Monday, June 18, 2018

SUMMER OF MAGIC at New-York Historical Society: Review By Polly Guerin

An enchanting adventure into the magical world of illusion and mesmerizing feats of dare devil fate invites children and adults with childlike wonder and awe to an unforgettable SUMMER OF MAGIC at the New York Historical Society on display through September 16, 2018.
      With an exciting, museum-wide line-up of mesmerizing displays, evening programs, family
activities, and free films the exhibit offers a historical spectacle of magic and the magicians, like the legendary Houdini, who became famous performing death-defying feats. 
      You may not be an aficionado of the magic genre but at his exhibit you will surely respond to the opportunity to discover the tricks, illusions and escapes that mystified audiences in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Then, too, the historical reenactors portraying the great illusionists of the past will invite you to try your hand at magic tricks, learn about mind reading, women in magic, tragic performances, unsolved mysteries, and more.
DAVID COPPERFIELD.
       The exhibition features highlights from the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts and the unrivaled treasure trove of magical historical artifacts from Emmy Award-winning illusionist David Copperfield's private collection. Image: middle-Harry Houdini's Milk Can, ca. 1908. Copperfield Collection. Photo Glenn Castellano. 
     Displays showcase iconic objects used by Harry Houdini in his famous escape stunts,
culminating with the spectacular installation of the DEATH SAW, one of Copperfield's ground-
Harry Houdini Artifacts
breaking illusions.
     Recalling his childhood experiences Copperfield related how his family endorsed, his passion for magic. "Every week my mother took me to Macy's," Copperfield told an enthralled audience. A re-creation of a magic shop includes archival information on how Copperfield learned magic tricks at MACY'S MAGIC COUNTER,  where magic demonstrator, DannyTsukalis (1965) 
mesmerized the young Copperfield, who learned magic there.  David was already an accomplished conjurer by the age of twelve, and at sixteen, he was an adjunct professor at New York University, where he taught a course called 'the Art of Magic."  Copperfield is an artist with numerous accolades in the fields of television, Broadway shows, literature and in popular culture. He is the first illusionist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
Handcuffs used by Harry Houdini
FAMILY PROGRAMS
     Family fun takes on Saturdays and Sundays during the Summer of Magic when the magical past comes to life with historical magicians, fortune tellers, escape artists and other marvelous illusionists from the past---all portrayed by Living Historians from the present. Image: Handcuffs used by Harry Houdini for the Daily Mirror challenge, 1904. Photo Homer Liwag. 
For in depth information about Summer of Magic and its related programs, visit the museum's website:
http://www.history.org/summer-magic. Would be magicians and illusionists will have a wide scope of subject matter to attract their attention, such as the Magic Workshop, Tuesday, August 7 at 7pm with Jeremy the Magician, when everyone will learn more astonishing magic to wow their friends. No prior magic experience is necessary. Then, too, there's Parlor Mind Reading, Tragic Magic, The Escape Game to name a few. SUMMER OF MAGIC Free films on pay-as-you-wish Friday evenings---free film screening's including Houdini, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, and War of the Worlds, and more.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! I can't wait to attend Women in the Golden Age of Magic, when magician Margaret Steele tells tales about the first glamorous female illusion partners.  Fan mail always welcome pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's website at www.pollytalk.com to click on links
to other Blogs on women determined to succeed, visionary men, fashion or poetry.
     

       

Saturday, June 16, 2018

VANISHED!!! Old New York's Past By Polly Guerin




















Landmarks in peril sound the alarm
Old New York is losing its charm

Neighborhood treasures disappear
Demotion inevitable, this I fear

The Sunshine Cinema closed for good
Petitioners wondered not understood

The walls of sacred places on the log  
And the 168-year old Hagadol Synagogue

Structures keep vanishing each year
Losing our color past is very clear

The wrecking ball struck a 173-old
Building on East Houston Street

The old city is quickly swept away
All that was wonderful in its day

Stamping out the varied landscape
For rising glass places in the sky

Why, Why Why do let us rally and protest
Save the varied urban landscape at its best.

All that makes New York City unique
The wrecking ball continues to deplete.




Monday, June 11, 2018

Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders at the Morgan: Review by Polly Guerin

Artists in the Middle Ages were ahead of their time with marvels of imagination. They filled the world around them with dragons, unicorns, and other fabled beasts to inventive hybrid creatures that captivated the imagination of medieval men and women, just as they continue to fascinate us today.                                                     Image: The Taming the Tarasque, from Hours of Henry VIII, France, Tours, ca.1500. The Morgan Library and Museum, MS H.8 fol Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2013.                                                          Drawing on the Morgan Library and Museum's superb collection of illuminated manuscripts, this major exhibition MEDIEVAL MONSTERS; TERRORS, ALIENS, WONDERS, the first of its kind in North America, is on view through September 22, 2018. It explores the complex social role of monsters in the Middle Ages and brings together approximately seventy works spanning the ninth and sixteenth century ranging from illuminated manuscripts and tapestry to metalworks and ivory.                                                                               Medieval Monsters leads visitors through three sections based on the ways monsters functioned in medieval societies. "Terrors" explores how monsters enhanced the aura of those in power, be they rulers, knights, or saints. Throughout the Middle Ages, rulers capitalized on the mystique of monsters to enhance their own aura of power. By embellishing all manner of luxury objects with monstrous imagery, the nobility and clergy could also reinforce and dramatize their own authority.                                                                         In the modern world, the term alien is most strongly associated with extraterrestrials but in the Middle Ages, however, aliens were very much inhabitants of our world. The second section on "Aliens" demonstrates how marginalized groups in European societies—such as Jews, Muslims, women, the poor, and the disabled—were further alienated by being depicted as monstrous. Women, the poor, the mentally ill or physically impaired could all be made monstrous by medieval artists.  
The final section, "Wonders", considers a group of strange beauties and frightful anomalies that populated the medieval world. Whether employed in ornamental, entertaining, or contemplative settings, these fantastic beings were meant to inspire a sense of marvel and awe in their viewers.                                                    Image: Siren, from Abus du Monde (The Abuses of the World) France, Rouen, ca.1510. The Morgan Library and Museum, MS M.42, fol.15r. Photography by James Chiu, 2017.                                  "In the medieval world the idea of the monstrous permeated every level of society," said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library and Museum, "from rulers, and the nobility and the clergy, to agrarian and urban dwellers alike.  Artists of the Middle Ages captured this phenomenon in images of beings at once familiar and foreign to today's viewer."
        Exhibition related firms, free with museum admission include King Kong vs Godzilla, July 13, 7 pm, Pans Labyrinth, July 27, 7 pm. Gallery Talks
include June 29 and July 20, l pm. A family program, Monstrous Masterpiece takes place Saturday June 16 11 am-1pm. Participants will join New York City-based artist Max Greis to create monstrous creatures with beastly painted paper and their favorite real and make-believe elements.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! Enough, enough, need I say more, this is a fascinating exhibit that may strike terror in your heart or amuse by the mere monstrosity of the images.
Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  I invite you to visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com Click on the link in the left-hand column to the Blog that resonates with your interest on fashion, determined women, visionary men or poetry.
                                


