Sunday, October 31, 2010

Newly Restored Morgan Library Opens To The Public

Facade of the Morgan Library constructed of Tenessee pink marble, featuring a simple recessed portico flanked by a pair of stone lionesses. 
Details of the fence of the Morgan Library at 36th Street
video from Streetscapes (The New York Times)
The restoration of the Morgan Library has been completed, and the library opened to the public yesterday. The Morgan Library was designed by Charles Follen MacKim (1847-1909) who created a classical styled structure inspired by villas of the Italian Renaissance. The library was built to house the collection of rare books and manuscripts of the American financier Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913). The Morgan Library and Museum is located at 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street. The magnificent photos of the newly restored interior can be seen by clicking here.

Restoring the Morgan Library Interior (from

In 2010 the Morgan restored the interior of the 1906 library to its original grandeur. A new lighting system was installed to illuminate the extraordinary murals and decor of the four historic rooms. Intricate marble surfaces and applied ornamentation were cleaned, period furniture was reupholstered, and original fixtures—including three chandeliers removed decades ago—were restored and reinstalled. A late-nineteenth-century Persian rug (similar to the one originally there) was laid in the grand East Room. The ornate ceiling of the librarian's office, or North Room, was cleaned, and visitors are able to enter the refurbished space—now a gallery—for the first time. New, beautifully crafted display cases throughout the 1906 library feature selections from the Morgan's collection of great works of art and literature from the ancient world to modern times.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Empire State Building Lights Up In Orange/Black/White For Halloween

Tonight and tomorrow night, the top of the Empire State Building lights up all night in orange/black/white for Halloween. Normally, the lights go off at 2 AM. The image was made through the glass window of Filene's Basement Store in Union Square. 

Why black and orange became traditional Halloween colors remains speculative. While black represents the darkness of the night, orange simply is for autumnal jack-o'-lanterns and leaves. Others believe that the colors orange and black can be traced back to the occult. offers this explanation. They were connected to the commemorative masses for the dead, which were held in November. The unbleached beeswax candles used in the various ceremonies were orange. The ceremonial caskets were covered in black cloths. So thank the Druids and the Celts for them. Feng Shui-wise, these two colors are on the opposite energy spectrums, so to speak. Orange is a very lively and happy color, the color of fall bounty and the warmth of fire. Orange is often called the "social" color, as it creates the feng shui energy to promote lively conversations and good times in your home. Black color, on the other hand, is the color of mystery and void. The color of a space with no beginning and no end, a space with an infinite creative energy incomprehensible to the human mind. Full of the feng shui energy of mystery and sophistication; black color also holds the energy of power and protection.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (The Women Of Avignon)

On exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art is one of Pablo Picasso's well-known painting, "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," ("The Women of Avignon"; Paris, June-July 1907. Oil on canvas, 8' x 7' 8"). Photo was taken on October 29, 2010.

MoMA gallery caption:

The result of months of preparation and revision, this painting revolutionized the art world when first seen in Picasso's studio. Its monumental size underscored the shocking incoherence resulting from the outright sabotage of conventional representation. Picasso drew on sources as diverse as Iberian sculpture, African tribal masks, and El Greco's painting to make this startling composition. In the preparatory studies, the figure at left was a sailor entering a brothel. Picasso, wanting no anecdotal detail to interfere with the sheer impact of the work, decided to eliminate it in the final painting. The only remaining allusion to the brothel lies in the title: Avignon was a street in Barcelona famed for its brothel.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shen Wei Dance Arts Public Performance in Times Square (Duffy Square)

Choreographer, director, dancer, painter and designer, SHEN WEI
Shen Wei chats with the dancers after the performance
Shen Wei and his dancers (Cecily Campbell, Hunter Carter, Sarah Chiesa, Evan Copeland, Burr Johnson, Cynthia Koppe, Sara Procopio, Adam Weinert and Brandon Whited)
Shen Wei Dance Arts performed today in Times Square (Duffy Square at 46th Street and Broadway) as part of the Public Arts Program of the Times Square Alliance. Choreographed by Shen Wei, the three part dance called "Re-Triptych" is inspired by journeys to Tibet, Angkor Wat, and The Silk Road, and invokes concepts such as "renew," "rediscover," and "repair." The performances in Duffy Square were given at 10:00 AM, 12:30 PM and 9:00 PM. The images above were made during the 12:30 - 12:40 PM performance.

