Joan Mirviss & her artists: a “diamond mountain” pinacle of Asian art

Asia Week presents a unique challenge and unusual advantages to the afficiandos, collectors – and press. The empress of the art press, Marilyn White, organizes a whirlwind tour of 40+ galleries for the press to get 5-15” snippets of the each gallery’s top presentations.

But even with the advantage that most Asian art galleries seem to be on the Upper East Side of NYC, in the 60s through the low 80s, such compressed viewings with little time to breath can give “Asian art indigestion”.

So what does one do? go like the rest of us to the formal openings and see what still shines – and what has lost its glamour. And rely on the NY Times.

It all started this last preview week on the 14th in the Times review of “Asia Week’s Rare and Unusual Objects for Art Lovers and Collectors by Will Heinrich. The high end of the Asian Art spectrum is of course held up by the three-legged stool of Japan Society, Asia Society, and the Met Museum. The Met alone has seven Asian art exhibitions currently. In February, the NY Times reviewed the “Diamond Mountains” show at the Met’s Korean Art gallery – underwritten this year with $1 million from South Korea – one of the few countries to ensure their art has gallery space and a steady flow of key shows year round. (

In Heinrich’s March 14th preview of Asia Week in the Times this last week, the lead star – the lodestar – of the NYC Asian art gallery scene is the incredible selection of three of the top treasures of Japanese pottery made by Joan Mirviss. The Times made the winner of this art race clear: Mirviss and her gallery at 39 East 78th Street. And if there were any question her show led the pack in the Times’s The Listings on March 16th – their pick of the top 21 gallery shows to visit.

Mirviss doesn’t just represent her artists. She goads, encourages, and challenges them to produce more than they’re used to – some produce but a few pieces at a glacial pace. She is as much the artist as they are – especially in her complementing these shelved masterpieces with hanging masterpieces. (In fact in an interview she volunteered that she – and many of the collectors she serves – started with hanging Asian art – and that the two have now come together. A cursory examination of their beauty – and their price tags – reveals that in fact those hanging works of art are now nearly equal in value to her selections of pottery.

Her Asian wall art has a unique quality that is rarely seen – even in America’s museums. They cannot be adequately described by ascribing them to schools and trends. The interesting fact is that that for her and her collectors this hanging art was but her warmup. Now, though the spotlight is on the ceramics, both complement each other and are on equal footing.

The proof of the pudding is of course in the eating. And her banquet of national treasures was two thirds sold before even opening. Her taste has decades of proof in being impeccable. The major collectors of Japanese art world wide and certainly in America have depended on her judgment and recommendations. She has the midas touch.

With her touch she has moved way beyond a middleman role to being a proactive inspiration for both her artists and her collectors. She leads the parade – and the trade – loudly and forcefully – in her selections and in her price tags. For one thing many of the works in this year’s show would never have seen the light of day were it not for her pestering, reminding, and encouraging these masterwork artists.

Where she really married her mind to her heart was in her selection of only the top ceramic artisans – Japan’s potters – and in her encouragement of them to excel even the most esteemed levels of excellence they’d achieved before.

She is now riding the crest of a wave she created. “What can I do now?” she wailed on the eve of the opening night of her latest and most incredible show.

To which I replied, “Ride the crest of the wave… You’ve no need to outdo what you’ve done. All you need now is ride the waves and bring the rest of the collectors and these national living treasures along with you. They, and you, will enjoy the ride immensely. For now all of you, after having worked together these many years, will enjoy the realization that you have achieved the pinnacle of what was possible – and in riding that wave you have laid a foundation for incredible art to come.”

This show – her selection – is, as the NY Times has observed and concluded a pinnacle of Asian art. One of its “diamond mountains”. First her show was included in the Times article as only private show amidst the museum glut of Asian Art. Then the show was singled out as the pre-eminent gallery exhibition of 21 exhibitors this week of Japanese art. Truly it is the single most important event of Asia Week in all of New York City.

Mirviss selections are beyond comparison. This is truly the only show in town.

