So the Missus and I went down the Big Town for a few days and here’s what we took in:
• A charming Gauguin-and-his-influence show at the Wildenstein gallery. (Campaign Outsider Bonus Quote®: “When you see a Gauguin, you think, This man is living in a dream world. When you see a van Gogh, you think, This dream world is living in a man.” – Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker.)
• The exhibit at Spanierman Gallery of the work of Jimmy Ernst, who wouldn’t have been there if he weren’t the son of German artist Max Ernst, one of the Daddies of Dada and surrealism.
• Two excellent exhibits at the Museum of Arts and Design: Read My Pins, a collection of the Unsinkable Madeline Albright’s staggering array of brooches; and Slash: Paper Under the Knife, an eye-popping array of paper machinations. (Big shoutout to Colin, origami master of the Carroll clan.)
• A compelling performance by Liev Schreiber as Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, which included a nicely nuanced turn by Scarlett Johansson as the niece Eddie burned for.
• An exhibit of abstractionist Gerhard Richter at the Marian Goodman gallery that made up in length what it lacked in visual interest.
• A wonderful Jacob Lawrence show at DC Moore that featured numerous examples of his beautiful gouaches, along with all 23 of his Aesop’s fables drawings shown together for the first time.
• Francis Picabia: Funny Guy at Tibor de Nagy, which included a fabulous portrait of Man Ray dashed off in a Paris restaurant.
• MOMA’s Gabriel Orozco extravaganza, which started out with – air quotes – artwork such as yogurt lids on each of the four walls of a white room; a photo of breath on a piano; and toothpaste spit on graph paper with drawings around it.
Actually, though, Orozco has done some pretty interesting things, the particulars of which I’ll let you decide for yourselves.
• Also at MOMA, the Tim Burtonpalooza, an absolute scrum of international Burtonauts who go beyond groupies into culties. Admittedly I was the third-oldest person there, but putting aside the staggering lack of common courtesy of the Burtonistas, it’s always good to bring new people to museums. If even five percent of them return to look at the other art, it’s worth the inconvenience.
• A thoroughly delightful performance by Angela Lansbury in a mediocre production of A Little Night Music. As we left the theater, the Missus commented that the musical emphasized the raunchy elements at the expense of the lyrical and tender ones, and I entirely agree. Meanwhile, Catherine Zeta-Jones did a bit of scenery-chewing in her rol;e as Desirée Armfelt, but at least she didn;t have to floss between scenes.
• An exhaustive retrospective at the Museum of the City of New York of architect Eero Saarinen, who designed iconic structures from the TWA terminal at Idlewild to Black Rock, CBS’s midtown headquarters. Special bonus exhibit – Only in New York: Photographs from LOOK Magazine. Especially noteworthy: the striking photography of fledgling movie director Stanley Kubrick.
• Nexus New York: Latin American Artists in the Modern Metropolis at the impressively renovated El Museo del Barrio, which limned the connections between, for instance: the great Mexican caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias and the great New York Times caricaturist Al Hirschfeld; “Mexican provocateur” Marius de Zayas and funny guy Francis Picabia; and Uruguayan Joaquin Torres-Garcia (father of Universal Constructivism) and American re-constructivists Stuart Davis/ Joseph Stella/Adolph Gottlieb.
(Campaign Outsider Bonus Quote©: “In New York York I’m immensely rich – millions of images I dreamed and desired – millions of things that appeal to intelligence. My city – the most city of all cities.” – Joaquin Torres-Garcia)
• Alias Man Ray at the Jewish Museum. Early on, Man Ray worried that he’d be remembered more as a photographer than a painter, and he was right. But this eye-opening exhibit gives Man Ray – another Daddy of Dada -his due. He was an accomplished painter, he created “ready-mades” before Marcel Duchamp, and “mobiles” before Alexander Calder.
(Campaign Outsider Bonus Quote™: “Dada cannot live in New York. All New York is dada, and will not tolerate a rival.”)
• A fine performance by Laura Linney in Time Stands Still, a Donald Margulies play about journalism and war and loss and compromise.
All in all, a nice catch.