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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

R.M. Fischer: Otherworldly Beings

R.M. Fischer installation at  KS ART gallery 2011.

There's a strange and wonderful alchemy going on at the KS Art gallery this month.  A collection of sculptures created by artist R.M. Fischer are holding court with wit and whimsy.  Copper wire, threaded rod, electrical and plumbing parts,steel cables, vinyl, thread and fabric  are just a few of the materials used to create these otherworldly beings. Just exactly when you start thinking of them as old friends is hard to say, but when the time comes it's hard to walk away.
 R.M. Fischer's public art sculptures include "Rector Gate" and "Battery Tunnel Clock" in lower-Manhattan.  A veteran of solo exhibitions since 1980, he has just been awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for fine arts.
-Edna Suarez
Perfect for:  All ages
KS Art is located at 73 Leonard St., ground floor in Tribeca.  The show is up until May 7th.  @kerryschuss.com
All images courtesy KS ART/Kerry Schuss
RMF-5D-740, 2011 R.M. Fischer

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stan Douglas: Midcentury Studio

"Suspect, 1950" Stan Douglas, 2010  courtesy David Zwirner Gallery
Your Nancy Drew's and Hardy boys will enjoy unraveling the mysterious scenes depicted  in Stan Douglas's  photographs on view at the David Zwirner gallery, through April 23rd.  Hyperreality in black and white,  the images are perfectly lit, staged and crafted like stills from old Hollywood films or  news photographs.  You'll see a covered up crime scene,  a sideshow knife thrower, a suspect in the backseat of a cop car, the curious and the exotic.  Each image evokes a time when the public was not yet jaded by drama. With a giant nod to  Weegee and lesser known Canadian, Raymond Munro, Mr. Douglas takes on the persona of  a tabloid press photographer bringing gritty reality to us, "hot off the press." Perfect for: 8 and up.

David Zwirner Gallery 525 West 19th street.

Thornton Dial: Sweet Refuse

"We all live under the same old flag"  2010
Thornton Dial  courtesy,  Edlin Gallery
Thornton Dial hails from Bessemer, Alabama.  Born in 1928, he has worked as a brick layer, carpenter, and a welder for a railway-carriage factory.  He is a renown self-taught artist who works  in the Southern African-American tradition of homemade yard art constructed by using, found objects, fabrics, metals, and wood.   A selection of his mixed-media paintings and sculptures is on view now at the Andrew Edlin gallery at 18th street and 10th Avenue through September 18th.
Each spirited piece has an urgent message.  Their themes touch upon, war, racism, bigotry and  homelessness.  The gallery is small but becomes large when standing in front of each of Mr. Dial's three-dimentional pieces.  They are expansive in breadth and powerful in message.
-Edna Suarez
Perfect for:  Ages 12 and up
The Andrew Edlin Gallery 134 10th Avenue

Saturday, April 16, 2011

goARCHkids: Harlem History

Hidden in Harlem, you find one fantastic architectural gem after another. The kids are always interested and surprised by the faces that look down on them as they stroll along the sidewalk. On the corner of 119th Street and Lenox Avenue, we met up with this somewhat ambiguous looking woman. We couldn't decide if she looked frightened or just pensive, contemplating the changes she'd witnessed over the past 110 years. This building was built in 1901 as the cornerstone plainly proclaims. It was designed by architect Robert T. Lyons who would go on to build another beaux-arts pile on the corner of 89th & CPW, as well as about 30 more buildings in NYC including the Bromley, and the Grammercy Park Hotel. In 1913, Lyons even built the world's tallest building on 79th and Park. It was seventeen stories high, five more than any other building. Yet there appears to be no readily discovered record of this early building and the woman who guards over it. This building went up in Harlem the year Queen Victoria died and Theodore Roosevelt became president. 110 years, from building the subway, the Jazz Age, Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Panthers! Can you imagine what has happened on the corner of 119th and Lenox in that time?

Nao Tanabe: Too Cute?