Reflection on a bad show of bad art

  Originally I was going to write about a show at the Met last Winter. But since this was but an aberration in what has been a consistently excellent string of victories  the show shall remain nameless. Just ask yourself, if you read the rest – have you ever thought this after seeing a particularly tasteless, vapid, worthless exhibition of bad art?
  Gradually sharing our individual discoveries that the emperor was wearing no clothes. The show was impeccable as a managed event. But it’s philosophical underpinnings were absent – philosophy has gone missing in the war of commerce and consumers.
  Thank god our education had a foundation in philosophy and our education was molded by those for whom philosophy was a discipline of the first order.
  Being managed well is now among the primordial values. Meanwhile we have forgotten how to live well, how to be well, and how to treat our brethren well.
  Art used to be based on life’s values, questions such as why – not how. Beauty was valued for its own sake, proportion was valued for how it felt so good, and all art told a story with a point.
  Pointlessness, chaos, and the delirious were pitfalls – not pinacles – of human achievement. This is a show from the madhouse – the madhouse of the post-war era – where minds, values, and reason were not only lost but despised, destroyed, and debased.
  Perhaps appropriate for a history museum? actually not – appropriate for a history lecture, about the abyss, the madness, and the ugliness of mankind gone made after having lost their reason – so having done so impulsively went beyond the limits of all value and values, including reason.
  Let us not celebrate the detritus of destruction, let us not commemorate the insanity of man’s inhumanity – to man, to our environment, to our relationships to each other.
  Let us search out those gems of beauty, exquisite satisfaction, and delightful humanity. We have a choice: this, or that – in the next 10 minutes. Life is too short to spend time on where we failed, flailed, and fell.
  The true delirium is that the world’s greatest art repository should focus on the greatest threat to art, on a period where madness reigned, on people lost in wildness, wilderness, and woe.
  This is not a show worthy of the Met Museum. This is a triumph of academics, curators, and critics. There is no art here. There is only the death, disease, deterioration – and, yes, delirium – of the overeducated, too removed, and insanely misdirected.

The Wealth of Art that is NYC

The detailed list of art events on

When I woke this morning and checked out Larry Qualls’s incredibly detailed blog listing the day’s events – which appears each day of the year at about 7am – I was dumbfounded. Not only has NYC outdone itself in its wealth of art openings, talks, and performances Larry’s coverage reaches as far as Yonkers’ First Thursday and Dumbo’s First Thursday. Should anyone need a reason to move to NYC, or any New Yorker need a reason to look forward to this evening, here’s a gracious plenty of all that makes art – Art – in this city.

Art & Design Events, New York, Thursday, 1 March 2018

XO Group 195 Broadway panel: Choice architects: design for humanity’s best self Lauren Bugeja, Diana Gonzalez, Jennifer Garfield, Elayne Safir 6:30-8:30
Studio Anise // Rolf Benz 21 Greene St exhibition: Michel Friess 6-9 rsvp
Maiyet 16 Crosby St talk:Sacred Beauty Collective Spring Preview Makeup Artist, Natural Beauty Expert, and Sacred Beauty Coach Rebecca Casciano and Stáe Natural Beauty, in honor of Women’s History Month; healthy beauty bites and sips from Rawclates, Pukka, Health-Ade Kombucha, and Mary Chan Wellness. 6:30-8:30 free, rsvp Eventbrite
Drawing Center 35 Wooster St panel: Wynter-Wells Drawing School for Environmental Justice Ekene Ijeoma, Ron Morrison, Mabel O. Wilson, moderated by Rujeko Hockley 6-8 free
Fringe Salon 248 Broome St art exhibition party:  Andrea Burgay Cut Me Up 7:30-10
Dahesh Museum of Art 145 Sixth Ave talk: Constance McPhee Shakespeare and Art: Images of the Author and his Plays free 6:30
Sous les Etoiles 100 Crosby St #603 exhibition: A Slight Shift Charles Pétillon, Javier Riera, Barry Underwood 6-8
Louis K. Meisel 141 Prince St exhibition: John Salt Recent Paintings 6-8

