Sunday, June 28, 2015

ALICE: 150 Years of Wonderland at the Morgan: Review by Polly Guerin

Alice Growing Tall
With 150 years behind the legend, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland continues to engage the imagination of children and young-at-heart adults worldwide. One wonders what is the draw to the enduring appeal of Lewis Carroll's classic tale? Perhaps it resonates with our desire to escape 'Down the Rabbit Hole' to a magical world of make believe and enchantment. A place where we can join Alice at the Mad Hatter's Tea and while away an afternoon and escape from a plugged in world of computers and fast track communication.
Whatever the reason the Morgan Library & Museum, new exhibit ALICE 150 Years of Wonderland, brings to light the unforgettable history of Wonderland. For the first time in three decades, the original manuscript has travelled from the British Library in London to New York, where it is joined by original drawings and letters, rare editions, vintage photographs, and fascinating objects--many never seen before. The book was published in 1865 with iconic illustrations of Sir John Tenniel. Photography of the images presented here are by Steven Crossot., 2014.
   The Enchanting Tale of Wonderland was first told on "one golden afternoon" by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) to please and entertain Alice Liddell, the child for whom he invented the Alice stories. Author Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Magdalen College.
Mad Hatter Tea Party
University of Oxford examines how this relationship stirred Carroll's imagination and influenced the creation of Wonderland. A book signing follows his talk on Saturday, August 8 at 2 pm and the museum is open until 6pm, plenty of time to revisit Wonderland.
    ALICE EVENTS The Morgan has gone all out with Alice events including the film 'Alice In Wonderland' (1951, 75 minutes). It takes you to a golden afternoon, when young Alice follows the White Rabbit into a nearby rabbit hole. She tumbles into the burrow--and enters the topsy-turvey world of Wonderland! Memorable songs and whimsical escapades highlight Alice's journey, leading to a mad encounter with the Queen of Hearts and her army of playing cards. The short film "Betty in Blunderland.(Dave Feischer, 1934) precedes the screening, July 19, 1 PM. Then, too, there is Wonderland at the Morgan Shop such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Pop-up. Illustrated by Robert Sabuda, this book brings to life about two dozen of the charming character pop-ups.
Painting Red Roses 
     After visiting Wonderland it's time to pop into the Morgan Cafe for afternoon tea where A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT  by American artist, Spencer Finch has created a site-specific installation of colored glass inspired by the Morgan's collection of medieval Books of Hours. By applying films of color on the atrium windows and hanging additional panes of reflective glass in the center, he has transformed the cafe court into an awesome visual spectacle of light and the reflection of colors that cast their rainbow hues on the cafe tables and chairs, allowing visitors to dine in the color of their choice and continue the afternoon's magical experience.
  By the way, of all people, Joyce Carol Oates, the acclaimed author and Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University will discuss her new book, The Last Landscape: A Memoir and her special relationship; with Alice books on September 6, 6:30 PM.
  Ta Ta Darlings!!! I going "Down the Rabbit Hole" for inspiration where I hope to have tea with the Mad Hatter. Fan mail always welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left hand column click on the link to the Blog that resonates with your interest on remarkable women, visionary men, hidden treasures and poetry.

