Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Elizabeth Murray's DO THE DANCE

On view at the Museum of Modern Art is this artwork by Elizabeth Murray (American, 1940-2007) called "Do the Dance" 2005. Oil on canvas on wood, 9 feet 5 inches by 11 feet 3 inches by 1 1/4 inches. The work demonstrates her fascination with the fractured world of cubism.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

West 67th Street

This is 67th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. On the right side is the ABC television network and on the left are residential buildings as well as the restaurant called Cafe Des Artistes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Improv Everywhere's No Pants Subway Ride NYC 2011

Improv Everywhere participants getting "briefed" before taking their pants off in the subway

Earlier today, the 10th Annual "No Pants Subway Ride" took place in New York City. Organized by "Improv Everywhere," hundreds of participants took different subway lines and then took off their pants inside the subway car, with the simple aim of making their fellow subway riders laugh. If questioned, by fellow riders, participants were instructed to say they “forgot to wear pants” and yes they are “a little cold,” but not "I am doing this silly stunt." While some subway riders were amused by the sight of winter-garbed people without pants, others think the idea is silly or even disgusting. Hundreds of pantsless participants from 6 different meeting points around the city converged at Union Square at the end of the ride.

According to its website, Improv Everywhere "causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places." Created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 100 missions involving tens of thousands of undercover agents. The group is based in New York City.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Allora and Calzadilla Performance Art Exhibition At MoMA With Performance By Amir Khosrowpour

Part of the Museum of Modern Art's Performance Exhibition Series, the artists Jennifer Allora (b. 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971) present Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano (2008). For this piece, the artists carved a hole in the center of a grand piano, through which a pianist plays the famous Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, usually referred to as “Ode to Joy.” The performer leans over the keyboard and plays upside down and backwards, while moving with the piano across the vast atrium. The result is a structurally incomplete version of the ode—the hole in the piano renders two octaves inoperative—that fundamentally transforms both the player/instrument dynamic and the signature melody, underlining the contradictions and ambiguities of a song that has long been invoked as a symbol of humanist values and national pride. (information from the MoMA website).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dance (I) By Henri Matisse

(Audio from the Museum of Modern Art website - MoMA Multimedia)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has an extraordinary art collection of modern and contemporary art such as this painting called "Dance (I)" by French painter Henri Matisse (1869-1954). The painting was done in early 1909 in Paris, Boulevard des Invalides. This oil on canvas, 8' 6 1/2" x 12' 9 1/2" (259.7 x 390.1 cm) is currently on view as part of the Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit which runs through April 25.

From the MOMA Gallery Caption:

In March 1909, Matisse received a commission from the Russian merchant Sergei Shchukin for two large decorative panels, Dance and Music (now in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg). This painting was made quickly as a compositional study for Dance, which was intended to hang on a staircase landing at Shchukin's Trubetskoy Palace, in Moscow. The figure at left appears to move purposefully, while the other dancers seem to float weightlessly. The momentum of their movement breaks the circle as the arm of the foreground dancer reaches out. Dance, Matisse once said, evoked "life and rhythm."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Memorable Night "In The Heights"

Set Design of "In The Heights" at the Richard Rodgers Theatre
The other night, I caught a performance of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical, "In The Heights" at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. It was a treat to see the performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the charismatic actor-writer who created the original lead role, and also wrote the songs. He has returned to the show during its final two weeks on Broadway. The high energy of the audience certainly made the experience more enjoyable that evening. It closes on January 9. The show tells of how the immigrant dreamers in the Latino-populated Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights discover what it means to be a community. Mr. Miranda plays the role of Usnavi, a Dominican bodega owner who guides the audience through a couple of days in the life of friends, family and lovers. The show features a salsa, merengue and hip-hop-inspired score that won Mr. Miranda a Tony Award. The show itself won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Lifesaver

In the aftermath of last week's blizzard, large piles of trash had gone uncollected in the city for days. It was widely reported in the media yesterday that a man who attempted suicide by jumping from his ninth floor apartment survived because he landed in a heap of trash bags. It was probably the only good news from a post-blizzard week marked by the much criticized slow snow-plowing response and finger pointing. The picture of recyclables above was taken outside our apartment building yesterday. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lincoln Center's INFOBLADES (Electronic Billboards)

These are the new Lincoln Center electronic billboards, also called "infoblades" installed along 65th Street in Manhattan's Upper Westside. They are part of the new high-tech information landscape on the Lincoln Center campus, showcasing a lively display of information and moving and still images of programming from all 12 resident organizations. The networked screens are being controlled from a central "brain" on the concourse level of Lincoln Center. These infoblades certainly create a level of visual energy around Lincoln Center.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ugo Rondinone Sculptures In The Atrium At 590 Madison Avenue

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone has installed tree sculptures in the atrium of the former IBM Building at 590 Madison Avenue and 57th Street. The sculpture garden in the atrium is the perfect place to display the pieces, which are  actually casts of olive trees from Basilicata. Ugo said that the olive trees are over 2,000 years old." Trees have been emblematic in his work, and Ugo said, "Trees are a natural sculpture. I don’t have to do anything. I make molds by sections, then do castings." Casts were made in 2009.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Costume Parade for New Year's Eve Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park

As part of the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run on New Year's Eve, a Costume Contest and Dancing took place last night at the Central Park Bandshell. These are just some of the participants in the costume parade and contest, which was followed by the 4M race, fireworks and laser light show at midnight. Happy New Year!