Central Booking 21 Ludlow St exhibition: Margot Niederland Assemblages 6-8
Richard Taittinger 154 Ludlow St exhibition: Untitled (Monochrome), 1957-2017 curated by Gregory Lang 6-8
Sargent’s Daughters 179 E Broadway exhibition: Jackson Hallberg Deep Power presented by Duplex 6-8
Jane Kim/33 Orchard 33 Orchard St exhibition closing party: Indian Drawings selected by Jane Kim & Alexander Gorlizki 6-8
47 Canal 291 Grand St exhibition: Elle Pérez Bloom 6-8
ICP Museum 250 Bowery ICP Lab performance: Guy Martin The Parallel State 6:30-8:30 free, rsvp requested
frosch&portmann 53 Stanton St exhibition: Dennis Dawson Sourmash, with Carlos Charlie Perez 6-8
Eric Firestone 4 Great Jones St #4 exhibition: Joe Overstreet Innovation of Flight: Paintings 1967-72 curated by Horace Brockington 6-8
Aicon 35 Great Jones St exhibition: Hyperreal Jaishri Abichandani, Saks Afridi, Marcy Chevali, Mariam Ghani, Nitin Mukul, Aakash Nihalani, M. Pravat, and Salman Toor; Arunkumar H.G In-Site 6-8
Fortnight Institute 60 E 4 exhibition: Ewelina Bochenska A Hole was Placed in the Sky and Sealed with Water 6-8
Downtown Art 2nd Floor Studio 70 E 4 SI Offsite performance: Lunar Interval IV: Full Moon Aria Dean Get-Together: A Tragedy of Language 7 rsvp essential
Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Pl Oculus Book talk: The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion (Actar, 2017) with the atuhors: Tobias Armbor, Dan D’Oca, Georgeen Theodore, 6:30-7:30 free
Salmagundi Club 47 Fifth Ave exhibition reception: Greenwich Village: People, Places, & Things 6-9
Allouche 82 Gansevoort St exhibition: Jessica Lichtenstein Eclipse: Out From The Shadows 6-9
Pratt Manhattan 144 W 14 exhibition: Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi 1958-2018 curated by Phillip Niemeyer 6-8
National Arts Club 15 Gramercy Park South reception and awards ceremony:  118th Annual Exhibiting Artist Members Exhibition 6-8
Praxis 501 W 20 exhibition: Platz Saturn 6-8
Ozaneaux ArtSpace 515 W 20 4E exhibition: Chantal Bruchez-Hall Seeing Red 6-8
Ricco/Maresca 529 W 20 exhibition: George Widener Magic Circles curated by Frank Maresca 6-8
Tim Rollins 529 W 20 exshibition: Manuel Ocampo Yes, Sir/Ma’am! No, Sir/Ma’am! Right Away, Sir/Ma’am! 6-8
JanKossen Contemporary 529 W 20 exhibition: Hannah Quinlivan impulses, restraints, tones: New Compositions 6-8; performances each day of exhibition 1-3
Dedalus Foundation 25 E 21 4th Fl  conversation: Working Through Influence:
A Conversation with Artist Angel Otero; Christian Viveros-Fauné speaking with Otero 6:30-8 free, reservation required
SVA Visible Futures Lab 132 W 21 exhibition: Jonathan Sims  7-9:30
SVA 133/141 W 21 8th and 9th Fls MFA Fine Arts Open Studios Spring 2018 5-9
Sikkema Jenkins & Co. 530 W 22 exhibitions: Deana Lawson; Maria Nepomuceno 6-8
Allan Stone Projects 535 W 22nd Street 3rd Fl exhibitions: Draughtsmanship: Selected drawings from the Allan Stone Collection; Bo Bartlett Dreamland
The Bee in the Lion 310 E 23 exhibition: Arslan Tremor curated by Bee Tham
Margaret Thatcher Projects 539 W 23 exhibition: Nobu Fukui Paradise 6-8
De Buck 545 W 23 exhibition: Gommaar Gilliams Jenny Kissed Me 6-8
Lyons Wier 542 W 24 exhibition: Fahamu Pecou M E M O R Y 6-8
Bryce Wolkowitz 505 W 24 exhibition: Niko Luoma Proximity 6-8
Marianne Boesky 507 W 24 exhibition: Claudia Wieser Chapter 6-8
Marianne Boesky 509 W 24 exhibition: Barnaby Furnas Frontier Ballads 6-8
Lennon, Weinberg 514 W 25 exhibition: Greg Lindquist Of ash and coal 6-8
Bowery 530 W 25 exhibition: Dena Schutzer Wash & Fold: Recent paintings and etchings including scenes from a Yonker laundromat 5-8
Prince Street 530 W 25 exhibition: Gerald Marcus New Work 5-8
Blue Mountain 530 w 25 exhibition: Alakananda Mukerji Anonymous Moments 6-8
532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel 532 W 25 exhibition: Per Adolfsen The Ribbons That Tie Us 6-8
Bernarducci 525 W 25 Grand Opening Exhibition: New Precisionism Part 2 6-8
Printed Matter 231 11th Ave launch: Space Sisters Pressc, conversation with Suzanne McClelland, Amy Smith-Stewart, and Gretchen Kraus 6-8
Rizzoli 1133 Broadway book conversation: Crafting Minimalism: Human Space in a Digital World Dan Howarth, Magdalena Keck, and Tiziana Proietti on Pied-à-Terre: Interiors of Magdalena Keck receptionn 6, conversation 6:30 rsvp
International Print Center New York (IPCNY) 508 W 26 New Prints Program 6-8
Fergus McCaffrey 514 W 26 exhibition: Kathleen Jacobs Drems 6-8
BravinLee programs 526 W 26 exhibition:  Douglas Florian 6-8
Opus Project Space 526 W 26 #705 exhibition closing: Jonathan Feldschuh Particles 6-8
Mitchell-Innes & Nash 534 W 26 exhibition: Jay DeFeo Outrageous Fortune: Jay DeFeo & Surrealism 6-8
Steven Kasher 515 W 26 exhibition: Anja Niemi She Could Have Been a Cowboy; Michael Spano Urban Report 6-8
Friedman Benda 515 W 26 exhibition: Chris Schanck Unhomely 6-8
George Adams 531 W 26 exhibition: Gregory Gillespie Mind/Body/Spirit 6-8
Pavel Zoubok 531 W  26 exhibition: Piecework Vanessa German, Joe Lewis, Diane Samuels, Donna Sharrett, Stephen Sollins 6-8
Painting Center 547 W 27 exhibition: Cultivate Your Own Garden Cecile Chong, Elisabeth Condon, Daniel Dallmann, Carlo D’Anselmi, Lois Dodd, Ashley Garrett, Xico Greenwald, Eric Holzman, Wolf Kahn, Judith Linhares, Carol March and Ruth Miller, curated by Patricia Spergel & Shazzi Thomas 6-8
Emmanuel Fremin 547 W 27 exhibition: Reka Nyari Valkyrie Ink 6-8
Paul Calendrillo​ 547 W 27 # 600 exhibition closing: Christian Brandner 6-8
Viridian 548 W 28 exhibition 30 Under 30 Catherine Armistead, Daniel Ashley, Min Baek, Kimberly Barnes, Darla Barolini, Nicole Basilone, Julia Betts, Ashley Bouton, Amelia Calsi, Mei Fung Elizabeth Chan, Yu-Ting Cheng, Courtney Clegg, Renee Cuny, Camilla Marie Dahl, Alyse Delaney, Marcus DeSieno, Victoria Ermler, Kyle Hackett, Zhongwen Hu, Maria Kostareva, Giulia Livi , Graham Livingston, Kenish Magwood, Maya McCoy, Guy Miller jr, Hyungjo Moon, Rajab Sayed, Claire Stankus, Teona Yamanidze, Katrina Slavik, juried by Chrissie Isles and Vernita Nemec 6-8
Heller 303 10th Ave exhibition: Martin Janecký Dia de Muertos 6-8
Cristin Tierney 540 W 28 exhibition: Hard Edges Lorser Feitelson, Elise Ferguson, and Alois Kronschlaeger 6-8
EFA Blackburn 20/20 323 W 39 exhibition: Michael Kelly Williams Impressions: My Life In Ink –Works on Paper 6-8

