Monday, March 31, 2014

BEYOND FASHION, Culture Vultures Convene (c) By Polly Guerin

The passion of fashionistas and savvy New Yorkers heads up to May when Charles James gets his due in May and the culture vultures are out to sink their fangs into the most cultural events in the city. Don’t forget to arrive early or you won’t get in. Here’s the scoop!!!
: Beyond Fashion is opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Didn’t I tell you about this several columns ago? Well, the press and members will get the first viewing, and then it’s up to you to get in before the crowds jam the exhibit, which opens May 8th. Now the accompanying book of the same title, by the Costume Institute’s Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder, demonstrates just how inspiring the oeuvre of Charles James was, and just how much “beyond” clothes that influence goes. Did you know that this Anglo-American designer has roots in the privileged life he was born into in 1906 at his family’s Surrey, England, estate? Yet, a fashion designer par excellence James defied the fashion establishment and many of the looks he created, particularly the spectacular, almost architectural conceived evening gowns, are as contemporary today as when they introduced. If you want a heads up on the James phenomenon see the book’s various chapters that capsulate James’ craft of drapes and folds, spirals and wraps and architectural shaping. Ralph Rucci’s upfront prologue is a treasure in itself as are the ensuing pages gifted with colorful images. Yale University Press. The exhibition runs through August 10 and those cognoscenti will celebrate at the Costume Institute’s gala benefit on May 5 with Anna Wintour honored for raising millions for the Museum. Image: Charles James gown Metropolitan Museum of Art.
HERMES' EQUESTRIAN ROOTS Hermes USA went to Wellington, Florida during the Winter Equestrian Festival and honored its first customer --- the horse. Style met sport in a state-of-the-art stable at the Grand Prix Village, connected to the festival’s show grounds where Hermes fitted out U.S. Team riders with their uniforms, which actually made their debut at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, in August. In patriotic colors, the riders wearing red 'pinque' jackets emblazoned with the American Crest and white jodhpurs, looked, tres chic!!! The fitted show coats come in jacket length red for jumping and a blue for dressage. When I visited the Hermes Museum in Paris I noted the exquisite leather saddles and the 177-year equestrian heritage that influences the Hermes design team’s scarf prints and fashionable daywear. The scope of the Museum collection goes beyond saddles and trunks into personal artifacts. Of significance, Hermes was fascinated with American innovation and licensed the zipper to pioneer it in Europe in the 1920s. Only the fashion cognoscenti seem to be able to get an invitation to the Museum, but I had that privilege when I was a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. It is one of the best kept secrets in Paris.
STRADIVARI VIOLA, Finest in Existence. Just a bit of cultural history. Stradivari’s name has become synonymous with perfection in the field of musical instruments, and only ten survive. Sotheby’s and Ingles and Hayday are offering for sale the finest viola in existence. A Stradivari viola is the ultimate prize for collections and the “Macdonald’ of 1719 is one of only two violas made during Stradivari’s Golden Period’ (1700-1720). The ‘Macdonald’ viola was purchased by Peter Schidlof of the Amadeus Quartet in 1964 and is being offered for sale by the family of the late musician, who died in 1987. The curator commented, “The Stradivari is a living instrument and should be played at regular intervals, it would be a pity if a collector obtained it merely to showcase it behind a glass display case.” Get out your check book!!! Ha!!! The viola will be offered through a sealed bid process, with bids expected in excess of US$45 million.
GRAND CENTRAL QUILTING: The New York Transit Museum’s exhibition at Grand Central Terminal represents the work of quilt artists representing 15 states. It is a craft person’s dream and a visitor’s privilege to see these amazing quilts. The City Quilter designed four fabrics to commemorate Grand Central Terminal’s Centennial in 2013 and recruited Meredith Corporation’s American Patchwork & Quilting, the largest circulation magazine serving the quilting audience, to sponsor a national quilt-making “challenge,” a competition to make commemorative quilts that use the City Quilter Grand Central fabrics that exemplified what Grand Central theme. The quilts exemplify the artistic diversity of quilt art and among the fascinating quilts the first prize winner is Ligaya Siachongco, New York, NY, Quilt name: Grand Central Terminal Mandala. You know where to go, so be there!!! The exhibition will be in Grand Central through July 6. I wrote about The City Quilter, located at 133 West 25th Street, in an earlier column.

