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

Friday, December 16, 2011

Divine Intervention

God and Goddesses/ Laura James

Just in time for the celebrations,  some divinely inspired imagery that goes beyond the banal. Visit the Interchurch Center and view two exhibits in its gallery spaces. The work of Laura James a Brooklyn native of Antiguan heritage, is in the Corridor gallery.  The paintings and are done in Ethiopian Christian style but only some of the paintings depict Ethiopian saints.  Sacred goddesses spring forth from the sea and earth with a vibrant palette of gold, reds and greens.  Ms. James mixes scared stories and images from many cultures and religions including, Buddhism,  Islam, Yoruba deities of West Africa and Egypt.  What comes across strongly is a celebration of humanity and it's it's divine spirit. 

Color, Substance and Emotion/ Alexander Percy
The second exhibit in the Treasure Room Gallery is that of the work of 
Alexander Percy, a Puerto Rican artist living in NYC since 2005.  His modern abstract paintings are inspired by his melancholies but color is his sword and religion.   The large canvases are layered so thickly with pigment that they appear to be cresting waves that you ride only to find an undertow at another turn pulling you in and casting you out in an ocean of emotions.   
The exhibits are up until January 6th  and perfect for all.

The Interchurch Center  475 Riverside Drive 

top:  Mami Wata, 2011  Laura James
right top:  Bri Oshun, 2011  Laura James

Friday, November 25, 2011

Allison Schulnik: Mound

This holiday week take the older kids to the ZieherSmith Gallery in Chelsea.   LA based artist Allison Schulnik  presents her paintings, ceramic sculptures and an animated film entitled MOUND.   The ceramic work depicts cats, possums and other small fantastical creatures.  The cat and possum sit on their hind legs with front paws up much like the all too human Beatrix Potter forest friends.  The paintings, are mostly floral displays and brooding hobo's, that are almost three dimensional with their thickly layered oils, popping out at you from black or neutral backgrounds.  The centerpiece of the work is the animated short film MOUND that runs continuously in the gallery space.  The gallery write up perfectly describes the film as a moving painting.  The claymation wonderland that enfolds before your eyes is a sea of imaginary creatures passing each other as if at a rail station all in their lonely worlds.  Sometimes they connect and engage in an emotional dance only to move away again.  The sound track of the film is the bewitching 1969 ballad of lost love "It's Raining Today," by Scott Walker.  It's haunting melody drives the movement of the imagery.  The characters and moving landscape is a culmination of labor-intensive work requiring 2 hours to create a single frame of nearly 100 hand-sculpted and sewn puppets.  There's something very Tim Burton about the work but without the gore.  Perfect for the pre-tweens too.
The exhibit runs until December 17
ZieherSmith 516 West 20th street
Images: Top: Allison Schulnik, "Flower Mound," 2011
Left: Allison Schulnik, "Standing Gin #3," 2011
video:  "Mound" 2011,  Allison Schulnik


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Burning Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb

Zhang Xiaogang
Lamp No. 2, 2009
The venerable Light bulb as icon gets the spotlight this month in at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea.  Making a debut in 1880, the incandescent light bulb gave artists an alternative light source to work by day or night and inspiration as a subject in and of itself.   The roster of artists represented at the exhibit is stellar,Picasso, Calder and Rauschenberg to name just a few.  There are oils, inks,  photographs, sculpture,installations and mixed media on view.  We especially liked Alexander Calder's "Cat lamp," circa 1928.   You'll enjoy comparing the different techniques, styles and viewpoints presented by the artists. The exhibit runs until November 26 and is perfect for all.  Take care to keep the smaller children from the irresistible urge to touch. 
Alexander Calder
"Cat Lamp," 1928
The Pace Gallery 545 West 22nd street
Alexander Calder "Cat Lamp," 1928 The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of the artist, 1966
Zhang Xiaogang "Lamp No. 2, 2009
Courtesy The Pace Gallery

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Richard Serra: Junction/Cycle