Fountain House 702 Ninth Ave exhibition: About Face curated by Sasha Nicholas 6-8
Anton Kern 16 E 55 exhibitions: Chris Martin; Sarah Jones 6-8
the Quin 101 W 57 exhibition: New York Academy of Art as curated by DK Johnston & Heidi Elbers Tamalin Baumgarten, Shauna Finn, Alexis Hilliard, Gianna Putrino, James Razko, Nicolas V. Sanchez, Gabriel Zea 6-9
Hirschl & Adler 41 E 57 exhibition in new space: Bread & Salt
MAD Museum 2 Columbis Circle exhibition: Unpacking the Green Book: Travel and Segregation in Jim Crow America curated by  Samantha De Tillio; La Frontera: Encounters Along the Border co-curated by Mike Holmes and Lorena Lazard with Barbara Paris Gifford and Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy
Mary Boone 745 Fifth Ave exhibition:  Carrie Moyer Seismic Shuffle 5-7
Newel 306 E 61 tableware collection introduction: The Silver Peacock 5-8 reservation
Society of Illustrators 120 E 63 graphic novel exhibition: The Art of MARCH: A Civil Rights Masterpiece curated by John Lind and Charles Brownstein, with exhibition text by Jonathan W. Gray 6-9 $10 suggested
Blum & Poe 19 E 66 exhibition: Kishio Suga
Petzel 35 E 67 exhibition: Sean Landers 6-8
Hunter College Leubsdorf Gallery 695 Park Ave exhibition: Juan Downey The School of Survival: Learning with Juan Downey curated by Javier Rivero Ramos and Sarah Watson 7-9
Istituto Italiano di Cultura 686 Park Ave discussion: Italian Design Day Mario Cucinella and Paola Antonelli 6 free
NYU Institute of Fine Arts 1 E 78 Seminar on Greek and Roman Art and Architecture lecture: Alessandro Pierattini The Temple Before the Order: The Origins of Greek Temple Architecture 6:30 resrvation required
Galerie Buchholz 17 E 82 exhibition: Moyra Davey 1943
Neumann Wolfson 1046 Madison Ave exhibition: Louis Granet Free, Super fast !!!! 6-8
Permanent Mission of Bulgaria To The UN 11 E 84 reception: National Day Of Bulgaria 6:30-8:30 rsvp Eventbrite
Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Ave walkthrough: Writers and Artists Respond Through the Veil Gabi Asfou and Claudia Nahson on Veiled Meanings: Fashioning Jewish Dress, from the Collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem 6:30-7:30 museum admission
Columbia University Prentis Hall 632 W 125 talk: Luke DuBois Sex, Lies, and Data Mining 10:30-11:30 free
Corner Social 321 Lenox Ave exhibition: Ruthy Valdez Female Blueprint 6-9

