Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Remembering PAUL NEWMAN

PAUL NEWMAN, the sensitive and handsome actor and philantropist who proved to be the most versatile and durable artist of the soul-searching, method-informed generation of anti-heroes in the 1950s, passed away on Sept. 26 at the age of 83 after a long battle with cancer. He retired from acting in 2007. "You start to lose your memory," he said, "you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me."
In 2003, he starred in a Broadway play called OUR TOWN. After a performance, I captured this image of Mr. Newman when he signed a Playbill at the stagedoor of the Booth Theatre on January 15, 2003.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wine Bottles and Stoppers from THE CLO

On display in glass-enclosed walls outside The CLO Wine Bar are wine bottles and unique, orchid- or magnolia-shaped glass bottle stoppers. Above are some photos that I took of the beautiful display. The Clo is a 75-seat wine bar in the Time Warner Center that boasts a motion-activated wine list, automatic pours from an Enomatic system that keeps wine fresh, and a team of real humans from Aureole in Las Vegas to oversee the whole thing. Small plates of olives, cheese and salumi round out the experience. At Clo, which is located at the galeria's fourth level, customers can sample 100-odd vintages served in two-ounce pours and then buy them by the bottle from a small store to be installed near the elevators on the same floor. The Time Warner Center is located at 10 Columbus Circle. Tel. 212-823-9898.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Get M.A.D. - the Museum of Arts and Design reopens

Jason Hackenworth's balloon sculptures, "Megamites" 
outside M.A.D. during the opening

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), formerly known as the American Craft Museum, opened its new building at 2 Columbus Circle near the entrance to Central Park with a weekend of free admission Sept. 27-28. Designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works, the new building is triple the size of the old museum. Last Saturday, I took pictures of the new museum exterior as well as artist Jason Hackenworth’s latex balloon sculptures called "Magamites" worn by performers outside the museum during the inaugural celebration. The museum holds its entire permanent collection, as well as variety of revolving, temporary ones. In keeping with its mission to inform, educate, and encourage artistic exploration, there are several classrooms and studios on the museum's sixth floor, as well as a 150-seat auditorium for lectures, performances and symposiums. 

Architecturally speaking, the new exterior remains loyal to the boxy original. While it has a more geometric, tiled façade, it still resembles the museum’s old look in a way that’s sure to satisfy preservationists. However, some critics claim the design isn’t bold enough to justify its remodeling. Whatever your opinion on the design, New Yorkers are sure to acknowledge that the new MAD will serve as yet another great artistic space in the city.
New exhibits will include “Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary,” showcasing 51 artists who re-purpose mass-produced objects into art; “Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry,” with 130 works of jewelry from 1948 through the present; and selections of important works from the museum’s permanent collection along with a showcase of gifts from museum supporters.
The museum also just acquired a donation of 800 pieces of silver jewelry designed by tribal and ethnic artisans around the world during the 1900s. The jewelry is a gift from Daniel and Serga Nadler, who amassed the collection over 30 years during expeditions to Egypt, Morocco, India, Thailand, China, Greece and other places. The museum describes the collection of the unsigned pieces of wearable art as “one of the most comprehensive holdings of tribal, ethnic and contemporary jewelry in the world.”
Details at www.madmuseum.org.
After opening weekend, admission will cost $15 for adults, except on Thursdays, which is pay-what-you-wish night from 6 to 9 p.m.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

WALL STREET - the Proposed Bailout

Today, negotiators from Capitol Hill and the Bush administration resumed talks about the proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial system by the US government. Earlier today, I made some images of the Wall Street sign and the New York Stock Exchange in downtown Manhattan. NYC is at the center of the economic turmoil, but the fallout will be nationwide. Already the financial sector alone has lost 10,000 jobs through July, or about 2% of finance jobs. Moody's Economy.com projects that New York City and its suburbs will lose 65,000 finance jobs by the middle of 2010, or 11% of the total. Economists are projecting that Manhattan real estate prices will finally sink under the pressure of financial-sector layoffs and shrinking Wall Street bonuses. Wall Street accounts for about 12% of jobs in the city of New York, and a quarter of salaries. "New York is the stone in the puddle that ripples across the country," said Scott Simmons, vice-president and founding partner of Crist/Kolder Associates, an executive recruiting firm in Chicago.
From wikipedia:
Wall Street is a street in lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It runs east from Broadway downhill to South Street on the East River, through the historical center of the Financial District. Wall Street was the first permanent home of the New York Stock Exchange; over time Wall Street became the name of the surrounding geographic neighborhood. Wall Street is also shorthand (or a metonym) for "influential financial interests" in the U.S., as well as for the financial industry in the New York City area. Several major U.S. stock and other exchanges remain headquartered on Wall Street and in the Financial District, including the NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, NYMEX, and NYBOT.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Contemporary African Woven Baskets

