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Sunday
Sep122010

SEMPE & ST. TROPEZ -FOREVER

NOTHING IS SIMPLE - SEMPEMy summer holiday on the French Riviera was full of wonderful and relaxing experiences.   One big surprise was to find a show of one of my favorite cartoonists on display at the Louis Vuitton boutique in St. Tropez.   Jean-Jacques Sempe is known the world over for his witty commentaries on life.   His unique style is instantly recognizable and his work has graced the cover of countless magazines over the years,  including many issues of The New Yorker.

Born in the early 30's in Bordeaux, Sempe has spent most of his adult life in St. Germain in Paris - and it shows.   His work is full of ironic and funny moments that poke fun at those who take themselves a little too seriously.   Oftentimes children star in the show by acting out behavior learned from adults.   First brought to fame by a child character he created called Le Petit Nicolas.  SEMPE ON PARENTHOOD The comic strip was largely drawn from memories of Sempe's own childhood.

I enjoyed seeing Sempe's work showcased in the newly renovated Louis Vuitton Boutique in St. Tropez.  Now incorporating a large courtyard, the LV space is impressive!

LE PETIT NICOLAS - SEMPELater that same week I stayed at the house of a family friend.  Imagine my great surprise when I realized my bedroom was housing an original Sempe poster.  The subject of the poster?  The antique fair in St. Tropez! SIGNED SEMPE POSTER What an amazing coincidence.   To make matters more interesting - the poster was signed by the artist himself!     Wow - talk about serendipity!  I couldn't have been more pleased.   My hosts were so glad I knew Sempe's work - I was about as tickled as can be.   I immediately went to Amazon on my return home to New York.   Sempe is now in my own collection forever!

To see more work by Jean-Jacques Sempe - click -

SEMPE FOREVER

Thursday
May202010

WATER VIEW IN CHELSEA

What's in a view?  Everything.   I'm a big believer in the power of settings, surroundings, and elements to shape our everyday life.  

ALICE DALTON BROWN - MOONDROPSImagine my excitement when I entered the Fischbach Gallery located on New York's waterfront in Chelsea.   If the gallery were empty, the view would be still be spectacular.   Located high above the pedestrian path on 26th street & 11th Avenue, the view of the Hudson River and the expanding Hudson River Parks ( see Who New for more on the Park) is really unique for a gallery.  Nothing as they say happens by accident.   Certainly the success of Fischbach for more than 50 years is no accident. 

In the Art world there are galleries that jump on a trend in the commercial market and run with it.  Typically that lasts for a few years and a gallery fades away.   Then there are galleries that actually curate and seriously guide artists to develop a following.    Galleries of this nature, ones that nurture an artist, are far and few between.   Fischbach is such a gallery, keeping an ear to the surrounding scene, while setting a unique path.  Ahead of the commercial curve, the gallery was also one of the first to make Chelsea their home.  Of course the neighborhood is now gallery central.   ALICE DALTON BROWN - DAYLILLIES  

 

The current show at Fishbach- Nocturnes and Diurnes -really underscores the  power of a view.   Artist Alice Dalton Brown is known for her ability to deliver emotion and spirit through scenes that leave much to the imagination.  The scenes however don't require any imagination at all to appreciate them.    In a way they are a tease, as there is so much we don't know about what we see.   The beauty is that it doesn't matter, because Brown is able to bring a sense of joy and calm to all who look.   There are no people, no pets, and often no buildings - yet you feel at home.

Gallery Director and Fischbach Partner, Lawrence DiCarlo told me that some of Ms. Brown's devoted collectors definitely like the "happy factor" of her work.   Who could blame them?  In a world where watching the news can make you want to throw in the towel, when you find an artist whose paintings give you a lift - you buy them!  This in no way diminishes Ms. Brown's work.  Quite the opposite is true.   After all, isn't that what art is meant to do?  Any artist that can cause an emotional reaction has achieved something special.   Brown's paintings are so skillfully created,  mastering a sense of light - both Sun and Moon in this show- as well as her amazing sense of movement.   ALICE DALTON BROWN - QUIET WINDOW

You might know Ms. Brown's work without realizing it.   The artist also has a huge commercial following for her posters.   Many a young art fan begins collecting one of Ms. Brown's calming scenes  through the extensive offering of her prints.  click PRINTS

In this time of fiscal second guessing, happy is a great investment.   Happy is always in-style in the long run.  The show however will not be open for the long run - so get to Fischbach as soon as you can.   If you miss the show, be sure to contact the gallery for more information about Alice Dalton Brown.  They are an authority on her work, as this is her twelth show at the gallery.  Also find out the schedule of what is coming as Fishbach delivers show after show.   