John Doe 112 Waterbury St Bushwick exhbition: Slow Motion Michael Chandler and Charlie Rubin 6-8
happylucky no.1 734 Nostrand Ave Crown Heights exhibition: Haptics Barbara Bertieri, Frid Branham, Kimberly Carmody, Lisa Cooperman, Joetta Maue, PD Packard 7-9

DUMBO First Thursday most galleries open6-8
 United Photo Industries Gallery 16 Main St exhibition: Tokyo International Photo Competition Ksenia Kuleshova, Erin Lee, Daniel Castro Garcia, Daesung Lee, Yuki Iwanami, Gowun Lee, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, and Carlos Alba 6-8
 New York Studio School Dumbo Sculpture Studio 20 Jay St #307exhibition: Objecthood Eva Jimenez-Cerdanya, Darrell Hostvedt, Mallary Marks, Marco Palli, Thomas Stavovy, Andrea Betty Vogel 6-9
 C.A.N.V.A.S / The Shops 145 Front St collection debut and live painting: ‘Rammer’ Martinez Ultra Violet Pilot 6 $5
 Made in NY Media Center 50 John St video reception: Digital Fairy Tales: Chinese Stories Rani Messias + Anna Leevia, Suguru Ikeda + Isis Salam, Nicole Antebi + Xiren Wang, Lian Mengzhuo + Kinga Toth, Nina Sobell + Laura Ortman, Làszlò Zsolt Bordos, Junjie Zhang + Theory, and Vivian Qin; presented with Leo Kuelbs Collection 6-8
 Asphodel 20 Jay St #837 exhibition: Stan Van Steendam new works 6-9

Small Editions 60 Sackett St Red Hook exhibition celebrating first six years: Show Your Hand Joeun Aatchim, Will Anderson, Andrea Bergart, Noah Breuer, Melissa Brown, Ellen Carpenter, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Kari Cholnoky, Lauren Clay, Joey Cocciardi, Patrick Gantert, Daniel Glendening, Nicole Killian, Kimberly McClure, Molly McGeehan, Andria Morales, Sarah Nicholls, Brittany Nelson, Richard Nonas, Sheryl Oppenheim, Janelle Poe, Hayal Pozanti, Will Rahilly, Corina Reynolds, Beth Sheehan, Sarah Smith, Erin Sweeny, Mandy Vahabzadeh, Siebren Versteeg, Anne Vieux, Sun You 7-10
Interference Archive 314 7th St Gowanus talk: Sister Serpents founders Mary Ellen Croteau and Jeramy Turner 7-9

First Thursday Gallery Hop Yonkers Women’s History Month exhibitions 5:30-7:30
 Blue Door Art Center 13 Riverdale Ave exhibition: Women by Women
 Philipse Manor Hall 29 Warburton Ave exhibition: Lolita Browne Wise and Spiritual Symbols
 Riverfront Art Gallery Yonkers Library 1 Larkin Plaza exhibition: Unsettled curated by Haifa Bint-Kadi,
 US + U Art Gallery 66 Main St exhibition: Winter 2018 Exhibition

What kind of show gives you a smile?