Monday, June 22, 2015

DISCOVERING THE IMPRESSIONISTS: Paul Durand-Ruel, Review By Polly Guerin

Renoir's Dance in the Country
Where would artists who created a style known as Impressionism be without recognition, without exhibitions and most importantly support of an art gallery or art dealer?  It may be surprising to you to know that for one thing, if it wasn't for Paul Durand-Ruel, the great Parisian art dealer, leading artists of the French modern school-- Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Mary Stevenson Cassatt, and many others---may have been less well know, and perhaps their names even buried in the annals of artistic history.
   Although at that time these artists were ridiculed for their metier with lush brushwork, a ground-breaking exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting opening June 24, 2015, reunites for the first time key paintings that were shown in the earliest exhibitions devoted to their work. The exhibit features more than ninety paintings and sculptures part of the dealer's stock and tells the story of an enterprising art dealer who believed and sustained the careers of many artists such as Monet, Renoir and Pissarro, and helped them to achieve great renown.
   Encounter with the Impressionists: Durand-Ruel could have remained quite content with his well-established stable of artists but his reputation for selling works of quality and inventiveness led him to an eventful encounter with Impressionism in London in 1871 when he was introduced to Monet and Pissarro. After acquiring and exhibiting their works, with Durand-Ruel's keen sense of their marketability, he soon started buying Impressionist works on a unprecedented scale. The Philadelphia Museum's exhibit revisits the boldness of this moment, displaying several of these early purchases, including Monet's views of London and Alfred Sisley's The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne.
Sisley's The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne
As if stepping into the footsteps of history the exhibition also reenacts the dramatic moment when in 1872 Durand-Ruel purchased more than twenty-six paintings by Edouard Manet, that marked a turning point for the artist. It was a visionary gamble for Durand-Ruel at a time when there was no established market for Manet. Reunited with Manet's studio are such major works as Moonlight on Boulogne Harbor.

  Durand-Ruel was a master of marketing and established a novel concept of solo exhibitions that many other rival galleries would adapt. Most notably Monet benefited not so much monetarily but through the exhibitions of 1883 and 1892 the public began to recognize Monet's unique talent. The exhibition demonstrates Durand-Ruel's pivotal role in the formation of collections in the United States, where he opened new markets for the impressionists. Not to be missed; nearly all of the exceptional works that will be on view were once part of the gallery stock of the enterprising Durand-Ruel. In addition, part of his much admired personal collection, housed in the family's apartment in Paris, will be reassembled with portraits fry Renoir, a Rodin marble, and a recreated salon door composed of still life and floral panels painted by Monet.
Cassatt's The Child's Bath

  Who was Paul Durand -Ruel? It is interesting to note that Durand-Ruel's first career choice had been to become a missionary and indeed although he did not pursue this career path his was a missionary of sorts who promoted many of the celebrated Impressionist painters. As destiny would direct in 1865 Durand-Ruel inherited his parent's art gallery. He was a bright, young twenty-four year old entrepreneur and by 1870 this young visionary discovered the equally young artists who would become known as the Impressionists. 
   Durand-Ruel was a risk taker and began to promote these "staving artists" works by offering them monthly stipends; hosting single-artists exhibitions; and establishing branches in London, Brussels and new York Between 1871 and 1922, Paul Durand-Ruel purchased an astounding 12,000 paintings by the Impressionists., making Impressionism a household name worldwide. In later years, Claude Monet summed up Durand-Ruel's role in discovering and promoting the Impressionists, "Without Durand, we would have died of hunger, all us Impressionists.".
   Ta Ta Darlings!!! Take a day trip and visit Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA. For exhibition information visit Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click in the left-hand column onto the Blog that resonates with your sensibilities and interest in fashion, visionarymen, womenderterminedtosucceed.etc.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Orson Welles as Harry Lime
Nothing gives a mystery more credence than a black and white film and the restoration of Carol Reed's Film Noir masterpiece, THE THIRD MAN, at the Film Forum is a brilliant new 4K restoration and its first major restoration ever. The film is as relevant today as it was in 1949.  At the Film Forum from June 26-July 9.
   So why is The Third Man worth revisiting? As one reviewer said, "No matter how many times I saw it over the years its magic never faded, I keep discovering dark new delights," For instance, THE THIRD MAN remains the only movie on both the American Film Institute and British Film Institute top 100 lists of, respectively, the greatest American and British films of all times (the Brits named it their Number One), as well as being named the Greatest Foreign Film of all the Japanese.
The dark, murky sewers in post war Vienna
    It's a dark and murky mystery that draws the viewer into the intrigue in rubble-strewn postwar Vienna, where Holly Martins, an American writer of pulp fictions, portrayed by Joseph Cotten, arrives to meet up with his boyhood friend aptly named, Harry Lime, to join in a business venture with the sleek deceiver played by Orson Welles, only to find him dead---or is he? The film portrayal of Martins as a naive individual makes him the perfect foil to pursue the levels of deception and discover his friend's corruption.
  It's triumph of atmosphere---with its Vienna locations; its dark shadows and low murky streets and never before seen, dripping underground sewers overflowing with rivers of waste.. But the drama's most engaging feature is the iconoclastic music that pulls the mystery along with its unforgettable zither theme created by Anton Karas.
Scarred by war and haunted by black marketeers, Vienna is the ideal setting for the drama mystery. Adding to the story line the city is governed by the occupying forces of four different countries: Great Britain, the United States, Russia and France.
   Bereted Trevor Howard as Major Calloway, who contributes his most brilliant British military impersonation, is an engaging personality who is both a mean-spirited interrogator who morphs into the role of  compassionate benefactor.
Joseph Cotton as Holly Martins at  Riesenrad Ferris Wheel
  I would be remiss if I said more about the really need to see this riveting portrayal by Orson Welles and the type cast characters who make THE THIRD MAN an all time classic. It's a rare collaboration of the legendary producers Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick and Carol Reed's second collaboration with the novelist/screenwriter Graham Greene. A Rialto Pictures Release.
At the FILM FORUM, 209 West Houston Street, New York. 10014. Box Office:212.727.8110. Or
Ta ta darlings!!! I still cannot get over those dripping sewer scenes in THE THIRD MAN. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left-hand column click on the Blog that resonates with your interest.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Day Trip to GROUNDS FOR SCULPTURE'S New Exhibitions: Review By Polly Guerin