If you haven't been to see  the new Richard Serra sculptures at the 24th street  Gagosian Gallery, now is the time.  The exhibition ends November 26th and the weekends go by so quickly.
 As you enter the  gallery you will see two enormous sculptures of  rust/orange colored steel that curve and sweep across the gallery. Each piece is more than 13 feet tall and more than 60 feet across and take up a lot of the warehouse-like space.  The path inside the sculptures twist and turn so pleasantly that it feels as if you are inside a flowing ocean wave.  The steel is weatherproof and I wonder if that's what makes it's surface look so porous like that of wood.  There is a warmth to the look of the steel.   Mr. Serra is has said  that he considers " space, to be a material", and it certainly feels as if  the space of the interior and the exterior of the pieces are of equal importance.  When entering  the  sculpture entitled "Cycle,"  I felt pulled in by a benevolent force to find the inner sanctums.  Then at other points of the walk I felt anxious about finding my way out.  My daughter  laughed and slid across the smooth cement path as if she were moving along a garden maze.   I noticed other visitors with we  passed along the way seemed to be wearing childlike smiles.
The second sculpture entitled "Junction"  begins  like the first  but soon brings you to a point where you must decide which road to take.  Each path is as satisfying as the other and the journey seems to end too soon.  We solved that problem by going walking into the sculptures over and over again.  The exhibition ends November 26th.
Perfect for all.
Gagosian Gallery 555 West 24th street
Image credit:
“© Richard Serra. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Lorenz Kinzle”.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tabaimo: DANDAN: Interactive viewing

Tabaimo, Blow, 2009.  Video and sound installation
James Cohan gallery
Tabaimo, Blow 2009
Wishing I was at the Venice Biennale, I  took my family down to Chelsea  to see the work of Japanese artist Tabaimo who is representing Japan in the Biennale this year.  Lucky for us she has a solo-exhibit all this month at the James Cohan gallery.   Tabaimo's video installations are  designed to be interactive experiences, as she manipulates the gallery space to create the environment in which she wants you to see her work.  To view  "BLOW" at the gallery, she has  eliminated  the lines of the walls in the space by installing a curved half pipe ramp that is covered in  scrim.  A continuous stream of images  appear and disappear at your feet and on the sloping sides of the scrim  in a slow rhythm.  As we walked around the space we took in different perspectives of the video.   Bubbles swish and swirl around  beneath you water flora and sinewy muscle ligaments bubbling to the surface.  Are we in a well or a dark underground pool?   My child found it calming and thrilling at the same time.  
The video in the next room is called danDAN.  A surreal story set  in a small apartment. The images are projected on to  three attached screens in a rubix cube like fashion.  The slow but constant shuffle of the images to allow you to piece the plot together,  even if you're not always sure which way is up.  Tabaimo's work succeeds in creating an interactive experience for you by gently shifting your sense of space.   The exhibit is up until  October 29th.
Perfect for all
The James Cohan Gallery  533 West 26th street   www.jamescohan.com
images James Cohan Gallery
2011 Venice Biennal www.labiennale.org/en/art/exhibition/

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nick Cave: "SoundSuit," "Speak Louder"

"SoundSuit'" 2011
Nick Cave
Mary Boone Gallery, NY
Installation view of Ever-After
"Speak Louder,"
Jack Shainman Gallery, NY
Almost as if in anticipation of the costume parades  and parties that will capture our children's imagination next month the awesome "SoundSuits," of the artist Nick Cave are in display in concurrent exhibitions at the Jack Shainman Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery (just four blocks from each other) in Chelsea.  Mr. Cave has been making this wearable art as a way of exploring many issues that are skin deep. In creating a second skin he asks the viewer to judge the wearer of the costume only by what he has chosen to let us see.   Although we can't hear the sounds that can be  made when wearing the costumes they can be seen and heard in a video that plays continuously in the  Boone gallery (see below).
The exhibition  at the Jack Shainman gallery is entitled "Ever After"  The costumes are sleek, monotoned and look like a cross between aliens and musical instruments.  The mood at Boone gallery is more like that of a Mardi Gras parade as the costumes scream with colorful buttons, thread, wire ,sequins, bugle beads and much more.  The exhibit is entitled "For Now." Both shows are perfect for all ages.
The Mary Boone Gallery  541 West 24th street
The Jack Shainman Gallery  513 West 20th street  www.jackshainman.com

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mindy Shapero: "Breaking Open the Head"

Mindy Shapero 'Breaking Open the Head," 2011
Mindy Shapero, Installation View 2011