Scent of lily
 The young females depicted in Nao Tanabe's series of portraits are painfully cute.  Their sweet little girl outfits clash with their stoic expressions.  They inhabit a surreal world of easter egg colors and butterflies.   Some are accompanied by plush toys or bunnies.  Their composure is ultra cool and their emotions are in check.
Unstable choral
 Ms. Tanabe explores the  cultural phenomenon of "Neoteny" in Japan, and beyond.   In Japan the delaying of maturity and  conventional adulthood  with fashion and lifestyle choices, has  grown in popularity since the late 80's.   The artist wonders if this pursuit is still just a trend or the norm, beneficial or detrimental.
Teens interested in pop surrealism, anime, manga,  amigurumi, animation and an illustration style called "kawaii" (roughly translated to "cute") will enjoy this show.
-Edna Suarez
Tiny princess
The exhibit has been extended for another week so you have until April 23rd to view it at: The Bill Hodges Gallery at 24 West 57th Street.

Perfect for:  Tweens and Teens, but just fine for all.
Images  Nao Tanabe,  Courtesy of Bill Hodges Gallery

Friday, April 15, 2011

goARCHkids: Gorgeous Gehry

Starchitect Frank Gehry's 1st NYC building probably deserves some of the criticism it gets, but leaving Chelsea Piers a few nights every week, the kids and I often look upon it with wonder. Last Tuesday in the rain, the entire first floor wall screen was showing the giant fish tank video. We love that one and the changing spectrum video. The design of the building itself plays off the idea of the sails of boats being blown by the wind, a reference to its neighbor, the Hudson River. In the evenings, with the ombre white windows, the building glows. If there's no party planned for that night, security will let you take the kids in to look around a bit, get a closer look at those gigantic fish.

Cristina Iglesias: Imaginary Topographies

Pozo I, V,III, II,IV, 2011 (from left to right)
Cristina Iglesias
photo credit: Taka studio
At first glance,  the  grouping of granite block structures that occupy the main space  of the Marian Goodman Gallery, seem silent and foreboding. Their exteriors reveal no secrets. Only their names, Pozos (Spanish for water wells) give you a clue.  As you approach them and hear the gentle sounds of moving water, you begin to feel at ease and want to know more.  Finally the  interior of the blocks are displayed and they draw you into a verdant,  topography of bronze and resin that ebbs and flows with water.  Looking like a pathway in an imaginary forest the trail goes further into the  black center.  Will you stay or will you go?   The Spanish artist, Cristina Iglesias plays with elements of visibility and invisibility, distance and detail. A submerged aquarium awaits you in another wing of the gallery.  A model of a  garden labyrinth in another.   Your detailed -oriented offspring will delight in their discoveries.  The smaller children will need an adult to hoist them up for an eyeful.  The exhibition is up through April 27th.
-Edna Suarez
Pozo IV, 2011
Cristina Iglesias
photo credit:  Taka studio

Perfect for:  All ages
Marian Goodman Gallery 24 West 57th Street.
Photographs Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, NY

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sonia Delaunay: Color Moves

Paris 1925
© L & M SERVICES B.V. The Hague 20100623
For a Fashion 101 session with your favorite mini fashionistas, take a walk over to the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum at Fifth Ave and 91 street.  Introduce them to the work of  Sonia Delaunay,  an abstract artist who applied her expertise in color to textile design, fashion, theater and film.  In collaboration with her husband the artist Robert Delaunay they developed  their theory of "simultaneity," or the sensation of movement and rhythm created by simultaneous contrasts of certain colors.  She called some of her designs "poem dresses," and viewed her textile design and  garments as an extension of her paintings.  Her fashions were sought after by famous actresses and exemplified the glamour of the Jazz age. You'll see dresses,  bathing suits, swim caps, fabrics and photographs and textile swatches.  The exhibit is up until June 15th.
-Edna Suarez
Perfect for : Fashionistas of any age.   Children 12 and under are free.
© L & M SERVICES B.V. The Hague 20100623

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Romare Bearden: Seeking Connections

