Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Every year, celebrated interior designers are chosen to transform a luxury Manhattan home into an elegant exhibition of fine furnishings, art and technology and the Kips Bay Decorator Show House does not disappoint, Located at the Arthur Sachs Mansion at 58 East 66 Street in New York City's iconic Lenox Hill neighborhood this annual prestigious event, entrance fee $35, helps to raise critical funds for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club that helps to improve the lives of thousands of bright talented young people. It also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the the club.
Gail Green's "An Artful Loo"
     "An Artful Loo" by Gail Green Interiors is worth taking into account. Inspired by the bold visual beauty and graphic imagery of Keith Harng's artwork, the powder room is designed around Ascot's new ceramic tile collection, carried by Hasting Tile & Bath, called "Game of Fifteen."  A tribute to the Master Graffiti artist, the tiles have anthropomorphic-like themes that are sharp and chic, graphic and poignant.With maze-like forms, at a distance they form a pattern: up close, they form a story. This powder room has a playful ambiance and is truly "An Artful Loo."
          Rich embellishments As you walk through this year's house with your cell phones and note pads, gathering cards,  fresh ideas illuminate the premises,
Alessandra Branca's Living Room
such as, Jamie Drake's front hall, wine-dark walls flecked with Japanese mica. Traditional French Art Deco and beautiful marquetry draw attention as does a mix of periods and styles, such as,  Alessandra Branca's cosy, rosy living room with marine life, candles, books and orchids, the sofa backed by a Chinese lacquer screen.
          The over-the-top red and white gingham dining room, however, is both startling and inviting comments. As I observed; the walls the pillows quite
The Gingham Dining Room 
overwhelm with gingham.
        Pulled Together in 4 Days: Clients of interior designers my rightly wonder how this show house was pulled together with such panache and bravado in four weeks. Charles Pavarini's  "Manhattan Midnight Lounge," a glittering room with a pewter-leaf tavertine marble, myriad LED technologies and deep blue strie walls, in a brilliant remark once told a client, "It's because you were not involved..Yes, once the client/customer gets involved there are often unexpected delays and then even more reason's to become exasperated.

Friday, May 15, 2015

FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life - Review by Polly Guerin

If you ever wanted to visit Frida Kahlo’s garden at the Casa Azul (Blue House), also known as the Museo Frida Kahlo, the artist’s lifelong home outside of Mexico City-- all you need to do is to day trip over to The New York Botanical Garden. Celebrating Frida’s art, her gardens and her life the NYBG exhibition focuses exclusively on Kahlo’s intense interest in the botanical world and her complex use of plant imagery in her paintings. If you are a Kahlo fan as I am, or even a neophyte art enthusiast, this first solo exhibition on Kahlo in New York City in more than ten years, does not disappoint and is on view from May 16 through November 1, 2015.
BLUE WALLS FRAMED FRIDA'S GARDEN:: Frida Kahlo is revered as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century and is recognized as an international symbol of Mexican and feminist identity. Her compositions express her unique world view in portraits and still lifes filled with colorful, compelling images of flowers, foliage, fruits and animals. The landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is full of joy in the visual exploration of the colors and textures of Frida Kahlo’s deep connection to the natural world and to Mexico. Passing the indigo-blue replicas of the walls that framed Frida’s home garden, Casa Azul, one is at first startled by the luminosity of the walls as they serve as a backdrop along lava rock paths lined with eye-pleasing flower beds representing the colorful garden plants of Mexico.
     The Casa Azul Pyramid: This leads you to a scale version of the pyramid erected at the Casa Azul. Frida and her husband, famed muralist Diego Rivera were prolific collectors of Mexico’s historical treasures and their home overflowed with rare and unique object d’art of Mexican heritage. The pyramid with its bold yellow and blue accents stands before you in a dramatic display against an indigo blue wall background. It was originally created to display pre-Hispanic art collected by Diego Rivera and here it showcases traditional terra-cotta pots filled with Mexican cacti and succulents. A niche adjacent to the pyramid  provides an intimate insight as it contains a desk and easel, reminding visitors that Kahlo’s work in her studio was intertwined with her life and her garden.

     Kahlo’s Rare Paintings: Take a stroll along the garden path to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Art Gallery where art treasures on the sixth floor feature an exhibit of  fourteen of Kahlo’s paintings, which highlight the artist’s use of botanical imagery in her work. The paintings focus on her lesser-known yet equally spectacular still lifes and include Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940), Still Life with Parrot and Flag (1951) and Self-Portrait inside a Sunflower (1954). Frida’s still life paintings depict a variety of fruit and flowers, including many native to Mexico, alongside animals, Mexican folk art, and pre-Hispanic objects.
    The Two Fridas:  The painting, The Two Fridas, gets its due recognition in the Britton Rotunda, on the fourth floor of the Library building . Not to be missed, it is an installation of specially commissioned artwork replicating Frida’s dual persona. Contemporary Artist in Residence, Humberto Spindola has re-created an installation of paper dresses that first debuted at the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City in 2009. Inspired by Katho's double self-portrait, The Two FridaS (1939), Spindola re-creates her iconic dresses, one in a native Mexican costume, the other in a Victorian gown, representing Frida’s two lives. He employs acid-free tissue paper and light-resistant pigments to create long-lasting works of fine art evoking traditional 17th- and 18th-century Mexican craft techniques.
    A rich programming compliments the Conservatory and Library exhibitions, including a poetry walk and poetry readings, film screenings, entertainment.  Stop by the Cantina and sit at tables or benches and relax against colorful pillows while sipping typical Mexican cocktail as you listen to lively folk to mariachi music typical of Frieda’s country.   Wide range of programs include lectures, a Film Series, Cooking with Frida demonstrations, and Frida’s Flora and Fauna. Weekends are especially festive with music and dance performances with live music, cocktails and Mexican-inspired dinner menus.
      At The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458. For more information contact call 718.817.8700 or visit
    A new mobile phone experience, produced in collaboration with the museum of Modern Art, allows visitors to explore the exhibition from anywhere in the world.  

