A guide to art in NYC, with families in mind.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ralph Fasanella: "Lest We Forget" at The American Folk Art Museum

This month the American Folk Art Museum features the art of Ralph Fasanella, in an exhibit entitled : Lest We Forget.   The Bronx born artist was the youngest son of Italian immigrants who worked, as laborers to raise their family of six children.   His father was an ice delivery man and his mother worked in a dress shop, drilling holes in buttons.  His mother understood the importance of labor unions and was an anti- fascist activist.  Mr. Fasanella’s paintings tell stories of the plight of laborers, and political unrest in post -war America.  The phrase “Lest we forget” appears in many of his paintings.  During his young adult life he held many different jobs such as textile worker and truck driver but his main passion was organizing labor unions. He took up painting to exercise his arthritic hands.  His paintings are densely packed with imagery and messages and they are very large because he imagined them being displayed in union halls.  A folk art dealer “discovered” him in 1972 ,and he enjoyed recognition for his artwork in his later years.   This exhibit it perfect for your older children.  The exhibit is up until December 1st.

The Folk Art Museum 
2 Lincoln Square  Columbus Ave and 66th street 

 Ralph Fasanella, “American Tragedy” (detail) (1964), oil on canvas, 40 x 90 inches / 101.6 x 228.6 cm 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Librado Romero: Journey

Patagonia, 2008  Librado Romero
 Some libraries are fortunate to have a space designed specifically for cultural events and art exhibitions and some are not. My neighborhood library created a makeshift art gallery on the walls of the stairwell between floors.   The Riverfront Library in Yonkers at 1 Larkin Center, boasts a beautifully designed and spacious art gallery on it's fourth floor.    On a recent family trip to the area we visited the library to see the art work of Lee Romero in a one man exhibit curated by Adam Shultz  entitled, "Journey." The former New York Times staff photographer with an artists eye and education, has put together a collection of pieces that give you a firm grasp of the breadth of his work up to this point in time.   Many of his paintings depict magical  landscapes that are inspired by his home town of Calexico,  California.   The viewer often finds him/herself surveying the landscape from a high vantage point.  You feel as if you are in the air and flying over color infused dreamlike scenes. The feeling is liberating and breathtaking as you soar and stretch your wings.   He tells you stories  of his journeys along the way.   Mr. Romero is a master storyteller whose creative medium also includes assemblages from found objects.  This exhibits includes a monumental assemblage sculpture that has been evolving for many years.  It looks like a totem pole/altar and serves as a tribute to loved ones that he has shared his life journey with. The show is up until October 15th and perfect for all ages.
The Yonkers Art Gallery at the Riverfront Library in Yonkers
1 Larkin Center
Yonkers New York

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dom Quartuccio: "Then and Now"

Have you've ever found yourself trying to describe to a child the changes  that have occurred over time in the landscape of your neighborhood, and felt as if something was lost in the explanation? Did your stories fail to capture the nuances you feel when walking around a familiar place.  It isn't easy to convey the little details that we hold so dear without experiencing the fear of losing the listener.   If only you could  transport yourself and your friend back to that precise moment when the natural light of a particular street corner made you feel safe. Or the way that seeing the shop owner outside of his store everyday as you came home from school made you feel like you were back in your neighborhood (good as home).  This week in Little Italy at the Basilica of Old St. Patrick's  there is an outdoor  photography exhibit that tells a tale of "Then and Now" in a very clear and beautiful way.  The photography of Dom Quartuccio is hung on the outer walls that surround the church.  Mr. Quartuccio,  a professional photographer,  was born in 1924, in Little Italy.  He has paired with the photography curator Mark Bussell,
 to tell the story of his love for his home town neighborhood and the people who have lived there.  At the suggestion of  Mr. Bussell,  the photographer revisited select places in some of his past work and took photographs to produce a before and after documentation of the life then and now. You will see, his aside from the obvious differences in architecture and fashion of the times, something in the way that black and white film allowed a photographer to capture light with precision of a master arbiter.  The before and after combinations include a couple getting married in the Basilica in 1953 now, some happy folks at Milano's bar in 1947 and in 2014,  and families living on Elizabeth street hanging out on their fire escapes in 1947, and not at all in 2014.  This exhibit clearly gives the viewer of sense of what has been and what is around us now.  I really felt nostalgic for my own neighborhood even if it was way uptown.   The exhibit "Then and Now"  is up until September 29th  so take a stroll over there soon.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Morning Side Lights: Odysseus on the A Train

Imagine your  children participating in a parade along side other children holding beautiful lanterns that they have made.  The glowing laterns emit soft lights that warm every one of the happy faces as they go walking along.   Today you can participate in a workshop held by the Morningside Lights group that have been holding workshops at the Miller Theater which is located at Columbia University. The University is a major subsidizer of this wonderful project. The weekend long arts workshop is produced by a group of directors from the Professional Arts Workshop.
This years theme is Romare Bearden's and his 1977 collage series, "A Black Odyssey"  inspired by Homer's epic.  Hence the name of the project  "Odysseus on the A Train ."
September 20-26 is the Lantern and instrument building workshop and September 27th will be the Procession at 8 p.m.  at  Morningside Park (116th street and Morningside Avenue.  If you can't make the workshops do attend the parade, it is really glorious to just watch.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Phoenix: Xu Bing at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

I admit that I am  really behind the curve in posting about the 'Phoenix:Xu Bing" exhibit  at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine but, I am a little concerned about the new admission process at the Cathedral.  It is now impossible to just enter the nave of the Cathedral, without being directed by a guard to the Visitor Center.   The person at the cash register will tell you that the fee is $10.00 dollars to get in. They don't mention that is a suggested admission so if this fee is not in your price range offer what you can.  I am all for the Church raising money to keep open but they should  be more careful to mention that is is a suggested price, verbally,  I think it is written in small print somewhere.   Anyway  once you are in you will very glad you did donate something because the exhibition is breathtaking.  The two very large and  exotic looking  bird sculptures hanging from the nave are called Feng ( the male) and Huang ( the female) respectively.  Together they weigh 12 tons and are made from the detritus of  construction building sites in Beijing China.  The artist Xu Bing embarked on his project in 2008 and took 2 years to create and assemble them with his team of assistants.  They have traveled a long way making stops at the  Today Art Museum in Beijing, the Expo 10 in Shanghai, MassMoCa in North Adams, MA and finally the   Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  They will be displayed here through 2014.  This exhibit is perfect for all ages.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located at: 
                                       1047 Amsterdam Avenue
                                        at 112th Street  in Manhattan

                                        The Cathedral is open 7:30 am – 6 pm daily. 
                                        The Visitor Center and Cathedral Shop are open 9 am – 5 pm daily.