Now that all the kids are back in school and the piles of homework promise to kill the joys of learning in every last one of them.  Have mercy and let them out for air with a brisk walk down to the Marianne Boesky Gallery in Chelsea to see Mindy Shapero's show "Breaking open the Head."
No worries, there is not a spot of blood or brain matter to be found in place but rather wires and tribble-like (see early Star Trek episodes) objects that look like they are the strange things  you hear rattling around in your head when helping with the new math homework. The sculptures are minimalist in style and each piece feels connected to the next.  The clean lines of the wires are lines of an image without the a canvas. The tension of the pieces are in the spin-art looking colors that inhabit  their centers or cling and drip off of them.
Perfect for all ages. 
Marianne Boesky Gallery  509 West 24th street

Stefanie Gutheil,  Installation View 2011
 For your  teens who only respond to something more pop-culture or edgy looking, walk down the street to the Mike Weiss Gallery and check out  the work of German artist  Stefanie Gutheil.   Three-dimensional paintings bursting with color and crazy characters that invade her head will assault yours.  Strange pet-like creature sculptures stare up at you begging to be taken home, but you dare not. The gallery describes the work as Escher-esque and I would just add that  it's more tricked-out than that.  Sounds like too much? Ok,go into the gallery first and see for yourself it's free!  
Perfect for some 14 and up
Mike Weiss Gallery  520 West 24th street 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tim Okamura: Revel in their Majesties

Tim Okamura "The Coronation", 2011

"One Love,"  2011
A new exhibition of paintings by Canadian born artist Tim Okamura is on view now at The Lyons Wier Gallery.  The young women depicted in the paintings stare back at you with confidence, and their body language says attitude but of a royal nature.   Okamura, a Brooklyn resident since the 90's is obviously influenced by  hip-hop culture and music but also cites  Rembrandt and world mythology. He mixes classical oil  painting techniques along with graffiti spray painting,  primarily on canvas but also on found surfaces.   The theme is  the young urban female as queen although you only get an idea of what her kingdom might be from the walls they stand in front of.  Graffiti flows around in halos and crowns above their heads as they revel in their inner and outer majesty.   I'd take all the kids to this exhibition, but I'd  bet your teens will get in to get a closer look.
The exhibition ends October 8th. Gallery hours are Tues-Sat 11am-6pm
"Three Queens (from Kings County"
Lyons Wier Gallery  542 West 24th Street

Monday, September 5, 2011

Teens Free on Friday nights at MoMA

If September means scrambling for after school activities for your kids here is an edifying activity to fill your teens idle hours.    Free Friday's at MoMa has begun!  Every other Friday night during the school year from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm  teens can meet with other teens have pizza and a movie or other events planned by the museum staff.   Ages 14 to 19 are welcome.  It's so casual you don't have to sign up.  So cool, so laid back you say?  Yes, but it's first come first served so get them there on time.   The number of participants  for pizza is limited to 120 and for film viewing or artist events  the group shrinks down to  40.   Check the MoMa teens Facebook page to get more info.
The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building at 4 West 54th street between 5th and 6th ave.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Simon Dinnerstein: The Fulbright Triptych

Now that the MTA is back in business consider taking your kids to the German Consulate General to see Simon Dinnerstein's masterpiece "The Fulbright Triptych." The piece measures 14 feet by almost 7 feet and, at first glance looks like a family portrait, but reads more like an homage to art as religious experience. In depicting an engraved copper printmaking plate on top of a pillow in the center of the studio work table he elevates the tool to a place of scared significance. The triptych is also: a visual diary of the most important influences in his journey as an artist, an example of 1970s realism with nods to other realism styles such as trompe-l'oeil, hyper, and, folk. He began work on the triptych in 1971 while a Fullbright fellow studying the work of Durer in Kassel, Germany. The piece was completed in his Brooklyn studio in 1974 and exhibited in a solo show a year later  in New York City.  Dinnerstein, who is now 68, is a Brooklyn native who graduated from City College and studied drawing and painting at the Brooklyn Museum School. This was his first exhibited piece and his most famous. The Consulate is open only during the week so take advantage of the last few weeks of summer to experience this piece. Perfect for all.
"The  Fulbright Triptych" is on view from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.  till March 15th, 2012.
The German Consulate General, 871 United Nations Plaza, at 49th Street, Manhattan. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sundays at Flushing Meadows Park