These beautiful contemporary African woven baskets were some of the items being sold during last Sunday's street fair on Columbus Avenue on the Upper Westside.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I took this photo of a portion of the new 8,500-square-foot (790 square meters) shoe department of the quintessential Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store. The new designer shoe floor (8th floor) is so big it has its own zip code. Customers can send mail to 10022-SHOE. The space will hold a place in marketing history as the first floor to brand its location as a literal shopping destination. The newly designed floor, with 150% more shoes, offers customers luxury amenities–including a VIP room for private shopping complete with spacious seating, refreshments and an adjacent fitting room. Also available: an expert shoe repair and refurbishing service, instant inventory checks on state-of-the-art computer terminals, two charming cafés and direct access to 10022-SHOE via an express elevator. 10022-SHOE also features 50% more selling space, clear sightlines and a truly dazzling centerpiece: a 70-foot-long curving wall of enchanting hand-blown Murano glass bubbles. At the floor’s perimeter, tall, undulating walls will create a flow of brands, designed to encourage browsing and ensure flexibility for Saks as collections expand.
Saks Fifth Avenue, one of the world’s pre-eminent specialty retailers, is renowned for its superlative American and international designer collections, expertly edited assortments and exemplary customer service. Today, Saks operates 54 full-line stores in 25 states, two in the Middle East in Dubai and Riyadh, 50 Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5TH stores and saks.com.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Head of a Woman
Head of a Warrior
Pregnant Woman
Goat Skull and a Bottle

On view at the MOMA's Werner and Elaine Dannheisser Lobby Gallery, fourth floor is a collection of PABLO PICASSO's sculptures. The artwork will be on display until November 3. Above are images that I made of some of the pieces.
From the MOMA website:
Pablo Picasso is perhaps best known for his paintings, but his sculptures are among the most radical, thought-changing artworks of the modern period. While the artist's two-dimensional work was frequently exhibited during his lifetime, the first comprehensive exhibition of Picasso's sculpture was mounted in 1966, when the artist was eighty-five years old. This installation provides a broad overview of the artist's career as a creator of three-dimensional objects through selections from The Museum of Modern Art's collection. The strength of the Museum's collection in this area is due, in part, to the support it received from the artist himself, who donated his sheet-metal construction Guitar (1914), on view here, to the Museum in 1971. 

Picasso turned to sculpture with particular rigor at several key moments in his career, using the medium as a testing ground for ideas that would catalyze crucial shifts in his practice at large. The sculpture Woman's Head (Fernande) (1909), also on view, helped Picasso conceptualize the break of solid volume into shifting masses suggestive of varying perspectives, and served as a foundation for the development of Cubism. In much of his subsequent sculptural work, Picasso abandoned the traditional art of modeling in favor of assemblage and construction. Picasso introduced non-art materials into his artwork, radically incorporating everyday objects into his sculpture much as he used found print materials in his famous collage works. The transformation from banal item to sculptural element is never complete, and much of the great visual wit of the objects seen here comes from the play between these two roles.

Monday, September 22, 2008

U.N. General Assembly meetings

In midtown Manhattan, the tight securty, street closures, increased police presence and international flags such as those flying in front of The Plaza (photos above) are just reminders that the United Nations General Assembly meetings are being held at the UN headquarters in Manhattan at this time of year.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2008 German-American Steuben Parade of New York

Yesterday the German-American Steuben Parade was held on Fifth Avenue. The parade featured German music and dance, traditional Trachts and crazy carnival costumes. The Steuben Parade began in 1957 as a way to celebrate German culture and camaraderie in New York City. This year, the parade included over twenty groups from Germany, as well as Grand Marshals: Ralf Moeller, the German born Hollywood Actor who starred in "Gladiator" and "Beerfest"; Duncan Niederauer, the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, one of the most prestigious companies in the US; and Col. Gail Halvorsen, who became famous during the Berlin Airlift when he brought chocolate and chewing gum to the children of Berlin. The "Candy Bomber" is one of America's greatest veterans, a true hero and a fighter for German-American friendship. The parade brings approximately 100,000 people to New York's famed Fifth Avenue.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


