Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Saul Steinberg at The Morgan

Saul Steinberg (1914–1999), the "Leonardo of graphic drollery," is the subject of a major (and surprisingly well-attended) retrospective exhibition at The Morgan Library & Museum.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Brice Marden at MoMA + Mahler’s Symphony No. 3

On Saturday, I saw Brice Marden's retrospective at MoMA with a new art buddy - a math teacher with a much longer attention span than mine. The show is perfectly gorgeous, though it's hard not to laugh at the taped interview with Marden describing a romantic figure in a landscape when you're staring at a monochrome canvas the color of a wet slate roof. The end of the chronological exhibition is the most stunning; although Marden is using the same intertwined ribbons of paint against varying fields of color, the recent paintings have built up in intensity.

Jerry Saltz points out, however, in his review for the Village Voice, that "Viewers will leave the sixth floor of this retrospective never knowing that Marden was in artistic hell for nearly 10 years." That's for sure. The show unfolds as if Marden always knew where he was going, and excludes his "false starts, dead ends, and messy thoughts."

Later that night it was time for Gustav Mahler's titanic Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, performed at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle.
Above: 6 Red Rock I, 2000–2002

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Susan Hauptman

Tonight a show of works on paper by Susan Hauptman opened at the Forum Gallery. Hauptman’s charcoal self-portraits are rendered so accurately as to be clinical. Some are androgynous but others incorporate lace gloves and slips.

Self-Portrait (with Branch) 2004
Charcoal on paper
The explosion of hedge fund wealth has created a new financial pecking order, and museums are scampering after its biggest beneficiaries.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bizarre gift ideas for the pet lovers in your life

Is Fido taking up too much space when he sleeps? Then get him the Pet Murphy Bed, which stows away when not in use.

What about Kitty? Always shivering? Then she'll really appreciate the Heated Cat Cup. Maybe now she'll stop hogging all the radiators.

Wondering what to get the dog who has everything? Acknowledge his sophistication with Leather Cigarlike Chews, handmade cowhide chews that are rolled, sealed, and come presented in a cigar box.

What about you? Does Kitty complain when you wrap her around your neck? Give her a break and get a Black & White Tuxedo Herbal Therapy Cat instead; throw it in the microwave and enjoy soothing, aromatic warmth for about an hour.

One of the biggest complaints about cats is the unsightly litter box. Solve the problem in style with a Rattan Litter Pan Cover; add a little palm tree and you'll be wondering why the cat has a better-looking toilet than you do.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This is why I think I'd love Japan - they have a term for wandering aimlessly around an expensive shopping district: "ginbura," or strolling the streets of Ginza. (Maybe here we can call it "Madisonbura.")
Here's something I'll be sorry to miss:

Repetti Gallery: Alejandra Villasmil and D. Dominick Lombardi:
December 1-20
Opening reception Wednesday, December 6, 6-9 pm.

From Art Cards.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

If you want to be a homeowner in New York, you have two options, generally speaking: (1) be a banker, or (2) marry a banker. (I suppose you could be born to a banker, but that would predate free will.) This is why every few months or so, after visiting relatives in Connecticut and contracting a severe case of Appliance Envy*, I start looking up real estate listings. And that is how I came upon this 1898 Victorian.

* An affliction that is familiar to all New Yorkers who have considered leaving the city after prolonged contact with a suburban dweller's sparkling new Sub-Zero refrigerator with freezer storage drawers.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What would you find inside?

Friday, December 01, 2006

John Currin & Lucian Freud

This afternoon I walked up Madison Avenue in the warmth and the rain to see an exhibition of new work by John Currin at the Gagosian Gallery. I don't normally visit galleries on weekdays, and the crowd was a noticeably more business-like lot than the self-consciously artsy types who roam around Chelsea on Saturdays, determined to make a day of it.

The exhibition of unframed canvases is in one large room, and no sooner had I turned from a portrait of the artist's instantly recognizable wife than I saw her - Rachel Feinstein - gazing at another painting. That seemed like an odd coincidence until I saw John Currin himself, talking to a gallery employee. It’s not unusual to see an artist at his or her opening, of course, but it’s something else entirely to see them examining their own paintings on an ordinary day, especially if the paintings include portraits of family members, not to mention assorted orgies.

Those orgies – oddly unsexy configurations in which disproportionately tiny hands grasp at engorged genitals – have already attracted the lion’s share of attention. But the portraits of Currin’s wife and son are more memorable – sweetly luminous and sensitive, they fit well in the mannered style that he has so deftly adopted.

Still to come: Lucian Freud at Acquavella Galleries

A new Woodstock museum

DC Dude informs us that he is working on a new Woodstock museum to be built on the old concert site up in Sullivan county: