Tag Archives: MOMA

Culture High & Low

If you’re feeling a bit blue, stuck in NYC while your friends are rocking out at SXSW, you should be reminded of some of the amazing cultural events happening in our fine city- both High and Low.

This past weekend G and I attended, among other diversions (he met my mother for the first time this weekend! It went well!) Franco Zeffirelli’s legendary production of La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera. More than perhaps any other opera La Bohème has captured the imagination of generations of artists. Its compelling story was the basis for the musical Rent. Baz Luhrmann’s version also spent time on Broadway. Recently there was even a production without music.  As G said after the performance, the characters are much more familiar than most characters in opera; these are people you can imagine knowing. Anna Netrebko was an incredible Mimi; both her acting and her singing were intensely evocative. I cried (of course) when she died but I also felt that the story had a message for the audience, much more so than the melodramatic plots of Aida or Tosca. If you haven’t seen this classic I highly recommend finding a way to do so.

Anna Netrebko

Anna Netrebko

I will be seeing a much less classic opera next week- The Nose is a surrealist opera based on a short story by Gogol.

Artist William Kentridge defies genres with Shostakovich’s adaptation of Gogol’s story. “The opera is about the terrors of hierarchy,” Kentridge says. “There’s a mixture of anarchy and the absurd that interests me. I love in this opera the sense that anything is possible.” The new production is conducted by definitive Shostakovich interpreter Valery Gergiev. Acclaimed baritone Paulo Szot, who won a Tony Award® for South Pacific, makes his Met debut as the man who wakes up to discover that his nose has disappeared.

You can get a taste of Kentridge’s work at the MOMA, which is currently hosting a retrospective.

Best known for animated films based on charcoal drawings, he also works in prints, books, collage, sculpture, and the performing arts. This exhibition explores five primary themes in Kentridge’s art from the 1980s to the present, and underscores the inter relatedness of his mediums and disciplines, particularly through a selection of works from the Museum’s collection. Included are works related to the artist’s staging and design of Dmitri Shostakovich’s The Nose.

I haven’t visited the Kentridge exhibit yet but G and I did take a look at Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, which just opened to the public on Sunday. The exhibit documents her various performance pieces, both through video and photographs of the original performances, and through recreations by actors. The most interesting, and disturbing, of the latter was a pair of naked actors- one female, one male- standing within a narrow archway; you had to pass between them to get into the next room. It was impossible not to touch the naked pair and this was hugely unnerving but, simply because it was unnerving, forced you as the viewer to think further about the piece. I am thrilled that the MOMA has chosen to showcase such challenging work. The exhibit is a triumph for the curator, Klaus Biesenbach, who has succeeded in creating a retrospective of performance art, something never done in the MOMA, and possibly never done as successfully in any other major museum.

You can see some less established artists in the Jonathan LeVine Gallery’s Five Year Anniversary Exhibition.

Since 2005, Jonathan LeVine Gallery has been an important venue for Street Art (ephemeral work placed in public urban environments) and Pop Surrealism (work influenced by illustration, comic book art, and pop culture imagery). As such, the pieces in this exhibition—comprised of paintings, drawings, and sculptures—will be primarily figurative with a strong sense of narration.

I am quite a fan of this image (Ray Caesar, Arabesque):

Ray Caesar, Arabesque

Ray Caesar, Arabesque

On the lower end of the culture spectrum, this Thursday you can attend a retrospective of a rather different sort- a burlesque tribute to Dolly Parton! I expect The Queen of Country Music would be thrilled!

P.S. Best way to spend St. Patty’s Day- Benefit Concert for City Reliquary at the Knitting Factory!

Please follow myself and Miss Scorpio on twitter for the latest and be sure to sign up for the G&S listserve so you can benefit from the editing that eats up so much of my time… Enjoy!

A Film Student Comes to Town

First of all please pardon me for a second while I sing my own praises… Gemini & Scorpio, the lovely event entrepreneurs who I have been working for these last few months (to the detriment of this blog I am afraid), have been featured in an article in the New York Times. My name is actually included! My grandmother is less excited about this than you might expect but I for one am pretty thrilled.

Setup for G&S Party; image from the NYTimes

Setup for G&S Party, image from the NYTimes

Ok, moving on… I have a friend coming to town this weekend who went to film school at NYU and is taking some sort of test to try to get into a film apprenticeship program in the city. As per usual when I have a visitor I have drafted a list of all sorts of wonderful events taking place and I thought I would share them with you!

