Washington Square Art Fair
Artists & Artisans Spend Weekend Selling Wonders
Over the three day Memorial Day Weekend, dozens of artists and artisans congregated along University Place between Washington Square Park and 13th Street in the Village. There, underneath the lily-white tents, they hung their works for the public to view and purchase. The artists come from near and far and provided a mélange of choices for the aesthetically aware.
I began my tour of the Washington Square Art Fair just north of the eastern corner of Washington Square Park. The white tents lined the sidewalks on both sides of the street, as the auto traffic had not been blocked. People were definitely out and about, as NYU had held commencement exercises earlier in the week, and the students were to be found en masse in Washington Square Park. But along University Place it wasn’t just the students who were browsing the Washington Square Art Fair, but also many native New Yorkers looking for objets d’art.
Generally the artists I photographed and interviewed were a bit older, but I plan to include several other exhibitors when I post the slide show to provide some view into the depth and breadth of the Washington Square Art Fair as a whole. The artists I conversed with had generally aged well, and the complexity and textured flavor of their interests and lives emerged in the aesthetics embedded in their works. These artists had stayed constant in their pursuit of aesthetic expression over the years, and their works evoked memories and scenes depicted in skillful portrayals of bygone eras, as well as of enthusiastic passions of the present.
Click here to view our report about the Washington Square Art Fair with photos.
NYC Village Halloween Parade
A Brief History of the Village Halloween Parade in Manhattan
The Village Halloween Parade is the only nighttime parade in New York City, and according to Wikipedia, the only nighttime parade in the entire country.
The Village Halloween Parade first began in 1974 when a Manhattan puppeteer, Ralph Lee, organized artists, musicians and theater people in a celebration of the arts in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. In the early years the parade was cast as street theater and it was not only wildly reflective of the times, but also outrageously reflective of the gay scene in the West Village in the 1970's.
Within a few years the parade expanded its route out of the West Village into Washington Square, and within ten years the parade had greatly outgrown the Village neighborhood streets and was moved onto Sixth Avenue.
As the Village Halloween Parade grew in size, some of its outrageousness was lost. The ability to break through was lost possibly because over the years the American cultural scene has continually opened up, and thus it has become increasingly difficult to shock the public. And possibly because there are so many theatrical vignettes in the Village Halloween Parade, that it's harder to break through.
Each year it seems puppeteers continue to make their showing, reflective of the Village Halloween Parade origins. And artists, theatrical people and musicians continue to participate in the parade, as do many New Yorkers seeking a spot on the street scene stage.
The parade route begins at Houston and 6th Avenue and heads north to 14th Street, traversing the entire length of the West Village. Every year hundreds of thousands line the streets, seeking to enjoy the visual, musical and theatrical feast. It's a bit like the American version of Mardi Gras, even though Halloween itself originated as an Irish Harvest Festival over a millenium ago.
Céad míle fáilte & have a Happy Halloween.
Free Things To Do In Manhattan - Free Summer Concerts
Free Concerts In Manhattan Parks - Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, East Village, West Village, SoHo & Tribeca
This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in Queens this summer.
Click here to view a listing of the dates and times of free things to do in Manhattan - free concerts in Manhattan.
Architectural Digest Design Show
Provides Vignettes of Living Lovely at Piers 92 & 94
I attended the Architectural Digest Design Show on Piers 92 & 94 on Thursday afternoon. The show ran through last weekend, providing the public with an opportunity to see the latest and greatest in urban living design and technology.
The show spanned both Piers and included sections dedicated to kitchen, bath, living and dining areas of the home and with a little imagination, possibly the office as well.
The show was well attended by designers, manufacturers, the media, salespeople, buyers and browsers. And the mood seemed buoyant.
Click here to read the rest of our report on the Architectural Digest Design Show incuding the DIFFA on Pier 92.
Designing for Quality Retail & Community Use
Design Trust Unveils ‘Laying the Groundwork’ at the Center for Architecture
I had an opportunity to attend the introductory presentation of ‘Laying the Groundwork’, which was heralded as a seminal document put together under the auspices of the Design Trust in Manhattan. The event was held at the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place, just south of Washington Square Park.
The Design Trust was founded in 1995 by Andrea Woodner, the daughter of Ian Woodner who founded the Jonathan Woodner Company, which Ian named after his son Jonathan – Andrea’s brother. The company was renamed Woodner and is a diversified real estate management [2,500 units] and development company in the Washington, D.C. and New York metro markets.
