds an important role among the nations of the world. Early on Korea entered the digital age and prominent firms also emerged, such as Samsung, Then, too, significant scientific and medical advances including robotic surgeries were "firsts" here. 
         However, there is ever so much more to tell you about Korea, therefore, if you are student of the cultures that bind us all to history then plan a visit to the KOREAN SPIRIT & CULTURE PROMOTION PROJECT, KSCPP , which is located 261West 35th Street between 7th and 8th avenue. This group welcomes you to the Hidden Wonders of Korea with documentary film screenings that introduce Korea's cultural and Industrial achievements followed by a traditional homemade Korean meal. This ongoing introductory event, scheduled at 6:30 pm,  is complimentary, but you must RSVP to kscpp1@gmail.com to attend.
      The historical film "The Grace of Korean Art & King Sejong the Great,"  was my favorite where I learned about King Sejong who founded, Hangul, the Korean language of compassion in the mid-15th century. A great ruler he believed and advocated, "If the people prosper, how can the King not prosper with them." A tenet that is the very core of Korea's progress and prosperity.  Other documentary films shown include. "Bridging Korea's Past and Present, The Legacy of Devotion and Serving the People Through Science & Technology.
       BOOKS OF KNOWLEDGE: A comprehensive selection of complimentary books on Korean history and culture are also available free of charge. My favorite was the book by the author, Chung Hyo Ye,"Tales of filial devotion, loyalty, respect and benevolence from the history and folklore of Korea."  Some of these stories of love, family, strangers and betrayal are so true to any one's life and all the handsomely-bound books can be had in English as well as Korean.  


TRADITIONAL HANBOK Gracious Korean women, wearing the traditional gown called Hanbok, greet guests at the KSCPP . Each garment is a work of art in itself, either embroidered or hand-painted on beautiful silk fabrics in colors that represent the five elements (earth tree, meal, water, fire). The Korean ladies dressed wo exquisitely adds such a traditional feel to a KSCPP program. Upcoming programs include:
       TASTE of  KOREA, a Korean Cooking Demonstration and home-cooked dinner, this Sunday, October 22 from 4-6 pm at a different location at 23rd Street.  Participants will receive recipes to take home and free books on Korean history and culture. Cost: $25.00. This is a popular event and seating is limited and an RSVP is required, email kscpp1@gmail.com.  At this event you will find out about the health benefits of Korean food and learn about the vegetarian tradition in Korea. Check their website at www.kscpp.net for other scheduled cooking classes.
       LOTUS FLOWER LANTERN CRAFT There are other wonderful programs here to enhance your Korean experience including the Lotus Flower Lantern Craft workshop starting with a short documentary film on the Korean artistic tradition and the meaning of the Lotus Flower. The ladies will be on hand to help you make a lovely lotus flower lantern using colorful paper and wire frames. Just so you know, participants can choose the color of the lotus flower for the lanterns. Class usually begins at 3pm and again seating is limited so you know an RSVP is required. The cost is minimal and you can even pay with the
the Paypal link.
      11th NATIONAL ESSAY CONTEST: To foster the understanding and appreciation of Korean history and culture, the KSCPP hosts its 11th national essay contest. which is open to Middle and High School Students.  The entrants are required to read Chung Hyo Ye, which I mentioned earlier was incidentally my favorite book. One of the questions posed to the entrants, which I thought was particularly apropos is "How could the values of Chung, Hyo and Ye be applied to the world today? Entries should be submitted electronically to kscppcontest@msn.com with the subject heading "2017 11th Essay Contest." Or mail to KSCPP, 158-16 46th Ave., Flushing, NY 11338.  Deadline for both the online submissions are due by January 15, 2018. The winners will be announced no later than April 1, 2018.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! The Korean experience imbued with cultural and industrial significance is unfolding right here in New York City. Be there, it's so enchanting. Fan mail to Polly is always welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com, just click on the link that resonates with your interest on fashion, visionary men, women determined to succeed, and poetry from the heart.


       
     

Monday, October 2, 2017

DRAWN TO GREATNESS: The Thaw Collection: Review by Polly Guerin

The Bathers ca 1900 Paul Cezanne 
If you have the collector's gene and wealth to acquire a vast collection, a specific genre of art, as time goes by and the final curtain closes in, you may have the urge to open a museum of your own, but donating to a museum may be the most realistic choice.
      Such is the case with the Thaw Collection in DRAWN TO GREATNESS, Master Drawings, which recently opened at The Morgan Museum and Library. The exhibition, on view through January 7, 2018,  focuses on works acquired by Eugene V and Clare E.
La Rond des petities Betonnes, Paul Gauguin 1888 
Thaw since 1994. In the decades since the 1950s, they have assembled one of the finest collections of drawings and watercolors in private hands. 
Image Left: The Bathers 1900 watercolor over graphite, Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
       This is not the first time that the Shaw holdings have been shown at the Morgan. This is the fifth since 1975, which is a promised gift to the museum.  The collection was first promised to the Morgan in the same year by Life Trustee Eugene V. Thaw and the final gift of drawings came to the Morgan in January. As a body of work, representing so diverse a mix of artists, The Thaw collection of drawings is considered among the foremost assembled by an individual over the last fifty years.  
      DRAWN TO GREATNESS features over 150 masterworks highlighting pivotal artists and key moments in the history of draftsmanship.  In addition to the remarkable selection of modern works, exceptional sheets dating from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century are on view and most of the works have not been previously exhibited. A partial listing of of artists represented includes Rubens, Rembrandt, Piranesi, Watteau, Fragonard, Goya, Ingres, Turner, Degas, Cezanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and Pollock. Image: Breton Girls Dancing, Pont-Aven, 1888, Paul Gauguin (1845-1903). 