Monday, June 4, 2018

The MAGIC OF HANDWRITING at the Morgan: Review by Polly Guerin

Peering into the intimate lives of the great artists, poets and historical figures is the focus of the new exhibition THE MAGIC OF HANDWRITING, but this exhibit is not about handwriting itself. It is about the "magic" that one finds in handwritten correspondence that intimately connects us back to the everyday life with the people who marked the page.
      Left: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). The concluding portion of an autograph, letter signed to his father, Leopold Mozart, (Mannheim) 7 February 1778 in which the-two-year-old composer ventures to make his own decisions regarding his musical career rather than following his father's strict instructions.   Collection of Pedro Correa do Lago. 
      Culled from Brazilian author, the Pedro do Lago's collection, 140 items are on display with letters and manuscripts in the hands of such other luminaries as Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Marcel Proust and Jorge Luis Borges and others.  Musical compositions and inscribed photographs and documents included, some never been publicly are mesmerizing insights into private lives of historical figures.
THE YOUNG COLLECTOR At the age of eleven, Pedro Correa do Lago began writing to individuals he admired. The English novelist, R.R.R Tolkien, Lord of the Rings fame, may have declined to send him anything, but scores of others did. Mr. Correo do Lago shares the passion of the Morgan's founder, John Pierpont Morgan, for collecting letters and manuscripts that bear the handwriting of some of the most influential figures in Western history and culture. 
        "From the time I was very young I have derived enormous pleasure from collecting autographs, which serve as tangible link that defy the passage of time," said Mr. Correa do Lago. "I am thrilled to be able to share of the manuscripts and letters that have brought me such joy and to do so within the library of one of the greatest American autograph collectors."
HISTORY:  Early letters document the personal and political relationships of Western Europe's monarchs and scions. Twentieth-century historical letter bring to life moments and relationships of great drama. In 1917, Dutch-born dancer known as Mata Hari writes a desperate plea from prison after being arrest on charges of espionage in 1947.  Tender moments inscribed in letters share the intimacy of love. At the age of eighty, his handwriting shaky after a recent stroke, Winston Churchill sends a letter to Pamela, Lady Lytton, his first
great love saying, "I am getting older now the trappings of power and responsibility have fallen away, and I totter along in the shades of retirement.ART: The items on view span more than four centuries and include examples of the handwriting of some of the leading artists in modern Western history including Benvenuto Cellini, J M W Turner, Monet, Henri Matisse and Frida Kahlo. The earliest work on view in this section is a small, hitherto unpublished block drawing with notes by Michelangelo, dated ca 1518. More than four hundred years later, in 1949, Henri Matisse wrote a note to his friend Albert Skira, the Swiss art publisher, filling more than half the page with a crayon sketch, thus turning
a personal letter into an intimate work of art.
       Image: Henri Matisse (1860-1954). Autograph note signed with initials, to Albert Skira 16 February, 1949. Collection of Pedro Correa do Lago (c) 2018 Succession
H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
MUSIC and PERFORMING ARTS; On view is an extremely messy
draft page for The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanculla del West), which reveals the energy and frenzy in which Giacomo Puccini composed. Then, too, there are examples of the handwriting of Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig von Beethoven to a signed sketch of the dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky by Jean Cocteau.  
Finally inscribed photographs of some of the greatest entertainers of the twentieth-century include entertainers Billie Holiday, the Marx Brothers, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and even the Beatles. Their handwriting and signatures serve as reminders of their unique personalities. 
       Image: Signed photograph of Josephine Baker (1905-1975) inscribed to Mille Le"Dunf," Paris, 1930; Photograph by R. Sobol. Collection of Pedro Correa do Lago.
LITERATURE Extraordinary personal communications in the show include one of only tow know surviving letters from Oscar Wilde, author of Dorian Gray to Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, and extremely complimentary letter from Gustave Flaubert to Victor Hugo, and a charming letter from twelve-year-old Ernest Hemingway asking his father if they might go see the Chicago Cubs play that weekend (it will be a dandy game"). 
Emily Dickinson writes "To be remembered is next to being loved, and to be loved is Heaven, and is this quite Earth? I have never found it so." HER LETTER IS A REMINDER THAT HANDWRITTEN LETTERS PROVIDE A POWERFUL MEANS OF REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE LIVING AND DEAD.
       Ta Ta Darlings!!!   If you love history as I do, scanning the private writings of the world's most famous people, is worthy of a visit to the Morgan.  I adore receiving fan mail, please respond to  pollytalknyc@gmail.com and visit Polly's other Blogs on www.pollytalk.com. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Canova's GEORGE WASHINGTON at The Frick; Review By Polly Guerin

