Saturday, September 30, 2006

Art therapy

Last night, after drinks at Thalia, we went to an art opening in a chiropractor's office on West 50th Street. And, while we drank more wine and ate as much cheese as we could without attracting attention, the show sold out! Australian artist Cimon (pronounced "Simon") paints impressionistic portraits of his friends using frenetic brushstrokes and a broad palette.

So to any artist who despairs of ever showing their work, I say broaden your horizon. Hanging your art in a doctor's office, with its steady stream of captive viewers, is one of the best ideas I've heard lately.

Friday, September 29, 2006

What, too much?

Blugirl - Spring 2007 Collection

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sketches of inequality

Last night I watched Sketches of Frank Gehry, Sydney Pollack’s unpretentious documentary about his friend (and world-renowned architect) Frank Gehry.

I suppose because I watched it immediately after reading several discussions about gender inequality in the art world (on Edward Winkleman and Lisa Hunter), I couldn’t help but marvel at the complete absence of any women in this otherwise absorbing portrait. Pollack does interview one female at length – writer/curator Mildred Friedman – but the rest of his subjects constitute a pantheon of powerful white males, including Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Bob Geldof, Philip Johnson, Thomas Krens, Herbert Muschamp, Michael Ovitz, music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, Julian Schnabel (wrapped in a bathrobe and holding a drink), and even Gehry’s 94-year-old therapist. Indeed, the most memorable woman in the film is found only in a passing reference to the architect’s pushy ex-wife, who made him change his name from Goldberg to Gehry in the 1950s. Even in his office, we meet only male designers and assistants. Are there really no women working at his firm, apart from (presumably) the receptionist?

To me, the overriding theme was one of risk-taking: These men are all gamblers, risk-takers on a gargantuan scale, with the colossal egos that such risks require. And that sentiment echoes what I’ve been reading lately – in a nutshell, that society rewards the grand gesture, not modesty; conviction, not timidity; and boldness, not diligence. It’s not that these are male or female traits, but they are cultivated differently.

Where does that leave architecture? A pessimist might say that a museum designed by Gehry will be best suited to showcase only the most muscular art, along the lines of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and so on – in other words, art that projects itself across an immense expanse of space. And so the cycle continues, as some have criticized about MoMA's recent rehanging. I am not that cynical, but I also don’t see where the change can come from. Where is that pipeline of young female architects and engineers?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Finished with jury duty!

Multiply this by 12 and you'll get some sense of our collective relief.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Dahesh

Jury duty has left me agitated, annoyed, and unmotivated (though I’m happy to report that my experience in the New York City court system doesn’t bear any resemblance to these barbaric accounts of small-town justice). But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t had fun lately! Adding up the places I went to over the weekend reflects a peculiar, only-in-New-York diet - Zlatá Praha (Czech), followed by an obligatory trip to the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden; Ginza (Japanese, supposedly, but I suspect it’s really Korean); `inoteca (cute Italian, as signified by that saucy apostrophe); Katz's Deli (hello brisket!); and Veniero's (old-school Italian pastries). Yes, a very weird list, more a function of geography than any real planning.

But more importantly, I finally made it to the Dahesh Museum of Art. This is quite an interesting and odd little museum, devoted to academic art of the 19th and early 20th centuries and located in what seems like the basement of 580 Madison Avenue. The Dahesh Museum was founded by, and named for, Dr. Dahesh (1909–1984), the pen name of Salim Moussa Achi, a Lebanese writer, philosopher, connoisseur, and/or cult leader, depending on your point of view. The museum’s main attraction right now is Napoleon on the Nile: Soldiers, Artists, and the Rediscovery of Egypt, a visual account of Napoleon’s attempt to add Egypt to the French empire.

Above: Charles-Louis-Fleury Panckoucke, Monuments of Egypt, ca. 1821-24
Can you love Tokyo without hating your own city?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This is what Pinky does when she is not chained to her desk at Beige, Inc. She takes incredible photographs!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Today, on the Seventh Day of jury duty, the judge dismissed us a little early, so I finally went to the Morgan Library and Museum, on Madison Avenue at East 36th Street. I never visited what used to be called the Pierpont Morgan Library before its recent expansion, so I had to sort of deconstruct the airy campus designed by Renzo Piano in order to understand how he unified its three buildings.

On view now are 50 of Rembrandt's greatest etchings, culled from the library’s extensive collection.

Above: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Self-Portrait, Etching at a Window, 1648

One other note in a long and strange day (which actually ended with pomegranate margaritas, but there is no way to make a coherent leap to that): At St. Mark's Bookshop, I finally had the chance to take a close look at Aftermath, the photographic archive of Ground Zero by Joel Meyerowitz, the only photographer to gain continued access to the area after the attacks. What struck me was his record of the impact on surrounding buildings; for example, I hadn't seen the three-story sections of the World Trade Center lodged into the facade of the Banker's Trust Building or the Pompeii-like dust covering everything inside the World Financial Center.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Countdown to Tuesday's (pre-) birthday celebration . . .