This energetically worked pastel is preparatory for the painting by Paul Gauguin executed the summer of 1888, and first shown in Paris that fall; now it resides in the National Museum of Art in Washington D.C. 
      For the schedule of programs and lectures contact tickets@themorgan.org or 212.685.0008 ext 560.  Of particular note is DRAWN TO SONG, on Wednesday, October 11, 7:00 pm. To parallel the history of draftsmanship in Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection artists from The Glimmerglass Festival will perform a program reflecting the history of the art song. Selections will include songs and poetry contemporary to the artists featured in the Thaw collection. 
    Ta Ta Darlings!!! I still haven't decided where to donate my petite collection of art and artifacts. T'is a delimma, but I do so much enjoy my works of art, that I clearly cannot depart with then, Yet! Fan mail welcome: pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column on the subject that resonates with your interest fron fashion to visionary men, women determined to succeed, and even poetry.
     
       

Monday, September 25, 2017

EXPEDITION: Fashion From the Extreme at FIT: Review by Polly Guerin

As world exploration into the remotest outposts of civilization draws modern explorers,  fashion rides the wave of adventure. What to wear?               Expeditions to the North and South poles, scaling mountain peaks, the depth of the ocean and outer space gave fashion designers reason to be inspired. They created fashions taking their cue from the practical clothing, often inspired by the Inuit. that adventure-seekers wore   
       However, it was not until the 1960's that these endeavors began to influence fashion. EXPEDITION: Fashion From The Extreme, at The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology is the first major exhibition to examine this fascinating subject on view through January 6, 2018.
     Let's credit Charles Darwin's seminal publication On the Origin of Species (1859), one of the most influential books of its day, with fueling the collective imagination to explore extreme
environments. Then, too, Charles Verne added to exploration enthusiasm with his science fiction thrillers. He was way ahead of his time with such books as From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1871). Verne had anticipated space and deep sea travel decades before they became reality and his books inspired explorers and many creative fields, including fashion. 
       Of course, Artic-inspired fashion clothing that pre-dates the

1960s are rare, but couturiers took note.  Among them, Madame Gres began to design apres ski wear that resembled garments designed for explorers. Who better to emulate than the clothing invented by the Inuit. By he 1990s and into the 2000s life on he icebergs increasing inspired designers including Jean Paul Gaultier, Issac Mizrahi, Yohji Yamamoto. More recently, Joseph  Altuzarra's parkas and Karl Lagerfeld's faux fur creations for Chanel. Pictured Right: Yohji Yamamoto, ensemble, fall-winter 2000. Japan.
       Who doesn't own a down-filled coat? These fashion concoctions have become basic all time popular winter wear. Let's give credit, however, for the invention, to the outdoor clothing purveyor Eddie Bauer. In 1933, this firm patented the first down-filled jacket, and in 1937 American couturier Charles James designed the first fashion version made of elder down and white silk satin. 
     By the 1970s, both high-fashion designers and companies specializing in extreme environmental wear were making down and fiber-filled outwear and Tommy Hilfiger's "puffer" jackets were being worn by hip hop stars. Many designers today create versions of the down-filled coats that have become a mainstay in any fashionistas wardrobe.    

The global youth movement and Space Age influence brought into vogue garments that were dramatically different such as miniskirts and pantsuits with Andre Courreges, Pabo Rabanne and Pierre Cardin responding with cutting edge fashions.And ocean exploration has inspired more than new materials. Designers such as Alexander McQueen have crafted brilliant prints of otherworldly, bio luminescent creatures that live in the ocean's deepest environment. Image Left: Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garcon, fall-winter 2004. Japan
      Patricia Mears, deputy director wrote: "As fashion works to lessen it impact on the earth's fragile ecosystem, fanciful inter-pretations of expedition wear are being replaced by more functional, environmentally sustainable designs. Designers today are increasingly interested in the revelations, the technology, and the visuals of scientific discover, both in our everyday world and from the extreme."
       FIT will be holding a FASHION SYMPOSIUM, Fashion, Science and Exploration, October 10, 2017. To register go to he website, fitnyc.edu/museum or call 212 217 4585. EXPEDITION: Fashion From The Extreme tours take place Monday, Oct. 2, 6 pm, Wednesday, October 25, 6:30 pm and Monday, November 11, 6 pm.  Reservations are required as space is limited email: museuminfo@fitnyc.edu or call the phone number listed above.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! I remember fashionista socialite, Mary Lou Whitney; she went to the North Pole on her honeymoon in the long, long ago and probably brought silk pajamas.  Enough said!
Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column on subjects from visionary men to women determined to succeed, fashion and even poetry.