No doubt your children are very familiar with making collages.  Why not take them to see the work of a master?  A  collection of his work is on exhibit now at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, in celebration of the centennial of his birth.
"The Savoy" 1975 
As an art student he tried other art media before focusing on collage. He used photographs, fabric, images from magazines, newspapers, photostats, gouache, ink an oil.  He once explained that he was seeking connections..".people in a baptism in a Virginia stream are linked to John the Baptist, to ancient purification rites, and to their African heritage."  In the cutting and pasting of fragments of collage he felt he was cutting and pasting fragments of life and making connections.  His themes were focused on African American life from the rural to the urban.
While I was in the gallery a group of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from the Ella Baker School came into see the exhibit.  They are studying Mr. Bearden's life and art.  The exhibit runs till May 21st.
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery 24 West 57th street 7th floor. (images Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery)
"Watching the Good Trains Go By"

goARCHkids: Hyperbolic Frolic

As the weather warms, think of outdoor architectural spaces.  The year old green roof at Lincoln Center is a blast for kids, if slightly jarring for their parents.  The roof is a hyperbolic paraboloid, which means two of the corners sort of drop off into space.  The glass enclosure provides no visual reassurance that your kid isn't going to plunge on to 65th Street,  but it's pretty exciting!  Running around the pool below is good fun too as is the fantastic water fountain show around the corner.  Very refreshing in the really hot weather!


Hi! This week I'm bringing on a new contributor. Rudie E. Hurwitz will write about architecture appreciation in the city. The segments will be aptly named: goARCHkids, so look for the postings. And now, an introductory message from our new contributor:

I'm Rudie Hurwitz, a former art historian. I worked for years at the Frick before focusing on architectural history. With the arrival of my fourth child I decided to take a break from the office. Few places are as rich in architectural information as New York City and I find myself constantly stopping in the middle of the sidewalk with the kids to point this out. It's a privilege to be surrounded by this wealth of architecture and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to enrich the lives of kids by making accessible the beauty and information around them.

With this blog, I'm hoping to supply you and your family with information and photographs that will inspire you to go find these sites in your neighborhoods. I'm going to show you what the kids and I saw today. So, look up, look around, and enjoy!

goARCHkids: Statuary Pedestals

When walking past the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Ave, and 111th street,  no child can resist its inviting stairs.  Without a stroller for once, I follow.  We look at the statuary pedestals on which the carved figures are standing in the central portal.  We find some eerie stories far removed from the biblical lore.  Look up and see the World Trade Center falling down in a cloud of smoke.  The thing is, these were carved no later than 1997.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Michael Cline: Storyteller

Bell Game  2011
The artist Michael Cline considers himself primarily a storyteller.  Exactly what the plot lines in his paintings are, is entirely up to you.  Every piece in his new show entitled "Arcadia"  provides your little sleuths with a multitude of narratives.  The characters in almost each piece are busy working on mysterious home projects, some with more difficulty than others.  You'll have fun trying to figure out  "exactly what is going on here?"
Perfect for:  Ages 7 and up.
The shows runs thru April 23rd at the gallery Marc Jancou Contemporary 524 West 24th street.  @marcjancou.com

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Isca Greenfield-Sanders: The Ocean Between

 A Walk with Daddy (Pink), 2004 © Isca Greenfield-Sanders

If you find yourself longing for warm summer days and ocean breezes, make your way over to mid-town and visit the gallery, Haunch of Venison at 1230 Avenue of the Americas.  The artist Isca Greenfield-Sanders'  paintings will instantly transport you to the shore.  Using vintage photo slides and printing them on Japanese paper she creates a canvas ready for her gorgeous palette of oils. The large-format paintings will envelope your family in sand, ocean, and light.  Their low placement on the walls are immediately accessible to your children's eye-level.  You may be able pass this visit off as, A Day at the Beach.
Perfect for:  Everyone
Isca Greenfield-Sanders at the Haunch of Venison Gallery 1230 Avenue of the Americas (between 47th and 48th streets  20th floor)   @haunchofvenison.com

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Venske & Spanle: Wanderlust

Folks are smiling as they glance towards the windows of the Margaret Thatcher Projects gallery. Folks are smiling as they walk in.  The tiny gallery has been invaded by whimsical marble sculptures that invite you to get close.  No touching allowed so keep those little fingers in check.  The Munich collaborators  Venske & Spanle, whose studio is located in Brooklyn have carved these biomorphic beauties from pure white Lasa marble that is found in northern Italy.  They are so highly polished that they appear moist and fluid.  Each with it's own distinctive personality I can't help thinking that I'm visiting with some happy citizens of Suessville.  Reminder the space is small and probably one child per adult is the best strategy.  Show runs through May 7, 2011.
The Margaret Thatcher Projects,  located at 539 West 23rd st.  @thatcherprojects.com