My personal favorite, designed by Dale Chihuly

On view to the public at the CONRAN SHOP are VIPP stainless steel and rubber trash bins uniquely designed by a roster of leaders from the worlds of art, entertainment, fashion and design. The celebrities created a unique version of the classic VIPP pedal waste bin as part of a fundraising event, a charity auction to benefit the FOOD BANK FOR NEW YORK CITY and CHERNOBYL CHILDREN'S PROJECT INTERNATIONAL. Customized creations from BONO, MICHAEL STIPE, DALE CHIHULY (photo above), MARIO BATALI, DOMINIC WILCOX,  BILL SOFIELD, SIMON DOONAN, THOMAS LIBERTINY, MATTIA BIAGI, KARIM RASHID, MENA SUVARI, among others are on public display at the CONRAN SHOP where pre-bidding takes place. The event culminates in Thursday September 18th at the Winston Wächter Fine Art Gallery. The CONRAN shop is located at 59th Street and First Avenue adjacent to the Food Emporium Bridgemarket.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Harry Potter star DANIEL RADCLIFFE makes his Broadway Debut in EQUUS

@ the stagedoor

Last night, we attended a performance of the new Broadway revival of EQUUS, now in previews at the Broadhurst Theatre. Equus, written by Peter Shaffer, the Tony Award winning author of Amadeus, is the powerful and provocative story of a stable boy and a psychiatrist who seeks to understand the sexual and religious mystery which leads to a climatic and unbelievable event. DANIEL RADCLIFFE, the young international star of the popular HARRY POTTER films, makes his Broadway debut as Alan Strang, a seemingly normal and unassuming 17 year-old stable boy with a passion for horses. One night he blinds six of the horses with a hoof pick. What drove him to commit this horrible crime is a puzzle. His life seems routine, his family loving, his pursuits harmless. But his family life is affected by bigotry and religious fervor. Strang has been placed under psychiatric surveillance—an unresponsive patient who suffers from terrible nightmares each night. Only psychiatrist Martin Dysart (played by RICHARD GRIFFITHS) seems able to grasp the answer to this psychological mystery.
As in London, we believe that Radcliffe will draw positive reviews from the critics. He was fantastic! Equus will also get a lot of attention from gossip columnists because of the much-written-about nude scene. Richard Griffiths was last seen on Broadway in The History Boys for which he won a Tony Award. Overall, although the story is dark, the performances, costume, lighting and the austere but effective set shine brightly.
The eagerly awaited revival of Equus began previews on Broadway Sept. 5 with an official opening on Sept. 25. The production is currently scheduled to run through Feb. 8, 2009.
Above are some scenes outside the Broadhurst Theatre after the performance. I made the images of Radcliffe and his autograph-seeking fans at the stagedoor of the theatre which is located at 235 West 44th Street. Radcliffe was also featured in the Arts and Leisure section of the September 14 issue of the New York Times.

Here is a couple of reader reviews from nytimes.com:
enjoyable and powerful, September 07, 2008
Reviewer: suzannedavino
I've read Equus many times and was very pleased to have the opportunity to see it staged at last on Sept 5th. I was not disappointed. The horses/dancers in their caged heads, the smoke rising around their stilted hooves as they stomped, the eerie sounds and the lighting combined to instill moments of awe and fear in me, particularly when those caged heads all swiveled round to stare at a single point. Richard Griffiths was excellent: natural and humorous, and for the most part Dysart's angst was not too onerous. Daniel Radcliffe's participation could easily have spoiled the show for me, and there were moments when I tried not to see Harry Potter defying Voldemort instead of Alan Strang defying Normal, but he aquitted himself very well, and managed to shake off the Potter persona.
. . . .
Extraordinary, indeed., September 06, 2008
Reviewer: kamandat
Before I went to the opening night of the Equus preview, I sat on my front porch in the country and read Peter Shaffer's script from cover-to-cover, trying to hold on desperately to every word on each page in anticipation of them coming to life on stage later that evening. The play itself is brilliant and I had built up my expectations of seeing it live only minimally, as I could only be hopeful it could serve it justice. The minute I walked into the theatre, I was instantly entranced by the simple, but powerful, set; I was immediately anticipating what was to come. Richard Griffiths is brilliant, delivering monologues simply and beautifully throughout the show. His growth in understanding himself was apparent and satisfying. Ultimately, it was Daniel Radcliffe who had me mesmerized from his first moment on stage to his last. As I had suspected from my morning reading, the first act ended with an inexpicable power and I felt an urgency for Radcliffe to return to the stage. His final moments of the show left me haunted and breathless. My appreciation for his risk to take this part is undeniably overwhelming. I can only hope to see the show over and over again. The next day I still feel impacted by its power and meaning.