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

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