Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Upper East Side Mix! ~ The Whitney, The Met and Neue!

That's what you look for from art,
whether you're looking at dance or listening to music
or looking at a visual artist's work.
You want gesture:
you want the person to be in the moment
to show you how far you can go,
and the freedom of what that means.
~Jeff Koons

(detail) Metallic Venus, 2010-12

It was a beautiful morning, though a bit on the muggy side. No surprise, since it was the last week of August! I took the subway up the Upper West side, then walked across Central Park to meet my niece Elizabeth.

We had a bit of a long list of museums and galleries to see, that Saturday, but we'd narrowed it down to 3 on the Upper East Side.

The Whitney has a nice little café with lovely breakfast choices, so we met there around 10:00 and fueled ourselves up for our big art day. The Whitney was also first on the list because of the rather huge Jeff Koons Retrospective.

Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
The Whitney
June 27-October 19, 2014

Play-Doh, 1994-2014
Polychromed aluminum
120 x 108 x108"

Ballon Dog (Yellow). 1994-200
Mirror polished stainless steel with transparent
color coating

I haven't read a whole lot about Jeff Koons, and my knowledge of his work is pretty much limited to what I've seen over at LACMA. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 

What I do know, is that I like things that are shiny and reflective! ;)

One of the things that I enjoy so much about childhood
is just how open and nonjudgmental you can be.
You just accept the color blue for its blueness-
and turquoise for just being turquoise.
You can enjoy plastic-
just a great piece of plastic- for its color,
or even the cereal box that you can look at forever.
And so I always enjoy making reference to that.
~Jeff Koons

Pluto and Proserpina, 2011-13
Mirror polished stainless steel
with transparent color coating

Yes, that's my niece in red, peaking around the sculpture, above.

Here's a Jeff Koons documentary. Even the first 6 minutes will give you an idea of what it's about, if you aren't familiar with his work.

Dogpool (Panties), 2003
Polychromed aluminum, acrylic, chromogenic print,
and coated steel chain

The thing that amazing me, is that the materials aren't what they seem. Doesn't the dog look like blow up plastic? I can't believe it's aluminum. 

There's really nothing special 
that an artist or anybody can do,
whatever you area of interest may be, 
because the only thing you can do 
is to follow your interests.

That takes you to a metaphysical place, 
and that's where you find your art.

If you try to create art,
it's a decorative process 
and you're just really kind of wasting time,
spinning gears,
until you get so bored with yourself 
that you just stop the process
 and ask yourself what you really want to do.
~Jeff Koons

Christ and the Lamb, 1988
Gilded wood and mirror

Anything that reflects has a kind of spiritual
transcendence because it involves
the viewer.
It acknowledges your presence. Every time you move,
the reflection changes;
it always acknowledges you.
~Jeff Koons

Balloon Venus (Orange). 2008-12
Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating
One of five unique versions

( I think this is my favorite piece from the exhibition. Shiny red/orange Venus of Willendorf? What's not to love!?)

from the exhibition:
"Koons was drawn to the Paleolithic statuette known as the Venus of Willendorf because of its associations with fertility and ritual. He has said that as a younger artist he looked for sources that were "product-oriented," whereas the Venus figure attests to his more recent involvement with "connecting to things that are archetypal and profound, things that connect you to human history."

Koons desined the sculpture's model using a single balloon since the feeling of air connecting through its many twists and chambers was integral to its sense of life. He had the balloon CT scanned (a process that could capture the figure's innermost contours) and scaled up its proportions while maintaining fluid curves and its complex twisted and puckered details. Despite being hard and opaque, the final sculpture retains an amazing sense of inflatedness and adds a contemporary layer of homage and caricature to the original artifact's exaggerated anatomical forms."

After the Whitney we headed to the Neue Galerie and ran across some pretty things, in windows ...

Vera Wang ... gorgeous! That draping and the sumptuous fabric? Sigh ...

Window of Intermix


Neue Gallery

I'd found out about this place, a few years back on Charlie Rose, and after some Klimts had been acquired.

Here is a two minute video about the famous Klimt portrait, housed in the Neue Galerie, the Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer.

The Degenerate Art show at the Neue was what I was really looking forward to. The building, an old swanky Upper East Side Residence,  is beautiful and houses the Neue collection of German and Austrian Art.

Here is a 3 minute video about the exhibition, that I was so excited to see!  (No photography is aloud in the Galerie, so this will give you a very brief overview.)

Here is another quick video about the exhibition, showing more of the degenerate art pieces, next to the Nazi approved art.

Elizabeth's friend met us for lunch, and then the three of us headed to the Metropolitan Museum of art.

The Roof Garden Commission:
Dan Graham with Günter Vogt

The grass is actually "cushiony" to sit on!

Here I am, taking iPhone photos ... takes a second to figure out who is on which side ...

My niece, on the other side ...

And yes, you can have a glass of champagne up there! ;)


Similar but different video about the site ...

