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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

goARCHkids: Wavy Wonder One of Many

Around the corner from Grandpa's house, we'd been watching this place go up for years and years. Finally it was done, and what a building it is! Maybe because we're always walking so close to it and the sidewalk is very narrow, or we're always distracted by each other, but I really just took a good look at this wavy wonder yesterday. I stole the name "wavy wonder" from the blog Curbed, but its so catchy, I can't stop myself from using it. So, this building, One Jackson Square, is beautiful.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Roy Lichtenstein: Landscapes in the Chinese Style

The artist Roy Lichtenstein is primarily known for his pop art images  inspired by comic strips and advertisements,  from the 1950's.   I wasn't aware of his later works inspired by Chinese landscapes, until  I saw the current exhibit at the Gagosian gallery in Chelsea.  Most of the canvases are very large and all are done in his signature "benday style"  (hand  stenciled meticulously reproduced dots).   In Chinese landscapes the sky water and land mysteriously cling together in a dreamy mist of brush strokes.   Lichtenstein re-created this look by layering the canvas with blocks of dots in subtle colors and abstract forms.  There are references to human life in the shape of very small boats or people that pop up in unexpected areas of the canvas. They look determined not to be swallowed up by the elements in the world they inhabit. Ask your children to find them and then marvel at how little color and line the artist needs to suggest a form or an object.  The dots become more pronounced as you walk closer and closer to the image.   Perfect for all.  The exhibit is up until April 7th.
Gagosian Gallery 555 West 24th 
Landscape with Grass, 1996
Oil on magna on canvas
110 x 38 inches  (279.4 x 96.5 cm)
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Photography by Robert McKeever

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Will Ryman: Roses & Figures

Another artist interested in dramatic shifts in scale  is  Will Ryman. You may have seen his very tall roses  sitting pretty all along the Park Avenue mall between 57th and 67th streets last year.  Aptly called  "The Roses,"  it brightened up the avenue with it's color and imaginative scale.  His new exhibit at the Lio Malca gallery is called "Roses & Figures".  As soon as I went into the gallery I felt like I had lost my way in a bed of overgrown roses.  Every thing including me was very close to the ground. Sculptures of cigarette butts, discarded soda cans, golf balls,  were larger than life and littered amongst the even larger flowers. How Mr. Ryman made the fiberglass resin look so lush was on my mind  when I came upon a gathering of some very hip looking dudes/sculptures. Cool,  we're all  hanging out in the VIP area of this garden party and passing on the funny lemonade.  Perfect for all. Smaller children will have to be negotiated around the greenery. 
Lio Malca Gallery 526 West 26th street suite 207
Images:  top left:  "Roses&Figures" Installation view. Will Ryman   top right:  "Fresh, 2010"  Will Ryman
"The Roses, Park Avenue"
Will Ryman

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tom Friedman: New Work

The  Luhring Augustine Gallery in Chelsea features "New Work" by artist  Tom Friedman.  In this exhibit your perception is  so skillfully skewed  that you can't wait to get to the next piece to see what topsy turvy surprise you'll find.  
As I walked into the gallery  I was  greeted by a life-size sculpture of a pair of sneakers that were partially filled with legs that  abruptly ended a few inches up from the shoe.  It was as  if the artist was asking me to finish the piece mentally.  Another installation was of a tiny figurine of a man standing on a small patch of grass flying a kite.  My sense of scale was doing flip flops  as I looked down to see the tiny man then up again to view the kite.  After doing that a few times I looked around for something to steady  my eye on and I fixed on what looked a like blue space station  with an endless amount of space refuse attached to it.  The piece was hanging way up from  the ceiling and the placement was strategic, of course. It made me feel really small and really desperate to get close enough to really see the little parts and gizmos.   Eventually I moved on to a sculpture of a man made from stainless steel peeing on the floor. The figures stance was eerily real because the steel was so crumpled and relaxed looking .There are many more works in exhibit that will bend your mind.  Perfect for your older children and teens.  The work is up until March 17th.
Untitled (nobody), 2012
Styrofoam and paint
Luhring Augustine Gallery  
531 West 24th street

Top images:  Untitled (kite), 2012
Wood, paint and monofilament
Diameter of base: 41 1/2 inches
Figure: 1 1/8 x 3/8 inches
String: Dimension varies

Thursday, March 1, 2012

goARCHkids: Architecture in Sand

The Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico was a carmelite convent. It was built in the mid-1600s and now is a great building loaded with character and coquis chirping away in the plant-filled courtyard. The kids and I loved one particular detail. About every 20 feet on each of three or four extremely long wrap-around verandahs was placed a freestanding ashtray filled with sand on the top. Pressed into the sand of each ashtray was an architectural rendering of the facade of El Convento. We loved that and despite the temptation, particularly on the part of a certain 7 year old young lady, I never let them mess it up.