George Washington in Marble: By the time it was decided in 1816 to create a statue of George Washington, the first president of the United States and American Revolutionary War hero, the president had been dead for sixteen years. To accurately depict the features of the past president was at the core of the problem. Such was the dilemma of the General Assembly of North Carolina
who wanted to  commission a full-length statue of George Washington be commissioned to stand in the rotunda of the State Capitol, in Raleigh. Thomas Jefferson, by then a former president, suggested Antonio Canova, one of the most famous sculptors in Europe.
       The Frick Collection unravels this intriguing story in an exhibit CANOVA'S GEORGE WASHINGTON that addresses Canova's only work for the United States on view  May 23 to
September 23, 2018.  
Image: Antonio Canova, Modello for George Washington, 1818, Plaster, Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova, Possagno Fondazione Canova onlus, Possagno; photo
Fabio Zonta.
Antonio Canova Modello for George Washington 1818
       The undaunted task of replicating a true likeness of Washington involved several artists. Of the available models to use to reproduce Washington's features, it seemed that a painting, possibly one by Gilbert Stuart, would be most suitable.
       In the end, however, a sculptural model was preferred. Only two sculptures of Washington had been created from life: one in 1785 y Jean-Antoine Houdon and the other in 1791 by Giuseppe Ceracchi.  They are both shown together in this exhibition.
GIUSEPPE CERACCHI Deserves due credit. Ceracchi, an Italian sculptor, had visited the United States on two occasions, in 1790-1790 and again in
1794-1795, and had portrayed a number of American figures, including the president. 
      Conrad Appleton, American Counsel in Livorno and Thomas Jefferson agreed that the Ceracchi, of which Appleton happened to own a plaster bust, was "the best effigy of George Washington ever executed."
       Side note: Ceracchi life was cut short; he was condemmed for conspiring against Napoleon, in Paris and was guillotined in 1802. However, his bust of Washington, hugely popular and widely reproduced---was sent by Appleton to ANTONIO CANOVA and faithfully followed by the sculptor. Image: Giuseppe Ceracchi's George Washington, ca. 1791-92, Terracotta,
Nantes Metropole, Musee d'arts (c) Nantes Metropole-Musee d'arts de Nantes. Photographie: C.CLOS.
Giuseppe Ceracchi's Terracotta Image
       The Frick Collection presents Canova's George Washington, in an exhibition that examines the history of the artist's lost masterpiece. The show brings together for the first time all of the objects connected to the creation of the sculpture---including a remarkable life-sized modello that has r before left Italy---and tells the extraordinary transatlantic story of this monumental work. 
ANTONIO CANOVA The sculptor worked on the statue of Washington in Rome between 1817 and 1820. He began work in the summer of 1817, producing a number of drawings and three-dimensional sketches in preparation for the life-size modello which occupies center stage in the Museum's Oval Room. 
         Once he had produced a final small bozetto, he began creating the life-size model, referencing Ceracchi's terracotta bust for Washington's features.
         It is interesting to note, that while working on the sculpture, Canova, had assistants and his half-brother
read aloud a history of the AMERICAN REVOLUTION. He later wrote, in admiration, of "the immortal Washington---the genius who has performed such sublime dead, for the safety and liberty of his country." Canova had worked on the life-size marble sculpture for four years and in 1821 it was delivered to North Carolina to reside in the State House in Raleigh.  The sculpture was inaugurated with great fanfare on Christmas eve.        
Antonio Canova 
Canova's statue, however, was on view for less than a decade. In the early morning of June 21, 1831, a fire destroyed the Raleigh State House and The monumental statue that had been described as "the boast and pride of North America." Were it not for the "awful calamity," Canova's sculpture would today be one of the most important artistic treasures from the early history of the United States.

       Running concurrently with the Frick exhibition is Canova e la Danza (Canova and Dance) at the Italian Cultural Institute featuring sixteen newly restored tempera paintings dating from 1799 to 1806, which have never before been seen in the United States. A show at the Consulate General of Italy in New York features the work of photographer Fabio Zonta who documented Canova's sculptures at the Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno. Both exhibitions will be on view May 23 through June 28, 2018.
Image: Antonio Canova 1819-20  by Sir Thomas Lawrence, oil on canvas. Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova, Possagno Fondazione Canova onlus, Possagno.
TA TA DARLINGS!!! It's a wonder, it's part of early American history and it's worth spending time at the Frick. Accompanying the exhibition is a beautifully illustrated catalogue that examines
the fascinating history of the Canova's lost American masterpiece. the book is available in the Museum Shop. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs on fashion,
determined women, visionary men and poetry on www.pollytalk.com and click on the links in the left-hand column.


Monday, May 14, 2018

METLIVEARTS ENTERTAINMENT: Review by Polly Guerin


Artist in Residence JULIA BULLOCK
Visiting a museum today is not just about the art works and statues it's become something more performance-centric connecting entertainment to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's iconic METLIVEARTS series and Artist in Residence programming. Throughout 2018-1019, leading artists will connect with the museum's exhibitions and individual works of art through original commissions and site-specific performances.
      Believe me, this is an innovative approach in the life of this storied cultural institution.  It is a transforming experience, particularly in the galleries, where music and dance interact, respond to and are inspired by the works of art and sculpture.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
     The stunning opera singer Julia Bullock has created five programs that will be presented throughout the year. This is an impressive feat for the bi-racial St. Louis born singer, as most opera singers don't even begin their careers till 28, she will be able to add The Met to her resume, as their new Artist in Residence. Her residency will include collaborations with renowned guest performers and will draw on the lives, legacies and words of Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, and Thornton Dial, among others.                    Hailed as "opulent and glorious" by Opera News, Bullock brings her rich and resonant soprano vocals to poems by Langston Hughes, such as, "Harlem,"  "Genius Child," and "Song for a Dark Girl," in which she will be joined by other stellar performers. (December 2, 3 p.m., The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium). 
       An all new chamber music version of contemporary master John Adam's Christmas oratorio, El Nino is also on the schedule. In Meditations for Josephine, January 2019, Bullock will re- imagine Josephine Baker on the steps of The Met's Great Hall.  
SONNAMBULA at The Met Cloisters 
THE MET CLOISTERS
      The 2018-19 season also features a new artist residency focusing specifically on The Met Cloisters The historical performance ensemble SONNAMBULA will invigorate the location's medieval galleries through a series of concerts that bring a contemporary sensibility to the group's historically informed performances. During their residency at The Met Cloisters, Sonnambula will perform with world -renowned artists including the renaissance wind ensemble Piffaro, lute virtuoso Esteban La Rotta and author and photographer Teju Cole.
      "MetLiveArts commissions powerful artists to explore the Museum's collection and create relevant thought-provoking performances," said Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of The Met.
"This upcoming season of programming will connect our three locations with a broad and diverse audience, creating new pathways for engagement with our exhibitions and encyclopedic collection and exhibitions."
BATTLE HIP=HOP IN ARMOR 
IT'S SHOWTIME NYC! Among the seasons other highlights The Met's Department of Arms and Armor will showcase dance performances in the Arms and Armor Court, Battle! Hip-Hop in Armor in which the world hip-hop dance culture collides with the bygone age of armor when these freestyle dancers meet chainmail, leather, and metal armor from around the world. The MetLiveArts has commissioned the fierce artists of it's Showtime NYC! from the South Bronx's Dancing in the Streets urban dance organization to preform a series of pop-up dance battles in the gallery wearing pieces from The Met.
       The MetLiveArts explores contemporary performances through the lens of the Museum's exhibitions and gallery spaces with an extensive and multi-faceted line-up of performances.For program information information, visit www.metmuseum.org/metlivearts. For tickets visit www.metmuseum.org/tickets or call 212.570-3949. Tickets are also available at the Great Hall Box Office, which is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! The MetLiveArts world premieres and site-specific performances have been named some of the most "memorable" and "best of" performances in New York City by the New York Times, New Yorker and Broadway World. Innovative and mesmerizing the MetLiveArts is the new way to go for an unforgettable entertainment experience. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalkfromnewyork.com and click in the left hand column to the Blog for a direct link to the Blog that meets your interest.
      