Andrea was first and foremost a sculptor. She later obtained a Masters Degree in Architecture from Columbia University and then went on to found the Design Trust with the intent to fuse the expertise of designers with the use of public space. She defined public space as “anywhere you don’t need a key to get into”. Andrea stepped down earlier this year as the Board President of Design Trust and was replaced by Eric Rothman, President of HR & A Advisors, a consulting firm.
The thrust of Design Trust has been to marry private design work with the development of public space to create win / win situations. The following is a summary of some of their most significant achievements since the organization was founded.
We'll post more at a later date.
American Abstract Artists Exhibit
Visible Histories Exhibit at the Morris-Warren Gallery LES
I attended the opening reception for a new exhibit at the Morris Warren Gallery at 171 Chrystie Street, just east of SoHo on the Lower East Side. The exhibit is entitled Visible Histories and it features 60 artists who are members of the American Abstract Artists group.
In the early part of the 20th century, American abstract artists found it difficult to gain recognition and respect – and hence venues – where they could exhibit their work. It’s important to remind readers that widespread use of television and the internet were many decades away, and that even print publishing was just beginning to emerge as a mass media. Thus art shows and the attendant publicity they generated, were critical to the emergence of new art forms and new artists.
The first notable American abstract art show opened in 1913 at the 69th Infantry Armory at Lexington Avenue & 26th Street. Two decades later in 1936, the American Abstract Artists group was founded by New York City artists seeking to find exhibit venues and recognition for their nascent abstract art form. The American Abstract Artists group went on to survive the remainder of the Great Depression, WWII and today is one of the oldest, continuously operating artist groups in the nation.
Follow us to the next page as we continue our journey into the New York City art world. Our report includes a bit of history about the evolution of American art and modern art in Manhattan as well as a closer look at the Visible Histories exhibit including excerpts from discussions with the curator, gallery owners and one of the artists.
The Winter Antiques Show NYC
A Fascinating World Of Cultural Collectibles
I attended the Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side [UES]. It was my first visit, although I had walked past it over the course of many Winters, on my way home from work. Little did I know what pleasant surprises awaited.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that the name - Winter Antiques Show - is as old as some of the items on display and is in much need of an update. At the show I found a fascinating world of cultural collectibles – many of which dated back a century or more - but also many of which were from the 20th century. The cut off for exhibited pieces is 1969.
For most of us furniture is what first comes to mind when one hears the word antique, but this was nothing like the Antiques Road Show. It encompassed a much broader selection of things. I would soon encounter specialists in the fields of rare books, Venetian glass, impressionist paintings, Chinese porcelains, European jewelry, French furniture and early American and British photography.
Within these categories I would found treasures that included an original book authored by Benjamin Franklin, early Venini glass, a couple of William Merritt Chase paintings [the Chase school of art was the predecessor of the Parsons School of Design], porcelains from the Ming Dynasty, early Cartier jewelry and photos of a young Senator Kennedy and a defiant Winston Churchill signed by the photographers who took them.
Click here to read the rest of our story about the Winter Antiques Show NYC at the Park Avenue Amory on the Upper East Side. The story includes a photo slide show of many of the rare antiquities and objets d’arte.
NYC Museums: The Frick Collection
A Gilded Age Mansion Turned Art Museum In NYC
A year ago I had the opportunity to attend the opening presentation of a new arrival at The Frick Collection on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was a beautiful May day as I walked north along the east side of Central Park. I noticed banners hanging from the street lights on Fifth Avenue announcing the opening of the new art exhibit at The Frick Collection.
The museum was once the home of Henry Clay Frick. Henry Frick grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania in the middle of the 19th century. By the time Frick was thirty he and his cousins had cornered the lion's share of the coke business in the state of Pennsylvania. Coke was made by burning off the unstable elements in coal, thus making it a reliable high-intensity fuel that was relatively abundant and inexpensive to produce. In the 19th century coke was the fuel was used in the blast furnaces of the steel mills, a practice which continues in many steel plants around the world to this day.
The Frick Collection: History Of Henry Clay Frick
In the early 1880's Henry Clay Frick's coke company joined Andrew Carnegie's steel company. The merged companies became a vertically integrated enterprise which subsequently provided Frick's coke company with a steady buyer of its product, and provided Carnegie's steel company with a steady source of fuel. Together these enterprises grew rapidly, and in the process made Frick and Carnegie, two of the wealthiest men in America.