   Ta Ta Darlings!!! Day Tripping to the NYBG is an easy hop on the Metro North. Fan mail welcome at Please check Polly’s Bogs on and click on the links in the left hand column.

Monday, May 11, 2015

REVOLUTION OF THE EYE, at The Jewish Museum: Review by Polly Guerin

Babs in full blown drama is the first screen you encounter as you enter the Jewish Museum's exhibit "Revolution of the Eye, Modern Art and the Birth of American Television." The exhibit, running through to September 20,  is a stunning tribute to the golden years of American television. It's nostalgic trip back in time when television was innovative, adventuresome and tied into the world of art and its celebrated artists.. Here we see the 23-year old Barbra Streisand dashing about in a  colorful Op-Art dress, singing, "Gotta find someplace...some place where I can just be me,"
     In this excerpt form Ms. Streisand's 1966 CBS showcase "Color Me Barbra," the young starlet dashes about in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the modernist paintings on the walls are more than just backdrop. We see  her interaction with the art while entering portraits, for instance,  by Modigliani and Eakins, while she sings as the women they painted. It's really charming and entertaining and the high spirited Babs delivers an interesting performance that melds art into television with equal panache.
    It was the years from the 1950 to the 1970s when television was a neophyte and network television seeking ways to communicate intermingled with art the of its time. Clips, advertising, periodicals, merchandise reveal the influence of artists from Marcel  Duchamp and Salvatore Dali to Ben Shahn, Saul Bass, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.
     The show takes you on a journey through the years of The Twilight Zone with the surrealism influences of Dali and Magritte that Rod Serling, the shows creator, dutifully acknowledged.This was television for intelligent viewing with a large screen featuring a Chagall-like field of stars on The Twilight Zone, another had a Duchamp spiral. Television then was educational and it was entertaining, and it introduced viewers to innovative and inventive programming. For instance, the influence of modern art and design, such as the famous eye logo, the corporate identity of CBS, is presented in all it incarnations.
   Later sections of the exhibit focus on the influence of Op and Pop art with references to "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In," and "The Ed Sullivan Show."
    Don;t miss this opportunity to take a turn down memory lane when the world of high art onscreen had its finest hour, but died out in the 1970s. Viewers of the exhibition may come away from thinking: "I wish they had shows like that now." At the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, at 92nd Street.
     Ta Ta darlings, Babs never disappoints!.  Fan mail welcome at  Log into Polly's Blogs on fashion, beauty, remarkablemen, womendetermined to succeed at and in the left hand column click on the link to the Blog that may resonate with your interest.

Monday, May 4, 2015


In a way, "China: Through the Looking Glass," on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 7 through August 16, 2015, is not about China per se, but a fantasy tour of high fashion juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains and other art. Films like "The World of Suzy Wong," reveal enchanting reflections through the looking glass of Chinese imagery and fashion.
   In this collaboration between the Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art, the exhibition explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries.
   The expansive exhibition starts with a mirrored dark tunnel  that at times I found too dark to navigate while video clips of Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Lost Emperor" leads to the dragon robe worn by Puyl, The Last Emperor, when he was four years old.  The effect is in dramatic contrast with the centuries-old Chinese costumes and all-gold mannequins decked out with designer creations by Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Paul Poiret, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy and Vivienne Tam to name a few. From the earliest period of European contact with China in the 16th century, the West has been enchanted with the enigmatic objects and imagery from the East, providing inspiration for fashion designers , whose fashions are infused at every turn with romance, and through the looking glass make-believe.
  The Mad Hatter, London-based milliner Stephen Jones, created over 120 or elaborate headpieces that add whimsical charm to the mannequins' heads.
   The Department of Asian Art gets its most striking transformation. Production designer, Nathan Crowley, has created a moon like projection for the bamboo forest that rises in The Astor Court.  It features a thematic vignette dedicated to Chinese opera, focusing on John Galliano's spring 2003 Christian Dior Haute Couture collection.
    The exhibit features more than 140 examples of Haute Couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside masterpieces of Chinese Art. Film representations of China are incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China have been shaped by narratives that draw upon popular culture. It allows us to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which we understand the richness of Chinese history.
    Andrew Bolton, Curator, The Costume Institute , organized the exhibition and the esteemed filmmaker Won Kar-Wai is the exhibition's artistic director working with his longtime collaborator William Chang, who supervised styling.
A book, China: Through the Looking Glass, by Andrew Bolton, has text by Mei Mei Rado, Wong Kar Wai, Homay King, Harold Koda and an interview with John Galliano, and is illustrated with new photographs. The Yale University Press book, a gold-stamped edition is $45.  An opening concert with pianist Lang Lang takes place in the Great Hall on May 14. For further information check the Museum's website
   Ta Ta Darlings!!! It's a fascinating exhibition that takes visitors through the looking glass into China's influence past and present.  Fan mail welcome at  Check out Polly's Blogs on