Monday, September 18, 2017

MODIGLIANI UNMASKED: Review By Polly Guerin

Paris, France, the unprecedented melting pot of the avant garde artists, welcomed the handsome Italian Sephardic Jew, Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (1884-1920), who would become renowned as a celebrated artist and sculptor. With a penchant for elongated figures and prominent noses he asserted his Jewish sensibilities and pictorial ideas through drawing and sculpture.  Image: Left to Right: LIMESTONE HEAD by Amedeo Modigliani's 1911-13.Image provided by Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation/Art Resource, New York. KNEELING CARYATID, 1911-12, Black crayon on paper. Paul Alexandre Family, courtesy of Richard Nathanson, London. JEANNE HEBUTERNE with Yellow Sweater, 1918-19, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Jeanne Hebuterne met the artist through her brother, Andre Hebuterne who had come to Paris to become an artist. Shortly after Jeanne was introduced to Modigliani she moved in with him against her family's wishes. Their union was recognized as a common law marriage and they had one child, Jeanne Modigliani. Life with Modigliani must have been had. He became an alcoholic and drug  addict probably due to mask his tuberculosis from his acquaintances. In France in the 1900s there was no cure and it was a horrible disease and those afflicted with it were ostracized. After Amedeo's death in 1920, the next day in despair Jeanne Hebuterne threw herself out of the family's 5th floor apartment building and died on impact. It is interesting to note that, in her short lifetime, Jeanne had become quite an accomplished artist and achieved recognition in art circles worldwide, along with her famous partner.       

When Modigliani arrived in Paris in 1906, the city was still rolling with anti-Semitism after the long-running tumult of the Dreyfus Affair, an 1895 scandal in which a French Jewish army officer had been falsely accused of treason, resulting in a surge of nationalism and he influx of foreign emigres, who re-settled within the nation's borders. In Paris, he chose to settle in Le Bateau Lavoie, a commune for penniless artists in Montmartre. With his cosmopolitanism and his fluent French he could easily have passed as gentile. He chose instead to use his work to question the very notion of identity.  As a result his oeuvre was exclusively figurative, in itself an eccentric choice with the experimental artistic milieu of Paris at the time.    
       This was a period of remarkable self-assertion for the artist, an Italian Sephardic Jew, within the community of predominantly Jewish immigrant artists to which he belonged, including Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine and Jules Pascin. There in Paris, he also came in contact with other prominent artists including Pablo Picasso and Constantin Brancusi, and others. 
       When Modigliani moved to Paris, he came up against the idea of racial purity in French culture, whilst in Italy, he did not feel ostracized for being Jewish.  His Latin looks and fluency in French (a French mother and classical education)  he could have easily have assimilated. Instead his outsider status often compelled him to introduce himself with the words, "My name is Modigliani, I am Jewish."
Yet he found Paris unexpectedly difficult, suffering as he did recurrent bouts of tuberculosis and struggling financially--partly because he refused to take a job or seek commissions.  Modigliani was drawn to social outsiders, such as cabaret and circus performers, and to the image of the femme fatale, characteristic of one of his first exhibited paintings in Paris, The Jewess.  Image: Portrait of Paulette Jourdain, 1919)
       MODIGLIANI UNMASKED, is the first exhibition in the United states to focus on Modigliani's early works made in the years after he arrived in Paris. The exhibition on view at the Jewish Museum through February 4, 2018 puts a spotlight on Modigliani's drawings, with a large selection acquired directly from the artist by Dr. Paul Alexandre, a young physician, who became his close friend and first patron.  Alexandre amassed some 450 drawings directly from the artist and commissioned a number of portraits.  
       The exhibition includes a selection of drawings depicting Dr. Alexandre, as well as a mysterious, unfinished portrait, never before seen in the United States. Prominent in the collection are the stylized drawings relates to sculptures.  The influence of masks in particular is clearly visible in the many drawings and sculptures in the exhibition, which offers insights into Modigliani's signature style of graceful, elongated figures that were not well received during his lifetime. However, after his death he achieved greater popularity and his works of art achieved high prices. Seen within he scope of his brief fourteen-year career, his early work provides a context in which to reconsider what may have motivated Modigliani to develop his idiosyncratic
style of portraiture. He died of tubercular meningitis, life cut short at 35. 
    Ta Ta Darlings!!! Modigliani's short life reminds us to remember to make every day count and create in measure.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's posted Blogs at www.pollytalk.com. Click in the left-hand column to links to visionary men, women determined to succeed, fashion and even poetry. 
       

Monday, September 11, 2017

ARTURO'S: Authentic Mainstay on West Houston Street: Review By Polly Guerin

In a city gone so modern that mom and pop and small specialty stores have disappeared, it is important to celebrate the importance of the locally owned old world businesses that foster character, loyalty, genuine caring and investment in the neighborhood. 
     As the old Italian neighborhoods rapidly changed, gentrified and were denuded of their colorful past, the restaurant ARTURO's, famed for its coal oven pizza since 1957, remains a steadfast slice of history with honest drinks and reasonable prices. It's one of those grand old New York spots that makes us feel at home. That may be he result of a warm welcome in this family-owned establishment that was started by their father Arthur, who borrowed $3,000, a tidy sum in those days, and engaged family members to help out.  Arturo's is now run by siblings with Lisa Giunta at the helm and others steering the restaurant forward as a mainstay in this ever changing neighborhood.
      However, this establishment is more than just a pizza place, it is authentic with old world charm. Hints of the influence from the old Italian neighborhoods of New York City, traditions long forgotten are kept intact at 106 West Houston Street. The walls with memorabilia and lots of photographs attest to the historical significance of the place, which is cozy but vibrantly alive.    
     JAZZ No Cover: Enter its portals into a dimly lit bar area where weathered leatherette booths in the entrance dining room are the preferred site to listen to the lively jazz band that plays nightly and there is no cover charge.   