      

Monday, May 7, 2018

Ecclesiastical Fashion Show at the MET: Review By Polly Guerin

Evening Coat Cristobal Balenciaga for House of Balenciaga
Fashion is becoming more than ever devout and the worshipers trending this inspiration include Christian Dior, Gianni Versace, Cristobal Balenciaga, Valentino, Dolce &Gabbana and Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few. Their fashion garments culled in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's fascinating Spring exhibition, HEAVENLY BODIES: FASHION AND THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION, opens to the public this Thursday, May 10th.  Image 1 (left) El Greco, Cardinal Fernando Nino de Guevara (1541-1609), Oil on Canvas; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, H.O Havermeyer Collection Bequest f Mrs. H. O. Havermeyer (1929); Image (c) Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image 2 (right( Evening Coat, Cristobal Balenciaga for House of Balenciaga, autumn/winter 1954-55; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Digital
Collection Scan by Katerina Jebb.
      Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, at the press opening this morning, responded to something that may have been on the minds of some of the attendees; "You may be asking, what's this church doing here?" He explained that the Catholic imagination embodied not only truth and goodness, but beauty, too! "The truth, goodness and beauty of God is revealed all over the place, even in fashion," he said. 
Dolce & Gabbana
The thematic exhibition is presented in three distinct gallery locations---the medieval galleries and the Anna Wintour Costume Center where a group of papal robes and accessories from the Vatican occupy space and at The Met Cloisters. 

       "Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another." said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. "Although this relationship has been complex and sometimes contested, it has produced some of the most inventive and innovative creations in the history of fashion."
        Approximately 150 ensembles, primarily women's wear from the early 20th century to the present captivate your attention in the medieval galleries alongside religious art from The Met collection, providing visitors with with a mesmerizing view of fashion's engagement with Catholicism. "Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another," added Bolton. Some designers initially told Bolton that their work wasn't influenced by religion, but later added that it played a roll in their creative imagination.     
Modern Nuns and Parochial Schoolgirls
The ecclesiastical fashions are obviously from couture collections where the runway shows are more about fantasy and entertainment than wearable art.  Nonetheless, fashionistas will be making a pilgrimage of sorts to view the collections enriched with religious symbolism, tiaras encrusted with thousands of diamonds, emeralds and rubies, papal cloaks and vestments encrusted with gold

embroidery richly designed with a Midas touch.  
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! This is one fashion statement you do not want to miss, which includes some rather parochial school-inspired black garments, a Chanel wedding gown inspired by a communion dress and saintly gowns with gold crowns to match. Fan mail welcome, please email
pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.org and click on the Blog link in the
left hand column to the subject that interests you on visionary men, women determined to succeed, the fashion historian and poetry from the heart.
     

Monday, April 23, 2018

HILMA KLINT: Mother of Abstraction Review By Polly Guerin


 Hilma af Klint's "Paintings for the Future" 
La Mere de L'Abstraction, Hilma af Klint, (1862-1944), whose work originated on the threshold of modernism, gets her overdue recognition with the first major solo exhibition in the United States of the Swedish artist's oeuvre. Dubbed, The Mother of Abstraction, she was an iconoclast, creating a genre never seen before.
      So why in the annals of the art world has she been so obscure? For one thing, she never exhibited her remarkably forward-looking paintings, and, convinced that the world was not ready for them, stipulated that they not be shown for twenty years following her death. 
    When af Klint began creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seem before; bold, colorful, and untethered from recognizable references to the physical world. 
      It is interesting to note that her oeuvre emerged several years before Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and other artists who would take similar strides to free their artwork of representational content. While others took the spotlight, her work was not exhibited until 1986, and it is only over the past three decades that her paintings and works on paper have received serious attention.    
       
Hilma af Klint, La Mere de l'Abstraction
Who was this innovative artist who shunned publicity?  Hilma af Klint was born in Stockholm 
in 1862 and went on to study painting at the city's Royal Academy of Fine Arts, graduating with honors in 1887.  She soon established herself as a respected painter in Stockholm, exhibiting deftly rendered figurative paintings and serving briefly as secretary of the Society for Swedish Women Artists.  During these years, she also became deeply engaged with with spiritualism, Rosicrucianism and Theosophy. These forms of spirituality, also of keen interest to other artists, including Kandinsky, Frantisek, Kupka, Malevich and Mondrian, were widely popular across Europe and the United States.
     Af Klint developed her new approach to art making together with her spiritual practice, outside of Stockholm's male-dominated art world. She had begun to regularly hold seances with four other women by 1896. During a meeting in 1906, one of the spirits that the group had channeled asked 
af Klint to create a cycle of paintings. Af Klint immediately accepted. She worked on the project between 1906 and 1915, completing 193 paintings and works on paper collectively called, The Paintings for the Temple. 
     
Hilma af Klint, The Ten Largest, No.7
These works, which included her first forays into nonobjectivity, were a radical break from the more staid paintings she produced as part of her public practice. Stylistically there were strikingly diverse, utilizing biomorphic and geometric forms, expansive and intimate scales and innovative approaches to composition and color. She imagined installing the in a spiral temple, but the building never came to fruition.  After she completed The Paintings for the Temple, af Klint continued to test the limits of her new abstract vocabulary.  In these years, she experimented with form, theme, and seriality creating some of her most remarkable works.