Friday night the Mad Breaks Tea Party is sure to be a riotous good time, of the G&S/underground/alt-events variety. There will be aerialists, a tea garden (of course), sculptural installations, fire spinners, a hookah lounge and all sorts of other madness.

On Saturday at Galapagos Art Space, Floating Kabarette takes burlesque to the air in a gravity defying weekly show only to be found in the Big Apple.

Also on Saturday, for a much more G-rated (and more film centered) evening, you can head to 92Y Tribeca for a sing-along with Fieval and friends! An American Tail is one of those Spielberg movies that you associate much more with childhood than with Spielberg. If you remember the songs get ready to belt them with other fans! Here’s a clip to refresh your memory:

On Sunday, another film related event, my favorite comedians are making fun of one of the most ridiculous things to hit the cinema in recent years- Twilight! Head to the Knitting Factory to see the Raspberry Brothers make a comedy out of this mess.

Since this is a film-centric weekend I also advised my visiting friend to check out the offerings at

I advise you to do the same, anytime you want to check out new foreign/independent film or see classics on the big screen! Enjoy!

Follow me and Miss Scorpio on Twitter for the latest event listings and be sure to sign up for the G&S weekly event list- everything you need to know about alt-events in NYC!

PopRally, Singing with the Muppets and more!

It’s great to be back in the city and I’m super excited about all the events coming up! PopRally tonight is sold out but if you can figure out a way to get in it’s sure to be worth the effort! This is the premiere of “SCRYING, a non-narrative performance ballet conceived and directed by New York-based artist Jen DeNike and choreographed by Melissa Barak.” There will also be a live performance of “tribal/electronic/ambient anthems” by Soft Circle.

Also tonight you can learn the gritty details of the work of undercover cops in the tenements of the LES at the start of the twentieth century. This lecture, at the Tenement Museum, will be full of stories of prostitutes, immigrants, anarchists and other questionable characters.

LES Tenements around 1900

LES Tenements around 1900

If you’ve never heard of Alaina Hammond, now is the time to discover the work of this talented writer; the series “Here We Go Again: More Plays by Alaina Hammond” is playing at Manhattan Theater Source several nights this week. It’s not terribly questionable theater but the tickets are cheap enough ($15) that even if you find it questionable it’s not an unreasonable expense.

It’s been some time since I’ve gotten a shot of burlesque and I may get my fix on Wednesday at Skits ‘n’ Tits:

Outrageous monthly variety show presents NYC’s best burlesque beauties, comedians, sketch, variety acts, and music. Produced by and starring Diane O’Debra (formerly of the O’Debra Twins), Steph Sabelli (absurd characters, improvisational comedian), and Jessica Delfino (award winning dirty folk rocker publicly denounced by the US Catholic League). Starring celebrity guests, amazing giveaways, drink specials and more, including a super secret surprise celeb comedian. A wild, dirty little show.

On Saturday you can sing-along with the Muppets when they Take Manhattan at 92Y Tribeca. Check out the trailer and be prepared to join in with your favorite fuzzy friends.

There are lots of other awesome things coming up so stay tuned for more updates!

An Afternoon at the MOMA

This weekend, in between the Biblioball and a ride with the Levys on a subway train from 1931, G and I spent an afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art. It was overcrowded and hectic but the art on the walls is well worth battling the crowds to see! I’m a member so we had no problem strolling into the Tim Burton exhibit, but if you’re not a member be sure to buy your timed ticket in advance because they have been selling out.

The Tim Burton retrospective is the first exhibit of its kind celebrating the work of this mad genius, and a mad genius he most certainly is! From the quirky sketches of his early career to the ephemera related to his more recent films, Burton’s art reveals the workings of a very unusual imagination. The imagery is almost always unsettling even when it’s humorous and the thought process of the artist remains opaque. I came away from the exhibit admiring his talent and creativity but also feeling a little bit afraid of Tim Burton. I think this segment of Mars Attacks truly epitomizes the macabre slant of his imagination. This sketch is on the lighter end:

Tim Burton Sketch

Tim Burton Sketch

It was interesting to walk through the exhibit on the Bauhaus School directly after seeing the Burton exhibit; much of Burton’s imagery seems at least tangentially related to the art that originated at Bauhaus.

The exhibition gathers over four hundred works that reflect the broad range of the school’s productions, including industrial design, furniture, architecture, graphics, photography, textiles, ceramics, theater design, painting, and sculpture, many of which have never before been exhibited in the United States. It includes not only works by the school’s famous faculty and best-known students—including Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Lyonel Feininger, Walter Gropius, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy, Lucia Moholy, Lilly Reich, Oskar Schlemmer, and Gunta Stölzl—but also a broad range of works by innovative but less well-known students, suggesting the collective nature of ideas.