Artist Jae Ko and detail from "Force of Nature" 
Why go to New Jersey to immerse yourself in Art? That question deserves a positive answer because Seward Johnson's Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) sprawls across 42 magnificently landscaped acres in the heart of central New Jersey. It's a magical place, a perfect day trip, where art and nature provide the parkland setting for a constantly evolving collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures, classical studies as well as the new and monumental work of emerging artist's like Jae Ko, Karl Stirner, Jonas Stirner, Lauren Clay, and Robert Lobe.
  You are greeted at the GFS entrance gate where several people in a lifelike sculpture wave a "Welcome"  banner "Thought You'd Never Get Here!" and one of the revelers seemingly is blowing a bugle to alert your arrival. Then too, other familiar lifelike figures dot the landscape, a stationery postman, a worker cleaning art gallery windows, a man reading the newspaper, a couple embracing and three young men propped up against a wall play dice, all seem magically engaged in every day activities, but the sighting of live peacocks strutting leisurely throughout the grounds adds  pure enchantment to the setting.
   JAE KO. But, the real drama is in the East Gallery on the first floor of the Domestic Arts Building where you can view selections from Washington, DC-based artist Jae Ko. Her colossal commissioned installation, Force of Nature, incorporates 20,000 pounds of recycled Kraft paper. She drew her inspiration from topographic and geologic forms to create a monumental , layered paper relief sculpture that spans over 80 linear feet transforming the East Gallery into the viewer's own interpretation.  As for me, I thought that the work looked like a progression of gigantic waves from a sea of my own imagination. Then, too, other viewers may see differently. As one person commented, "It looks like icebergs!"  That is what is so wonderful about art...the viewer's point of view can be given on several degrees of interpretation. The colossal installation using huge rolls of paper, transforms this common medium normally reserved for shipping and packing into a work of fluid abstraction and monumental beauty.
Karl Stirner, Untitled 1957
  KARL and JONAS STIRNER This father and son's powerful steel sculptures command your attention in the Museum Building. Throughout the new installations, here and elsewhere, Chief curator and Artistic Director, Tom Moran's lively and informative discussion provided clarity and comprehension to appreciate these unique works of art.  Of Karl Stirner's, Decades in Steel exhibition Moran said, "Karl Stirner stands alone in the creation of formidable body of work that is unreplicated by anyone else." Jonas Stirner follows that creative tradition of welding and manipulating found steel into powerful yet whimsical and thought- provoking sculptures.
   LAUREN CLAY's artistic intent sets the stage for Drishti, a Sanskrit word from yoga. She works primarily in paper and her new body of work consists of large paper sculptures along with mural-sized prints of her vibrantly colored hand-matched paper. Drishti, refers to the direction of one's gaze during  meditation. The walls are mounted with yards of digitally printed, hand-dyed and hand-marbled wallpaper, which reaches in history to early American decoration..
Lauren Clay's Drishti Wallpaper Creation
 I would be remiss if I did not mention ROBERT LOBE'S richly textured aluminum reliefs made by hammering sheets of aluminum over natural tree and forest forms in a technique adopted from the tradition of repousee. The exhibition features a selection of masterful collaborative works that incorporate the noted paintings of New York-based painter Kathleen Gilje.
Grounds for Sculpture located at 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, New Jersey 08819. For additional information for time frame of the exhibits, hours and membership and calendar of events visit.:. Or call 609-586-0616. Dining options await he visitor. I especially liked the restaurant with seating outdoors overlooking a pond right off the Visitor's Center. The Park is open year-round.
