Friday, April 13, 2018

New Online Portfolio

I have updated my online portfolio on a new platform and I like how it looks. You can check it your here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Gucci + Old Masters for Christie's

Alessandro Michele, the wunderkind creative director at Gucci, has created a clever, original Spring advertising campaign that is inspired by Old Master paintings. I wrote about this artistic campaign and other instances where Old Masters are finding a new prominence for Christie's online magazine. Read it right here! I really enjoyed writing this piece, which combines fashion, media and art history, and I hope that you enjoy it too.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Peter Hujar and Tennessee Williams at The Morgan Library

Morgan Library Director Colin Bailey welcomed guests.
TD and I recently headed up to The Morgan Library & Museum for a special event called LGBTQ & Friends Night Out at The Morgan, presented in partnership with Out Professionals, the gay and lesbian networking organization. The Morgan Library is one of my favorite places in New York and I still love the light, airy, modern renovation of The Library undertaken by architect Renzo Piano in 2006.
The evening was organized because The Library is now presenting two wonderful exhibitions of two iconic American gay artists - photographer Peter Hujar and playwright Tennessee Williams. At the beginning of the evening, Director Colin Bailey offered a warm welcome to guests. After a glass of wine in the atrium, TD and I headed off to see the exhibitions.
Peter Hujar Self-Portrait Jumping (1974)

In simple black and white, Peter Hujar photographed the New York City East Village art scene and the worlds of avant-garde dance, music, art and drag in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. At the same time he witnessed the beginning of gay life and gay liberation in New York and then the AIDS crisis. Including 160 photographs, this is the first major retrospective of this artist who The New Yorker says "was among the greatest of all American photographers." Hujar passed away from AIDS in 1987 at the age of 53.
TD and I were moved to see in the exhibit photographs of Peter with our beloved friend Robert Levithan, who passed away about one year ago. 

Robert and Peter had been a couple, and maybe we knew that but we forgot. TD illustrated Robert's children's book about his dog Sophie called Sophie's Story. There were more pictures of Robert throughout the show, which made it especially poignant for us.
In Peter Hujar's words, he took “uncomplicated, direct photographs of complicated and difficult subjects.” Here is English artist Malcolm Morley in East Hampton in 1976 looking cranky but I like his pea coat –

And artist Louise Nevelson in 1969. TD and I once say a great Off-Broadway play about Louise Nevelson called Edward Albee's Occupant.

The empty downtown streets in Hujar's photographs and the eccentric characters capture a city that I knew once but is gone now. I found the show to be moving and elegiac as it evoked a simpler time in New York before it was a city in overdrive.
Upstairs we went to find a tribute to Mr. Tennessee Williams (pictured here by Irving Penn for Vogue in 1951). Called "No Refuge but Writing," which describes the only place Williams found peace, the exhibition includes original drafts, private diaries and personal letters with paintings, photographs and objects.

I have a great book called Five O'Clock Angel, which is the letters of Tennessee Williams to Maria St. Just, the title referring to cocktail hour when a drink would arrive. Williams was such a beautiful, poetic writer. Like Truman Capote, another lyrical, Southern writer, Williams suffered from alcohol and drug abuse. TD once saw Williams in a restaurant near Lincoln Center in the daytime when the playwright was so drunk, he was incomprehensible. He came to sad end, choking on a bottle cap in the middle of the night at the Hotel Elysee on Lexington Avenue at 54th Street in 1983, age 71.
A self-portrait of Tennessee Williams –

What a writer he was. TD and I had the good fortune to see his memory play The Glass Menagerie on Broadway with Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto, which was breathtaking. In its first versions, the play was called The Gentleman Caller, and here is Williams' casually elegant description:

"The story is very simple." Ha!
These are two excellent shows housed in a lovely building. Visit The Morgan!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Wondrous David Hockney

Portrait of an Artist (1972)
There is a beautiful exhibition of the work of David Hockney now up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City through February 25th and I highly recommend it. The renowned British artist is now in his 80th year and this retrospective highlights his greatest work over the last 50 years. It's so interesting to view it because one can see, from the very beginning in the Sixties, the themes that run through Hockney's painting - the signature pink and green and blue colors, depictions of water and swimming pools, a chic take on people, and a robust sensuality. He's been consistent.
I've always been a fan of David Hockney's. Many years ago my friend Jim Reginato took me to a party when the artist had a new book out. I bought the book and I wanted Hockney to sign it for me but he was being monopolized by a woman photographer who shall go unnamed. Jim said to me, "Go interrupt them and ask him to sign it. That's what book parties are for." But I didn't and regret it. I wish I had a signed book! New York City is not a place for shy people.
I still love to look at Hockney's work. It's like a trip to a warm, tropical place when it's frigid winter in New York –
The Bigger Splash (1967)

Hockney went to art school in London and then moved to L.A. where he was taken with the nice weather and the beautiful people. With Hockney's work you get happy colors and a joy for living. You can almost feel the warm air.
I love the perspective of this early painting below, from the point of view of the swimmer in the pool as he looks across the rippling water and up the stairs. You see already Hockney's blue, brick, green, and pink –
Pool and Steps, Le Nid du Duc (1971)

These same colors move inside too with Hockney's large double portraits. Here is on the right Christopher Isherwood, who wrote The Berlin Stories, upon which Cabaret was based, with his younger boyfriend painter Don Bachardy on the left. Interesting how Isherwood is looking at Bachardy and Bachardy is peering out at the viewer.
Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy (1968)

This is a small drawing of Hockney's friend the fashion designer Ossie Clark looking chic in a Fair Isle sweater.

Hockney moved back to England but he took his California colors with him. Here is David Hockney's version of winter with wonderful pinks, green and oranges –
A Closer Winter Tunnel (2006)

Summer version of the English landscape - earthy, rich and ripe. This scene reminds me of the farms of upstate New York where I grew up. These paintings were broken into six panels so that Hockney could easily transport them. 

Hockney has moved back to L.A. and is still painting pictures of his residence there.
Garden #3 (2016)

This exhibition makes you want to go home and paint your walls pink and your floors blue.
If you lived with one of these paintings you'd always be happy. Long may Hockney reign.