Monday, August 6, 2018

BRANCUSI, The Originalist at MoMA: Review By Polly Gueri

Mille Pogany, Version 1 1913 
Constantin Brancusi's risk taking and inventive approach to form changed the course of the art that followed. As such he is often regarded as the most important sculptor of the 20th century.  
       "Simplicity is not the end of art. We usually arrive at simplicity as we approach the true sense of things."   Constantin Brancusi quote           
        The Museum of Modern Art's exhibition celebrates MoMA's extraordinary holdings---eleven sculptures by Brancusi are shown together for the first time alongside drawings, films and photographs. A selection of never-before-seen archival materials shed light on his relationship with friends, sitters, and patrons On view through November, 2018
      Looking back at the first showing of Constantin Brancusi's work in the 1913 Armory Show, one writer reflected that sculptures on view were "disturbing, so disturbing that they completely altered the attitude of a great many New Yorkers towards a whole branch of art." 
       Indeed Brancusi's beguilingly simple forms looked like nothing else, then or since. This sculpture is a portrait of Margit Pogany, a Hungarian artist who sat for Brancusi several times, while she was in Paris studying painting. Shortly after her return to Hungary, Brancusi carved a marble Mille Pogany from memory, then cast four versions, including this one in bronze. The work was a significant departure from conventional portraiture. Large almond-shaped eyes overwhelm the oval face, and a black patina represents the hair. As with other motifs, this was a subject Brancusi would return to and rework in the years to come.
     
Bird in Space,  1928
His visionary sculptures often exemplify ideal and archetypal representations of their subject matter. Bearing icon titles such as Fish, Princess X and Bird in Space, his sculptures are deceptively single, with their reduced forms aiming to reveal hidden truths. Unlike Auguste Rodin, for whom Brancusi briefly assisted early in his career, Brancusi worked directly with his materials pioneering the technique of direct carving, rather than working in plaster or clay models. 

       Explaining that "The artist should know how to dig out the being that is within matter." Brancusi sought to create sculptures that conveyed the true essences of his subjects be they animals, people, or objects by concentrating on highly simplified forms free from ornamentation. While many regarded his work as abstract, the artist disagreed; he insisted on representational nature of his works, asserting that they disclosed a fundamental, often concealed, reality.
     Brancusi once said, "Do not look for obscure formulas or mystery in my work. It is pure joy that I offer you. Look at my sculptures until you see them. Those closest to God have seen them"
       Brancusi's work was largely fueled by myths, folklore, and "primitive" cultures.These traditional old-world sources of inspiration formed a unique contrast to the often sleek appearance of his works, resulting in a distinctive blend of modernity and timelessness. 
      Rather than modeling in clay like his peers, Brancusi carved his work directly from wood or stone or cast it in bronze. Simultaneously, he rejected realism, preferring that his sculptures evoke rather than resemble the subjects named in their titles.    
Brancusi Installation at MoMA
CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI (1926-1957) was born in rural Romania and moved to Paris in 1904 where he established his studio and quickly immersed himself in avant-garde art circles. In his adopted city, he embraced an experimental modern spirit, including an interest in modern machines and popular culture. With his friend, Man Ray, he made films that captured his life in the studio--working with his materials and muses, activating his artworks through movement and recombination, and revealing his sources of inspiration such as animals at play, light in nature, and dance. Yet, until his death her proudly presented himself as an outsider, cultivating his image as a peasant, with a long beard, work shirt, and sandals.

      Ta Ta Darlings!!!  The contradiction of Brancusi's appearance also informed his art making which was dependent on ancient techniques as much as modern technologies. Fan mail is always
welcome pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's other Blogs on www.pollytalk.com. 
      