Flushing Meadows Park is the home of the Queens Museum of Art which offers free drop-in art workshops on Sundays from 1:30 pm- 4:30 pm.  Children ages 5-12 are invited to work on  art projects the art educators have cooked up for the day.  In addition to this ongoing program, Met Life sponsors a free workshop every Second Sunday at the museum.  This Sunday the theme is "Asian Americans in the City." After viewing photographs of cultural activities by Asian Americans in our city  taken by photographer Corky Lee.  You will be making Asian themed arts and crafts and Chinese snacks will be served.   After the kids are done flexing their creative skills, be sure to  check out the Panorama of the City of New York,  a permanent exhibit in the museum.  Built by Robert Moses for the 1964  World's Fair,  the panorama is a 9,335 square foot architectural model that includes every single building constructed before 1992 in all five boroughs.  You and your family  get a birds eye view of it  from a balcony/ramp.  A very popular and  cool exhibit.  
The park itself is a melting pot of ethnic groups  enjoying the soccer fields, playgrounds,  carousel, children's zoo, great Spanish food street vendors, and the Queens Science Museum.  On our  recent stroll around the park we came upon a group of kids drawing and writing comments on three blank  canvases  that  were propped up side by side on  some park benches.  My daughter naturally gravitated to the activity and was handed a marker by a smiling young woman named Hadaya.  Her project is called RELEASE.  She and some friends plan to display all of the completed works in a show next year, till then she plans to re-create this art happening in many more spots in and around the city and it's boroughs.  Be sure to stop by and make your mark.
Queens Museum of Art 
Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Queens, NY 11368
(718) 592-9700


Friday, August 12, 2011

Free Art Workshop for kids at Socrates Sculpture Park

Where are those free art workshops that you need right about now to rescue you from  those long, long hazy days of summer?  
Feeling up to the challenge I looked around and found a program that is hosted by one of my favorite theme parks: Socrates Sculpture Park, located in Astoria, Queens.     
 Weekend art workshops for kids and adults. Saturdays to be exact. Here's how it works: you drop by the park at 11:00 am,  and participate in an art project with a new artist every week.  If you don't get your kids motivated that early fear not, another workshop starts at  3:00 pm. 
On  Aug 13th , join Brooklyn sculptor Zak Kitnick in creating  "The Dinner Party"  by  using your creative chops and  imagination to turn  ordinary dinnerware into pieces of art.
On August 20 and 26th from 11am - 2 pm & 3pm - 7 pm workshops,  join artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles in transforming  the park into a puppetscape with a Homeric twang to it.  "Odysseus at Hell Gate" is the title of the project that will be produced-with your help of course- and performed at the Park.  The arge-scale puppet making project will be paraded in a performance event on Sunday, August 28th.  Your kids will be introduced to the world of puppetry from creation to performance.  We aren't going to miss this one. Are you?
Perfect for all
Groups of 10 or more need to contact the office a week prior to your visit.
32-01 Vernon Boulevard at Broadway
Long Island City (Queens), NY 11106
Tel: 718-956-1819 


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Phoebe Washburn: "Nunderwater Nort Lab"

Phoebe Washburn, Nunderwater Nort Lab, 2011
mixed media dimension variable
Courtesy Zach Feuer Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery

When I told my daughter we were going to see a silo built in a gallery space, she put her earplugs back in her ears and rolled her eyes. I added that it would be an interactive experience of sights and sounds. She rolled her eyes again. We went to see it anyway. The artist, Phoebe Washburn, has constructed the silo/bunker
from re-purposed wood and set it in the middle of the main space of the Zach Feuer Gallery in Chelsea. You can smell the wood as you walk around the  exterior of the structure. There are observational "worm holes" which allow you to see what is going on inside. What you see are people preparing a meal. Lunch to be exact. This put a smile on my daughter's face. Why? She liked the randomness of it. The name of the scuplture/ installation is "Nunderwater Nort Lab." That title is part gibberish and part a play on the meaning and sounds of words. I was plagued by the desire to enter the silo, but visitors are not allowed in. Perhaps memories of being left out of activities? Who knows. My daughter didn't mind too much; she liked the idea of being able to peek in and spy on the volunteers. After we left,  she said she was glad we went. Show runs till August 12th. Perfect for all.
Zach Feuer Gallery 548 west 22nd street http://www.zachfeuer.com/