Il Buco . . . and a stripping policeman?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

For addicts of sites like The Sartorialist, a new book provides a bit of New York fashion history. “On the Street, 1980-1990,” collects some of Amy Arbus’s portraits of people on the street in downtown Manhattan in the 1980s.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Elinor Carucci

I caught this exhibition of Israeli-American photographer Elinor Carucci by accident as I passed by the Edwynn Houk Gallery on Fifth Avenue. Carucci photographs herself, her husband, and her parents in surprisingly intimate settings and often in the nude. But these carefully composed images don't reveal as much about their subjects as they do about the artist's loving self-examination, a frank narcissism that encompasses her startlingly beautiful mother.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Caché - a psychological thriller that came out in 2005 - unfolds "at the Hitchcockian junction where voyeurism intersects with paranoia," in the words of A. O. Scott. It begins slowly - indeed the first thirty minutes seem fairly directionless - as Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche, who play a literary couple in Paris, begin receiving vaguely threatening videos and drawings. But instead of a domestic drama, the movie has important moral ambitions, namely concerning France's treatment of Algerians and the terror of personal complicity.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

You saw him in New York first

If you're in London, you can catch the end of Pierre Huyghe - Celebration Park at Tate Modern.

The artist's first solo exhibition in the UK will include This is not a time for dreaming (2004) and A journey that wasn't (2006), which attentive readers may remember reading about right here!
Today I actually got selected to serve as a juror. I don't know why anyone would want a porcupine on their jury. After the voir dire (or, in New York parlance, "vwah deeyah"), during which one of the six lawyers repeatedly asked "Can you promise to apply the lawr* as it is explained to you?," my name was called.

My plan is to take notes furiously, casually mentioning that I need to "get the details right" for my blog. "Your whaaat?" "My blog. Don't worry, Your Honor. I'm not using your real name. I am calling you Judge Squinty."

*This is a New York City court.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now at the Asia Society

On Sunday I happened to stroll by the Asia Society at Park Avenue and 70th Street and decided to go in. The Asia Society is one of many small museums in New York that I've never visited despite its proximity to the major art institutions on Fifth Avenue. On view is One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now, an exhibition of seventeen artists, most of whom were born in the 1970s. Two in particular caught my attention.

Binh Danh was born in Vietnam in 1977 and has invented a technique for printing found photographs onto leaves through the natural process of photosynthesis. (He was interviewed about his process - he calls his images "chlorophyll prints" - on NPR.) For his One Week's Dead series (2006), he took photographs from Life magazine of American soldiers who had died in the space of one week in Vietnam and printed them on leaves. The faces are not visible until you get quite close, and even then their clarity varies. The effect is subtle enough to avoid being maudlin; exhibited in clusters and showing signs of decay, the leaves evoke the decomposition of both life and memory.

Above: Drifting Souls (2001)

Indigo Som, a Chinese-American woman who grew up in California, photographs Chinese restaurants in isolated parts of the United States. The buildings are shabby, with fading signs, but they record the story of immigrants who moved beyond the country's urban ports of entry and tried to assimilate in remote areas where they may have been the only Chinese inhabitants.

You know how I was saying that my new glasses look like Nana's? This is actually more accurate.

Inez appears on Cyberchase on PBS.

Friday, September 08, 2006


This is a fairly close approximation of my new glasses. I think I've just figured out what to do with my hair. Also, I will have to stock up on black eyeliner.

Nana Mouskouri, Song for Liberty (1982)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Jury duty and a Chelsea crawl

Today I began jury duty - just about the worst possible timing, as it came on the heels of starting a new job. (I'm really building quite a fan base at work.) But I met a very interesting woman there who helped make the experience considerably less excruciating - an engineer who is working to upgrade New York City's infrastructure.

Unwilling to miss the big kick-off of the fall gallery season, I rushed over to Chelsea as soon as I was dismissed - just in time to catch some of the crowds and some of the shows on 23rd and 24th Streets. As expected, it was more of a scene than ever before, and I'm not sure what that augurs for the art world.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Good job

Princess Kiko has given birth to a baby boy - the first male heir to the Japanese throne in 41 years - thereby dashing our hopes to see a woman ascend the throne.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Have you always dreamed of living in a hotel? Well, you can buy a one-bedroom apartment at the Carlyle Hotel for the reasonable sum of $450,000. The catch? The monthly maintenance charge is $6,626 - but the maid comes twice a day.
Like "offshoring" to India, here is a trend that we all should have seen coming: au pairs from China.
From my sister: A nationally known psychiatrist is killed by a patient, and the profession reels.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I'm starting to put together my Fall 2006 look. (Click on the photo.)

Check out Pinky in Nantucket...

And here's an approximation of my new specs!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Today I ordered my new Alain Mikli* eyeglasses. I know that these will be risky for the office, and that I will be forever identified by them. But, on the upside, I expect automatic and expedited entry to art events.

*Guess what - Alain Miklitarian is Lebanese!

By the way, if anyone reading this is really into glasses (and no, I'm not turning this into a shopping blog), Morgenthal Frederics is having a sale on their house brand, and they're not half-bad.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A perfect movie for a rainy Saturday afternoon is Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows, with Jeanne Moreau and the music of Miles Davis, a "richly atmospheric thriller of murder and mistaken identity unfolding over one restless Parisian night."

One day I really want to attend the Burning Man festival...

This year's theme: The future.

Friday, September 01, 2006

An oddly nurturing environment for creativity

Read Holland Cotter's sad Remembrance of Downtown Past.

I've been trying to find photos taken inside the World Trade Center, but I'm not having much luck. I worked in the World Trade Center roughly ten years ago, but it never occurred to me to take pictures inside the office. I took some in the lobby for a photography class at Cooper Union, but that's it.