      

     

Monday, July 23, 2018

REBEL WOMEN: at MCNY: Review by Polly Guerin

Rebellious Women of the 19th Century
The Hewitt sisters, Sarah and Eleanor, granddaughters of Peter Cooper were among society's Victorian women who deferred to their father or brothers to make decisions for them.  They weren't the only women who were willing to accept the commonly known constraints on their lives. White, middle-class women were relegated to domesticity and held under the power of masculine rule. Any woman could be considered a Rebel simply by walking alone in the street, speaking in public, working outside the house, or disregarding middle-class morality or decorum.Yet, 19th Century New York City was full of rebellious women who defied those rigid expectations in both overt and subtle ways. Caption: L-R Hetty Howland Green, ca. 1897, Courtesy Library of Congress; The Real Ellen Jewett, 1836, MCNY; Portrait of Elizabeth Jennings Graham 1895, Courtesy Kansas State Historical Society, Adah Isaacs Menken in Mazeppa, 1863, MCNY.
         REBEL WOMEN: Defying Victorianism, a historic exhibition on view at the Museum of the City of New York, through January 6, 2019, explores the trailblazing women who challenged Victorian social norms in 19th Century New York City.  The exhibit is divided into three categories, political working and professional featuring photographs, garments, ephemera, and prints primarily drawn from the Museum's collections. 
       "At a time when the subject of women's rights is at the forefront of a national conversation, this exhibition and Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics demonstrates the Museum's commitment to documenting and celebrating the important contributions of women in the City's History," said Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York.      
Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward
        Remember dear readers, even their attire was a challenge. Rebel women in the pursuit of individuality and purpose were also burdened by confinements such as constricting Victorian corsets and wearing heavy drapery or voluminous skirts that might curtail their drive and activity. The museum brings to light the compelling and often untold stories of these independent and unconventional women who had an indelible impact on New York's society, culture, and economy by the 20th century.
      This exhibition highlights pioneers for women in professional careers in medicine and journalism like
Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward (1847-1918), the first African-American woman to earn a medical degree and the first in New York state. McKinney-Steward's medical career focused on prenatal care and childhood diseases. She ran her own practice in Brooklyn and co founded the Brooklyn Women's Homeopathic Hospital, and in 1911 attended the Universal Race Congress in London and delivered a paper entitled, "Colored American Women."    
       Elizabeth Jennings Graham was another Black woman was ahead of he time. She refused to leave an all white streetcar in 1854.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
The exhibition features other well known figures who entered public life with a political agenda, demanding women;s rights as social activists or a politicians, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927). A feisty 
personality, in 1872 she ran for president of the United States, so ya see Hilary was not the first.
         Adah Isaaca Menken (1835-1868) was an American actress who broke the rules of decorum and became the highest earning actress of her time. She was best known for her performance in the melodrama Mazeppa, with a climax that featured her apparently nude whilst riding a horse on stage. A celebrity who created sensational performances in the United States and Europe Menken was also known as poet, painter and writer. Menken expressed a wide range of emotions and ideas about women's place in the world and her collection Infelicia was in print well into 1902. 
       Hetty Howland Robinson Green (1834-1916), a successful stock broker branded "The Witch of Wall Street," went on to become one of the richest people in the country, but stingy to the end. 
Then, too, there were women of questionable character but activists as well, like Helen Jewett (1813-1836). New York's most prominent courtesan is also represented. Before her sensational murder, she turned a shunned profession into a source of power. Ground breaking investigative reporter, Elizabeth Jane Cochrane (1864-1922) better known as "Nellie Bly," may be a household name but she was a courageous forerunner. In conjunction with one of her first assignments, for the New York World, she spent several days on Blackwell's island, posing as a mental patient for an expose. Her book "Ten Days in a Mad House (1887) led to lasting institutional reforms. 
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! One hundred years later: Ladies can we say that things have changed? No doubt some of the racial and gender inequalities still exist today. Fan mail welcome please send
your comments to pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Polly's Blogs can be accessed on www.pollytalk.com.