Ta Ta Darlings!!! Pollytalk is visiting Grand Central Terminal’s Quilt exhibit, you should, too! Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon. Visit Polly’s website pollytalk and in the left hand column click on my other Blogs on fashion, visionary men and hidden treasures in New York.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Not a day goes by in New York’s multi-cultural venues that there is more than a dozen events to schedule on one’s agenda. It’s the best of New York and only in New York my friends where such treasures enlighten us with such diverse entertainments on Manhattan’s East Side. Here’s the scoop!!!

SOTHEBY’S INAUGURAL DESIGNER SHOWHOUSE headlines events this week at the East Side. The show opens today through March 30th and is free and open to the public, where six innovative and inspired interior designers have curated a room on the sixth floor exhibition space of Sotheby’s Manhattan headquarters, 72nd Street and York Avenue. The showhouse in partnership with Sotheby’s 1744 Young Collectors Club includes rooms by Ryan Korban,, known for his retail design including Balenciaga’s men’s and women flagship stores; McMillen Inc., the oldest full service design an decorating firm in America; Catherine Casteel and Maximilian Sinsteden, whose collective background includes working for Bunny Williams and Charlotte Moss to name a few. Each space evokes the designer’s unique aesthetic and is comprised of items from Sotheby’s upcoming spring auctions including English and Continental furniture, 20th century design, contemporary and impressionist prints, African and European sculpture, carpets, old master paintings and silver. Info:

GOLDEN VISION OF DENSATIL: A TIBETAN BUDDHIST MONASTERY Stroll over to Park Avenue and visit Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue (70th St.) where the physical layout of the exhibit temps your imagination; on view an actual stupa, moving from lower layers of deities to higher level deities shed light on enlightenment. The monastery, a Tibetan treasure, was pillaged centuries later during the Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and now only fragments remain with pictures of monastery artworks to fill in the gaps. The stupa is topped by a bell-shaped, domed metal reliquary and a four-armed female deity sits on top of a lotus blossom. A peek into the historical past, the monastery may inspire your noblest ideals.

DEGENERATE ART: THE ATTACK ON MODERN ART IN NAZI GERMANY 1937 takes you to the Neue Galerie New York, at 1048 Fifth Avenue at 86th Street where the amazing exhibition focuses on the Nazis’ infamous degenerate Art exhibition of 1937. Many of the modern art works on view were seized from museums and private collection while expressionist masterpieces explore the traumatic psyche of the time. The term “degenerate” was used to describe the campaign b the National Socialist regime used in its campaign against modern art. Through June 30. Info:
Image: A group of Artists (The painters of the Brucke) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1925-26 oil on canvas, Museum Cologne, Germany.
POLLYTALKS ABOUT FASHION Now that the curtain has come down on the fashion shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris I have not recovered from the exhausting blur of garments and wonder what’s the point, where’s the trend, where’s the statement, who are those fierce-looking mannequins? I remember when I could come back from Europe and have a definite trend in mind, but as for today it’s a Hodge Podge of costume-looks, a soupcon of fabrics and gimmicky effects. The staging is entertaining, the venues amazing, but what about the clothes, if one looks at themuarely in the face, there’s not much to say, except “Really!!!” Quite frankly, today there’s no distinct message but one thing comes to mind. I think it is the consumer, women at large who set their own trends. Quite frankly I like the fact that women are taking charge and creating their own ‘look’ with what they already have in their wardrobe and tweaking it with accessories. So go for it ladies, create your own style, forget about the fashion machine it’s steering you wrong this time.

