Category: All Things

Public Art (but no Music)

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Friends

Walked to TriBeCa during lunch to purchase crochet supplies for my first class. On the way I passed through the ”Alexander Calder in New York” exhibit in City Hall Park — five large scale “stabiles” (as Calder called his freestanding, nonmoving sculptures), created between 1957 and 1976 and on loan from the Calder Foundation and the Whitney Museum of American Art through March 2007.

Calder Arches

Jerusalem Stabile

The exhibit includes one of Calder’s signature mobiles — not displayed outdoors, but suspended inside the City Hall rotunda. Made a mental note to check that out sometime soon.

Always enjoy seeing public art in random places. Barrelling through the financial district, head down, in your own world, or talking into a cell phone, and then suddenly — bam! — an unignorable, massive, bright red Calder at your feet.

The first of the two Philharmonic in the Parks concerts in Central Park was canceled due to thundershowers that rolled in, blackening the sky late in the afternoon. By concert time, the skies had actually cleared somewhat, but the grounds would have been wet and muddy and not at all pleasant for lawn lounging. Weather permitting, the orchestra performs Beethoven’s Fifth next Tuesday, in keeping with the tradition for mass appeal.

Which recalls to mind the popular “Beethoven’s Wig” series created by Richard Perlmutter. Simple concept: taking classical melodies and writing — or rewriting — lyrics. So The Fifth Symphony would be sung:

Beethoven’s WIG… is very BIG
Beethoven’s wig is long and curly and it’s white
Beethoven takes his wig off when he sleeps at night
Because it’s big
It’s very big
Beethoven’s WIG… is… BIG!

And so on. I remember engaging similar efforts in preparation for those “Name that tune” exams in high school music class, to less witty and commercially-recognized effect. Almost surprising that these discs didn’t hit the market until 2002, considering the glut of Mozart Effect-fueled “classical music for babies/children” collections in the mid to late 1990s.

Witty stuff, though I think that if I were trying to instill an appreciation for classical music in my children, I’d still be more likely just to play them the originals.

Met BH for drinks in the neighborhood. Now that he’s a father of twins and living in New Jersey, his opportunities for socializing are relegated to late night drives into the city after putting the babies to sleep. Over rounds of rapidly melting — and later, rain spattered — frozen margaritas, he waxed nostalgic about his single days as a Manhattanite, and brought up the subject of Internet dating services. I explained that while I could see how it might be a good way to meet a lot of people, I didn’t think that online dating was really my thing, especially after that little dalliance I had with the Nigerian diplomat ended on such a disappointing note. I’m still waiting for my millions.

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Tuesday, July 11th, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Friends

The steaminess set in around 3:00AM, after I shut down the bedroom air conditioning and drifted off to a fitful sleep. Too soon, I was jolted by the rude blaring of my alarm clock. I crawled out of bed reluctantly and spent the better part of the morning in a hazy, pensive state.

Met SN for lunch this afternoon at a Japanese place on William Street. Actually, the spot was only nominally Japanese, as they also prepared Korean chap jae (which I ordered) and Chinese mapo tofu (which he ordered) alongside their sushi and teriyaki items. Despite the popularity of such eateries, I still find the hodgepodge of Asian cuisine offerings a little disconcerting.

After work, CS came downtown to meet me for BODIES…The Exhibition at South Street Seaport.

According to the site:

A human specimen is first preserved according to standard mortuary science. The specimen is then dissected to show whatever it is that someone wants to display. Once dissected, the specimen is immersed in acetone, which eliminates all body water. The specimen is then placed in a large bath of silicone, or polymer, and sealed in a vacuum chamber. Under vacuum, acetone leaves the body in the form of gas and the polymer replaces it, entering each cell and body tissue. A catalyst is then applied to the specimen, hardening it and completing the process.

End results are remarkably vivid and endlessly fascinating. Several of the cadavers were posed to illustrate the interconnections between muscle and bone in action. Referring to one body arranged to mimic a man taking a jumpshot, I remarked to CS that it would have been funny if the basketball in his hand were also dissected to show the peeled back layers of orange and black rubber. She giggled at the idea, earning us a few disapproving glances from the other attendees, who no doubt assumed we were deriving more prurient amusements.

Immaculate and amazing dissections, including one of the entire central nervous system. One gallery exhibited the immensely complex network of arteries, veins and capillaries comprising the circulatory system. The vessels were injected with a coloring polymer that hardens, and the remaining tissue was chemically removed in a process known as “corrosion casting.” What remained behind were the delicate branches, devoid of internal structure and displayed in dramatically spotlit glass cases: organs, limbs and one entire human body. The effect was eerily beautiful.


Bodies Tix

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Madonna art

Monday, July 10th, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Events, Friends, Music

After work, I stopped in at the W New York — Times Square Living Room for the new exhibit of Madonna art. Which is to say: paint embellished photographic canvases featuring Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, the pop — not religious — icon.

Prominent New York-based photographer Steven Klein has been called the “anti-fashion fashion photographer.” Interesting side note: Klein was the photographer behind the infamous Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie “Domestic Bliss” feature photo spread in the July 2005 issue of W Magazine, which prompted Jennifer Aniston to remark of Pitt to Vanity Fair, “There’s a sensitivity chip that’s missing.” I’d say so.

Jean-Baptiste Mondino is a French fashion photographer and music video director. He directed Madonna’s “Open Your Heart,” “Justify My Love” and “Don’t Tell me” videos, among many others. Mondino and Klein’s photos covered the span of Madonna’s career… well, more accurately, her post True Blue-career. Not a lace glove cutoff or wedding dress in sight.

Madonna Bustier

Madonna Music

The champagne was free-flowing, as was the music: all Madonna, all the time (natch), with focus on The Immaculate Collection singles, mixed — ineptly, as my tunes-sensitive companion pointed out — by the resident DJ.

Beauty’s where you find it
Not just where you bump and grind it

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