     Here one can be assured to enjoy honest drinks and genuine food from the full Italian menu. Red sauce standards include parmigiana with veal or eggplant, and traditional pasta dishes such as shrimp marinara, and delectable mussels over biscuits,  Of course, regulars arrive consistently and new customers are lured by the crispy crusted pizzas, too big for one, but perfect for two hungry friends. Toppings on pizzas include Italian sausage, pepperoni, spinach, lobster, calamari and always fresh basil. Sidewalk seating is delightful in good weather but you will be disappointed because you cannot hear the jazz music that is played nightly.   

Arturo's can attest to knowing customers since they were children growing up with the kind of surroundings their mother trusted.  Although, Friday is big pizza day, everyday is a reason to head downtown to Arturo's where everyone is welcomed with open arms like family. Reservations are not necessary but large groups should call 212.677.3820.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!!   I had the mussels over biscuits, delicious!!! Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com with links in the left had column to visionary men, women determined to succeed, fashion and poetry. 
     

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

J'ACCUSE By Polly Guerin

Lovers' Quarrel by French Painter Henri Gervex 1887



















Once Upon a Time a man was enraged
When he read love poems on the page

This arrogant self-seeking husband
Beside himself with rage and thunder

Confronted his wife with indignant rage
Read tender intimate sentiments saved

Exposing heartfelt emotions in detail
With poignant memories never failed


So tender were the loving words chosen
He was at once angry his emotion frozen

Ignited his heart, he remembered the loss
But then again, what care, he was the boss

Convinced his wife so severely deceived him
He demanded to know the possible reason

And confronted his wife with rude demands
So sudden, so cruel, she did not understand

The confrontation was heated and very sad
But she was steadfast and seemingly glad

"My poems about YOU, when we first met
Somehow the years flew by, did you forget?

A gentle, caring lover you inspired my heart
Those wonderful early years from the start."

The husband admonished fell into his chair
Realizing his folly had fueled his despair.







Of poignant memories 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

      No airline ticket required!!! Imagine yourself on the wings of a bird and realizing what it would be like to soar through the sky an see the world with a bird's-eye view on long distance journeys, navigating across continents and scaling the heights of the wonders of the world. 
     That, my dear, would be the journey of a lifetime and you can vicariously take the journey in view it in a breathtaking travel log recorded for the first time in a stunning film called, EARTHFLIGHT, which opens at the American Museum of Natural History on September 25, 2017.

In this amazing film which will screen in 3D and 2D, it shows what it would be like to fly like a bird over the world's spectacular monuments, cathedrals, legendary castles, and scan nations below.  Filmed in eleven countries, on four continents, the film took four years to make. To make your EARTHFLIGHT journey even more entertaining, it is narrated by Academy Award-winning actress, Cate Blanchette. The film is a totally immersive experience that will take you on an incredible flights across the world on the wings of birds. (Photo credit right: Photo by Christian Moullec (c) John Downer Productions).
     AERIAL TECHNIQUES: It took courage to make the film, skill beyond the norm and revolutionary aerial techniques and state-of-the-art 3D cameras to deliver the reality of flight as viewers join a variety of different avian species on their seasonal journeys.  A significant challenge for the production company was operating 3D cameras in the air on microlights, paragliders, and octocopters to fly alongside birds. The camera was stripped down to the bare minimum to not overload the mircrolight, and the 3D rig was redesigned to be compact and light, and still resist the flex from 
G-force and wind speeds.   

 DISCOVER: In this intimate journey of awesome bird travel the audience will discover the fascinating science of flight: how in the synergistic life of birds with their innate compatible skill are able to maneuver simultaneously in flocks in a million  strong, manage long-distance journeys, navigate across whole continents, and collaborate with other animals to find food.
     SCREENINGS: Plenty of Screenings though March 8, 2018. EARTHFLIGHT will be shown daily in the Museum's Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater, in 2D at 11:30 am and 4:30 pm, and in 3D at 10:30 am and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 pm. Check first, times are subject to change.  To purchase tickets in advance, call 212.760.5200 or visit www.amnh.org.  General admission, Plus One, includes general admission plus one special exhibition, giant-screen 2D or 3D film, or Space show $28 (adults), $22.50 (students/seniors) and $16.50 (children ages 2-12).
For additional information, call 212.769.5100. Pay-what-you-wish admission is only available at ticket counters, where the amount you pay is up to you. The Museum is open daily, 10 am-5:45 pm. 
    Ta Ta Darlings!!! I'm taking flight with the birds as soon as the show opens, can't wait should be a journey of a lifetime. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blog links on www.pollytalk.com on fashion, visionary men, remarkable women and poetry.