Ta Ta Darlings!!! Pollytalk’s going to the Sotheby’s Designer Showhouse today, you should too! Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon. Visit Polly’s website pollytalk and in the left hand column click on my other Blogs on fashion, visionary men and hidden treasures in New York.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


What is Asian Art and what does Asia Week mean to New Yorkers? Well, for those of you who are novice collectors this week offers an opportunity to buy both ancient and contemporary art from
Japan, India, southeast Asia, Korean and yes, even China.
   When considering a work of art the best advice is to purchase art that resonates with your creative senses, something that you are drawn to and would enjoy for years to come as a centerpiece in your home. All it takes on your part is an eye for beauty and an appreciation for the hand-craftsmanship of artifacts with timeless design that will never go out of style. You should never compromise or be put off by a small budget; always buy the best you can afford.
   Adding to the value of the object you purchase is its provenance, which authenticates its origin. The dealers are knowledgeable and invite you to ask questions, but it is also a good idea to get a heads up on Asia Art. A comprehensive guide with maps, the agenda of lectures and symposia is available at participating galleries, auction houses and cultural institutions.
   Some 47 galleries open their doors to loyal customers and a new generation of collectors all this week from March 14 to March 22. It’s not only an educational and entertaining experience but gallery hopping will confront you with affordable range of Asian works of art priced to fit even a novice collector’s budget. To pinpoint a few of the galleries: Here’s the Scoop!!!
PATHS TO THE DIVINE: NANCY WIENER GALLERY, 2109 Broadway, Suite 10-18 (Hotel Ansonia) explores the vast range of sacred imagery from the ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions of India, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. This year, in addition to stone and bronze sculpture, the gallery is offering Nancy Weiner’s collection of Indian Miniature paintings. Perhaps “small” is the point to begin your collection. However, do see from Tibet, a serenely posed 11th century painted book cover, terracotta red background, devoted to Buddhist goddess, TARA, shown left. And from Thailand, a fine and rare 8-9thcentury figure of Vajrasattva from the Srivijaya period.
KIDERA YUKO METALWORK Byron Kehoe from the LESLEY KEHOE GALLERIES in Melbourne, Australia (exhibiting at Fuller Building, 41 E. 57th St. 5th floor) says that Japanese contemporary arts offer wonderful opportunities for new and young collectors. Japanese metalwork is unique and features a number of extraordinary techniques that have evolved from time-honored traditions and are now interpreted by contemporary artists. One such artist, Kidera Yuko resonated with her technical mastery of flat sheets of metal that she transforms into song and dance themes in her work. With the female form as a central motif, Yuko uses the anonymity of faceless, body-less costume to express the personalities of her sculptures. In ‘Dancing Girl’ and “Diva” one is captivated by the free swinging swirling skirt that evokes the faceless personality.
LANDSCAPE and NATURE IN CONTEMPORARY CHINESE INK at THE CHINESE PORCELAIN COMPANY, 475 Park Ave. at 58th St. features ancient and contemporary art including a group of exquisite green-glazed stoneware such as the famed celadon pieces of the Song Dynasty’s funerary jar, known as hunping which is the most dramatic type of Yue ware. Landscape and Nature is a dynamic painting show that includes new work of the masters of contemporary ink and their disciplines. Liu Dan, for one, arguably the forefather of Chinese contemporary ink painting presents his magnificent poppy finished in breath-taking detail, showing the master’s subtle brushwork and delicate coloration.
PRECIOUS LITTLE THINGS (The Diminutive and Dynamic) at JADESTONE, 41 East 57th St., 9th floor, presents artifacts of miniature to small scale. However, the works of art are, for the most part, not just small but miniature forms and objects that you might recognize. A small Carnelian Snuff Bottle in an unexpected bright orange color might resonate with you. The selection of miniature carvings of a Heavenly Maiden or a snuff dish are among a wide range of precious little things that you might afford to collect and most importantly be the inspiration for starting a collection. By the way, a singular artifact indeed may be a thing of beauty but a ‘collection,’ in a specific genre, can become a more valuable asset.
KOO NEW YORK at MARK MURRAY GALLERY, 39 East 72 St, 5th floor, Korean Traditions: Arts of the Interior presents exceedingly rare Korean antique furniture that is difficult to find in this country. ‘Not to be missed’-- among the Florida-based gallerist’s offerings is an 18th-century Confucian wood alter chair for adoration of male ancestors, which is finely reticulated with lotus motifs. Another furniture piece, that looks like a repository for books, is incised at each side with images that look like Swastikas but they are instead the reverse design of the same image that are actually ancient symbols of good tidings. Magnificent screens include a ten-panel screen, called Scholar’s Articles, colored on paper and mounted on silk brocade.
INDIAN PAINTINGS and COURTLY OBJECTS: FRANCESCA GALLOWAY exhibiting at Lesley Feely Fine Art, 33 E. 68th St., 5th floor revolves around core collection Indian paintings in exquisite color and storytelling scenes including: The night of Shab-barat, Ladies with Fireworks on a Terrace by the artist Mola Bagas. This delightful late-18th-century work depicts courtly ladies, in beautiful attire, celebrating with fireworks rendered in opaque pigments with gold on paper. Rama and Sita enthroned with Laksmana and Han is a scene from the epic, Ramayana. It tells the story of Rama and Sita and how overcome many obstacles in their endeavor to be together. The elegance of these paintings should appeal to the modern aesthetic of a young collector's portfolio.

