Monday, March 28, 2011


Spring is bursting out all over and New York is blossoming with cultural variety from opening windows on the 19th Century to three centuries of quilts, Cuban Fiestas and First Saturday celebrations. Only in New York, my friends, only in New York. Here’s the scoop!!! ROOMS WITH A VIEW Who’s looking out the window of art now? You can at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition “The Open Window in the 19th Century.” Like a metaphor for unfulfilled longing a woman gazes out a window in a hushed, sparse room that is filled with a poetic play of light and perceptible silence. Romantic poet Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg 1772-1802), wrote: “Everything at a distance turns into poetry; distant people, distant events, and distant mountains; all becomes Romantic.” Exhibit includes gallery talks, a Sunday at the Met lecture program and a musical presentation on May 22. April 5-July 4. CUBAN FIESTAS and THE HAVANA HABIT Explores La Fiesta Cubana from the 19th century to the present and its influence on United States culture and history in the spheres of music, dance and sports. The Havana Habit traces the relationship between Cuban and U.S. societies as reflected in the mambo and Hollywood musicals, I Love Lucy, and noir writing. Renowned writers Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria and Gustavo Perez Firmat will discuss and read from their publications. At Americas Society, 680 Park Ave. at 68th St. March 31, 7pm. Free open to the public. Non members must reserve in advance at INFINITE VARIETY: THREE CENTURIES OF RED AND WHITE QUILTS "Infinite Variety" Quilts: Red and White has been a classic color scheme for American quilts since the early 19th century and provide a link to our cultural heritage. Quilts were symbolic of a variety of patriotic, personal and creative endeavors embroidered in red with designs from storybooks, nature, national exhibitions and famous parsonages, plus traditional geometric, snowflake and appliqué quilts, “fund raisers,” including Red Cross quilts from the private collection, 650 quilts of Joanna S. Rose presented in conjunction with the American Folk Art Museum at the Park Avenue Armory, 67-68th Sts. An extraordinary gift to the public. Entry to this unprecedented event is free. Closes March 30th. FIRST SATURDAY CELEBRATES NORMAN ROCKWELL The Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturday attracts thousands of visitors to free programs of art and entertainment each month. The First Saturday, April 2nd event is a celebration of the different techniques artists employ to create a final product, as showcased in the special exhibition “Behind the Camera.” At 6:30 to 8:30 pm you can sketch a charcoal portrait from live models as they emulate poses found in Rockwell’s illustrations. Timed tickets at the Visitor Center at 5:30 pm. 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY. For complete program: Ta Ta darlings!!! I’m longing to see "Rooms with a View" at the MET. Fan mail always welcome: Polly Blogs: go to and in the right hand column click on the link to the Blog of your interest. Above my photo is the link to Polly's Monday column.

Monday, March 21, 2011


There’s an air of South American rhythms filtering through the cultural landscape of New York City bringing with music, literature and crafts to fulfill any social calendar with a Spanish flavor. Here’s the scoop!!!
Venezuela comes to the Americas society on March 25th at 7 pm in a special presentation, which complements “Contemporary Venezuelan Voices,” when pianist Mariantonia Placios performs and discusses a selection of dances from the late 19th century to the early 20th century by Venezuelan composers including Pedro Larrazabal. The pianist will discuss the individual pieces as well as the phenomenon of musical publication in Venezuelan periodicals. Free with reservation. Members attend the meet the artist reception. Americas Society, 680 Park Ave. at 68th St. Non members must register in advance
One more reason to be proud of the Brazilian Bombshell. In the spirit of the rich tradition of honoring people who have influenced American culture and history, the United States Postal Service has issued new Forever stamps to celebrate five legendary showbiz Latin artists who have impacted North American music. Among them is the most well-known entertainer the Portuguese-Brazilian star Carmen Miranda. Specifically out of the group Carmen Miranda was the one who directly contributed more to bringing joy and entertainment to the American population in the very difficult time of World War II. The stamps are the art of the distinguished painter Rafael Lopez.
Commemorating the Centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire that claimed the lives of 146 factory workers, mostly immigrant Italian and Jewish women, the Fashion Institute of Technology is holding a day-long conference “Contemporary Labor Struggles,” on Saturday, March 26 from 9 am to 4 pm. Free and Open to the public. The tragic event led to the most sweeping set of workplace labor reforms in America and historians and labor activists will participate in talks and panel discussions on contemporary labor struggles in the U.S. and around the world. At FIT, Seventh Ave. at 27th St. Exhibits by artists and FIT students also will be on display.
German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse focuses on the explosive production of graphic art, prints, drawings, posters, illustrated books and periodicals associated with expressionism, the broad modernist movement that developed in Germany and Austria during the early decades of the 20th century. The movement encompasses a host of individuals and groups with varying stylistic approaches who shared a commitment to intense, personal expression and the desire to achieve a heightened awareness of what it is to be human. Artists in the exhibition include Max Berkmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Erich Heckle, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner to name a few. At MOMA, March 27-July 11, 11 West 53 St.
Ta Ta darlings!!! I can’t wait to celebrate Carmen Miranda and stamp my letters. Fan mail is always welcome: Go to and in the left hand column click on the Polly Blog of your interest. There are 4 listed.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Fashion is art and art is fashion!!! Fashionista venues dominate New York's social scene from Sonia Delaunay, Vivienne Westwood, Bill Cunningham to The Bottomless Closet. Here’s the scoop!!!
An abstract painter and extraordinary colorist known for her jarring color juxtapositions and abstract textiles, Sonia Delaunay’s oeuvre inspired countless designers who followed. She caused a stir in 1925 when she opened her Boutique Simultane featuring fashions with Picasso-ish harlequin motifs and abstract prints. Designs highly coveted by the fashionistas of her day included Nancy Cunard and the wives of the modernist architects including Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius. The exhibition at the Cooper-hewitt National Design Museum is on view from March 18th –June 5, 2011. 2 East 92st St.
The only British Designer who could not only explore extremes in dress, but make sense of them, Vivienne Westwood is the star attraction in an exhibit at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology that examines the designer’s transition from street styles (and Punk innovator) to high fashion designer during the 1980s, and how it changed her work, her press coverage, and her clientele. Westwood continues her emphasis on eccentricity and subversion and student curators Emma Kadar-Penner and Audrey Chaney, FIT graduate students are co-curators. At The Museum at FIT, Seventh Ave. at 27th St. 212.217.4558. FREE.
The fashion world’s celebrity photographer gets his due recognition in The Documentary, “Bill Cunningham New York” opening on March 16th through March 29, at the Film Forum. Bill has been seemingly invisible at tony social affairs snapping away at the celebrities. I have also often seen him, camera in tow, on the corner of 57th St. and Fifth Ave. capturing the latest fashionista trend or documenting street fashion for the New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, the Soho News and Details magazine. When he isn’t on foot Bill is a reluctant fashion deity, riding around town on his worn-out bicycle dressed in the blue jacket of workmen in Paris. Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. near Varick. 212.727.8110.
The Bottomless Closet urges you to start spring cleaning (and ignite good karma)! Is that shirt collecting dust in the back of your closet, or those pants that you’ve shed too many bounds for, the perfect place to start cleaning out your drawers, too. Accomplish a good deed by donating the clothes to the non-profit Botttomless Closet NYC. Take it from Bethenny Frankel who told Life & Style, “You keep things in your closet that you don’t need. Give them away to someone who can wear them. For more information visit
Ta Ta darlings!!! I’m going to see Bill Cunningham at the Film Forum. Fan mail always welcome: For Polly Blogs go to my website and in the left hand column click on the link to the Blog of your interest including thefashionhistorianpollyguerin.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Riding High on Cultural Venues (c) By Polly Guerin