After you visit the gallery, cross the street and walk down the most amazing city park on any waterfront!  for more information click FISCHBACH and HUDSON RIVER PARK

Tuesday
May042010

CHRISTINA NOT HERSELF TONIGHT

CHRISTINA AGUILERA - BIONICChristina Aguilera is back with a new album this month after taking a break for marriage and motherhood.   Timing is everything as they say, and what a difference a year or two can make.   Just over a year ago Ms. Aguilera was accused of "borrowing" the style of a largely unheard of, newly spawned internet sensation named Lady Gaga during a performance for the single "keeps Getting Better".   Christina's quoted response  -" I'm not sure who that person is" sent gossip blogs crazy speculating that the comment suggested Lady Gaga was a drag Queen.    Well all we can say for sure is - Christina knows who Lady Gaga is now.    Gaga has pushed the reset button for all pop fans like the recession did for luxury shoppers.    After Gaga, every artist has to rethink how they are marketing themselves, and is their look fresh enough to keep fans wanting more.NOT MYSELF TONIGHT - 2010

Of course, Christina Aguilera is different from most pop artists today in that she can sing.    And sing she does.   Not since Whitney Houston HARD CANDY - 2008has anyone heard notes that Ms. Aquilera if your Nasty hits on half a breath.  What she has in spades in vocal chops, she sometimes lacks in original styling or creativity.   Case in point is the cover art for the first single from the new album BIONIC.    The catchy "Not Myself Tonight"  gives Christina the chance to hit some notes and clearly, the video gave her the chance to get nasty again and be "edgy".    I just wish the shot was a little more original.   I know Madonna has a huge influence on every pop performer - but this was the cover of her last album - Hard Candy from 2008, not some obscure old photo!   In the video, she also burns down Carrie's closet from Sex & The City!

I think overall, the issue is... when you compare street smart kids like Lady Gaga and Madonna to former Mouseketeers like Britney or Christina in the creative department... there is just no comparison.     Really good intentions come off as fluff. 

I love Christina and I'm sure BIONIC will be great.   Just wanting more from a pro like Christina Aquilera.  You be the judge.   Watch the video here:

 



Monday
May032010

WARHOL, FORD, & FERRAGAMO

ANDY WARHOL SELF PORTRAITAndy Warhol was famous for many things.   As a painter, print maker, record producer, and filmmaker -his vision was revolutionary and avant-garde.   Turning the art world on it's ear and changing the concept of pop art and pop culture, Warhol's subjects and entourage were the first reality.   A cast of characters and references that are still embedded in the psyche of any avant-garde filmmaker or artist today.DESIGNER / FILMMAKER TOM FORD

Warhol's paintings have never been more commercially valuable.   Capitalizing on the state of the Auction market is none other than fashion designer and fledgling filmmaker Tom Ford.   Ford will sell the Self portrait he purchased from the Artist's estate in 1998 through Sotheby's on May 12th.   The portrait is 9 feet square, making it the largest self portrait from the artist.   So chilling it was said to have spooked Warhol himself, the image is unique to say the least.    Estimate:  $10 - 15 Million.

Andy coined the phrase "15 minutes of fame".   The full quote was that "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes".    What an amazing commentary on pop culture, considering what has evolved since the artist's death in 1987.ANDY WARHOL'S FERRAGAMOS   It's as if her knew that celebrity would evolve ( or dissolve depending on how you look at it) into the current "real" housewives phenomenon.  Having died over 20 years ago, it's clear Andy's 15 minutes go on and on and on.

Proof of the Artist's lasting relevance in the creative fields of design is the release of the latest Ferragamo Creations shoe.  The  Italian powerhouse known for basically inventing the designer shoe  has paid homage to the late pop artist and his love of Ferragamo.     Andy Warhol wore Ferragamo shoes... every day.    One style in particular became part of his wardrobe when he was creating in his famed "Factory".   The Salvatore style is unique in that the entire upper is made from one piece of leather.   Warhol's Ferragamos were paint splattered and worn in to say the least.   After the artist's death, the fashion house purchased the shoes from his estate and added them to the permanent collection of the Ferragamo Museum in Florence, Italy.  FERRAGAMO'S CREATIONS SALVATORE ALA ANDY $950  

This Spring Ferragamo is honoring the Artist by adding the style to its archive Creations collection.   This group honors original styles that were custom made for Hollywood legends such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, & now Andy Warhol.  It is the first Mens style to be in the Creations collection.