Both the coke and steel industries had employment issues related to working conditions, fair pay and health hazards. The unions attempted to organize their labor forces and were beaten back by the joint enterprise of the Frick Coke Company and the Carnegie Steel Company, lead by Henry Clay Frick. Frick oversaw the effort to thwart them, meeting force with force. Several men died in the clash and henceforth Frick has been vilified as one of the 19th century, industrialist robber barons. But Frick is not alone as one of the robber barons, as the likes of his cohort Andrew Carnegie [steel], J.P. Morgan [banking], John D. Rockefeller [oil] and Jay Gould [banking] are just a few of those who are included in this category.
In 1911, J.P. Morgan finessed a deal that merged together the Carnegie Steel Company, with several other enterprises, into what became U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel was, in the early 20th century, one of the largest corporations in America, and at its peak controlled nearly two thirds of American steel production. It's important to add that this was at a time when steel was growing as one of the essential building materials of its time, as it was being used to build trains, railroads, ships, electrical generators and beginning to be used in new inventions like automobiles, elevators, high rise construction [Flatiron Building], appliances [telephones] and as shipping containers [cans] for consumer products.
Upper East Side: Once Home To Robber Barons
Many of the robber barons lived in Manhattan along Fifth Avenue in what is today called the Midtown and the Upper East Side neighborhoods. The robber barons gave some portion of their considerable wealth back to the communities in the form of art [Frick], education [John D. Rockefeller bankrolled the University of Chicago], art & history [J.P. Morgan to the Metropolitan Museum and his home is the Morgan Library & Museum] and libraries [Andrew Carnegie gifts helped start about half the public libraries in the U.S.].
Carnegie is the most notable philanthropist, as he gave nearly all of his $300 million wealth away [equivalent of tens of billions and likely more today] before he died. And Jay Gould is most notable in the other extreme, as he's reputed to not have given a dime back to the community. But that said, it's worth noting that one of Jay Gould's heirs subsequently donated Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown to the National Historic Trust. But I digress.
Frick had a taste for art and objets d'art. From the beginning of his economic ascendance he began collecting. And as his wealth grew, he began acquiring many of the world's artistic and aesthetic treasures. Before he died, he bequeathed some of his wealth to the communities of western Pennsylvania in the form of the mansions he built and / or lived in, along with many of the fine art, furniture and objets d'art he had purchased during his lifetime. Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh are home to much of what Frisk left the public.
Click here to read the rest of our report about The Frick Collection / Frick Museum / Frick Mansion on the Upper East Side UES.
Art Show At The Armory
March 8, 2015 / Upper East Side Things To Do / Manhattan Art Shows / Manhattan Buzz. I attended the Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory on Sunday afternoon, as the five day show was about to end, and things were winding down. The Art Show provides visitors and buyers with a depth and breadth of beauty that spans both media and time.
One of my first stops was at the Hirscl & Adler Galleries booth where they had curated an exhibit entitled Winold Reiss And Jazz Age Modernism. It was an Art Deco exhibit that carried some of the style and vibration from the jazz age of the 1920's and 1930's into the present.
The photo at right was taken at the Hirschl & Adler Galleries booth at the show. The painting comes from the Winold Reiss estate. Winold Reiss [born 1886] was a German born American artist who was fascinated by his adopted home [America]. Early in his career he began venturing west to capture the American Indian in an unjudgmental aesthetic. He returned to New York and was drawn to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920's and beyond.
The Hirschl & Adler Galleries also displayed several of Winold's abstract works which showed the progression from the characterization of the real to the abstract. One of the works appeared to have significant influences of Cubism in it.
And this was just the beginning of my foray into the 2015 Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory.
I would literally see thousands of art works that one cannot see in a museum, as they are privately owned. But with some luck some of these pieces will eventually end up in museums, as they were created by masters of the 20th century. More to come at a later date including a photo slide show.
International Center For Photography
ICP's Last Show On 6th Avenue, Sabastio Salgado, Ends
January 12, 2015/ Midtown Manhattan NYC / Art Museums Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz. The International Center For Photography closed on Sunday for the last time at its 6th Avenue location. The museum now goes on hiatus pending arrangements for its new home in the Bowery. The museum is expected to re-open mid year somewhere near the New Museum, so stay tuned.