Put on your riding gear and tally ho off we go with Don Quixote, African masks, Andean tunics, and the Broadway Orchids show just to name a few. Here’s the scoop!!
The publication of Miguel de Cervantes’s masterpiece (1605,1615) has inspired artists through the ages, from Fragonard and Goya to Dore, Dali, and Picasso. Today’s most renowned creator of artist books, Arion Press, continues that tradition in a new richly illustrated two-volume edition of Don Quixote who dons an old suit of armor as a knight and travels with his skinny horse Rocinante in chivalrous quests of adventure. The 21st century tribute to the literary classic, pictured here, is created by artist Willaim T. Wiley with translator Edith Grossman, and designer publisher Andrew Hoyem. March 10th through April 20th in the galleries of the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, 680 Park Ave. at 68th St. 212. 628.0420. Visit
“Odes to the Mask by Modern and Contemporary Artists from Three Continents” showcases a unique installation of some 20 whimsical works by artists from Africa, Europe and America, each putting a new spin on traditional African mask. Among the works are amazing sculptural assemblages including Noire et Blanche by Man Ray and sculptural and photographic works by American artist Willie Cole. Highly creative re-imaginings of the iconic form of the African mask includes a podcast episode featuring voices of artists as well as curatorial perspectives on their work on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website: 1000 Fifth Ave. Through August 21.
Textile, a highly developed art form in ancient times was valued as wealth, and tunics were among the most treasured items. This special exhibition focusing on the Andean tunic features some 30 tunics drawn from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection with loans from The Textile Museum, Washington, D. C. These shirt-like garments occupied a meaningful cultural place for centuries as markers of prosperity, place and status. True works of art the ancient peoples of northwestern South American are renowned today for their great abilities as weavers, dyers and designers of textiles. Through September 18th. Educational programs and screenings of documentaries include the culture, music, and textile history of indigenous Andean peoples. Featured on the Museum’s website
Don’t miss this special limited-run engagement! Broadway stretches north to the lush tropical galleries of the New York Botanical Garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in this dazzling display and Broadway style Orchid Show by Tony award-winning set designer Scott Pask, image-maker Drew Hodges, and Botanical Garden curators. The Orchid Show features thousands of orchids exquisitely arranged to re-create iconic architectural elements from legendary Broadway theaters. Enjoy lively Broadway-style cabaret each weekend, peruse acclaimed caricaturist Al Hirschfeld’s whimsical Broadway drawings and while you’re there at the NYBG garden this weekend learn how to select and care for your orchids. Short trip on Metro North, NYBG, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx.
Ta Ta darling!!! Don Quixote is on my priority list; hope to see you at Queen Sophia Spanish Institute. Fan mail always welcome: You’d enjoy my Blogs go to: and in the left hand column for a direct link click on the Blog of your choice.