View of the NYC skyline ...

After Elizabeth and her friend left, I went to visit some of my favorite Italians ...

Artemisia Gentileschi
Italian, Rome 1593-1651/53
Esther before Ahasuerus
Oil on Canvas

Artemisia, was the most successful woman artist of the Baroque period. It was almost impossible under the apprenticeship training of the day, for a woman to become an artist, unless they were working under a family member. In this case, her father Orazio was the artist.

Her beautiful details ...

Guido Reni
Italian, Bologna 1575-1642
The Immaculate Conception, 1624

Moving up to the North ...

Hugo van der Goes
Netherlandish, Ghent, active by 1467-died 1482
Portrait of a Man
ca. 1475
Oil on wood

Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn)
Dutch, Leiden 1606-1669
Portrait of a Young Woman with a Fan, detail

I love this painting, below. La Tour was influenced by the work of Caravaggio, as was Artemisia Gentileschi and her father Orazio. Dark and dramatic with beautiful other worldly chiaroscuro. I have posted a lot of Caravaggio's work in the past, both from the Metropolitan as well as my posts from Italy.

Georges de La Tour
French, Vic-sur-Seille 1593-1653 Lunéville
The Penitent Magdalen
ca. 1640

Here is a video on the influence of Caravaggio.

Sir Edward Burne-Jones British
British, 1833-1898
The Love Song, 1868-77

I was very grateful to get to spend the day, doing one of my favorite things (looking at art) with one of my very favorite people.

Goofing around at the swanky Upper East Side beauty supply.

The job of the artist is to make a gesture
and really show people what their potential is.
It's not about the object, and it's not about the image; 
it's about the viewer.
That's where the art happens.
The objects are absolutely valueless.
But what happens inside the viewer- that's where the value is.
~Jeff Koons

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Making Memories ~ Palm Springs and Seal Beach

Rejoice with your family 
in the beautiful land of life!
~Albert Einstein

Somehow, we'd never thought of it before! Then, came an email. An idea, from my cousin Kate, asking if all the girl cousins would like to get together for a "Cousins' Retreat" at her family's timeshare, in Palm Springs. Immediately, emails started going back and forth. Yes, yes, yes! 7 out of 9 had RSVPd in the first 24 hours.

All 9 of us were able to make it. 

Palm Springs, California

It was the first weekend in October, that I picked up my cousin, Allie, who also lives in L.A. and headed to Seal Beach to her sister Jen's place. Then, we hit the road to meet the rest of our cousins, in Palm Springs.

We all arrived Friday afternoon and I don't think anyone expected that we would barely leave the room until the next day, to hang by the pool. Usually, when we get together there are 40 (?) of us, with the aunts, uncles, kids, and so on. This time, it was just my generation and it was ... really, really, special.

Kate said they'd never had one huge round table in a room, at this timeshare, before. All 9 of us could fit around this one large table and tell (ghost) stories, and funny stories, and laugh and cry ... and laugh again. It was perfect and meant to be!

These sunset shots were taken from our patio.  Beautiful, huh?

Call it a clan,
call it a network,
call it a tribe,
call it a family.
Whatever you call it,
Whoever you are,
you need one.
~Jane Howard

 Here's the time share ...

Palm, looking up from the lounge chair ...

That evening we all went to dinner in town and then walked around, ending up in a hat shop ...

Where we got super silly and took a million pictures. No idea how long we were in there!

Oh, and if you're curious, we span 25 years! 25 to 50!

Families are like fudge -
mostly sweet
with a few nuts. 
~Author Unknown
(And I might be the biggest nut in the bunch! ;)

Sunday we packed up and headed to breakfast in town.

It was such an amazing time, it felt weird to leave, but we made sure to make our plans for October 2015! Can't wait!

Jen, Allie and I headed back to Seal Beach.

Allie and I decided to stretch our legs, with Jen and her husband Phill in Seal Beach, before heading back to Hollywood. As you can see, it was a gorgeous day!

Jen and Phill

The happiest moments of my life
have been the few 
which i have passed at home
in the bosom of my family.
~Thomas Jefferson

Jen and Allie on the pier ...

My amazing, wonderful, hilarious, crazy, fun, smart, beautiful cousins ...

Can't wait until next year!!!

The first night, after chatting around the table for hours, I showed them a video I made of all of us. Well, a slide show with music, that spans about 40 years. (It jumps around but you can tell a lot by the clothes.) It's 2 songs long. And yes, there are boy cousins, and they are in the video! ;)

My sister and I spoke that following week, a few times, and we just kept saying how lucky ... how blessed we are!

And, thank you cousin Kate, for your beautiful idea, and making it happen!

I hope you are blessed with a wonderful family. Whether they are blood or not, it doesn't matter. You you love them, and you hold them dear. 

You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you,
as you are to them.
~Desmond Tutu

Blessings and light!