Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. I have had an unusual season this year – super busy at my new job at Ralph Lauren, and also very preoccupied with getting my father ready to move to Colorado, which I wrote about on the blog previously. So my attention has been elsewhere and the holiday season has literally flown by, but TD and I have enjoyed some wonderful parties and entertainments here in New York City.
Last weekend we at last got our Christmas tree up (above). We got it from our friend Billy Romp on Jane Street who has supplied our tree since 1988.
For my birthday, which is at the end of November, we went to see Pippin on Broadway!
(photo from Pippin web site)

When I was in high school, I went to see the traveling version of Pippin in Utica at the Stanley Theater. I took a girl. Later we went to the junior prom. Let's just say I enjoyed Pippin more! This production on Broadway is directed by Diane Paulus, who was the genius behind the recent Broadway production of Hair, and it features gymnasts and acrobats in a circus setting. It was so colorful and entertaining. We sat in the first row in the balcony. I had great time.
My photo of the curtain call –

On TD's birthday, which comes one week later, we had a delicious lunch at Union Square Cafe –

Up at Bergdorf Goodman, the theme of the holiday windows is the arts. This glittering one is based on music –

They do such a fantastic job with their windows. This one is inspired by film. It looks like a Greta Garbo silent movie –

Down Fifth Avenue, TD enjoyed viewing the big tree at Rockefeller Center –

We went to see the Matisse cut-outs at the Museum of Modern Art. I love these Christmas colors –

My mother had a cousin named Bondie O'Donnell, and he has a daughter named Julia who has a daughter Uma who is 14 years old and is studying here in New York City at the School of American Ballet. She's a real ballerina! I think Uma and I are second cousins once removed. Anyway, TD and I took Uma to see George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. (photos from the web site)

It was so beautiful. I had seen it years ago but really had not remembered how ornate and gorgeous it is.

Here we are at intermission, O'Donnell second cousins once removed.

Today is Christmas Eve. We are going tonight to my brother Eric's in Montclair for a family dinner. There we will say good-bye to my father who is moving to Colorado on Friday.
This is a picture of the two of us a few years ago at a wedding

I will miss him a lot.
And I am wishing you all the best for the holidays and the new year, dear reader. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Joyous Matisse Cut-Outs Exhibition and Catalogue

The Sheaf
TD and I recently ordered timed tickets online and went to the beautiful and extraordinary Matisse exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Henri Matisse is one of my all time favorite artists. I love the colors and simplicity and joy in his paintings. For the last years of his life, due to nearly fatal abdominal cancer, Matisse was disabled and confined to a bed or chair, so he could not physically paint. But he devised another medium for his artistry. From his bed or chair, he cut out pieces of paper which had been painted in colors to his specifications. Then he directed assistants how to arrange the pieces on the wall with pins. The resulting colorful cut-outs stand as some of the great artworks of the twentieth century.
Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.
No photography is allowed in the MOMA exhibit but I will say it is one of the most amazing shows I have seen. Matisse himself combined many cut-out art works together on the walls of his studio, and the arrangements are reproduced on the walls of the museum so there is an explosion of color everywhere you look.

The Parrot and the Mermaid
Matisse's great genius was his simplicity. Using a few colors like those out of a child's small crayon box and the most basic shapes and forms, he creates compositions that moved me emotionally, they were so beautiful. Even though they are simple, they have great power and great joy.

Memory of Oceania
As Matisse worked in the medium, the art works got even bigger and even simpler.

The Snail
It's a generous show that goes on and on - there are about 100 artworks. What a great pleasure it was to see. At the end, we bought the exhibition catalogue

which wonderfully reproduces the cut-outs.

As I mentioned, the exhibit demonstrates how the artist hung his work in his home and was surrounded by it daily. These photographs show how Matisse covered his walls with his artwork. A nice way to live!

Here is Monsieur sitting in bed, in a tie, cutting out colored paper. Even the bed base board is shaped like a cut-out.

Here is the artist in a wheel chair surrounded by a rainbow of colored paper pieces. I like his turquoise cardigan.

This show is up through February 8, and the museum has tours and programs planned around it. Honestly, if you're in New York, don't miss this achievement.