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NADA Hudson: Art in The Catskills

With August approaching and many of us thinking of our last chance to escape the city. Think Catskills, as it is teeming with a multitude of art galleries, art fairs and performing art festivals to visit.  Today, starts the NADA Hudson group exposition at the Basilica Hudson building and grounds in Hudson, New York.  
"The Upstate New York Olympics"
Tim Davis
The New Art Dealers Alliance as pulled together an exciting group of artists for a two day art happening.  We arrived a day early and watched the artists setting up their installations.  My daughter gravitated to photographer Tim Davis's  multimedia installation "The Upstate New York Olympics."  She being a sporty chic with a keen fascination for trophies, totally got Mr. Davis's video of surreal  sporting events such as "Abandoned Building Bowling," (above video) and "Architectural Detail Dangle," to name just a few.  The  trophies on display, confirmed for my girl, that the games were a worthy endeavor.  My daughter gave it a 10 out of 10. I had to agree. The exposition ends Sunday, July 31st hours are from  11am to 7pm.  Perfect for most.
Lee Musselman, 2011
The town of Hudson, is closer than you think. You can get there by train and it's about a 2 hour trip. Not too much to ask for spectacular Hudson River views and an arty town that goes on and on with charm and antiques.   A  jewelry design/art gallery called Ornamentum combines fine art photography and jewelry display, in a very convincing way.  Talk about wearable art. That being said, my daughter was done after art gallery number 3, so we decided to  just stuck to look  in the windows.  Our favorite window display/art belonged to the David Dew Bruner Design studio/ art gallery where a curious young fellow on a painted pony caught our eye.  He is the creation of artist Lee Musselman whose new works will be up shortly check www.daviddewbrunerdesign.com for details. 
Also please look into the Mount Tremper Arts Summer Festival 2011.  MTA, is putting on visual arts programs and exhibitions all over the Catskills every Friday and Saturday night  till August 21.  Check their site www.mountreperarts.org for all the details. 
Honorable mention:  510 Warren Street Gallery, Hudson, New York. Featuring the artist Doris Simon's abstract paintings (at left). Other favorites include: Eleanor Lord, Kate Knapp and Steve Porcella.  Up until July 31st.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

goARCHkids: Broad Majestic NY Harbor

I was dropping the kids off at the ferry to New Jersey and I looked up and saw a chunk of the British Isles sticking up over the edge of this concrete thing. Fascinating! You know I've got a thing for a green roof! It really looked like the Highlands or something. So I walked around and saw that there were metal strips wrapped around this big concrete base explaining that this is the Irish Hunger Memorial. One thing New York can thank the Irish Famine for is sending our city a huge percentage of the population of Ireland. The Irish, along with the Italians, the Jews, the Puerto Ricans, the Domincans, etc., etc. all made our city the fabulous wealth of culture that it is today. However, when the potato famine started in Ireland in 1845, one third of the country relied on potatoes as the staple of their diet. Starvation was rampant and the failure of the crop changed everything. Throughout the 1840s, hundreds of thousands of Irish left the country. This structure, part architecture, part art, was created by the Brooklyn artist Brian Toll. When I was there a thin wire fence was wrapped around the base, so no visitors could ascend to what appears to be a ruined castle of some kind. It is a stone structure with access to a mysterious looking interior. I discovered it is a 150 year old cottage imported from County Mayo. As it happens, this quarter acre of stones and vegetation was imported from County Mayo as well. When you can follow the winding path up through the meadow, you will find yourself on a cantilever looking out at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, two of the most important symbols of freedom and opportunity for immigrants that our country has to offer. I imagine its a very moving experience. The text on the two miles of bands circling the base of the structure includes quotations from politicians, autobiographies, oral histories, letters. It all relates to famine and can be updated at any time. This is an easily and emotionally accessible memorial. The children will respond to the text and the experience. Mine were very disappointed they couldn't climb up and into the meadow. But the words were compelling and the story of the famine is something that we might forget to really emphasize the impact of, without things like this memorial to remind us. Every part of the design is significant and related to the story of the famine and the experience of those who endured it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rockaway Artist Alliance: Art and Sea breezes