This brief report in no way covers the magnitude of the galleries which are open and free to the public. This is a rare and wonderful opportunity to view some of the rarest and finest Asian examples of artworks—all representing the artistry, ingenuity and imagination from every corner and time period of Asia.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Fashion never disappoints!!! It makes us all marvel at the theatrics on the runway, the rebellion of style and the ever on-going message of peace through fashion statements. Only in New York, the best ofNew York my friends. Here’s the scoop!!!
BEYOND REBELLION: Fasten your seat belt!!! Take a ride on the wild side and go and see  "Fashioning the Biker Jacket" exhibit, organized by the graduate students in the fashion and Textile Studies program and the Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology. Image: Schott, Perfecto jacket, black leather, circa 1980, USA. Courtesy The Museum at FIT purchase.
Find out about the genesis of the biker jacket and its evolution into a high-fashion garment now coveted by fashionistas worldwide. Although the biker jacket emerged in the early twentieth century as a protective garment to shield riders from the elements, leave it to the fashionistas to claim the biker jacket as their own.
The mystique of the biker jacket has attracted movie stars, young adults and some senior citizens and of course, fashion designers, leading labels such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent and Rick Owens to name a few, who are featured in the exhibit.
Where did this function fashion come from? Well, over the years the biker leather jacket evolved from utilitarian outwear to icon symbol of rebellion, function, and “cool.” By the 1950s, due in part to its appropriation by motorcycle gangs, associations fostered by the movies as The Wild One the jacket has become an emblem of the outlaw biker.
The final section of the exhibit explores the avant-garde reinterpretations of the classic biker jacket such as the 2005 Comme des Garcons ensemble from the Biker and Ballerina collection featuring a sculptural masculine black leather jacket with a girlish pink gingham and tulle skirt…obviously the allure and mystique of the jacket remains on exhibit through April 5, 2013. At 27th Street & Seventh Ave. Tues-Fri, noon to 8pm, Sat 10-5 pm. FREE admission. Image Right: Comme des Garcons (Rei Kawakubo), jacket and skirt, black leather, pink gingham and tulle spring 2005, Japan. Courtesy The Museum at FIT purchase.
HEADPIECES FOR PEACE and  FASHION AT FIAF Celebrates the new forces in fashion from the hottest designers and bloggers to filmmakers. In the Gallery: JESSICA SOFIA MITRANI’S HEADPIECES FOR PEACE offers a wiry examination of fashion and feminism. For the first time in New York, see this video along with the 11 headpieces made from printed fabric designed by threeASFOUR. Style Stories with Garance Dore, March 20 at 7pm, Inside Web-based Fashion Companies, March 26 at 7pm, Thom Browne, March 31 at 7pm.
THE FASHION SCOOP: Fashion runway took on high-jinks theatrics this season. Who doesn’t enjoy tabloid shot of celebrities at the supermarket? Women’s Wear Daily’s sightings: At the Chanel show, staged amid a mock supermarket, the aisles were teeming with celebrities. They marveled at the hundreds of mock products on display as models ventured down the runway with shopping card antics. At the Dolce & Gabbana show the velvet curtain opened to reveal an enchanted forest, with an enormous rotating tree that rises from the floor with falling snow. Then there was the full orchestra at Prada and Roberto Cavalli’s fireworks. What beats me is fashion as theater is fine but with all the theatrical elements does it really make us sit up and take notice of the clothes, the fashion trend or message, if there is one?
FUZZY WUZZY FASHION  Well, DSquared2 put us suddenly back in the Sixties in a mental institution (or rehab facility) where model Malaika Firth and her equally fashionista friends are waiting to be discharged. WHEW!!! What’s the fashion message…seems like by fall there is going to be a lot of fuzzy wuzzy fur flying around the fashion world in fantastically different fur coats.…and I wonder, dear readers, what are those anti-fur groups going to do about it? Watch as the protest fur action unfolds later this year. ALL DOLLED UP Jason Wu has designed a fashion doll for retailer Montaigne Market. Priced at 150 Euros or $200, at the current exchange rate, the limited edition of 250, is a replica of a style from his spring collection.