About Shen Wei, artistic director

Choreographer, director, dancer, painter and designer, Shen Wei is widely recognized for his vision of an intercultural, utterly original mode of movement-based spectacle. Born in Hunan, China, in 1968, he was sent to a re-education farm with his parents at the age of two. From this inauspicious beginning, a “startling imaginative” (New York Times) artistic consciousness was born. Shen Wei became the founding member of China’s first modern dance company, then came to New York in 1997 on a fellowship in search of greater creative freedom. In 2000 he created his company and entered the international touring circuit. In 2006 he became an American citizen. He has been honored with the McArthur “Genius” award, the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Nijinsky Dance Award and as a United States Fellow and New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow.

In recognition of his achievements, he was invited back to China as lead choreographer of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies, where he convinced the organizing committee to make contemporary dance the centerpiece of the ceremonies, thus bringing modern dance to the forefront of Chinese culture. (information from the Times Square Alliance website)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cacophonous City

This is First Avenue, captured last year when I took the Roosevelt Island Tram for the first time. According to researchers from Columbia University, Manhattan's noisiest spots were along the city's truck routes including First Avenue above 14th Street. Since there are several hospitals in this area of the Upper Eastside, the noise from ambulance sirens contributes to the problem. The research findings showed that the noise levels in different sites in Manhattan were above 70 decibels, which are enough to cause hearing loss over time. The results of these studies are released today as part of the International Conference on Urban Health at the New York Academy of Medicine.
"The Noise Of New York" video from squared9

"Sounds of the City" video from jenellecleary

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lincoln Center's Grand Stair And The Josie Robertson Plaza

The Josie Robertson Plaza is the center of the Lincoln Center campus at Columbus Avenue between 62nd and 65th Streets. The primary entryway to Lincoln Center features the visually elegant and dramatic 170-foot-wide Grand Stair directly from Columbus Avenue onto the Josie Robertson Plaza. The seven stairs, each tread five feet deep, display informational LED text, such as welcome in different languages as part of Lincoln Center’s innovative 16-channel InfoScape. At the center of the plaza is the Revson Fountain, named after cosmetics excutive Chalres Revson, and designed by Philip Johnson with Richard Foster, is internally illuminated by 88 lamps emitting 26,000 watts of light and contains a complex of 577 jets that could spew forth 9,000 gallons of water per minute in a wide range of patterns--its most spectacular effect was the emission of a thirty-foot-high, six-foot-wide column of water. The entire presentation is electronically orchestrated by computer-programmed tapes played in a control booth beneath the plaza.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Broadway-bound ALLEGIANCE - A New American Musical (Staged Reading) with Lea Salonga, George Takei, Telly Leung and Paolo Montalban

George Takei
Lea Salonga
Jay Kuo (Music and Lyrics, Book of "Allegiance")
Telly Leung and Christine Toy Johnson
Paolo Montalban

Jason Tam
Tony Award winner Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Flower Drum Song), screen star George Takei (Star Trek, Heroes) and the cast of the new Broadway-bound musical ALLEGIANCE offered a developmental staged reading earlier this evening at the Julia Miles Theater - Women's Project in midtown Manhattan. The photos above were taken after the reading outside the theater. Strong performances were given by the entire cast that also included Telly Leung (Flower Drum Song, Pacific Overtures, Wicked, Rent) who was outstanding as the young Sam Oomura. His powerful rendition of "My Time Now" , probably the most applauded number, closed the first act. Also in the cast were Allie Trimm (13, Bye Bye Birdie), Alan Ariano, Christina Toy Johnson, Michael K. Lee, Philip Hoffman, Sally Wilfert, Paolo Montalban, and Jason Tam as well as Gaelen Gilliland, Raymond J. Lee, Daniel C. Levine, Doan MacKenzie, Ann Sanders, Tally Sessions, Cary Teddor, Anne Fraser Tomas and Kay Trinidad. Allegiance, which is produced by Lorenzo Thione and Sing Out, Louise! Productions, features music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and book by Kuo and Thione. The musical focuses on "the story of the Omura family during World War II and the years of the internment of Japanese Americans." According to, Allegiance will hold its world premiere in 2011 at a regional theatre to be announced, with a planned Broadway run in 2012 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the internment of Japanese Americans in the U.S.
video from quanmansports

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Graffiti on Wooster Street in SoHO

Although graffiti art has largely disappeared from view in Manhattan in the nineties, there are still some abandoned buildings with all kinds of graffiti and murals. The photos above were taken in a building on Wooster Street in SoHO, with graffiti and a mural by the artist Shepard Fairey. 