Monday, August 21, 2017

OCEAN LINERS, FLOATING PALACES at the Peabody Essex Musuem: Review by Polly Guerin

Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed, and Style at PEM
Let's take a vicarious trip on the floating palaces of yesteryear when glamour and Art Deco elegance graced the salons of the Campagnie Generale Transatlantic, commonly known as The French Line and the interiors of other world ship competitors. It was the Golden Age of the great Atlantic express in the late nineteenth and the twentieth century connecting the old wold with the new.
      They were splendid glittering ships in a race in time and a race by shipping lines to design the most luxurious interiors to attract wealthy patrons who were accustomed to luxurious hotels that emulated aristocratic homes  The prerequisite for these luxuries interiors was the fact that one had to accompany the trip with a trunk load of attire, including evening gowns to make the Grand Descent on the spectacular main dining room staircase where women would descend whilst emulating movie star elegance and diners already seated could view who was who aboard the ship.
      Your nostalgic ship experience, freeze framed in time, welcomes you at OCEAN LINERS: GLAMOUR, SPEED, AND STYLE, an exhibition organized by PEM, the Peabody Essex Museum in Essex, Massachusetts and London's Victoria and Albert Museum on view at the Peabody through October 9, 2017. www.pem.org.
       The exhibit explores the world shipping liners---their fabulous interiors, the artists' who created art treasures, and the amenities that the late maritime raconteur and author, John Maxtone Graham, Mr. Ocean liner himself, declared in his book was, "The Only Way to Cross!"  
The Dining Room,  from REX, firs class 1932
       The S.S. Ile de France, for example, was The French Line's floating palace of modernity. It showcased the height of Art Deco interiors, and featured a "street of shops" aptly named "The Rue de la Paix of the Atlantique."  The ship featured a sixty car garage, a gym and tennis court and other amenities of haute luxury that made ocean liner travel the only way to go.

     This exclusivity of bygone elegance stands as a testament to time when passengers traveled first class in an atmosphere when the most esteemed craftsmen and artists of the era produced works of splendor, never to be seen again. French artists, sculptors and architects included Rene Lalique, Edgar Brandt, Henri Navarre and Jules Leleu to name a few---all had participated and showcased their works in the l925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris, which gave the world the term "Art Deco," and inspired the ship's contemporary style. It evoked the craftsmen and artists' Art Deco concept of beauty that swayed the refined taste of the world.    
First Class Salon on The Normandie
  The quintessential of the Art Deco designed liners was The French Liner's NORMANDIE with its opulent display of artistic genius.  The interiors glittered with gilded-glass panels, The History of Navigation cycle,  designed by Jean Dupas, once exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and most recently auctioned off to a wealthy tycoon. The legend of the Normandy still is revered with artifacts currently on display on the, 2,500 
passenger cruise ship, Celebrity Summit. On the third deck find a display that includes nostalgic photographs of shipboard scenes and famous passengers such as Greta Garbo and the fashion designer, Colette, a showcase of the  the first class dining room dinner setting and a video tour with John Maxtone Graham commentary. 
      In its day, traveling first class with its physical allure, was a dream-like magical experience, it transported style and elegance, it evoked music of the era and the setting of romantic encounters.  The luxury of these memories are unlikely to ever be repeated again, but you can vicariously experience their grandeur at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA where you will transported to that bygone maritime era of unrivaled splendor.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! I'm evoking memories of my tour of the Normandie, so little did I realize then how remarkable it was.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com, click on the links in the left-hand column on fashion, visionary men, remarkable women and poetry.  


Monday, August 7, 2017

ROAD TO FREEDOM DAY at Dobbs, Ferry Review By Polly Guerin

The Patriotic Enacters on the Road to Freedom Day 
"HEAD QUARTERS, DOBBS FERRY" General George Washington wrote most of his correspondence from "Head Quarters, Dobbs Ferry" the major epicenter of his command over the American and French troops during the American Revolution.
     It is no wonder, therefore, that Dobbs Ferry citizens revere the historical significance of their town with the Annual ROAD TO FREEDOM DAY, which takes place marching in tandem with authentic uniform enactment in the lead, followed by the adults and children who wind their way to Mead House, the site of the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society, which continues the festivities with military demonstrations, other entertainments and hospitality.  Such display of patriotic pride reminds us to remember that the call for liberty and justice for all was at the core of the American Revolution so valiantly won whilst driving the British out of the country. 
    Anytime is a good time to visit historic Dobbs Ferry but August is especially important, when Dobbs Ferry commemorates the march of General George Washington's Continental Army troops and the French forces under the command of Comte de Rochambeau.  Let us not forget that it is said by American Revolutionary historians that without the support of the France alliance, America would have lost its war of independence. 
     
Adults and Children on the Road to Freedom 
The route taken by Washington and Rochambeau eventually follows the route of the Continental army on August 19, 1781 when it began a march of more than 400 miles to Virginia and the decisive American and French victory at Yorktown over British and Hessian troops under Lord Cornwallis (October 19, 1781) that ended the American Revolution.  Participating citizens and guests in August vicariously follow that route through the town of Dobbs Ferry led by fife and drums and the Ebenezer Stevens Artificers. Artificers were skilled craftsman, responsible for the repair and maintenance of artillery including cannons and muskets. In the summer of 1781 they were encamped at Dobbs Ferry and later marched to Yorktown with the army and resumed their work as cannons and muskets were in constant need of repair and maintenance. 

     
A Cemetery Tribute to the Revolutionary War Patriots
After the opening ceremonies at Gould Park, including a discussion and display of the Revolutionary flags, the marchers made their way to the Little White Church Cemetery to honor the American Revolution's patriots with Arificers and fife and drum ceremony.