       

Monday, July 16, 2018

DEVOTION TO DRAWING: Eugene Delacroix: Review By Polly Guerin

Remembering Eugene Delacroix with admiration as one of the leading artists of the 19th Century's French Romantic period may have been your first encounter with the celebrated painter. Yet it will surprise you to know that Delacroix was equally a dedicated and innovative draftsman.
"To imagine a composition," according to Delacroix, "is to combine elements of objects that one knows, that one has seen, with others held inside, in the soul of the artists." The drawings he made in direct preparation for works in other media exhibit precisely this blend of components: the observed, the remembered and the imagined. 
DEVOTION TO DRAWING: The Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugene Delacroix opens at
The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday, July 17-November 12, 2018. The exhibit explores the central role of drawing in the artist's practice through more than one hundred works--from finished watercolors to sketchbooks, from copies of old master prints to preparatory drawings for important projects. This is the first North American exhibition devoted to Delacroix's drawings in more than 50 years and as such introduces a new generation to the artist's Cratfsmanship.
Horse Frightened by Lightning 
STUDIES OF HORSES 
Early in his career Delacroix expressed his desire to master the subject of horses. He noted in 1823, "I really mjust settle down seriously to drawing horses. I shall go to some stable or other every morning." His depiction of horses racing at speed combines observation with memory and imagination.
The artist undoubtedly studied the animals in motion, but then inevitably based his drawing to some degree on memory. The third section in the exhibition reveals how Delacroix the possibilities offered by graphic media, including ink, wash and watercolor.
REFINING IDEAS FOR PAINTINGS ON CANVAS Looks at how Delacroix used drawing to invent, research and refine his ideas for painting on canvas, decorative and religious murals. A catalogue published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art is distributed through Yale University Press and is available for purchase in the Met store.
Liberty Leading the People

This exhibition Devotion to Drawing overlaps with a major retrospective in North America devoted to the artist---on view at The Met from September 17, 2018- January 6, 2019. 
     Titled DELACROIX, it will illustrate the artist's resless imagination through more than 150 works, the majority of them paintings. 
Ta Ta Darlings!!! It is interesting to see how Delacroix's blend of components: the observed, the remembered, and the imagined form the base of his creative oeuvre. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left hand column on the Blog that resonates with your interest.
      

Monday, July 9, 2018

BERNSTEIN;S Peter Pan at Bard's 2018 SummerScape: Review By Polly Guerin

The dreamlike abandoned Amusement Park Set
Bard SummerScape, the celebrated art festival at Annandale-on-Hudson lures sophisticates out of the Big Apple to attend the season's most innovative (and at times most unusual) cultural experiences. Such is the case with Bard's innovative production of Peter Pan with a new agenda and re-imagined cast. All photos herewith by Maria Baranova.
      To honor the Leonard Bernstein's centennial, 2018 Bard SummerScape is celebrating with a provocative production of Bernstein;s score for Peter Pan and a production set in a dreamlike abandoned amusement park including a working 1950's carnival ride on stage. Obviously, this isn't the 1954 Broadway Musical I am talking about, but an adaption of J.M. Barrie's play that debuted in the 1950s and ran for 321 performances and has rarely been revived since. Bernstein wrote the lyrics of the nine songs, as well as the music.
Comedian/actor Peter Smith as Peter Pan
CHRISTOPHER ALLEN  
Bernstein specialist Christopher Allen's adaptation presents an intimate contemporary production for modern audiences. Taking his cue from Peter Pan's desire for eternal childhood, Alden situates the story in a dreamy environment reminiscent of an abandoned fair ground. His treatment features a young, diverse cast, a dreamlike concept, and a humorous off-kilter energy that combine to propel the period classic into the 21st century. Kudos go to Bard for bringing this new production to the stage. It is the only one of Bernstein's theatrical works staged in the New York area during the centennial year. Allen's psychological gripping treatment reveals an "on trend" take of the story. The result is an innocent children's tale turned into something darker with up-to-date action and vivid characters.
     It all makes sense. Peter Smith as Peter and Erin Markey as Wendy represent a growing community of young trans and nonbinary performers who are gaining increased visibility in the mainstream.   
SUMMERSCAPE PRODUCTION
The Summerstage production features new choreography by Jack Ferver who also portrays Tinker Bell whilst holding a disco ball throughout. By turns whimsical and sinister, it is transfigured with Leonard Bernstein's shimmering score. The production's cast is led by "America's Baritone" (Broadway World) William Michals as Captain Hook who sonorous voice is breathtaking. Then, too, the energetic Peter Smith "cabaret powerhouse comedian/entertainer" takes center stage as Peter scaling the heights aboard the carousel and interacting with mesmerizing Erin Markey, another trans star of the New York performance scene,. 
Accolades go to Marsha Ginsberg's vivid sets, striking lighting and costume and lighting design by Terese Wadden and Jax Messenger.
           For Bard's take on Peter Pan Garth Edwin Sunderland re-scored Bernstein's music for a band of musicians. Fully integrated with the action kudos go to the excellent playing by a young instrumental sextet on stage.
      The new production premieres with 25 performances in the LUMA Theater of the Frank Gehry designed Richard B. Fisher Center of the Performing Arts on Bard's Judson Valley campus until July 22.
JUST THE FACTS 
Originally an Edwardian play by Scottish dramatist J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up owes is an enduring children's classic and owes its long status to two popular American adaptations, both of which date from the 1950s. Three of the songs"Who I Am?", "Build My House", and "Dream With Me" have been incorporated into the American songbook.
For tickets contact Fisher Center Box Office at 845-758-7900 or visit: 
www.fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape. 
    Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Get out of town and day trip up to BARD for an unforgettable journey with Bernstein's Peter Pan.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Bllogs
on www.pollytalk.coim.
       