Ta Ta Darlings!!! Pollytalk went to the preview of ‘Beyond Rebellion,’ it’s a real eye-opener! Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon. Visit Polly’s website pollytalk and in the left hand column click on my other Blogs on fashion, visionary men and hidden treasures in New York.

Friday, March 7, 2014


To Mira Schendel’s family she was known as “A strong, highly intelligent woman who affected everybody by the sheer magnitude of her personality and artistic achievements,” said her grandson Max Schendel, who in collaboration with Olivier Renaud-Clement organized the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth gallery. No less significant is the fact that to the art world Mira Schendel is known as one of the most important Latin American artists of the 20th century, who has her due recognition in the exhibit at the Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th Street gallery through April 26, 2014. Works on view span Schendel’s full career and include the installation, ‘Ondas paradas de probabilidade (Still waves of probability)’, Mira’s luminous masterpiece which was introduced at the 10th Sao Paulo Biennial in 1969. Image Right: Mira Schendel in front of 'Todos,' (All). Courtesy of Mira Schendel and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Mira Schendel archives
This exhibition follows the acclaimed, first-ever international survey devoted to Schendel held this past autumn at Tate Modern, London, England.
Her work was described by the late Brazilian poet Haroldo de Campos as ‘an art of voids, where the utmost redundancy begins to produce original information; an art of words and quasi-words where the graphic form veils and unveils and symbols which print on the blank page of their luminous foam.’
A woman determined to succeed Mira’s move to Sao Paulo, Brazil would prove the ideal place for her to create a unique visual language that conveys her spiritual and intellectual ideas. Born to a Jewish family in Zurich, Switzerland, Mira was educated in Italy and raised Roman Catholic. The tides of war torn Europe forced her family to move between Bulgaria, Austria and Sarajevo to avoid Fascist persecution, and then emigrated to Brazil in 1949.
On the second floor of the gallery thousands of nylon threads hang suspended from the ceiling. Extended to the floor, these delicate strands create a volumetric space at once opaque and transparent. While light filters through Schendel’s installation dematerializes in our presence. It asserts the artist’s desire to establish a relationship between transparency, human existence, and the intangibility of God.
Downstairs in another venue is Mira’s ‘Variantes II’ comprised of fourteen parts and developed in a way that allows the work to be viewed from both sides. Characterized by geometric motifs, delicate lines, or typeset letters,
Schendel’s ‘Monotpias (Monotypes) are rendered with a feeling of temporality and transience. These works give the viewer a sense of floating in space imbuing one’s senses with spiritual awareness.

MIRA SCHENDEL lightens our concept of art, raising our spirit by creating luminous and reflective geometric forms. The ‘Sarrafo’ (Batten) seeries was conceived during the last years of her life and reflects its cerebral and poetically inspired integrity. It reaches beyond the materiality of art and invites the viewer to understand and experience space as a new medium of expression. Mira does this with the most delicate, lighthearted art forms that leave us to ponder their meaning and inspire our appreciation of airy space, movement and suspended time.
Image Left: Untitled (from the series Discs/Discos) Acrylic glass (opague), transfer lettering 1971-1973.Courtesy of Mira Schendel and Hauser & Wirth.