Graffiti Definition: The Dictionary of Art (from

Graffiti. Term applied to an arrangement of institutionally illicit marks in which there has been an attempt to establish some sort of coherent composition: such marks are made by an individual or individuals (not generally professional artists) upon a wall or other surface that is usually visually accessible to the public. The term "graffiti" derives from the Greek graphein ("to write"). Graffiti (s. graffito), meaning a drawing or scribbling on a flat surface, originally referred to those marks found on ancient Roman architecture. Although examples of graffiti have been found at such sites as Pompeii, the Domus Aurea of Emperor Nero (AD 54-68) in Rome, Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli and the Maya site of Tikal in Mesoamerica, they are usually associated with 20th-century urban environments. Graffiti range from simple marks to complex and colorful compositions. Motives for the production of such marks may include a desire for recognition that is public in nature, and/or the need to appropriate public space or someone else's private space for group or individual purposes. Illegitimate counterparts to the paid, legal advertisements on billboards or signs, graffiti utilize the wall of garages, public rest rooms, and jail cells for their clandestine messages. This illegal expression constitutes vandalism to the larger society.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Creative "Youtube Play" Video Projections Onto The Guggenheim Museum Facade

Last night and tonight, the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum facing Fifth Avenue became a big 4-tiered semicircular screen for video projections featuring the best videos in "Youtube Play - A Biennial Of Creative Video." Developed by YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum in collaboration with HP and Intel, YouTube Play was formed in 2010 to celebrate the ever-expanding online video art form, and to recognize the remarkable artists behind amazing videos. The video projections onto the unique exterior of Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece are created by Obscura Digital and Consortium Studios. The best videos will also be on exhibit at the museum.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jim Campbell's SCATTERED LIGHT Premiere At Madison Square Park

Using a Grand Central Terminal footage, Mr. Campbell programmed the LED lights to display low-resolution, moving images as individual pixels within the array.
video from abernheimer
Scattered Light, the New York public art debut of pioneering new media artist JIM CAMPBELL opened this evening at Madison Square Park. Campbell’s exhibition features three new major public art commissions, including "Scattered Light," his largest and most ambitious work to date. This mesmerizing public art installation runs through the fall and winter.

From and

With "Scattered Light," Campbell has hung nearly 2,000 LED lights, encased in standard light-bulb casings, from a massive suspension truss standing 20 feet high and stretching 80 feet down the center of the Oval Lawn. These LEDs have been programmed and sequenced by Campbell to turn and off in such a way that from the pathways of Madison Square Park—and from the major avenues beyond the park’s boundaries—it will appear as though the shadows of people and animals are passing across a massive, gently-undulating amorphous field of light.

Jim Campbell was born in 1956 in Chicago and educated at M.I.T., earning degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. A former Silicon Valley engineer, Campbell has emerged as one of the preeminent new media artists of this generation, inspired by 1970s research conducted by Bell Labs on low-resolution imagery and cognitive thresholds for accurate perception. Pixilated digital imagery has since become the lingua franca of contemporary visual culture and communication thanks to digital technology’s transformation of the way our society creates, shares and preserves images. Campbell’s art reduces both static and moving imagery to its barest essence—the pixels that serve as the elementary building blocks of so much of what we see—and poeticizes it, creating a space of exchange between artwork and viewer in which the human brain provides context and meaning to meticulously ordered and animated fragments of light. Campbell’s work is included the collections of institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is the honored recipient of various public art commissions and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship Award, Langlois Foundation Grant, and a Rockefeller Fellowship Award in Multimedia, among others. As an engineer, Campbell holds more than a dozen patents in the field of video image processing. His monograph Material Light was published by Hatje Cantz in 2010. Jim Campbell lives and works in San Francisco and is represented by Hosfelt, San Francisco and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York.