Penelope Atheras works on sculpture
at RAA

Here's a way to cool down and get some art appreciation in while visiting  the shore.  Did you know there is a thriving artist community at the Rockaway's?  RAA or Rockaway Artist Alliance at  Fort Tilden, Beach  to be exact.  You can get there using public transportation.  Our friends from Brooklyn and Manhattan, do it all the time.  What you'll find when you get there is a gallery space hosting local artist's and invited guest artists,  a stage for  live music  "Open Mic Live" on Thursdays,  a studio where you or your children ( middle school age and up) can takep painting classes - for a very nominal fee,)  an art camp for children and a program for teens called Gen M Project.  This project invites teen to come over every  Friday night and do their creative thing.  If you know a teen looking for a creative environment to perform  music, poetry and art or just a place to hang with like minded creative types,  send them  to RAA at 8pm on Fridays (bring a Parent for your first visit and then solo after that.)  
 My favorite experience at RAA  is watching the sculptor Penelope Atheras scraping and smoothing her current inspiration on the porch of RAA. She has set up her atelier  right on the spot to the left of the gallery entrance and can be seen there most days of the week.  She has a welcoming smile for all who want to come in and check out the work in the gallery and she chats with you while her beautiful hands carve life into the equally as beautiful piece of marble  from Italy or  beyond.   Your children can watch her in action  and listen to her lovingly describe the way of sculpting. So stay cool go to the shore and look beyond the shore line for RAA  -Rockaway Artists Alliance.  A group that serves it's community, but all are welcome.
Visit  www.rockawayartistsalliance.org for all the information  -E.S.
Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Tilden, Beach 169th Street Rockaway NY 11695Rockaway Artist Alliance

Monday, July 18, 2011

Leo Villareal: Volume

Cylinder, 2011,  Leo Villareal
White LEDs, mirror finished stainless steel, custom software, electrical hardware
12 x 9 x 9 feet
Unique, site specific
When walking into the Gering & Lopez Gallery this month you may feel as if you've stepped out of a rocket ship and come face to face with a shooting star. The light sculptor, Leo Villareal, offers us a three-dimensional matrix of polished stainless steel tubes with over 20,000 of LED light nodes in them. Mr. Villareal is a pioneer in the use of LED's  in visual imagery. In this exhibit the software code he has written causes the light nodes to light up in an infinite series of patterns and movements, going bright and dark, fast and slow, like a symphony of light. The cylindrical piece is hung in the center of the gallery so you are able to walk around this light show that is truly spellbinding. Your younger kids will have to be super monitored so that the work is not disturbed. The show runs until August 19th. Take a break from the shopping on fifth ave and run to see this.
Perfect for all. Gering & Lopez Gallery, 730 Fifth Avenue. http://www.geringlopez.com/

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Hit: Jim Dow: American Studies

Dairy Queen at Night  by Jim Dow
 Signage is everywhere and it always makes me do a double take when it's vintage.  There are fewer and fewer of them around and I always think  about taking a photograph (that would do it justice) before the sign disappears.  The photographer Jim Dow understands that feeling and has made a career of capturing  this slice of our  consumer landscape.   He has been photographing Pop Americana since the seventies so many of the signs are gone but thankfully have been preserved  for us to enjoy.  A collection of these images is on view at the Janet Borden gallery through July 30. -E.S.
Perfect for most.
Janet Borden Gallery at 560 Broadway at Prince Street

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chinese Puzzles: Games for the Hands and Minds

A lazy summer afternoon is the perfect time to pull out puzzles and games.  The title of this painting  is "Jeux Chinois," 1882, by Louis-Emile Pinel de Grandchamp.  These young Parisian women  are playing with  puzzles made in Canton, probably brought to them by a friend or relative who engaged in trade with China.  This painting is part of an exhibit called "Chinese Puzzles: Games for the Hands and Minds," at the Museum of Chinese in America on Centre street.  The museum began as a community based organization in 1980 called the New York Chinatown History Project.
 In Chinese, the word puzzle translates to "intelligence games,"  and the tradition of making puzzling objects for entertainment is deeply rooted in Chinese culture.  This exhibition of over 100 objects  is part of a large  collection of over 1300  objects including ring puzzles, secret compartment puzzle boxes, tangrams and other  graphic materials, which are owned by  a couple who have been collecting antique Chinese puzzles, from all over the world since 1997.  Visitors are invited to pick up modern reproductions of  ring puzzles  and take a crack at them.   If you need help there are videos to help you. The exhibit has been extended through September 5th, 2011.  On Thursdays admission is free.  The Museum is closed Tuesdays and Wednesday's.  Save the date:   Chinese Puzzles Family Workshop  July 23rd from 1:30 to 2:30
Perfect for most.
The Museum of Chinese in America 215 Centre St