Monday, July 2, 2018

OBSESSION: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele and Picasso at The Met Breuer: Review By Polly Guerin

The Met Breuer turns up the summer heat with a brilliant group of erotic and evocative watercolors, drawings, and prints by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Pablo Picasso whose subjects, except for a handful are nudes.  
OBSESSION: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele and Picasso from The Metropolitan Museum of
Art's Scofield Thayer Collection presents some fifty works in an exhibition opening Tuesday,
July 3 through October 7, 2018.  The exhibition is the first time these works are shown together and will provide a focused look at this important collection, it also marks the centenary of the deaths of Klimt who died at 55 of a struck and and Schiele who died at 28 during the Spanish flu epidemic. Image: Egon Schiele (Austrian, 1890-1918). Standing nude with orange drapery, 1914. Watercolor gouache, graphite on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of
Scofield Thayer, 1982.
 INTRODUCING AMERICA to MODERNISM   An aesthete and scion of a wealthy family, Scofield Thayer (1889-1982) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. His family fortune accumulated in the textile business Scofield afforded Scofield opportunity to enlarge his passion for modernism He was co-publisher and editor of the literary magazine the DIAL and from 1920 to 1929 was an influential outlet for modernist literature in English. 
       The avant-garde journal introduced Americans to the writing of Ezra Pound, D. H. Lawrence, Arthur Schnitzer, Thomas Mann, E. E. Cummings, and Marc Proust, among others. The first publication of T. S. Elliot's "The Waste Land," appeared in the Dial and the poetry prize that accompanied it had enormous influence at the time. The roster of contributors represented the who's who of the most celebrated poets and writers of the era. 
       Then too, let's not forget the poet, Marianne Moore's affiliation with the DIAL The prolific Greenwich Village poet served as editor of the DIAL along with other luminaries in the literary and art world.
       Scofield often accompanied these writer's contributions with reproductions of modern art never seen in America..  Throughout his life he was a passionate friend of Picasso.
      Thayer assembled his large collection of some 600 works---mostly works on paper in London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna Ebetween 1921 ad 1923. 
SCOFIELD THAYER While he was a patient of Sigmund Freud in Vienna, he acquired a large group of watercolors and drawings by Schiele and Klimt who at that time were unknown in America. When a selection from his collection was shown at the Montross Gallery in New York in 1924, five years before the Museum of Modern Art opened, it won acclaim.      