The show at SalomonArtsGallery on Keith Kattner not only gives you a smile on your face, one that won’t go away until you leave this oasis of art – it gives you a glimmer, a peek at art that combines excellence  with modesty. The kind you see in the Asia galleries at the Met – as if those artists were painting hundreds of years later in these times.

Congratulations, and thanks are all I can say for this evening well spent.

Enjoy & benefit Ukraine’s color filled art

We all regret and are outraged at Russia’s rape of the Crimea. What better action, what sweeter revenge than to acquire a piece of Ukraine’s unmistakable art, a vibrantly colorful pleine aire rendition of its Carpathian majesty. By doing so you will benefit that wondrous temple of art,  the Ukraine Institute, located in one of Fifth Avenue’s remaining mansions at 79th Street. And reward this artist, Roman Luchuk for his paintings of the Carpathian Mountain Landscape, an artist  who has dedicated his life to passing on his skills and his vision to generations of Ukrainian artistis to come. Come, enjoy the joyful celebration of this splendid land through realistic yet imaginative and unmistakable color –  and ensure in some little way that it endures and survives the terror and rape of its majesty yet one more time in history by having it brighten your home.
You will be enchanted by the joyful and colorful swaths of color depicting the essence of the Carpathian landscape and its unique homes. I call Roman’s style expressionist impressionism – for he captures the essence of each feature of what’s depicted translating it with color. There is no doubt as to what’s depicted – and to its spirit, its true nature.
The Institute’s writeup sums it up: “Each of Roman Luchuk’s canvases evokes the splendor and energy of his native Carpathian Mountains in seductive compositions that exude a lifelong love for the mysteries of the Hutsul landscape. His iconic images express instinctive emotional experiences rather than impressions of the physical world. He does this through an extravagant use of paint and color. Expansive stillness and silence of the pastoral are interrupted by sudden outbursts of life and vitality changing from one mood to another.”

One third of the revenues for these paintings goes to maintaining this last of Fifth Avenue’s previous wonders – and the remaining amount goes to Roman’s work with Ukrainian art students to whom he has devoted his life. Ukraine is in peril and so is this 63 year old bastion of Ukrainian art. Do your part to at least save its art. That for me is a no-brainer: do well by doing good.

Delirium at the Breuer – in more ways than one

  Being managed well is now among the primordial values in art and in museums. Meanwhile we have forgotten that modern art used to cause us to reflect, rethink, and redirect. Somehow contemporary art in its challenges resulted in realizations of how to live well, how to be well, and how to treat our brethren well.
  Art used to be based on life’s values, questions such as why – not how. Beauty was valued for its own sake, proportion was valued for how it felt so good, and all art told a story with a point.
  Pointlessness, chaos, and the delirious were pitfalls – not pinnacles – of human achievement. This is a show from the madhouse – the madhouse of the post-war era – where minds, values, and reason were not only lost but despised, destroyed, and debased.
  Perhaps appropriate for a history museum? appropriate for a history lecture? about the abyss, the madness, and the ugliness of mankind gone mad after having lost their reason – so having done so impulsively went beyond the limits of all value and values, including reason?
  Let us not celebrate the detritus of destruction, let us not commemorate the insanity of man’s inhumanity – to man, to our environment, to our relationships to each other.
  Let us search out those gems of beauty, exquisite satisfaction, and delightful humanity. We have a choice: this vision, or that hell – in the next 10 minutes. Life is too short to spend time on where we failed, flailed, and fell.
  The show was impeccable as a managed event. But any of the possible philosophical underpinnings for this art are absent. Our primary realization is that philosophy has gone missing in the war of commerce and consumers.
  Being managed well is now among the primordial values. Certainly at the Breuer. Meanwhile we have forgotten how to live well, how to be well, and how to treat our brethren well. And now in this vacuum the Breuer celebrates whose who did art as an excuse, on a whim, as an aberration.
  The true delirium here is that the world’s greatest art repository should focus on one of the greatest threats to art in the last century, on a period where madness reigned, on people lost in wildness, wilderness, and woe.
  This is not a show worthy of the Met Museum. This is a triumph of academics, curators, and critics. There is no art here. There is only the death, disease, deterioration – and, yes, delirium – of the overeducated, the too removed, and the insanely misdirected.
  The Breuer’s shows since its inception have shown little direction, little spirit or power, and have reveled in irrelevance. The Met Breuer has indeed lost its way.