    Alas after such victorious activities honoring this great day in history everyone goes to Mead House, the site of the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society, 12 Elm Street, where musical programs include musical selections from the era, as well as a display of historical artifacts and maps. The annual event is Free and open to the public, so mark your August calendar for next year's event. Refreshments welcomed the marchers and visitors with delicious homemade baked goods, cool beverages on the lawn and make your own ice cream Sunday in the Gallery.  For additional information download http://www.DOBBSFERRYHISTORY.org. 
Email:  DFHISTORY@1CLOUD.COM or call 914. 674. 1007.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! Dobb's Ferry is a great summer Day Trip via Metro North Harlem line at Grand Central, a mere 40 minute ride on the iron horse speeding like the wind along the mighty Hudson and plucking you down on the shimmering shore of Dobbs Ferry for The Road to Freedom. Just wear comfortable shoes for the march. Fans mail welcome, I appreciate your comments, please contact pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's other Blogs on women determined to succeed, visionary men, fashion and poetry from the heart. Access the links on www.pollytalk.com.

Monday, July 31, 2017

GRAND OPERA DIMITRIJ at Bard Summerscape: Review by Polly Guerin

Antonin Dvorak's DIMITRIJ, Grand Opera on an epic scale of monumentality, has arrived at Bard, Annandale-on-the-Hudson's spectacular Fisher Center. designed by Frank Gehry.  It is this year's SUMMERSCAPE festival's long overdue American premiere performance of Antonin Dvorak's opera in an original new staging by award-winning director Anne Bogart.  For opera aficionados this is a rare opportunity to see the remaining performances,  Wednesday, August 2 at 2 pm,  Friday, August 4 at 7:30 pm and Sunday August 6 at 2 pm.  Summerstage coach from New York City August 6. Reservation required: 845.758.7900. 
Quite frankly, the opera, if only it was possible, deserves an extended run. 
 INNOVATIVE PROGRAMMING: Since the opening of the Fisher Center at Bard, Leon Botstein, principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra has been responsible for championing and restoring to the stage a growing number of important, but long-neglected operas. He combines his conducting career with his work at Bard College, where he has served as president since 1975. Botstein's unique approach to programming gives audiences opportunities to encounter neglected, but brilliant works which he performs alongside standard repertoire masterpieces, often enhancing the experience, as he did at the July 30 performance, with a preconcert talk that augmented the opera experience. 
     Dimitrij introduction at Bard stands as a testament to recognizing Dvorak's genius; the recognition of his lyricism and masterfully stirring chorus and brilliant soloists singing with such synergistic resonance that brought the July 30th audience to a standing ovation. With rising young tenor Clay Hilley's heroic performance in the title role and the captivating soprano Melissa Citro as Marina, Dimitrij's Polish wife, and the resonant, bright voiced Russian soprano, Olga Tolknit as Xenia completed their fatal love triangle. it was a breathtaking grand opera performance with others as talented too numerous to mention here.  Set design by David Zinn and costumes by Constance Hoffman make this thrilling new production a "must see" on your list of cultural interests.
THE STORY: Based on events of 17th century Russia, Dimitrij seemingly resumes where Mussorgsky's Boris Gudunov leaves off.  It vividly depicts the struggle for power during the "Time of Troubles" that ensued in the wake of the Tzar's death. Mistakenly supposing himself to be Dimitrij, the murdered son of Ivan the Terrible, Dvorak's protagonist believes he has a legitimate claim to the Russian Throne.  When he falls in love with Godunov's daughter, however, he decides to divorce his own Polish wife, he unwittingly triggers the chain of events that will result in his demise. Ultimately tragic, the story of the false Dimitrij pits Orthodox Russia against Catholic Poland. Bard's historic presentation also features Dimitrij's rarely heard, full-length overture and original brutal conclusion. The final scene's frozen-in-time tableau of the entire cast and chorus filling the stage with their omnipotent presence resembled an unforgettable work of masterful artistry.   
Melissa Citro as Marina, Dimitrij's Polish Wife
Dvorak's Dimitrij (1882) is rarely staged outside of he Czech Republic, and was acclaimed for its strong dramatic moments, original melodies and masterful choral work and was widely regarded as one of the most significant works created for the Czech operatic stage. It only received its United States concert premiere in 1984, more than a century after its composition. Bogart said,                  "The more I look at the opera-the architecture of the piece and the absolutely gorgeous music-the more I am completely bewildered why it's not done all the time, why it's not a stable part of the repertoire in the opera world."

     Ta Ta Darlings!!!   I was overwhelmed by this powerful performance and the captivating orchestration of Dimitrij. The stellar performance still resonates with me. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.

Monday, July 17, 2017

World Premiere A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique at BARD

