Monday, June 30, 2014


Summer in the city offers cultural blue bloods an opportunity to chill out in style while taking in diverse venues that captivate the spirit of those languid  halcyon days. Only in New York my friends, the Best of New York!!! Here's the scoop.
MADELINE is back in town and still has that magical quality to enchant both children and adults alike. Now 75 years later, the New York Historical Society celebrates Bemelman's storied career with "Madeline in New York: The Art of Bemelmans, which opens July 4th...a great day to celebrate the holiday and the iconic book. It all began when Ludwig Bemelmans took his daughter, Barbara, on a trip to France that the fortuitous trip partly inspired him to write Madeline---and little did he know that "In an old House in Paris..." would become an opening line for the ages---nor did he know that the book series would become a classic.The exhibit includes 90 drawings, paintings, and memorabilia and enchanting familiar scenes of Madeline's escapades in Paris. You will also get a rare view of the artist's works including drawings of the old Ritz Hotel in New York and illustrated panels from Aristotle Onassis's yacht. And while you're in a nostalgic mood why not hope over to the Carlyle hotel and  imbibe a libation at the Bemelman's Bar where the artist's folkloric other works are the decorative scenery.
GARRY WINOGRAND the Bronx-born photographer's iconic black-and-white images of mid-century American life comes to full view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in a major retrospective showing the late photographer's iconic work. Documenting as it does the the tumultuous sixties the exhibit  focuses on  images of upheaval and renewal projected through his viewfinder, which framed both the optimistic art and the go-go hustle of the times. According to Nick Remsen in July Vogue, "There's an unmistakable frozen-in-time vitality to Winogrand's work, whether his focus was on homeward-bound fliers fresh off their DC-8s at Idelwild Airport (now JFK) or Gotham's rowdies night owls--and it's been a joy to see that energy and exuberance channeled on the catwalk." You will see familiar fashion icons like Miu Miu's candy-colored vinyl outerwear, Gucci's separates dyed in the hues of sun bleached Formica, and Saint Laurent's glittering knee-high boots. When it's time to chill out try the Met and its many splendid exhibits.
YVES SAINT LAURENT, the MOVIE, brilliantly captures YSL's shyness, charm, and artistic bravado. Pierre Niney (a YSL clone) morphs into the role with so much as a wrinkle.  Drawing upon vast archive of original material (made available to the production by 83-year-old Pierre Berge) director Jalil Lespert puts the designers' groundbreaking work on screen.  Still gloriously beautiful are YSL's Mondrian dresses that were a huge success worldwide, tuxedos  for women, pea coats, and peasant blouses. The film is not without sadness as it poignantly films both YSL's vibrant success and downward spiral. Least we forget, the young design genius left French Algeria as a teenager to work for Christian Dior, took over Dior at the are 21 in January 1958; and he and his partner, Pierre Berge, famously launched their own fashion label in 1962, the rest is history. At the FILM FORUM through July 8th.
MoMA's SUMMERGARDEN and MoMA nights announces a lineup of free live music events in the Abby aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture garden, opening with a free concert series for four Sunday evenings. Members of the New Juilliard Ensemble perform on July 6. 13, 20 and 27, offering two distinctive programs of contemporary compositions.  Jazz at Lincoln Center has selected two jazz groups---on July 13 (Jonathan Ragonese Ensemble) and July 27 (Helen Sung Quintet) emphasize original works, each with one New York premiere.  On Thursday evenings in July and August, the Museum's MoMA Nights---a series of musical performances begins July 3 when the Sculpture Garden opens at 7 p.m. and concerts begin at 8 p.m. in the Sculpture Garden free with Museum admission. Musical acts for the MoMA nights series feature an array of vibrant, creative women who are making their mark on today's music scene.
Ta Ta darlings!!! I've had my vicarious thrill and bought the Yves Saint Laurent catalogue of the YSL exhibition held at the Petit Plais/Musee des Beaux-Arts de la ville de Paris, in 2010. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's BLOGS on fashion visionary men, amazing women, poetry and hidden treasures on, click on a Blog link in the left hand column of the homepage.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cooper Hewitt's Modernizes Working Museum Concept (c) By Polly Guerin