Breuer Museum photography show on an abandoned IBM complex in France

    Two photographers, two radically different takes on the Breuer. One sees it as a piece of sculpture, as an abstraction work of art. The other sees it as raw architecture, living space for people and for art.
    The Dutch photographer, , is the one worth the trip – and if you see only one part of this fifth floor exhibition focus on the three pictures on the western wall in the room to the left on leaving the elevator. He has been experimenting with the use of rice paper to catch the detail and subtlety photographing raw architecture requires. It took him half a year with his printer to perfect the technique, the proper level of inking. And there they are, frameless, frank accurate intriguing play pens for the eye to run around in. Look at them closely. (The traditionally printed two large photographs on the opposite side of the room, look at from a goodly long distance.)
    Let’s reflect on how it is that Holland is a center of photographic innovation and technique: Amsterdam, Rotterdam – and Brabant. Brabant? How? Because that has been where Phillips has been working its magic – like Silicon Valley, like the places where Boeing, Google, Apple are headquartered. Beautiful, magic places where high-tech – highly valued – people like to live: that’s where big companies have learned to give them places to work.
    The Dutch photographer reveals the dilemma the Breuer faces – as do other massive buildings from the 60s and 70s. They were built for humanity’s purposes of their times – and those purposes change. IBM’s office complex in rural France went from 3000 to 200 people – and is now empty. And the Breuer, built for the Whitney’s classic, comfortable modern American and European art of the 60s and 70s now hosts exhibitions of photography from India, massive paintings from one of America’s longest serving black painters now exploding into the color and abstract images that nurtured him when he was starting out. The Breuer is a beast – and it demands equally large, massive, mega shaped in your face shows. Let MOMA and the new airy Whitney be guardians of the 20th century’s middle class American and European modern art. The Breuer is a beast in waiting for the big prey of Art for the Future. It is itself as this show demonstrates worthy of being itself an exhibition. Let it be a space for the modern life and art to come.

Sotheby’s conquest of contemporary art

Whatever you had planned for tomorrow until 2pm hustle over to Sotheby’s palace of contemporary art at 72nd and York tomorrow – or if you’re lucky get an invite to the opening and closing party tonight at 7:30pm.

Either way, get your hands on the catalogue. Ignore the website which mentions every Sotheby’s shenanigan around the globe – except this one. The website often ignores what Sotheby’s does in NYC – which means a saunter to Sotheby’s weekly in season is often a smart art move.

The stars of the show? the building is packed with art – so that’s a difficult proposition. Here are the candidates:

  • The deliciously displayed ultra rare oeuvres d’art on the 10th floor? One of the desk jockeys confessed to me that working on the 10th floor collection has been the high point of her career at the big S. The petite presentation of Alexander Calder’s jewelry is enough to take your breath away. The 10th floor is big – and the art there is bigger.
  • But don’t forget the 4th floor: Albert Albee’s reaping the benefits of having three Pulitzers (only Robert Frost had four) and the creme de la creme of actors and actresses in his plays and the movies of those plays resulted in a collector’s eye rarely seen – and a collection par excellence. This may be the only time you’ll get to see what he’s given to Sotheby’s to sell for the benefit of the Albert Albee Foundation. The Man had the Eye. From the looks of the 4th floor he chose only the Very Best. I’m incredulous at his choices during times when it was very hard indeed to see what was the Very Best.
  • Lastly, the 2nd floor is crushed and crammed with what the curators at Sotheby’s have determined what defines Contemporary Art. This happens a lot at Sotheby’s – which is one reason why it’s a good idea to always work the building from the top down. (Besides, the incredible cafe on the 10th floor with a terrace just below heaven is always a great place to start.) From incredibly crafted chairs and furniture to creations that leave your jaw dropped. MoMA, the Breuer, and the Whitney should take notice – and take notes – as to what is on display here.\

For the simple truth is that sometimes the Market Knows Best. This is why the auction houses – not the museums – so often mount Contemporary Art shows that startle, amaze, and excite. What the rich and powerful bought often is a good indicator of who’s winning in the art game – not some museum curator or curatorial committee compromised by the need that the show fit in with the existing collection.