"Tadeusz Kantor was to Poland what Any Warhol is to America: an iconic postwar artist." It might be best to be open-minded to fully appreciate the avant garde performance of The Wooster Group's A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique). The experience is mesmerizing, an experimental performance incorporating video in the theatrical landscape that pays tribute to to the late visionary, Polish artist and director, Tadeusz Kantor. 
     Annandale-on-the Hudson, NY:  This summer, the Bard SummerScape 2017 festival presents the world premiere of a new theater production from The Wooster Group, the internationally recognized Obie and Bessie Award-winning experimental theater company. Each Scene in the piece, there are five, is a re-imagined installment of Kantor's work, revisiting as it does his previous pieces, Case in point, Part  III: A Miserable and Suspicious Inn (The Company encounters the film of I shall Never Return), and then in Part V: The Return of Odysseus, the Company reenacts the Odysseus Story From Kantor's I Shall Never Return with Some Disruptions. Haunting musical accompaniment included Ani Ma'amin a Jewish prayer set to music, an Argentinian tango a work by Chopin, a song from the Warsaw ghetto and others.
     It is interesting to note that  this new work by the Wooster Group not only pays homage to  Tadeusz Kantor, but his daughter, Dorota Krakowska serves in a spellbinding presence as A Pink Chair's dramaturge. Then too, the piece is directed by Wooster founding member, Elizabeth LeCompte, whose string of honors include prize recognitions and a National Endowment of the Arts Lifetime Achievement award.
    This innovative work is performed in the LUMA Theater of the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center on Bard's Hudson Valley campus.  Remaining performances include the following: Wednesday, July 19 at 2 pm, Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 pm, Friday, July 21 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, July 22 at 2 pm, Saturday July 22 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, July 23 at 2 pm.
     TADEUSZ KANTOR (1915-90) the stage director, set designer, creator of happenings and writer, was the artist behind such revolutionary theatrical works as The Dead Class (1975) . He founded the Independent Theater in Poland , and served as well as a director of the experimental theater in Krakow from 1942 to 1944.  WWII influenced his work and he is best known for his "Theater of Death" a series of surrealist works in which the shadow of Poland's experience of war and totalitarianism, he sought to create what he called "a bridge between the audience and the kingdom of death. The presence of  pink chair at the end of the performance alludes to the title of Kantor's piece and perhaps is a harbinger of "hope" in the aftermath.
   Ta ta Darlings!!! BARD'S SUMMERSCAPE 2017 FULL SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES CAN BE ACCESSED AT www.bard.edu/fishercenter.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.
Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Patek Philippe's "Art of Watches" Grand Exhibition: Opens July 13 at Cipriani

Whether you are a watch aficionado or not, here is your chance to enter the splendid hallowed halls of the former Bowery Savings Bank building across from Grand Central Terminal to view the Patek Philippe's tradition of high-precision watch manufacturing as well as the company's 178-year history and its heritage in the domain of Haute Horlogerie. Located in Geneva, Switzerland and the Vallee de Joux, Patek Philippe designs and manufactures timepieces and movements, including some of the most complicated mechanical watches, and many experts and aficionados consider Patek Philippe to be one of the most prestigious watch manufacturers. Owners of their time honored watches have included kings and queens. In 1851 Queen Victoria wore an exclusive Patek Philippe timepiece, a watch suspended from a diamond enamel brooch.  Patek Philippe popularized the perpetual calendar, the split-seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater in watches and modern captains of industry own such watches for their status and unique appeal.
     
Cipriani former  Bowery Savings Bank ballroom interior
     The 11-day exhibition, THE ART OF WATCHES GRAND EXHIBITION, running from July 13-23rd, is free and open to the public at Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 East 42nd Street and will be open to the general public from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Here is a rare opportunity to discover the world of the last privately family owned watch company from the inside featuring a curated selection of luxury pocket watches and wrist watches, from new ones to styles dating back to 1530. Rather than selling watches, the exhibition format is meant to educate visitors about the historical significance of time-keeping and the awe-inspiring ingenuity of the watches. 


    A UNIQUE STRUCTURE: For the first time ever, a two-story structure has been created within Cipriani, the former Bowery Savings Bank building, to accommodate the square footage required for an exhibition of this scale. Ten specific rooms include the Theater Room, Current Collection Room, Museum Room, US Historic Room Rare Handcrafts Gallery and Grand Complications Room. All have been created to showcase unique environments.
    DEMONSTRATIONS: As a way to educate visitors on the inner-workings of fine watchmaking, watchmaker and Artisan demonstrations are among some of the interactive activities taking place during the exhibition. After visitors have concluded their tour they are welcome to rest in the Patek Philippe Cafe. 
George Washington Pocket Watch 
COMMEMORATIVE CATALOG: A one-of-a-kind commemorative catalog available for purchase at a nominal fee during the storied exhibition, will highlight the historical timepieces, current novelties, rare handicrafts and grand complications showcased during the exhibition. 

And, did I mention Patek Philippe will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the catalog to The Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which offers innovative after-school and enrichment programs for more than 10,000 youth, ages 6 through 18, in ten locations throughout the Bronx. Daniel Quintero, Executive Director of the Kip's Bay Boys & Girls Club said, "We are honored to be partnering with Patek Philippe during this exhibition, and grateful that they have chose our organization as the recipient of the catalog's proceeds."
       THE ART OF WATCHES, GRAND EXHIBITION is like a gift to New York and revers the memory of its founders (Antoni ) Patek and (Adrien) Philippe who landed in New York in the 1800s when they began to explore the new world.  Today The Henri Stern Watch Agency manages all of the business operations for Patek Philippe in the United States. 
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! I look forward to seeing you at Cipriani and delve into the unique world of watchmaking history. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Polly's Blogs on fashion, visionary men, women determined to succeed and poetry can be accessed on www.pollytalk.com, just click on the links to the Blogs that resonate with your interest.

Monday, June 26, 2017

REVISITING CALDER at Whitney Museum: Review by Polly Guerin

Elements of Calder's mobiles vibrate, sway, or unfurl creating a captivating visual dynamism. His airborne mobiles hang from ceilings and stand on floors, their elements rotating independently and at times causing chain reactions with their composition. They are fascinating structures that intrigue, but when these metal sculptures move they become airborne masterpieces.
     CALDER: HYPERMOBILITY at the Whitney Museum of American Art, focuses on the extraordinary breadth of motion achieved by Alexander Calder (1898-1976) in his works from the moment he turned to radical abstraction in 1930 and continuing throughout his career. The exhibit is extended to October 23, 2017.
     Thanks to an unprecedented collaboration with the Calder Foundation, this exhibit, enchanting as it is, engages visitors with a rare opportunity to experience works set in motion by motors or air currents and further animated by touch.     