   Ta Ta Darlings!!! There's so much more to enjoy at GFS...not to be missed;  the life-size Monumentals, Gold Bless America, The Times Square Kiss, French Impressionistic Dancers and the classic, Beyond the Frame vignettes. Fan mail always welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click in the left hand column, the Blog that resonates with your interest on hidden treasures in New York, womendeterminedtosucceed, visonarymen and poetryfromtheheart.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Antwerp is climbing up he ranks of Global Fashion Capitals
All the world is an arena where the fashion warlords vie for top position in the global marketplace.While the 'Big Four' leaders---New York, Paris, London and Milan have captured first place in the race for fashion supremacy--- emerging cities, such as Seoul, Shanghai, Berlin, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, Mumbai and Stockholm are also on the quest to rise to global prominence.  Such is the topic of The Museum at FIT's exhibition, GLOBAL FASHION CAPITALS. No need to take a trip abroad to see all the fashion diversity,  all you need do is to head over to The Museum at FIT and see the show, which runs through November 24, 2015.
    More than 70 garments and accessories by designers are on display ranging from the father of Haute Couture, Charles Frederick Worth's 1890 couture cape to a beaded fringe dress by Lagos Designer Lisa Folawiyo. Important to know that all garments are from the museum's permanent collection, and many of the designers have never before been featured in an American museum.
Big Park, dress, spring 2015, Seoul
As the New York Times noted in a 2008 article titled, "The Sun Never Sets on the Runway," at any given moment, somewhere in the world, a city is hosting a fashion week event. The question is: "Why Fashion." Well, honey, it's big business. Emerging cities realize the economic value of the fashion industry, as well as the value of fashion as a source of "soft power" to communicate identity and spread cultural influence throughout the world. The exhibition makes the case that multiple factors---from economic conditions to government support---combine to help create a relevant global fashion city. As a result, hundreds of cities worldwide have begun hosting fashion weeks in hopes of attracting international press. Whew!!! As a fashion editor it was tough enough to review the 'Big Four' fashion icons, but now other international cities are tugging at the fashion press to recognize their contribution to the fashion universe. Who will be the fifth city to top the list is any one's guess.
    India and China have both developed fashion industries from strong manufacturing bases and in recent years Mumbai has eclipsed New Dehli as India's fashion capital. Seoul, for one, has risen as one of Asia's most exciting fashion capitals during the last decade. With the support of the South Korean government fashion as a cultural export and brands such as LIE SANGBONG and Big Park are rapidly breaking into the fashion scene.
Yohji Yamamoto, corset, 1991, Tokyo 
Ariele Elia, a curator of the show said, "Cities vying for international recognition stimulates tremendous competition which also puts emphasis on designers to be even more creative." Elizabeth Way, co-curator worked in tandem with Ms. Elia to select and coordinate the garment selections and style the exhibit. It opens with a digital style map, featuring the most current global fashion trends.  Street style and runways images from 20 fashion capitals show an identity unique to each city. The exhibition then continues thematically by city, beginning with the established fashion capital, Paris, New York, London and Milan, followed by the emerging cities. There is a lot to cover and to discover that beyond our fashion borders there are cities worldwide with viable fashion centers, some fueled by their manufacturing industries.
    Ta Ta darlings, the FIT Fashion Museum is located at Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, hours: Tues-Fri noon-8pm, Sat. 10am-5pm.
Closed on Sunday. Admission is Free. Contact: 212.217-4558 or Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left hand column click on the links to womendeterminedtosucceed, visionarymen, hiddentreasures
and poetryfromtheheart.