Monday, July 11, 2011

David Michalek: Portraits in Dramatic Time

It's hot out and the kids want to stay up later and later. Who can blame them? No one can sleep knowing there is so much going on after dark. Take them to Lincoln Center, buy gelatos from a nearby cart, and view a free video entitled "Portraits in Dramatic Time" by director David Michalek. The video plays continuously every night from 8:45 to 11:45 until July 31st on a ginormous screen hoisted on to the front of the David H. Koch Theater (right next to the fountain). Mr. Michalek has photographed actors grouped together in twos and threes having conversations or watching each other as if standing on a subway platform or in a party. The video is shot in high definition at 3,000 frames per second and then decelerated to the excruciatingly slow pace of five to twelve frame per second. At first a narrative seems nonexistent, then, suddenly - well, ok, very slowly, a plot develops and circumstances become chaotic as bodies collide, drinks are spilled, and objects go flying in the air. There is no embedded soundtrack so only the sounds of city add to the drama. I found myself transfixed to the screen and mute as I stood among a crowd of others in the same state. My daughter on the other hand, thought it was hilarious and enjoyed the freedom of being able to move about and view the show unrestricted. Except for the lack of air conditioning, this is way better than sitting in a movie theater. Your older kids will have no problem getting dragged to this one. Perfect for the ones who get to stay up late. Lincoln Center, http://www.lincolncenterfestival.org

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

George Tooker: Reality Returns as a Dream

Bathers (Bath House)
Egg tempera on board

The exhibition of paintings by George Tooker currently on view at the DC Moore Gallery is entitled "Reality Returns as a Dream." Many of the the subjects in these paintings seem as if they are in a dream-like trance. There are bathers, office workers, market shoppers, all with a distant look in their eyes. In the 1940s, Tooker took classes at the Arts Students League in New York. There  he met Paul Cadmus, who encouraged him to work in a paint medium called egg tempera.  This type of paint is fast-drying, and yes, it is made by mixing a pigment with egg yolk. It produces the luminous and rich looking quality that we see in paintings of the late Renaissance and Baroque period. Mr. Tooker's career spanned over sixty years and his style was sometimes described as Magic Realism. He, however, did not care for that label, and explained that his images were the essence of experience. He was quoted as saying, "I am after painting reality impressed on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream, but I am not after painting dreams as such, or fantasy." This is a memorial exhibition as the artist died earlier this year. The show is up until  August 5th, 2011. Perfect for all ages.

All images courtesy D.C. Moore Gallery, 535 West 22nd street. www.dcmooregallery.com

at left :
The Supermarket, 1972
Egg tempera on panel

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cappy Amundsen: Whale of a Tale

If you're enjoying ocean breezes and some salty sea air this weekend, thoughts of sailing the high seas may cross your mind. During our recent vacation, the last stop before leaving the ocean vistas was the Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor. This is a "must-see" stop whenever you and your family go out east, as it always delivers with its beautifully preserved whaling artifacts and info about it's history. The gallery on the main floor of the museum is commemorating the100th anniversary of the life and paintings of Cappy Amundsen, a Norwegian artist who was a fixture in the Sag Harbor community. Among his many distinctions, Cappy founded two arts schools, the first waterfront festival and the Outboard Racing Regatta. His paintings are realistic scenes of men whaling. Scene after scene depict accurate representations of the high drama of the old world industry of "whaling." Cappy attended the Grand Central School of Art where he studied illustration and painting. In 1932, he became a founder of the Washington Square Outdoor Art Show with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and others. Be sure to stop in enjoy the whole museum. My daughter especially enjoyed the video on the history of whaling. Perfect for all ages. Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, 200 Main street.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

goARCHkids: Bridge & Tunnel Classicism

While in Jersey City the other day, strolling the waterfront area with the kids, we came across an interesting juxtaposition. We saw a handsome Doric colonnade, but instead of a standard Doric treatment for the entablature (the stuff the columns are holding up), this Doric colonnade was topped with a bunch of i-beams!