The modernization of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and its new open-door, interactive plan projects the museum into the 21st Century.  However, it is clear me that the Museum's venue harkens back to the original purpose of the museum when the Hewitt Sisters, Eleanor, Sarah and Amy the founders of "The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration" (1897),  called their museum, which became the Cooper-Hewitt, "a practical working laboratory."
   Miss Eleanor stated, "There were to be no restrictions. The literary aids of hundreds of reference and scrapbooks and of art periodicals were to be placed on tables with no hampering restrictions as to their use put every resources at the service of the public."
  Today Cooper-Hewitt's renovation and expansion has redefined the museum experience with high-end but easy-to-use technology that inspires each visitor to play designer before, during and after their visit. This was surely the intent of the Hewitt Sisters and the Museum's new policy correlates to the museum's original intent.    On any day visitors can explore the museum's collections and exhibitions using groundbreaking technologies that inspire learning and experimentation. This new participatory experience is specifically designed to engage all audiences--students, teachers, families, young children, designers and the general public.
   As Caroline Baumann, director of the Cooper-Hewitt stated, "All visitors will be given a newly developed interactive Pen to collect and create. They will be able to digitally collect design objects on view, as well as additional objects from the ultra-high-definition interactive tables. Visitors will become designers in their own right by creating their own designs with the Pen. Symbolizing and embodying human creativity, the Pen is a key part of every visitors experience. With it, they will be able to record their visit, which can be viewed and shared online and supplemented during future visits.
   The Pen also reads data from object labels throughout the museum. this data is stored in the Pen's on board memory, which can then be accessed at interactive tables located in the museum's revamped gallery spaces which will feature ten exhibitions that will inaugurate the museum when it opens Friday, December 12, 2014.
   For instance, one of the most interesting rooms is the IMMERSION ROOM, a new high tech space, designed by Local Projects, which provides an entertaining and interactive experience.Visitors here select digital images of wallpapers--or sketch their own designs--and then project them onto the walls at full scale to see their impact.This is a "Wow" experience for young and mature alike.
    As Eleanor Hewitt said, "Restrictions were eliminated and the entire concept of the "museum for use" was paramount to serve students, artist, craftsmen, scholars, craftsmen and the public at large," and it appears that the Cooper-Hewitt is doing just that, but with a high-tech Pen that resonates with a computer-driven society.
  In addition to the renovation and expansion the Cooper-Hewitt's physical transformation welcomes visitors with a more viewer-friendly galleries. It also has a new name. Formerly the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the museum has been renamed "Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. It is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. It's rich holdings range from Egypt's late Period/new Kingdom (1100 B.C.) to the present day and total more than 200,000 objects.
   The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has transformed its home, the Carnegie mansion on New York City's Museum Mile, from a grand early-20-th-century residence into a 21st Century museum.with an entirely new and invigorated visitor experience, with interactive, immersive creative technologies.
   The Hewitt sister would be proud of the Musuem's inspired transformation, as would their grandfather, Peter Cooper, founder of Cooper Union, who always wanted a museum in his school
Ta Ta Darlings!!! Want to know more about the Hewitt Sisters?  Read The Cooper-Hewitt Dynasty of New York by Polly Guerin, published by  History Press, 2012, Fan mail welcome at Polly's Blogs on fashion, amazing women, visionary men go to  and click in the Blog list in the left-hand column.

