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Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Summer getaway: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2009 at 9:00 pm

prettytoughmain

It’s starting to be that season (well, if the rain will stop…) that New York gets sweltering and you want nothing more than to be out of the city. For those of us who can’t afford our own McMansions out in the Hamptons, we must settle for those cherished getaway weekends. Well, just because you’re miles from museum mile doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice culture! In the tri-state area you can find such gems as The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, located about an hour outside the city. According to the MutualArt profile on the museum,

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is one of the few non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States. Founded on Ridgefield’s historic Main Street in 1964, the Museum enjoys the curatorial independence of an alternative space while maintaining the registrarial and art-handling standards of a national institution.

There are some very compelling shows up at the moment, including “Pretty Tough: Contemporary Storytelling” which just opened on June 21. The show features nine women artists who use storytelling to address warfare, environmental issues and feminist issues. The work featured above,  Lit from Within (2009) by Kate Clark, is in the show (cool, no? Looks like something out of Pan’s Labyrinth.) There are about four other shows up as well, including the Robert Lazzarini show “Guns and Knives.” Read the interesting interview between the artist and Aldrich director.

As a former resident of the Ridgefield area, I can also tell you there are delightful restaurants in the area, and for those nature-lovers, parks abound in the Connecticut woods! So if you’re looking for a day out of the city but want a slice of culture with it, check out Ridgefield, Conn.

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Upcoming “sexy” show at MoMA

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm

When people think of Surrealism they usually think of Magritte’s men in bowler hats or Dalí’s melting clocks, but the Surrealists were also active in the third dimension as well. Opening this coming week is a MoMA exhibition that focuses on the sexual themes of Surrealist sculpture. Sculpture allowed the artists an imaginative foray into the sensuality of art, and they took full advantage of the medium: don’t you just want to rub that Meret Oppenheim fur-lined saucer on your cheek? Here’s a tidbit about the show (June 24, 2009 – January 4, 2010) from their website:

Surrealist artists, writers, and poets placed persistent emphasis on the power of the imagination to transform the everyday. Beginning in the early 1930s, the production of elliptically erotic, sexually charged objects and sculptures became central to their concerns. This exhibition features some of the most notorious works, including Salvador Dalí’s bread-and-inkwell-crownedRetrospective Bust of a Woman (1933) and Meret Oppenheim’s fur-lined teacup (1936).

Meret Oppenheim. Object. 1936. Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon, cup 4 3/8" (10.9 cm) in diameter; saucer 9 3/8" (23.7 cm) in diameter; spoon 8" (20.2 cm) long, overall height 2 7/8" (7.3 cm). Purchase. © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/Pro Litteris, Zurich

Meret Oppenheim. Object. 1936. Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon, cup 4 3/8" (10.9 cm) in diameter; saucer 9 3/8" (23.7 cm) in diameter; spoon 8" (20.2 cm) long, overall height 2 7/8" (7.3 cm). Purchase. © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/Pro Litteris, Zurich

The International Center for Photography

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm

For an art institution, the International Center for Photography may be in an odd location–43rd and 6th Avenue, the Bermuda triangle of Manhattan–but it is well-worth the swim through the Times Square-bound tourists. In addition to having a school that offers great lectures, public programming, and classes (continuing education and full-time programs), the museum at ICP has a great permanent collection. According to the website,

The collection is strongest in its holdings of American and European documentary photography of the 1930s to the 1990s. It comprises large bodies of work by W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Farm Security Administration photographers, Alfred Eisenstadt, Lisette Model, Gordon Parks, James VanDerZee, and Garry Winogrand. Recent purchases have included work by contemporary photographers such as Carrie Mae Weems, Justine Kurland, Katy Grannan, Vik Muniz, Tomoko Sawada, and Susan Meiselas.

The ICP also puts on excellent special exhibitions, and it is this aspect that makes me particularly inclined to write about ICP today: one of their summer shows, Avedon fashion, 1944-2000, showcases the fashion photographs of the famous artist. Personally, I am more familiar with Avedon’s portraits, such as his famous shot of Marilyn Monroe with her guard down. But it seems that Avedon lent the same dynamism and vitality to his bread-and-butter images as he did his artistic ouevre. After reading Roberta Smith’s glowing review in the New York Times, I am putting this exhibition on my must-see list for the summer. The exhibition is open through September 6 (according to the press release; the website says September 20).

Veruschka, dress by Kimberly, New York, January 1967Jade Parfitt and Esther De Jong, ensembles by Galliano, New York

(Left, Veruschka, dress by Kimberly, New York, January 1967; right, Jade Parfitt and Esther De Jong, ensembles by Galliano, New York, March 1998. © 2009 The Richard Avedon Foundation)

Museum Mile Festival Today!

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2009 at 9:27 am
The Guggenheim hosts the opening ceremony tonight at 5:45pm

The Guggenheim hosts the opening ceremony tonight at 5:45pm

The Museum Mile Festival is a free and fun evening of art and special events hosted at all the best institutions on museum mile, from the Museo del Barrio on 105th down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 82nd. The event is tonight, from 6 – 9 pm, rain or shine!! OK, yes, shine is probably a little less likely this evening. But really, with all these museums just one or two blocks apart, it’s a great rainy day activity. And best of all, it’s FREE! So brave the rain and make the most of this awesome event!

And speaking of free art events, if you’re poor (or cheap) and looking for ways to enjoy the new york arts scene without shelling out the big bucks, check out The Starving Artist blog (one of my favorites) for information on great cheap or free things to do around NYC.

The Jewish Museum

In Manhattan on June 8, 2009 at 9:50 am
The Jewish Museum, New York (92nd Street and Fifth Avenue)

The Jewish Museum, New York (92nd Street and Fifth Avenue)

The Jewish Museum at 92nd Street and 5th Avenue is one of the most important institutions in the world devoted to the preservation and study of Jewish art, culture and history. In addition to a permanent collection of Jewish cultural artifacts that spans four millennia, the museum sets the bar for special traveling exhibitions. The current summer shows are definitely worth checking out: Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker tells the tragic yet redemptive story of a Dutch Jewish art dealer, whose large collection of Old Masterworks was stolen by the Nazis. The recovery of about two hundred works to the Goudstikker heirs in 2006 marks the largest restitution of Nazi-stolen art yet. The descriptive title of the second current show, They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust, chronicles a culturally vibrant moment in Polish Jewish history, obliterated by the events of World War II. Read Roberta Smith’s glowing review of the Mayer July show from yesterday’s New York Times.

Other reasons to check out The Jewish Museum: the French Gothic exterior to the century-old Warburg Mansion, an architectural highlight on Museum Mile, was recently renovated, liberating the beautiful facade from a year of scaffolding. The museum also recently revamped the website, including a killer online collection search engine. Check it out.