     The solo exhibition, HILMA af KLINT: PAINTINGS FOR THE FUTURE will offer an opportunity to experience af Klint's artistic achievements in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's rotunda more than a century after she began her daring work. Organized with the cooperation of the Hilma Klint Foundation, Stockholm, the exhibition will feature more than 160 of af Klint's artworks and focus on the artist's breakthrough years, 1906-20. It is during this period that she began to produce nonobjective and stunningly imaginative paintings, creating a singular body of work that invites a re-evaluation of modernism and its development. Image: Hilma af Klint, The Ten Largest, No 7 Group IV, 1907. Tempura on paper mounted on canvas. The Hilma Klint Foundation. Photo: Albin Dahlstrom, Moderna Museet.
      The exhibition, from October 12, 2018, to January 27, 2019, is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring eight scholarly essays and a roundtable discussion. Contributions by leading art historians and contemporary artists delve in such topics as af Klint's relationship
to modernism, her engagement with new understandings of science and spirituality.
     Alas, Hilma af Klint also gets her due recognition with a series of educational programs. Information and schedules are available at guggenheim.org/calendar.
      Music for the Temple: A Tribute to Hilma af Klint by composer, John Zorn, presents new music composed in response to the work of Hilma af Klint.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  This is an early announcement so please mark your calendar to meet a remarkable woman who defied all the odds in a male-dominated Stockholm. Love to hear from
you, send email to: pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Follow Polly's Blogs on www.pollytalk.com and
in the left-hand column click on the link that resonates with your interest including visionary men, women determined to succeed, the fashion historian, and poetry from the heart 

Monday, April 16, 2018

VISITORS TO VERSAILLES: Review By Polly Guerin

In its lavish new exhibit VISITORS TO VERSAILLES you are invited to vicariously visit the famous Chateau from the perspective of a diverse representation of people who passed through its gates between the year Louis XIV moved his court there and the year Louis XVI and the royal family were forced back to Paris.
      Russian writer Nikolai Karamzin's reflection on his experience visiting Versailles in 1790, "I have never seen anything, more magnificent than the palace of Versailles," is a testament to visitors' enduring fascination with the famous royal residence, even to this day. 
EXHIBITION EVOKES GRANDEUR: While there is no doubt that the exhibition is meant to evoke the grandeur and opulence of Versailles, its five galleries with aligned doorways were constructed to emulate the enfilade of rooms, generating a long theatrical vista and a sense of anticipation for the visitor. Custom-designed wallpaper suggests defining architectural elements of the palace's interiors---its marble inlays pilasters, gilded paneling, wall hangings and mirrors. 
THE AUDIO EXPERIENCE:
"Versailles is a very different show," said Danielle Kisluk-Grosheide one of its curators.    
A panoramic view of Visitors to Versailles 
No doubt. it is the new immersive audio experience, free-to-all-visitors, that brings alive the impressions of visitors to the chateau and court of Versailles in the 17th and 18th centuries. Using high quality headphones listeners can hear dramatizations of actual visitor descriptions of their experiences and personal
observations, adapted from correspondences and journals, court diaries, gazettes and literary journals which offer detailed reports on specific events and entertainments, as well as, ambassador receptions that were also documented on paintings and engravings.
        The immersive audio is produced in atmospheric 3-D soundscapes with the voice of professional actors, re-enacting the observations and conversations of the Versailles visitors. You will be immediately captivated by the rich, bi-natural sound that evokes the conversations and settings---from the footsteps of courtiers walking on a marble staircase to a singer performing a Handel aria in a private salon. The voices represented range from French aristocrats to luminaries of the arts and sciences to mere tourists. The letters and journals detailing various individuals' experiences are also complemented by tapestries, furniture, arms and armor, and all the other trappings necessary to transport viewers back in time as they join foreign travelers, royalty, dignitaries and ambassadors, artists, musicians, writers and philosophers, scientists, tourists on the Grand Tour, the public, if properly attired, and day-trippers alike, who all flocked to the majestic royal palace surrounded by its extensive formal gardens
Modes of Transportation and Costjmes
VISITORS TO VERSAILLES A number of Americans journeyed to Versailles, either as tourists or diplomats. Benjamin Franklin first visited Versailles in 1767 and played a significant role especially after 1776 when France became the colonists only military ally in their rebellion against Great Britain.                   Franklin captivated the French shamelessly playing to their expectations of Americans, forgoing a wig and dressing in plain unadorned clothes.  His brown suit, rarely displayed to the public,  is on loan from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.The galleries also capture the modes of transportation to Versailles and the strict French code of dress. Among the principal reasons to visit the royal residence were its extensive gardens and the prized opportunity to catch a glimpse of the king. Garments on display include a beautiful robe a la francaise believed to have been worn by the wife of renowned textile manufacturer Christophe-Phillippe Oberkampf for her audience with Marie Antoinette and uniforms and weapons of the king's household. 
     The overall impression of the exhibition is that I did not quite get the grandeur of Versailles'
magnificent gardens as the lighting atmosphere is on the dim side, but then again that probably is due to necessity, to protect the precious art works.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!!  No passport needed, just head for the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an
immersion of a different, entertaining experience. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalkfromnewyork.blogspot.com and click on the link in the left hand column to the subject that resonates with you, such as, women determined to succeed, visionary men, poetry from the heart and fashion

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

FEATHERS: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife: Review By Polly Guerin

Muff and tippet set composed of 4 Adult Herring Gulls
Millions of people around the world celebrate 2018 at the "Year of the Bird," as it marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed.  
        Although millions of birds were sacrificed for plumage of late 19th and early 20th century feathered fashions the exhibit, FEATHERS: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife,  at the New-York Historical Society, reveals the overwhelming toll on birds and plumage, and the industry that embellished clothing and accessories. 
       THEN AND NOW: The faint at heart may find the insensitive plunder of birds for adornment. on view, a heart wrenching reminder about the time society viewed feathered fashion with reckless disregard and how the plume trade had decimated many American bird species to point of near extinction. Image Left: Accessory Set, American, including muff and tippet, 1880-90, Herring Gulls, feathers, silk. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, 2009. Right: John James Audubon, Herring Gull. Watercolor, graphite pastel, black chalk, and black ink with touches of gouache, white lead pigment, and glazing on paper. Purchased for the New-York Historical Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863. 
       However, activists soon recognized the urgency for protection and the New-York Historical Society's exhibition, on view through July 15, 2018, examines the circumstances that inspired early environmental activists to champion the protection of endangered birds. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 was one of the first federal laws to address the environment, prohibiting the hunting, killing, trading, and shipping of migratory birds, The exhibition is part of the Year of the Bird, centennial celebration of the Act organized by National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab ofOrnithology, and Birdlife international.
Women Flaunt the Feather Craze in Killer Millinery
EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS: The first gallery, featuring feathered fashions including hats, boas, fans, aigrettes jewelry, illustrates the passion for plumage.  None more egregious than the muff and tippet accessory set (1880-99) composed of four adult Herring Gulls created during a craze for gulls that nearly drove the sea birds to extinction and a pair of earrings with hummingbird heads. Need I say more, see the depraved use of birds for adornment for your own edification. 
     
Activist> Florence Merriam Bailey    
The second gallery, "Activists Take Flight, introduces several of the activists who pushed for protective legislation. New York City activists included George Bird Grinnell, a prominent conservation polymath and protege of Lucy Bakewell Audubon, who was inspired by the artist-naturalist to found the first Audubon Society in 1886. Florence Merriam Bailey, an ornithologist, whose bird books became important field guides. Then, too, I wish to call you attention to Lilli Lehmann, a German opera singer, vegetarian and animal lover, who campaigned passionately against wearing feathers, while in residence with the

Metropolitan Opera.
      The exhibition concludes with 14 watercolors by Audubon (least we forget he, too, killed many birds for his studies) including the Roseate Spoonbill, whose pink feathers were used in fans sold in the Florida tourist trade, and the Great Egret, one of the chief victims of the turn-of-the-century plume hunters that became the symbol of the Audubon Society.
         Even before the Federal Act earlier concern for bird protection was the concern in New Jersey. In the April 18, 2018 issue of The New York Times, the  feature ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY. reported a memorable headline: "MUST WEAR BIRDLESS HATS," 
March 24, 1910. The New Jersey General Assembly passed a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for women to wear the feathers, wings or bodies of birds as accoutrement, a practice that was devastating several species. "Spring styles for New Jersey women must undergo a change at once or many women will be in jail." the article noted. 
         The Year of the Bird pays it forward and examines how our changing environment is driving dramatic losses among birds species around the globe even today and highlights what we can do to help bring birds back.
        For nature lovers, several walking tours of Central Park bring Audubon's paintings to life.
May 5 and June 2 to name a few. Refer to the Museum's website for further details. 
       Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Become an activist and support the Year of The Bird!!  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Connect to Polly's other Blog links on www.pollytalk.com
       

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

URBAN SANCTUARIES By Polly Guerin

If you have ever wanted to let the cacophony of the city melt away and merely find a place for quiet
contemplation or to meditate in peace, one only has to step outdoors into nature. Though that may
not be a doable in the urban environment, in the quiet of early mornings, Central Park, Riverside Part and Battery City Park might offer opportunities to commune with nature's healing mediation. Then, too, even as the symphony of the city drones on nearby, there are several sanctuaries within New York City, where you can find comfort and peace of mind.    

THE CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE: Many churches throughout the city welcome visitors, but this magnificent, 125-year-old cathedral , which welcomes visitors of all faiths, is truly a peaceful place to just quiet your mind, meditate or simply relax in the majestic ambiance of the building's soaring arches and glorious stained-glass windows. As the sunlight filters in, the colors projected onto the visitors offer individual healing messages, Red for rejuvenation, blue for spiritual awakening, yellow for golden enlightenment and so forth.
     For a meditation experience of a more musical kind,  every Sunday at 4 p.m., the church offers their traditional 'Choral Evensong,' song by their world celebrated choir.  This is a wonderful time to let your spirit soar and receive colorful messages, as it is known that specific colors resonate in a musical performance. Close your eyes and listen and perhaps you may see only one color. Then, too, some very attuned individuals see a rainbow of colors when they listen to music and that ability is called, Synesthesia. 
     Location: 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street in Manhattan. info@stjohndivine.org.
Since this Cathedral is a work-in-progress, so to speak, there is a suggested donation of $10
per adult and $8 for students and seniors, for visitors not attending church services. Early
risers, please note that the Cathedral is open at 7:30 a.m. Door open all day and closes at 6 p.m.    

INTO THE SILENCE: Quiet Mornings at MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art. A lovely garden sanctuary is a magnet for midtown regulars and tourists.  
        Be sure to add this to your calendar. On the first Wednesday of every month, MoMA opens its doors at 7:30 a.m.  For a dual urban garden experience, the museum gives ardent art lovers an opportunity to view art works including the Impressionists, such as Monet's Water Lilies, in a delightful crowd- free environment.
      Not only does that draw in art lovers, but the best part, for sanctuary seekers, the Museum also includes a guided meditation session from 8:30 to 9 a.m.  On any occasion some brilliant guide, motivational speaker or a best-selling
author may be engaged to lead you through the meditation. www.moma.org.
    Location: 11 West 53rd Street., Manhattan. For early birds enter at 18 West 54th Street. Admission Adults $15, Seniors $12, full-time students with current ID $10.
Children, 16 and under free as well as MoMA members.  

THE ABBY ALDRISH SCULPTURE GARDEN at the BROOKLYN BOTANICAL GARDEN is a dreamy place where peace and quiet contemplation is invited on an 82 acre oasis in the heart of Brooklyn. Plan to spend the day as the experience will transport you into a tranquil environment with glorious colors and fresh air. As you navigate the beautiful peaceful landscape, at every turn there is reason to pause and simply clear your head of clutter, meditate or pray. 
      Then, too, there is the Garden's amazing Bonsai Museum, which houses one the the largest collections of bonsai trees, 350 at the last count, outside of Japan. Entrance at 999 Washington Street and 150 Eastern Parkway. Call 718-623-7200 for current hours and admission charge.
     Many corporate building in New York City have public spaces in their lobbies and one that comes to mind is the Bank of America Tower located on Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street.
This majestic glass and indoor space features breathtaking garden sculptures, made of living
mosses, vines and ferns.  Take a seat, plenty of chairs are provided and settle in with your private thoughts, contemplate time out from the fast lane and get into the mood and meditate. FREE and open to the public 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 
        I trust that you may find your way to one of these urban sanctuaries, as a daily measure, or for a peaceful excursion on a weekend. Blessing and best wishes, Polly.
         

       
       

Monday, March 26, 2018

THE ART OF MUSIC at the MET: Review By Polly Guerin

Humanity has been drawn to make music and communicate beyond the human voice, across cultures and time, with instruments of incredible beauty and ingenuity, and nowhere is it more effectively represented than today at the Met's Andre Mertens Galleries for Music Instruments. 
     Daniel W. Weiss, President and CEO of the MET commented, "Nearly two years in the making the reopening of our Musical Instruments galleries has resulted in a new, more insightful narrative for our visitors that draws and reflects the unique strengths of the Museum's musical collection, presenting a comprehensive perspective on global music."  Image clockwise fro top left: Bartolomeo Christofori, Grand Piano (detail) 1720. Cypress, boxwood, paint, leather and fir. The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments. 1889. Alolphe Sax, Alto saxophone in E-flat, ca. 1855. Brass. Purchase, Robert Alonzo Lehman Bequest 2005. William Forster, "Royal George" cello, 1782. Spruce, maple, and ebony. Gift of Mona and Bradford Endicott, in honor of Ken Moore, 2016. Sankh. Indian, 19th century. Shell (Turbinella Pyrum), brass, and wax. Purchase, the Barrington Foundation Inc. Gift, 1986)
     THE ART OF MUSIC explores the artistry of music and instruments across four thousand years of musical instruments from across the globe. The four renovated galleries display the treasures of the collection. These include the world's oldest surviving piano, made by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence in 1720.  the scope of The Met's instruments collection offers the rae opportunity to illustrate the use of music and instruments to express status, identity, and spirituality, along with the impact of trade. Not to be missed is the Openwork, rattle bell, ca, early 1st millennium B.C., the Ming Dynasty cloisonne trumpets and  pre-Columbian drums; Andres Segovia's guitar, and violins by Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Amati.
       