However, it found no favor in Thayer's native city, Worcester, Massachusetts, that same year when it was shown a the Worcester Art Museum.
     Incensed, Thayer drew up his will in 1925, leaving his collection to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With ongoing illness and  psychological difficulties his mental condition became worse.  He withdrew from life in the late 1920s ad lived as a recluse on Martha's Vineyard and Florida until his death in 1921.
EXHIBITION CATALOGUE The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by The Met.
An essay by James Dempsey, instructor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an authority on Scofield Thayer discusses the collector's professional and private life. Sabine Rewald discusses
in depth the works of the three artists and also examines Thayer's purchases between l921 and 1023, as documented in invoices.The exhibition is featured on the Museum's website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using hashtag #MetObsession.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! This is a steamy exhibition, most nudes. Visitors are advised that some images at this exhibitio contain explicit erotic content. Fan mail welcome, please contact
pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs on www.pollytalk.com and click on the Blog in the left column that resonates with your interest.

          

Monday, June 25, 2018

GIACOMETTI: at Guggenheim: Review By Polly Guerin


The Giacometti Exhibition within the Museum's Rotunda 
Although most of us remember Giacometti, as the preeminent modernist sculptor renowned for creating distinctive figurative sculptures the exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum examines anew the artist's expansive oeuvre. Encompassing the entirety of the artist's career, GIACOMETTI opens up a rare opportunity to see decades of his works installed within the museums rotunda. Through September 12, 2018.
       Featuring nearly 200 sculptures, paintings, an drawing, this is the first major museum exhibition in the United States in more that 15 years dedicated to the Swiss-born artist. some of which have never before seen in the United States as well as archival photographs and ephemera. 
Alberto Giacometti in his Paris studio, 1958
THE FIGURATIVE SCULPTURES Renowned for the distinctive figurative sculptures that he produced in reaction to the trauma and anguish of World War II, includes a series of elongated standing women, striding men, and expressive bust-length figures.  Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) investigateted the human figure for more than forty years. He moved to Paris in 1922 and eventually settled in a 15-by-16-foot studio in the artists' quarter of Montparnasse. Image: Alberto Giacometti in his Paris studio, 1958. Photo Ernst Scheidegger. (c) 2018 Stiftung Ernst Scheidegger-Archiv-Zurich.
He produced the greater part of his work in this tiny space, which he maintained until the end of his life. Giacometti's brother Diego, also an artist , became his assistant, he and Annette Arm, whom Giacometti wed in 1949, were the artist's most frequently rendered models. It is interesting to note that the new Giacometti Institute will soon open in the historic Montparnasse district where the artist lived and worked.
RETROSPECTIVE Visitors will have the opportunity to view works from across Giacometti's career. Examples of his early production reveal his engagement with Cubism and Surrealism as well as African, Oceanic, Cycladic art, and reflect interaction with writers including Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.  
The Nose (Le nez) 1949
The selection of paintings and drawings on view demonstrates his attempt to capture the essence of humanity which identifies with his incessant sculptural investigation of the human body. Rich historical photographs and ephemera, such as journals ad sketchbooks containing drawings, also provide insights into Giacometti's process and artistic development. Image: The Nose, (Le nez) 1949 (cast 1964) Bronze, wire, rope and steel. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 66.1807 (c) Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York. Photo: Kristopher McKay (c) The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
      Education and Public Programs with details are posted at
guggenheim.org/calendar.  Including: REFLECTIONS ON GIACOMETTI, Tuesday, July 31 at 6:30 pm. Film Screenings take place in the New Media Theater, Level B and are free with museum admission including Alberto Giacometti (1966), dir. Ernst Scheidegger and Peter Munger, 28 min on Friday September 7 at 3 pm, 3:30 pm and 4 pm. For more information visit: guggenheim.org/films.
      Ta Ta Darlings!! Giacometti's oeuvre transcends the stick figures and emerges at the Guggenheim shedding new light on the artist's notable works in paintings and sculptures of another kind.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's other Blogs at
www.pollytalk.com. Just click in the left hand column to links on visionary men, women determined to succeed, fashion and even poetry.

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