I-beams are usually associated with the construction of high-rises or really anything built these days. You see them all over the place.

So it was pretty exciting when I pointed to this colonnade and said to the kids, look at what's on top of those Doric columns and my 9 year old son shouted, I-BEAMS! Its a pretty crazy mix when you think about it but I think it kind of works.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekend Hit List: More than Fireworks

Picturing Science: Museum Scientists & Imaging Technologies has a curated exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History that invites us to look at what happens when art and science merge. Museum scientists study every thing from parasites to planets with imaging technologies that include infrared photography, scanning electron microscopes and CT scanners.  This exhibit features more than 20 sets of large-format images that depict the extensive range of research being done at the Museum. The images are breathtakingly beautiful. The beauty of Science indeed! The exhibit runs till June 24, 2012  This exhibit is free with the suggested Museum admission. You choose what you actually pay for admission. Perfect for all ages. American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th street, open every day from 10 AM- 5:45 PM except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.


Taiwo Duvall

The 40th Annual International African Arts Festival held at Commodore Barry Park, Navy Street between Park and Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn is a four-day arts and crafts festival ending Monday July 4th at 9:00 pm. Along with poetry slams, fashion shows, food, dance, drumming and an African Market, the festival will feature the work of artist Taiwo Duvall. Mr. Duvall is not only a visual artist, but also a musician and folklorist, as is evident in his work.

Tyson Reeder: Fantastical Emotion

Tyson Reeder
Untitled, 2011

The many moods of artist Tyson Reeder are on display in an exhibition of his paintings at the Daniel Reich Gallery in Chelsea.   In this series of portraits and landscapes,emotions take center stage.  His choice of colors and brushstrokes can burst with high energy or be haunting and  subdued as each painting takes you on a ride of imagination and fantasy.  Children  naturally paint images of themselves and others  that are revealing of emotion and desires.  Mr. Reeder never lost that freedom and fluidity of expression.  The images are highly personal  and yet he leaves room for you to fill in your own narrative and mood by giving the background only colors, brush strokes and scratches and marks.   The exhibit run thru July 15th. 
Perfect for all ages
Daniel Reich Gallery 537  A West 23rd st.
Tyson Reeder
Untitled, 2011
Tyson Reeder
Kiss, 2011


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Hit List: Going East

Facebook etching on handmade paper
Beth Giles

If you are planning a trip out east to the Hamptons, here are two galleries that you may want to drop in with your kids.

In Sag Harbor at the Delaney Cooke Gallery at Haven's House Art Space, Beth Giles' exhibit: Paper, Paper is up through June 30th. Handmade paper works that are mostly in spiral shapes. Some of the large spirals are 36 inch, round, 3-D books. Some books are mounted on the walls and some are on standing bases. To view the pieces you must turn the thick but delicate pages. Ms. Giles makes the paper from cotton, abaca linen, and flax fibers. In addition to the different pigmentations of the paper there are images of the artist's face interspersed throughout the pages  A very interactive exhibit. Perfect for all. The owners of little fingers should be instructed to be very gentle. Delaney Cooke Gallery, 17 Madison Street, Sag Harbor, 917-445-8427.
Cell by Christine Keefe
Mitochondria image courtesy of Alan Viel, Harvard biology Labs

Another art space worth checking out in Sag Harbor is  the Richard J. Demato Gallery. Several artists are featured on the first floor of the gallery. The most noteworthy are Haley Hasler and Andrea Kowch, who offer up images of women in fantastical narratives that reveal their inner and outer worlds. On the top floor of the gallery you'll find a series of paintings by Christine Keefe that will make your kids pause. You'll find hyper-realistic images of everyday objects set in unexpected backdrops, often looking like collages. Richard J. Demato Gallery 90 Main Street, Sag Harbor,  631-725-1161.

At left: "The Travelers" by Andrea Kowch.
At right: "Portrait as Allegory of Fidelity" by Haley Hasler.