Monday, June 16, 2014

MIRACLES IN MINIATURE 16th Century Books (c) by Polly Guerin

What treasures await you but to visit the Morgan Library & Museum's "Miracles in Miniature"exhibition that features a diminutive Prayer Book and Book of Hours created in the early sixteenth century in the French city of Tours.
   Forgotten for centuries, one of the greatest artists who came to be known as the  Master of Claude de France was named after two jewel-like manuscripts he painted for Queen Claude de France (1499-1524), first wife of King Francois I: a tiny Book of Hours and an even tinier Prayer Book to be held in the palm of her hand.
   The art of the Master of Claude de France is of such extraordinary quality it is almost impossible to imagine how it was executed with such delicacy of hand, illuminated in gold and beautiful colors.This is the first time the public can see these two stunning treasure together since their creation almost five hundred years ago.
  The artist was known  for a style of the utmost delicacy and his signature palette of subtle lilacs, mauves, and roses, juxtaposed with chartreuse and royal blue, the printing so tiny you should ask to borrow a magnifying glass from the Museum's information desk, in order to study the works more closely.
   The exhibition includes not only the two eponymous books, but also a selection of addition works of Claude Master, notably twelve calendar miniatures along with manuscripts by Jean Bourdichon, Claude Master's teacher, and by Jean Poyer and Jacques Ravaud, two artists active in tours who influenced him.
   The Prayer Book contains Claude's coat of arms three times and nearly every page is framed by a decorative cordeliere, a personal emblem that she inherited from her mother, Queen, Anne d Bretagne. Both books exhibit a sense of delicacy, but bright hues, and charming doll-like figures and his borders a filled with flowers, antique candelabras, or Italianate architectural elements.  All 132 scenes from the Prayer Book are viewable on a special screen installed in the gallery. In addition, each image will be available on an online exhibition on the Morgan's website. The exhibition is accompanied by a 104-page, fully illustrated monograph written by Morgan curator Roger Wieck, with a contribution by Morgan conservator Franciso Trujillo.
   Twelve Calendar Miniatures includes twelve charming vignettes of the Labors of the Months surmounted by the Signs of the Zodiac.Calendars were often illustrated with a suite showing agrarian activities appropriate to the month of season. Thus, January shows a couple feasting and, in February, a man warming himself by the fire.  April is illustrated by a scene of two youths falconing, and so it goes on and in June and July, the serfs are mowing and reaping in exquisite color and delicacy of artist's style.
   Ta Ta darlings!!! Take a summer break and visit Master of Claude de France's books and works of incredible artistry. Fan mail welcome Visit Polly's Blogs on fashion, visionary men, hidden treasures in new york and amazing women determined to succeed, and poetry at

Monday, June 9, 2014

MARKS OF GENIUS and Tea at the MORGAN (c) Polly Guerin

"How warmly we respond whenever we receive letters from friends or scholars written in their own hands! wrote Erasmus. "We feel as if we were listening to them or seeing them face to face." (I couldn't agree more---no truer words could have been written or spoken). Handwriting is prized because it contains the character of an individual, what Erasmus might have called his or her genius. The more exceptional the person or the work, the more prized the manuscript. Manuscripts can embody the character of a person who drafts a work or edits a speech.
   MARKS OF GENIUS: Treasures from the Bodleian Library, on view at the Morgan Library & Museum through September 14, 2014, celebrates more than two thousand years of the creative genius of authors, composers, artists, scientists and philosophers preserved in the Library's rich holdings.
Image: William Shakespeare (1564-1618) Comedies, Histories & Tragedies (The First Folio London: Printed by Isaac, Jaggard and Edward Blount, 1623.
 If you appreciate historical treasures as I do this exhibition is a rare opportunity to see works that include items from western and eastern culture and range from a papyrus fragment of a seventh-century B.C. Sappho poem, (Imagine that!) to a copy of the Magna Carta dating to 1217 to Shakespeare's First Folio to key works by novelist Jane Austen. Pictured right: Jane Austen (1775-1817) Pride and Prejudice, Published London: T. Egerton, 1813.
A TOUCH OF GENIUS Genius was not confined to individuals: place and even nations had their guiding spirits, in the form or genius of place. Works in this section include Handel's conductor's score for Messiah used at the first performance and Mary Shelley's manuscript for Frankenstein, with Percy Bysshe Shelley's corrections.Other objects gained authority because of their association with a historically important person. Case in point: the manuscript of the fourteen-year-old Elizabeth 1 translated text into English and dedicated the document to her step-mother, Katherine Parr  Genius has its roots in the Latin word genius derived from gignere "to beget," and has the literal meaning "that which is born," and we know that there are quite a number of geniuses today who will leave their mark for generations to come.  There are several interesting sections, The Patron of Genius and On the Shoulders of Giants.
The one that intrigues me most was The Genius of Printing:Few inventions have so revolutionised the spread of knowledge, literacy, and communications as Johann Gutenberg's creation of a system of movable type in Germany around 1450-1455. Visually stunning works, such as Albrecht Durer's Apocalypse, Published: Nuremberg: Hieronymus Holtzel, 1511, which illustrates the relationship that some authors and artists had with the publication and distribution of their own work.
   Public Programs include a Gallery Talk, Friday, July 11, at 6:30 pm and Tours June 14 and September 13 at 11am, both free with museum admission. Reservations are recommended.
LUNCH or AFTERNOON TEA at the CAFE is one of the true joys of a visit to the Morgan. The Cafe's new look thematically connects to the Morgan's notable architecture and its menu links patrons to the
Gilded Age and the Museum's exhibition programs. Most certainly relax in the comfort of the new walnut chairs and stylish square tables.  On Sunday's there is a festive jazz brunch, and on Fridays relax over tapas and libations and enjoy a cocktail inspired by literature. The newly designed menu cards highlight the names of artists, writers, historical figures, and composers whose works are found in the Morgan's renowned collections. Please made a reservation.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! PollyTalk is wondering just how many geniuses she has met? Fan mail welcome at Polly's BLOGS on fashion, remarkable men, music and art, poetry and New York's hidden treasures can be found on the left hand link wwwpollytalkcom