In 1931 Calder set abstract forms in motion, using motors to re-imagine the spatial and temporal relationships of compositional elements.  The mechanized sculptures on view here are newly restored for this exhibition, and several are operating for the first time since they were initially presented by the artist. Each work, driven by a hidden electric motor, consists of components that transform and interact, either within a designated open space or as offset by a monochrome backdrop.
      These subtly oscillating shapes create the sense of a painting in motion, and as with his earlier mobiles, many of the sculptures feature circular forms inspired by the dynamics of unseen forces in nature.  Always experimenting, Calder would soon push beyond the repetition of the motorized works and by 1932 he made his first suspended mobile, Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere, which quickly led to various other mobiles incorporating spontaneous movements activated by air currents, human intervention, or chance. 
 BIRTH OF THE MOBILE: Calder began with kineticism in the 1920s while living in Paris, where he developed a close association with leading European avant-garde artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Edgard Varese and Fernand Leger.
     In 1931 Calder invented the mobile, an entirely new mode of sculpture. The term was coined by Duchamp, the friend of American Artist, Florine Stettheimer. In French, mobile is  pun that means both "motive" and "that which moves."  Combined with carefully balanced components of wire, metal and wood, each mobile performs is own set of movements, enacting an infinite series of potential forms. 

In tandem with his kinetic works, he also made stabiles, sculptures that while stationery nonetheless convey a heightened sense of implied movement through their composition. 
     For this exhibition, musician Jim O'Rourke has composed a works in response to Calder's sculpture.  Listen on the mulimedia guide and whiteney.org/calder.  A complete  schedule of performances and activations for updates and to purchase or reserve tickets in advance, visit
whitney.org.calder.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!! Calder's mesmerizing mobiles engage, enchant, entertain and move our imagination into spheres of uncharted beauty.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com. Just click in the left-hand column to topics that resonate with your interest on fashion, beauty, women determined to succeed, visionary men, and poetry.

Monday, June 19, 2017

FORCE OF NATURE---Museum at FIT: Review By Polly Guerin

Charles James, "Tree" evening dress and "Petal stole
What better source of inspiration than Nature---its flora and fauna, geology, and physical beauty   has been the muse for designers throughout fashion history.  As Alexander McQueen said, "I have always loved the mechanics of nature, and to a greater or lesser extent my world is always informed by that."
     The Museum at Fit's exhibit, FORCE OF NATURE spans the eighteenth century to the present in ten sections, each focusing on a facet of fashion's connection to nature---on view through November 18, 2017. Curator Melissa Marra's research blends a fascinating marriage of fashion and nature in unexpected comparisons on display.
     Image Left: Charles James, "Tree" evening gown with "Petal" stole, 1955.  This evening gown with a petal-like stole bestows upon its wearer a sensual elegance by transforming her into a flower.
     Garments, textiles and accessories, exclusively from the collection of The Museum at FIT, illustrate how principles of the natural sciences, such as the dynamics of sexual attraction, have informed fashion design. For instance, elaborately feathered women's hats, show how the plumage of male birds use for sexual display has been appropriated to emphasize female beauty.  The natural world has influenced fashion in positive ways, but fashion's impact on the environment has been largely detrimental. Take the case of the thousands of birds almost made extinct by the use of their feathers and taxidermy bodies for use as decoration on women's millinery.  It is good to note that this style was abandoned and today many designers are engaging in more sustainable practices. This shift indicates a new attitude towards nature, from one of dominion to participation. 
     
Pierre Hardy, shoes 2015, France
During the Enlightenment, as naturalists classified plant species, exotic botanic gardens flourished throughout Europe. These gardens inspired the work of textile designers, who began to depict flowers from around the world.  The sexuality of plants and the symbolism of flowers such as roses and orchids 

     Fashion and nature is an international love affair. A pair of shoes by Pierre Hardy challenges traditional representation of flowers by rendering realistic images of lilies in saccharine, artificial colors. (Image Right: Pierre Hardy, shoes summer collection 2015, France.
      The bold patterns of animal skins have been appropriated by fashion designers for their strong visual impact and their exotic appeal. The striking patterns of the leopard, zebra and ocelot, for example, that serve to camouflage animals in the wild are often used in fashion as a way to stand out. Remember Josephine Baker famous scenario. She paraded around Paris wearing a matching leopard print pant suit while out walking her pet leopard. Superstars today wear to the limelight outrages animal inspired trappings to create exotic, out-of-the norm images.
   
Shrimpton Couture
In a never ending search for inspiration discoveries relating to celestial bodies, the greater universe, and the physical forces that created them have also led to extraordinary designs. Science and technology play key roles in transforming the shift in a new attitude toward nature. This is evidenced by designer interest in biomimicry (employing design principles that imitate nature's processes) and biomaterials that are grown using biological organisms. For further information contact the Museum information line: 212 217 4558. Internet access at

exhibitions.fitnyc.edu/force-of-nature.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!  It is always FREE admission at The Museum at FIT, then, too, there are the supplemental I-pad content, executed by Javier Alvarez with more informative details about each section of the show.  Fan Mail welcome at pollytalk@gmail.com  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com on subjects ranging from visionary men to women determined to succeed, fashion and poetry.