Monday, June 1, 2015

'MIRROR MIRROR...Frida Kahlo's Photographs" Review by Polly Guerin

Frida Looking into Mirror on the Patio of Casa Azul 
If mirrors could talk what would they say to Frida Kahlo?  The rare and vintage photographs of the Mexican Artist, by twenty of the most legendary photographers of the 20th century, reveal the personal and poignant side of Frida's complex intimate life, in a record-breaking exhibition 'MIRROR MIRROR...Frida Kahlo's Photographs" at Throckmorton Fine Art. through September 12, 2015. At 145 East 57th Street (Third floor).
     Perhaps Frida's fascinating with mirrors can best be explained by Dr. Salomon Grimberg, M.D., one of the leading experts on the life and work of Frida Kahlo.  In his recent talk entitled, "Frida saw herself in photographs before discovering mirrors,"  he explained that Frida's father was a photographer, and as a girl, she saw her looks in his photographs before she discovered mirrors, which became inseparable companions that provided her with a sense of self. The image left is a photograph by Lola Alvarez Bravo, who claimed that Kahlo was sought after by photographers because of her aesthetic allure.
"Frida and her exotic beauty are part of the universal conscious and everyone was part of that." There are many other photographers referenced in the show including Hector Garcia, Antonio Kahlo, Berenice Kolka and Nickolas Murray, among others. Five works by the great German-born photographer, Giselle Freund  were taken during a two year period beginning in 1950 when Freund was immersed in Mexican culture and spent a great deal of time at Kahlo and Diego Rivera's home. Her powerful images are a testament to Kahlo's strength and endurance during incredibly trying times.
    No doubt, the mirror image of herself was what Frida needed to confirm her relevancy in world that mainly existed at La Casa Azul, her home in Mexico. . Spencer Trockmorton said, "Frida Kahlo's life and art has inspired the world for decades. In many ways she was a champion at overcoming a life of personal tragedy and disappointment. Many of her paintings are self-portraits which enable us to see just how she used her talents to portray her experiences handling challenges that might have consumed those with less determination..Her ability to rise above so many obstacles has left an indelible mark, and is perhaps her greatest achievement."
Photographer, Nickolas Murray's "Frida with Deer"
Frida was often in pain, largely as a result of a tragic 1926 accident in which a bus she was riding in collided with a train, leaving teenage Kahlo with a crushed spine and right leg, among other injuries.As a result, Kahlo endured countless surgeries during her life, yet Frida's career as a painter was borne as a result of those injuries. When she was confined to bed she began to paint.
    Her German-born father and Mexican mother had raised her at  La Casa Azul and her studio and gardens there were where she sought refuge and inspiration throughout her life, which ended before her 47th birthday.
   As much, if not more than any movie star in Mexico, Kahlo was photographed and her photos nurtured the limelight around her. Today, those same photographs, which drew the public with her magic, continue seducing others. It is time to visit the Trockmorton Fin Art gallery to garner a rare glimpse into the life a remarkable woman who was determined to succeed beyond the confinement of her incapacitating circumstances.. So often, her paintings reflect the torment of her pain but they also introduce us to suffering that inspired her fascinating body of work.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! I found Dr. Grimberg;s talk so very interesting and insightful. Don't miss this rare opportunity to get to know Frida better. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left-hand column click on the link to the Blog that meets your interest.
    The image left: Frida in Garden, Casa Azul is by Gisele Freund. The Throckmorton show has been staged to coincide with a comprehensive series of events at the new York Botanical Garden, that includes a show of Frida Kahlo's paintings and works on paper and highlights Kahlo's intense interest in the natural world of botanicals. "Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life at NYBG also features a dramatically 'reimangined' version of Frida Kahlo's garden and studio at La Casa Azul at the Enid A Haupt Conservatory.