The Art of Music, Andre Mertens Galleries
Of particular note is the Kona,  from Senegal made of such diverse materials as goatskin, antelope hide, ebony, metal, wood, from The Koyate family, a dynasty of West African storytellers who chronicle history and preserve epic stories. 

     Then, too, the 1845 Saxophone, by Adolphe Sax (Belgium), introduced in 1834, was original and before its time.  However during Sax's lifetime it achieved success and universal popularity through jazz and pop, two genres that  ironically did not exist until long after the saxophone's introduction. 
New to the gallery are two audio and video kiosk and an Audio Guide with more than 50 audio clips of the instruments.
   
Stuart Davis Mural for Studio B WNYC
Observational review points to the fact that although instruments are primarily intended to create sound, they are also powerful visual expressions and are often works of art in their own right. As such, their artistic appearance frequently reflects contemporary style, and the production techniques and materials used to make them are often found in other art forms. Included in the gallery are related objects and paintings from across The Met collection that illustrates the universal presence of music and instruments in art and society.

       The much favored instrument by today's artists on display is the Antonius Stradivari. Italian, Cremona 17ll. The arching of the Stradivari's top and back contributes to providing a louder volume, which helped to make the instrument popular with soloists in the nineteenth century. Image: At the end wall of the show is the magnificent Stuart Davis mural for Studio B, WNYC Municipal Broadcasting Company, 1939 incorporating elements that reflect musical instruments and broadcasting theme. Take note also, of a painting paying tribute to Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown. In 1889 she donated 300 instruments. Then, too, Brown would continue to collect until 1918, building a collection of more than 3,600 instruments for the Met Museum.
     A series of gallery-based concerts inspired by The Museum's Musical instruments collection, called TRADE WINDS  take place on April 27 and June 15.  The concerts are free with Museum admission.  For further info contact www.metmuseum.org/music galleries.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  "If music be the food of Love," (Purcell), the new Musical Instruments Galleries are indeed worth a visit  Fan mail welcome: pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click on the left-hand list of Blogs that solicit your attention.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Public Parks, Private Gardens at the Met: Review By Polly Guerin

/Georges-Pierre Seurat, La Grande Jatte 1884
As we collectively pine for Spring's arrival the exhibit, Public Parks, Private Gardens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is timed perfectly to coincide with our yearnings for Plein Air experiences.
      In this breathtaking exhibition leisurely take the time to saturate yourself in these gorgeous gardens and follow in the footsteps of nineteenth-century artists who celebrated the outdoors 'en plein air' as a place of leisure, renewal and inspiration. This exhibition, which extends to July 29, 2018, explores the horticultural developments that reshaped the landscape of France in an era that gave rise to Naturalism, Impressionism, and Art Nouveau. (Image: Georges-Pierre Seurat, Sunday Afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte, Paris, 1884 Metropolitan Museum of Art). 
Claude Monet, Garden at Sainte-Adresse, 1867
 
Contributing to the romance with gardens
was the arrival of shiploads of exotic botanical specimens from abroad and local nurserymen pursued hybridization. In this manner the availability and variety of plants and flowers grew as did the interest in them. Then, too, the opening of formerly royal properties and the elegant transformation of Paris during the Second Empire into a city of tree-lined boulevards and parks introduced the public green spaces to be enjoyed as Open-air Salons where people could engage in leisure activities. At the same time, suburbanites were prompted to cultivate their own flower gardens. Image: Claude Monet, Garden at Sainte-Adresse, 1867, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
     The exhibition is organized thematically in five galleries. REVOLUTION in the GARDEN, for example, traces the decisive shift that transpired in garden design in the years bracketing the French Revolution of 1789. a series of works illuminates the guiding influence of Empress Josephine Bonaparte, first wife of Napoleon 1, who ignited fashion for floriculture at the start of the 19th century. PARKS for the PUBLIC , the selection of works here focuses on parks in and around Paris that captivated artists' attention including the Bois de Boulogne, Versailles, The Luxembourg Gardens as seen through the eyes of Eugene Atget, Childe Hassam, Berthe Morisot, Auguste Renoir, Georges Seurat, and James McNeil Whistler. Image: Lydia Crocheting in the garden at Marly 1880 by Mary Cassatt. The second half of the exhibit is devoted to gardens and unfolds in two sections "Private Gardens" and Portrait in the Garden."  
Lydia Crocheting by Mary Cassatt 1880
Not to be missed is the central courtyard with the exhibition---a soaring space illuminated by an immense skylight---replanted to evoke a French conservatory garden of the period and furnished with green iron benches redolent of Parisian park setting.

     Check the Met's website for special events and programs www.metmuseum.org. In a Sunday at the Met program on April 29 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., scholars and designers will discuss the ongoing significance and evolution of public parks from 19th-century Paris to present-day New York.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!!  This is quite a gorgeous exhibit and in many ways will provide a pleasant way to spend time in the park, indoors, of course.  Fan mail welcome: pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Polly's Blogs can be accessed at www.pollytalk.com, just click in the left-hand column on the column that resonates with your interest. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

UNSEEN OCEANS: A Splashy Review: By Polly Guerin

Dive beneath the waves and explore the UNSEEN OCEANS!  No bathing suit needed, just your innate curiosity to learn the latest advances in ocean exploration, the technologies behind them, and the mysteries that remain. 
     The American Museum of Natural History exhibition opens today and remains in a permanent space through Sunday, January 6, 2019. Plenty of time to get your feet wet, so to speak, and embark on a journey that takes you from the oceans' sunlit surfaces to their inky depths as you discover the latest ocean science and encounter the researchers and technologies that reveal our blue planet as never before.  It's a colorful world, alive with electrifying images revealing the unseen habitats of the oceans' most mysterious animals and inhospitable areas in unprecedented detail.  However, sinking deeper into the ocean, daylight fades, most colors disappear and life is bathed in blue. But diving at night with specially-designed lights and cameras museum researchers have discovered a wide variety of fishes and other marine animals are fluorescent, glowing in startling shades of red, orange, and green when illuminated with high-energy blue light. 
Photographs by Roderick Mickens, AMNH)

