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
     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
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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. 
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! You will know where to fine me this immersion at the Fair. Don't you have a rare treasure to bring to Discovery Day? 
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