The Warhol Salvatore will be limited to just 150 pairs and are decorated to look exactly how Andy's looked after he left his mark on them (another first for the Creations group).  

To order a pair of these collectible shoes, or find out more information - contact the Ferragamo Boutique on 5th Avenue - (212) 759-3822

Wednesday
Apr212010

IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE - IT'S A BODY!

The latest art exhibit in Madison Square Park has some New Yorkers and tourists alike staring up at the building ledges that surround this oasis on 23rd street.   Acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley makes us think about our sense of space and place here in NYC.   Gormley has positioned 31 life size forms of himself in bronze and fiberglass in and around the park.   Most on building ledges.   Titled Event Horizon, the project gives you the effect of a sort of a out of this world visitation - almost like an alien invasion.   Others have thought it was distraught New Yorkers trying to end it all.   According to the New York Post, 911 has had several calls from concerned pedestrians who were confused by the forms.   The Post asked Mayor Bloomberg if he felt the sculptures should be removed as not to cause panic.   Bloomberg had a very rational reaction, which is par for the course.   The Mayor said "absolutely not",  reason being he continued, "you want an attraction that generates buzz and draws tourists to experience the art".    As usual, he is right.  

Madison Square Park is one of the most regal parks in NYC.   The last 5 years has seen the addition of multi-million dollar apartments all around the park.   The fashion crowd has also been drawn to the Ace Hotel that is just a few blocks north of the Park.   That end of Flatiron is affectionately called NOMAD - or North of Madison (Square Park).   Thank the future NOMAD luxury hotel for NY's latest Acronym!

MADISON SQUARE PARK AT DUSKTo learn more about art projects in the park - visit-  Madison Square Park   Come and see the bronze aliens now through August 15th.   See if you can find all 31!  Think of it as a high end - Where's Waldo!


 

Monday
Jan112010

DEEP FREEZE IN LAS VEGAS - CITY CENTER - ICED

GLACIA FOUNTAIN - CITY CENTER, LAS VEGASWith the cold snap that is sweeping across the Northern hemisphere, you can almost take that headline literally!   However, the ice I'm referring to at City Center is man-made all the way.   With all the sights and sounds to catch your attention at the stunning new Crystals Luxury Retail Center, one that stopped me in my tracks was Glacia.   Designed by the world renowned fountain design masters at WET, Glacia, is an out of this world experience.  This outrageous creation sends giant ice forms 15 feet into the air.  GLACIA - SURROUNDED BY LUXURY FASHION

If you know Vegas, you already know WET's work.  They are the team behind the fountains of the Bellagio and the Mirage Volcano.   Emerging from a pool of water, the ice of Glacia is not like any you have ever seen.   The ice formations are carved as they rise from the depths of the pool, creating unique shapes and contours much like you would expect to find in some outer space cavern.   The ice forms disappear as they melt, only to start the process all over again.  Glacia looks like it was designed to be on some relay station in deep space for the movie Avatar!   While the silence and beauty of the ice forms are also what makes it so powerful, I'm told that Grammy winner Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead is creating a "tonal poem" that will accompany this visual work of art.   Surrounded by David Rockwell and Daniel Libeskind 's vision of the ultimate shopping experience, Glacia has perfect synergy with the entire Crystals Complex.  

If you plan a visit to Las Vegas, you must spend a day at City Center.   I promise, the 67 acre complex on the Vegas Strip will leave you speechless!  

 

Thursday
Dec102009

RIVELINO & ME - LISBON - THANK YOU ARTNEXUS

A highlight of my recent trip to Lisbon was seeing the larger than life bronze sculptures of Mexican artist Rivelino.  Titled "Nuestros Silencios", the pieces are powerful and haunting.   The message is clear and speaks volumes about freedom of expression.  The work is a cry for human rights and equality, but also an abstract treasure!

The sculptures are on display at the foot of Park Eduardo VII - standing guard at one of the busiest intersections in the Portuguese capital.   On guard there that is through mid- January.   After that, they will continue their European tour to Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Rome, & London.

I learned about the exhibit from ARTNEXUS well before I left for Lisbon.   The incredible organization that supports artists around the world has an excellent newsletter that is chock full of information on upcoming events and exhibits.     I was so excited to see these works.   Thank you Rivelino, and thank you ARTNEXUS.   Click on the link to subscribe.