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

EXPOSED: A History of Lingerie at FIT Museum (c) By Polly Guerin

Upon entering the Museum at FIT, a new intimate exhibition, "Exposed: A History of Lingerie and how it strategically conceals or reshapes the female form impacts on the viewer by the first encounter of  two 19th-century corsets, one of bright-red silk, the other of peacock blue silk.
   The corsets are so petite, the waists so tiny, one onlooker asked me, "Were they designed for a child?." She had a good reason to ask such a question and though I am quite a fashion historian I acquiesced to Colleen Hill. associate curator of accessories at The Museum at Fit (MFIT) who is also the author of  the exhibition companion book, published by Yale University Press. Ms Hill confirmed that said aforementioned corsets were unmistakably for an adult woman, albeit however women were more petite at that time and could sustain being strapped into an 00 size garment. Ms Hill said, "A number of corsets during that period were constrictive and unforgiving."
  Let me remind you, worthy reader, we must remember that in the nineteenth century women were shorter, and lacking the benefit of vitamin pills no doubt this caused them to have smaller physical frames. Their lifestyle was reflected in the constraints of the corset that made their existence one of posing beautifully and escaping to the 'fainting couch," as the restraints of the corset caused them shortness of breath. Their most likely talent was playing the pianoforte or singing, albeit they were the darlings of  an elite social class. They were obliged to have a "ladies maid," to dress and undress. It was the lifestyle that had its rules of restraint not only underneath it all but in the outer world of social discourse.  
   A whalebone busk from the mid-19th century, an accessory that was inserted at the center-front of a corset served to straighten a wearer's torso and prevented one from slouching. Now that's something I might need right now as I have a tendency to bend over my computer keys to write this column.
  Featuring more than 70 beautifully crafted undergarments, sleepwear, lounge wear and robes from the Museum's permanent collection, each piece illustrates key shifts in fashion. The bustle contraction made, "a la derriere": an unnatural posterior silhouette that distorted the natural form. The crinoline, its forerunner, wasn't any better and required numerous petticoats to achieve full volume or the "cage" as decried by Monsieur Charles Frederick Worth, the fashion guru of the time.
  Then there are the most charming tea gowns of chiffon, lace, silk and even an accent collar of fur to greet guests in a bygone era of feminine frivolity. Yet, who has time to spend the afternoon in such attire, there's work to be done and miles and miles before we sleep,
  The exhibition runs through the Flapper Girl looks and the soft bandeau's of the Twenties (precursor of the bra) and the elegant bias-cut styles of the Thirties. Most revealing are the "Gay Deceivers" by Warner's--cotton filled falsies of rayon satin that were stuffed into bra cups to create a larger bosom. Then of course, today we have Victoria;s Secret to elevate the bra and give it more cleavage. Nostalgic runs rampant with Emilio Pucci for Formfit Rogers body stockings and the animal print bra and panties by Rudi Gernreich for Exquisite Form. 
   This exhibition is a nostalgic trip down fashions memory lane of how lingerie continues to redefine the relationship between lingerie and the body.
The Museum at FIT is open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 8:00 pm; Saturday 10 to 5 pm; closed Sunday, Monday and Legal holidays. Admission is FREE. Visit
   Ta Ta darlings!!! I been there, seen it all, but it's worth the schleep over to Seventh Avenue at 27th Street just to be reminded how fortunate women are whose unconfined free bodies define today's silhouette and lifestyle.
   Fan mail welcome  Visit Polly's Blogs: amazing women, remarkable men, hidden treasures and her poetry on