We also wandered up to the 6th floor for a members-only preview of the new Gabriel Orozco exhibit (now open to the public!). I think the curator made a mistake in placing some of the more questionable pieces at the start of the exhibit; when I saw that the empty shoe-box next to the guard was “art” I considered not venturing any further. I recommend forgiving Orozco for both the shoe-box and the subsequent yogurt caps and heading into the center of the exhibit, where you can see my favorite piece- a Citroën automobile surgically reduced to two-thirds its normal width.


Though certainly one of the more expensive and crowded museums in the city, the MOMA remains an essential stop if you’re looking for the the truly remarkable art of the last century. You should also read my earlier post for some smaller galleries worth checking out this winter.

Stay tuned for more upcoming events and follow me on twitter for the latest!

This is ART

Now that we are truly in the grip of the holiday season it’s time to celebrate what our fine city has to offer; this year it’s gifting us all sorts of marvelous ART!

Peter Fischli and David Weiss have a new exhibit showing at the Matthew Marks Gallery until Jan. 16th:

Sun, Moon and Stars is an encyclopedic accumulation of 800 magazine advertisements culled from hundreds of international periodicals. Begun as a project commissioned by a Swiss corporation for its annual report, the finished project is displayed in thirty-eight wood and glass tables, totaling 330 feet in length. A dizzying redaction of late capitalism in various chromatic and themed groupings, the ads are shown in a specific order that exploits the formal, narrative and color similarities between advertisements. Among the hundreds of paired ads, the viewer will discover the curious association between the color schemes in an ad for private airplanes and another for cat food. These juxtapositions guide the viewer toward many interpretations, following a specific narrative.

The Brooklyn Museum’s excellent photography exhibit ‘Who Shot Rock and Roll‘ is up until Jan. 31st. Here’s a taste of the iconic images in store for visitors:

Michael Putland (British, born 1947). Mick Jagger, Philadelphia, 1982 (printed 1990s). Gelatin silver print. Collection of Michael Putland

Michael Putland (British, born 1947). Mick Jagger, Philadelphia, 1982 (printed 1990s). Gelatin silver print. Collection of Michael Putland

NPR also did a nice story on the exhibit if you want a bit more background going in…

For anyone who didn’t experience NYC in the ’90s, you have a chance to see a fragment of the past with two exhibits exploring the work of Stuart Sherman, the performance artist who died of AIDS in 2001. The New York Times describes both exhibits in detail in this article; after you have the back story see the art for yourself at the 80WSE Gallery and Participant Inc.

Though it’s never become a separate category of art (like photography), lithography has been hugely influential over the years. Now until Dec. 12th you can see how a broad range of artists used the medium at FIAF. Their exhibit, The Great Masters of Lithography: Vintage Posters of Calder, Chagall, Dufy, Léger, Matisse, Miró, Picasso, and Others, explores the way “unique and visually striking lithographs, which were beautifully used as posters to promote the artists’ work.” Here’s one stunning example:

Picasso Lithograph

Picasso Lithograph

For a look at NYC through someone else’s eyes head over to Fuse Gallery to see Joshua Wildman’s beautiful photographs of the city that never sleeps. His strangely personal images of NY nightlife make the city seem at once wilder and also more vulnerable. Here’s one lovely shot:

Joshua Wildman Photo

Joshua Wildman Photo

For a more intimate set of images you can see Margaret de Lange’s Daughters at the Foley Gallery:

The images depict the two girls enjoying their summers out of doors, barefoot and often bare-bodied, in a dark and grainy, high-contrast style. In the photographs, the children seem to be a part of the nature around them, with dirt and grass clinging to knees and feet, with hoods of animal skin; they become like the creatures of Scandinavian folklore that, as de Lange explains, “were said to appear at twilight, and were always beautiful, but often evil as well.” And so we view the daughters, captured as they linger in a hazy half-darkness, in that time between day and night and an age between child and adult, exploring, discovering, and experiencing all of those little adventures which amount to growing up. These “creatures” exhibit their initiated ways through various little clues: dead birds hanging from string, bold stares from beneath fury capes. All together, the effect is unabashedly dark and earthy, yet calm and elegantly matter-of-fact.

Finally, it is perhaps unnecessary for me to mention the biggest retrospective of the season: Tim Burton at the MOMA. I doubt I need to say more so I’ll simply include this fun image:

Tim Burton

Tim Burton

On that note I will sign off but stay tuned for news of upcoming events, etc. Also remember to follow me on twitter for the latest!