This is the best, most comprehensive show of contemporary art since Sotheby’s left our jaws dropping in its legendary show on two huge floors of Russian contemporary art. By hook or crook take this one last chance to finally figure out – and See – what contemporary art is really all about.

Governor’s Island: Cauldron of new art



From Sept 2 through Oct 1 weekends are the occasion for the Governor’s Island Art Fair (


Several times a year the abandoned officer homes on Governor’s Island become homes to new art. (get a map after getting off the ferry – and turn right upon leaving the ferry) There’s one at the far end of Colonel’s Row  which is the HQ of holography – in itself worth the trip.

All the five homes give a room to each artist – and the variety of artists outdoes the variety you’d otherwise find on the Lower East Side. One shoots bodegas which are disappearing fast.

Plus the ferry  ride, which  runs on holiday weekends every half hour, is worth the entire trip. Then add on the astonishing forts – and you’re living on in a world a century old. There’s something for everyone – especially children – starting with a strident bell they love to clang.

Don’t forget Liggett Hall which at its west end has artists who work  with art, and artists who are in the process of doing their work in front of your eyes, and works you can simply look in at through their closed doors.


Found: One artist who lives art….

    At the “Artist-Run” invitational at Noho M55 artists coop gallery – a show which opened June 29 and which will close July 29 – I found one artist who stood out for his iconic work – which is the poster for the show.
New Note.jpeg
    The only way to understand this man as the multimedia artist he is? look him up on Wikipedia: “Robert “Rob” Redding, Jr. (….1976) is an American media proprietor, award-winning radio talk show hostpolitical commentatorindependent journalist, a best-selling American author, a best-selling American music artist and songwritervisual artist and social entrepreneur.” And it then explodes from there. This man lives art.
    As was the case with another black artist, James Baldwin, Rob was protected and nurtured by living in Europe – which many young black artists have had to do. Redding moved to Brussels Belgium in 2013 and  became first to broadcast his afternoon talk show via GCN to American audiences nightly from Europe. Wikipedia lists a dozen major scoops he came up with – but what’s key is that Redding made his program the first ever and most successful stand-alone spoken word program available exclusively to subscribers via his subscriber-supported Web site. In the US he started as a hip-hop personality on talk radio – and ending up at The Washington Times. In 2001, went full-time in talk radio at CBS Radio. As in 2003, in 2008 he signed weekend syndication deals with GCN and Sirius XM in 2008, while finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. The Sirius XM deal ended after 420 episodes in 2013.
    Had enough? Redding is author of eight consecutive best-selling books – all of which have figured in Amazon’s top hot new releases, notably Why Black Lives Matter, Disrupter, Unthinkable: Poems, Philosophies and Paintings, an e-book Where’s the Change?: Why Neither Obama, nor the GOP Can Solve America’s Problems, and Not a Nonviolent Negro: How I Survived Obama – which was #1 on in three categories.
    Redding should make Wikipedia redefine “multimedia” and make us abandon categories for describing people like him. He’s also released a dance album, “Not a Nonviolent Negro” which takes portions of his talk show and sets them to heavy dance beats (#1 on The album is considered a soundtrack to his No. 1 best-selling book “Not a Nonviolent Negro: How I Survived Obama.” The book and album were released on the same day. His  dance album “Unleash the Whip!” takes portions of his talk show and sets them to heavy dance beats (#2 on Amazon. Black? he’s beyond black.
    To round off this square peg in our round holes, Stanford University selected him as their John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship Semifinalist for his journalism innovation. He’s founded Black Talkers, a web site which covers the black talk media industry. And he’s narrated “Stay Brady Stay” a documentary about the future of Louisiana.
    Oh, yes – Redding is also an artist, who paints abstract “smear paintings.” His work has been exhibited in Europe and throughout the states. He’s a hit in all he does. The Washington, D.C., Georgetowner focused only his art in a group show on Capitol Hill in 2006.  And I’m doing the same here. I love the Chelsea NohoM55 artist coop – but I’m even happier to announce that a solo show of Redding’s Smear Paintings opens Sept 21 6-8pm at Midoma Gallery – one of the great galleries reclaiming 8th Ave midtown as NYC’s next art arena.
    Let’s have more artists like this: artists who live art as Rob does.