I attended the Sabastio Salgado photo exhibit last week and shot photos of the work, the museum and the some of the last folks to visit the museum in its 6th Avenue location. The Salgado exhibit was as engaging as it was moving. It was about the environment, capturing some of what remains of raw nature on the planet.
Sabastio's work took us down onto the Antarctic continent, into the South American rain forests as well as into the jungle and plains of Africa. All of the photos were shot in black and white as Salgado took us on a journey into the vanishing natural environment.
We'll have more, including a photo slide show at a later date.
The Salon: Art + Design
Moving Portraits, Fabled Teapots, Art Deco & Sofa As Canvas
I attended The Salon: Art + Design show at the Park Avenue Armory last weekend. The Salon is, as billed, a mix of art and design for the home, oftentimes manifested in furniture. The international show featured over 50 exhibitors, most which were from Europe and America.
The show is an opportunity to view old guard and avante garde home design of the western world. The Salon: Art + Design is in its third year, and included an eclectic mix of interesting objets d'arte. The visual feast included portraits of birds, butterflies and a nightime nature scene that moved in response to your motion. These are similar in kind to the moving portraits at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. In the photo to your right is an interactive wall hanging that allows you, with the movement of your hand, initiate some action in the scene.
It is one of eight of a limited edition selling for about $10,000 U.S. dollars through Priveekollektie Contemporary Art | Design, an art / design dealer from Heusden in the Netherlands.
The show ends Monday evening.
We'll have more on this show at a later date, including a photo slide show of many of the objects on exhibit at The Salon: Art + Design show at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan.
Fine Prints Fair: Seeing Is Believing
A Tour Through The Fine Prints Fair at the Park Avenue Armory
I spent an enjoyable time browsing the galleries of the International Fine Print Dealers Association Fair late Sunday afternoon. It was the last of the four day fine print art show at the Park Avenue Armory. The deals had been done, many fine prints had been sold, and the gallery owners and managers were probably contemplating going home when I approached them.
There are roughly 160 members of the IFPDA [International Fine Print Dealers Association], most of whom were exhibiting this weekend. The IFPDA exhibitors come from around the world, although most notably from Europe and America.
I met an array of gallery owners and dealers and learned a bit about the fine art of prints which one exhibitor described to me as the collaboration of art and technology. In the photo to your right is Pace Prints gallery owner Richard Solomon standing alongside a Chuck Close self portrait. Richard is a founding member of the International Fine Print Dealers Association.
We'll have more about the fascinating fair of the International Fine Print Dealers Association at the Park Avenue Armory at a later date. It will include a photo slide show and an eclectic tour through the alluring art world of fine prints.
Gracie Art Show
Local Artists Congregate For Annual Art Show & Sale
On Saturday I attended the Gracie Art Show at Carl Schurz Park in the Yorkville section of the Upper East Side. It was a beautiful Fall day, with the autumnal sun shining and temperatures in the high 70's. The police had blocked East End Avenue from the south end of the park at 84th Street to the north end of the park at 89th Street. All along the closed street there were vans parked in front of small tents wherein the artworks had been hung, for all the public to see.
I started making my way south from Gracie Mansion, photographing the tents and people as I made my way. There was a good mix of artwork at the show ranging from sculptures and paintings to ceramics. The art on display came in sizes and styles comprising a breadth and depth that would certainly have engaged a wide range of art lovers and buyers. And so it was that many were out today in pursuit of unique treasures to take home, as the Gracie Art Show was not just an art show, but an art sale.
We'll post more about the Gracie Art Show at a later date including a photo slide show.
Frieze Art Fair NYC 2014 - Randall's Island
Fun Fair Attracts Artists, Friendly Financiers & Fashionistas
It was held on Randall's Island, which once one makes the effort, turns out to be an easy and enjoyable get-away from the din of the big city. Traffic thins out and slows down, and one can again see the horizon. With the NYC skyline in the background and the East River water slowly flowing on by, the locale almost seems idyllic.
Inside the white tented structure, complete with flowing ribbons and a lofty airy vaulted ceiling, there were literally tons of people milling about. But the fair managers had done a good job of figuring out how to comfortably accommodate the 8,000 people who passed through daily [except Saturday due to rain].
The fair easily encompassed enough space to hold one or more football fields. The structure was designed as a rectangle with four quadrants. And where the quadrants met, there was a cafe / rest area / and outdoor patio space.
We'll post more at a later date including a photo slide show of the 2014 Frieze Art Fair in NYC.
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