Monday, March 3, 2014


March rushes in on a high voltage literary lifestyle that brings ancient and modern culture with a profusion of venues to spring forward into warmer weather. Only in New York, my friends, the best of New York. Here’s the scoop!!!

THE PASSION OF JEAN-BAPTISTE CARPEAUX, the first retrospective of the 19th-century sculptor and painter’s brief but illustrious career opens March 10th at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and extends to May 26. The exhibition explores the life and work of the exceptionally gifted, deeply tormented sculptor who define the heady atmosphere of the Second Empire in France (1852-1871). This first full-scale exhibition devoted to Carpeaux (1827-1875) features about 160 works including sculptures, paintings, and drawings, which will be organized around the major projects that the artist undertook during his brief and stormy career. Carpeaux is best known today for a single masterpiece, Ugolino and His Sons and Prince Imperial with his Dog Nero IMAGE; UGOLINO and HIS SONS, Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Carpeaux was a multifaceted and prolific artist who imbued his work with strong movement and visceral drive. He strove for anatomical realism in all media, but especially in his marble sculptures and busts, which seem to capture flesh and blood in stone. His dramatic, highly independent paintings, barely known. during his lifetime, will also be on display Carpeaux, who was plagued with violent mood swings throughout his life, was only 48 when he died. Despite this, he was extraordinarily productive, accomplishing a vast body of work. Met Museum will hold two events in conjunction with the exhibition---Sculpting Sound: The Music of Carpeaux’s Circle with Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano, on April 28 and Friends and Demons: The Life and work of Carpeaux, a presentation by curator James David Draper, on May 14.
GAUGUIN; METAMORPHOSES is the first major monographic exhibition on Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903) ever present at The Museum of Modern Art, and the first exhibition to focus particularly on the artist’s rare and extraordinary prints and transfer drawings and their relationship to his paintings and sculptures. Approximate 160 works are on view from March 8th through June 8th 2014 in the International Council of MoMa’s Special Exhibition Gallery. More than any other artist Gauguin inspiration from working across mediums. Though most celebrated as a pioneer of modernist painting, at various moments Gauguin was also intensely engaged with wood carving, ceramics, lithography, woodcut, monotype, and transfer drawing—all medium that ignited his creativity. Gauguin, who had no formal artistic training, led a peripatetic life, settling for extended periods in different regions of the world—including most famously, Tahiti. His search for culture unspoiled by European mores and restraints paralleled his eagerness to work with unfamiliar techniques in order to create entirely new types of artworks. This exhibition focuses on these less well-known, but arguably even more innovative aspects of Gauguin’s practice, especially the rare and extraordinary prints he created in several discrete bursts of activity from 1889 until his death in 1903. At MoMA, 11 E. 53rd Street.
JEAN-BAPTISTE BARRIERE As part of the “Composer Portraits” series of its 25th-anniversary season, Miller Theatre of Columbia University presents works by the multimedia artist and computer-music luminary Jean-Baptiste Barriere, who will take the stage himself. The program includes three world premieres and the composer’s seminal 1983 piece “Chreode,” featuring synthesized human voices. A concurrent exhibition offers a fuller perspective on Barriere’s multifaceted artistic pursuits. Date: March 29. Info:
A LA FRANCAISE: Calling all Francophiles. New York City Ballet’s A La Francaise program includes the world premiere of Artistic Director Peter Martin’s second collaboration with Marc-Andre Dalbavie, a former Boulez protégé and among the most widely performed composers of his generation. Also slated: Jerome Robbin’s duet “Afternoon of a Faun,” with a score by Debussy.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! Pollytalk went to the preview of Gauguin, highly recommended, it is a real eye-opener! Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon. Visit Polly’s website and in the left hand column click on my other Blogs on fashion, visionary men and hidden treasures in New York.