     Yes, our world is an ocean planet. More than 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by, yet surprisingly little of these vast realms has been explored.  Now, with the use of 21st-century technologies like robotics, satellite monitoring, miniaturization, and high-definition imaging, our concept of the vast oceans is beginning to change. 
     "All life on our planet depends on the oceans, yet they remain one of the last great frontiers," said Ellen V. Futter, president of the AMNH. "Today a new generation of marine scientists with a pioneering spirit of ingenuity and adventure, and an explosion of technological and imaging advances, are creating a golden age of ocean exploration, yielding astonishing discoveries at dark and mysterious depths." Image: Hercules,at a remotely operated exploration vehicle with instrumentation, lights and a robotic arm.  
     This multi-dimensional exhibition impresses upon the visitor that ocean exploration is as exciting and important as space exploration. In Unseen Oceans, visitors are invited to explore a series of circular, media-rich galleries showcasing a range of marine environments and introducing scientists who are using cutting-edge research tools and developing new methods to explore the oceans top and bottom.  

The ocean floor is another world swirling with discovery.  Only about 10 to 15 percent of the sea floor has been mapped with accuracy, meaning that we know the surface of Mars much better than the submerged landscapes of our own planet. But today, with the use of sound waves, radar and lasers, scientists are beginning to construct extraordinary detailed images of these environments. In Unseen Oceans you will encounter a gallery that features a scientifically-accurate re-creation of landscapes including a local "landmark": the Hudson Canyon, a spectacular underwater feature only 100 miles from New York City. Image: The Plankton Room
     PRESERVING THE OCEAN'S FUTURE As the human population has exploded, the demand for seafood has surged and destructive, wasteful fishing practises have cause the number of fish to plummet by 50 percent since 1970. Unseen Oceans also highlights the threat to the ocean's vital abundance--including over fishing and habitat degradation--as well as the conservation scientists and forward-thinking governments that are making progress toward protecting the rich diversity of living things in the sea.
      This is a breathtaking exhibition that unravels mysteries of the ocean with interactive exhibits that enchant both child and adult. For additional information, call 212-769-5100 or visit the Museum's website at www.amnh.org.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! What a wonder world to explore. Unseen Oceans is a "must."  You will be amazed and learn more about the ocean that you never knew before. Fan mail is always welcome
email: pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Follow Polly's Blogs on www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column on the Blog link that resonates with your interest.
          

Monday, March 5, 2018

International ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR: Review By Polly Guerin

A mecca for literary cognoscente, bibliophiles and a haven for the curious seekers, the NEW YORK ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR (NYIABF) in its 58th year lands at the Park Avenue Armory, Thursday, March 8 and stays on through Sunday, March 11th.  I'm giving you this heads up on the Fair to provide you with plenty of time to view the exceptional offerings spanning the history of the written word that ranges from pre-Gutenberg to the 21st century. 
       So why do ancient books and ephemera matter? As one scholar remarked, "The story of books is almost the story of civilization itself."  
Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts
While the Fair is considered a "must see" for seasoned connoisseurs and scholars, it has offerings in every conceivable genre and subject---something for everyone. The FAIR is not for the faint of heart, however, it is wise to invest more time to browse and linger over works that interest you. There is a vast treasure trove of material--rare books, maps, illuminated manuscripts, incunabula, illustrations, historical documents and print ephemera. The dealers welcome your inquiry and some have unique offerings at accessible price points. Now in its 58th edition the FAIR presents more than 200 exhibitors culled from the finest American and International antiquarian dealers.  For instance, illustrated herewith is an example of a rare book you will find at  the dealer, Phiillp J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts. Over the years their business has gravitated toward historical artifacts that are physically attractive in some way---illuminated material, fine bindings, beautiful typography and paper, impressive illustrations and much more.     
Salvatore Dali at Biblioctopus
DALI fans may be interested in Biblioctopus, a multi-faceted book dealer which specializes in such diverse offerings as cuneiform tablets of 3000 BC to a wide range of first editions of the classics of fiction and diverse print material. This rare and amazing image of  Dali, the surrealistic artist, illustrates his incredible ability to create weird and wonderful works of art. This is an over-painted photographic cut out portrait, painted and signed.

     Ah, what joy it must be to hold the first edition of a famous author's book and then to own it. Then, too, there is Royal Books, a rare bookstore specializing in Cinema, Film Ephemera, 20th Century Literature and Arts and Culture. Among items this dealer intends to exhibit at the Fair THE
Royal Books rare Maltese Falcon
MALTESE FALCON, by Dashiell Hammett, 
 is perhaps the most influential single work in establishing the conventions of hard-boiled fiction. This first edition is a price clipped, yet un-restored first edition dust jacket. Another one-of-a-kind offer is Y0JIMBO, the original shooting script for Akira Kurosawa's legendary 1961 film based thematically on 
Dashiell Hammett's novels, "The Glass Key" and "Red Harvest." It is a working copy, with annotations throughout. The adventure continues with far too many worthy dealers (200) to include here, except to mention one more.       
Eric Chaim KIine Judaica and Rare Books
Eric Chaim Kline Judaica and Rare Books tugged at my interest with this Marc Chagall Lithograph complete with twelve original lithographs signed. But there is much more to their story; like some other dealers, they take books on assignment and do appraisals for estate insurance.

     What's in Your Attic? Special Event-DISCOVERY DAY, Sunday,  March 11 offers a FREE event with paid admission. Ticketed visitors the opportunity to bring to the FAIR their rare books, manuscripts, maps, etc. (up to 5 items). Exhibitors will be on hand to offer expert advice and free appraisals. Daily admission is $25, students with ID $10. And I just know a one day visit is not enough there is a Run of Show at $45.  LOCATION: Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, New York. The FAIR is produced by Sanford L. Smith + Associates. www.nyantiquarianbookfair.com. 
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! You will know where to fine me this weekend...total immersion at the Fair. Don't you have a rare treasure to bring to Discovery Day? 
Fan mail always welcome pollytalknyc@gmail.com.   Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column to the Blog lings that resonate with your interest.