October, 2012

Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.

Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:

At the Frick: Mantegna to Matisse: Master Drawings from the Courtauld in London
Also At the Met Museum: Bernini in the Basement!
At MoMA: ALINA SZAPOCZNIKOW: Sculpture Undone, 1955 1972
Birdhead, Zoe Crosher, Shirana Shahbazi & Michele Abeles
Amazement at the Whitney: WADE GUYTON OS
Craig Wright's GRACE [**]
Ed Rostand's CYRANO DE BERGERAC [*****]
Gene Ionesco's RHINOCEROS [*****]
Steven Cosson & Michael Friedman's PARIS COMMUNE [*****]
From Salvation Army Soup Kitchen to Performing Arts Powerhouse: Thank you, Hugh Hardy!
Dark Doings in the Dark Room: FAKING IT: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop
DÜRER TO DE KOONING: 100 Master Drawings from Munich
Stephen Belber's DON'T GO GENTLE [****]
At the Asia Society: CHINA CLOSE UP All Year Long!
--The Obsessive Thread Binder *
Simon Stephens' HARPER REGAN [***]
Circolombia's URBAN [***]
Deanna Jent's FALLING [*****]
: How New York City Helped Defeat the Japs & the Nazis! *
The Hudson River School returns to Central Park West!
A Brief Brush with Daniel Brush at MAD: Gold/Silver/Diamonds--Blue Steel/Gold Light
Sitting in Chris Columbus' Sitting Room on Columbus Circle!
Pigpen Theatre's THE OLD MAN & THE OLD MOON [****]
Brian Friel's LOVERS [*****]
Colman Domingo's WILD WITH HAPPY [****]
Joe Papp Would Have Been Proud!
Ernie Lubitsch'sTHE LOVES OF PHARAOH [****]
Daisy Foote's HIM [***]
Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again! $40 Million Restoration of Memorial & North American Mammals!
Edvard Munch Screams Again at MoMA: Only On Loan for Six Months! Otherwise, Oslo!
The Art of Richard Artschwager Pre empts an Entire Floor at Whitney Museum!
At the Guggenheim: Picasso's Black & White Artworks, Plus: Looking Ahead at Guggenheim Museums Worldwide
The Builders Association's HOUSE/DIVIDED [*****]
Millionaires Buy Treasures of Other Millionaires at Christie's: Artworks & Furniture Recycled!
Not Porn! Anxiety Rather Than Arousal: Egon Schiele's Women at Galerie St. Etienne
Edward Albee's Steppenwolf WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? [*****]
Theatre Rites' MOJO [***]
Brian Freel's THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY [*****]
Hurricane Watch: Vintage Vincent Van Gogh Portrait On Loan at the Frick Collection!

Looking Forward to the November Elections: Forget about Free Speech!

Only MONEY TALKS--Courtesy of the Supreme Court, which is not to be confused with The Supremes

Also on The Agenda: No More Tax Cuts for the Rich!

Do most American Citizens have any idea about How They Spend the Millions They Save by not paying Their Fair Share of the American Tax Burden?

One Odious Example only becomes Generally Apparent when Very Rich People die & have the Remnants of their Interior Decoration Follies put up for Auction at Christie's

Who would want to buy these Badly Faded Floral Patterned Drapes?

Who would want to bid on this tiny Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons?

Why didn't the Heirs to their Estates donate these Arty Horrors to the Salvation Army?

Or give them directly to the Homeless

How many Millions or Billions do the One Per Centers really Need in order to Get By?

Whatever they may have heard at Temple Emanu El or Grace Church, all those Stuffed Poodles & Calico Duvets will not follow them into Heaven!

Count Leo Tolstoi has already dealt with the Vexing Question of How Much Land Does a Man Need?

Only a Plot measuring 6"x6"x3"…

As the Metaphor Merchant says, It is easier for a Louis Vuitton Trunk to go through the Eye of a Needle than it is for a Rich Man's Tax Accountant to enter into Heaven




At the Frick: Mantegna to Matisse: Master Drawings from the Courtauld in London

Hanging from Lamp Posts on Fifth Avenue are Banners showing a lovely young Dutch Renaissance Lady with a Huge Black Electrode on her head.

But she is not waiting to become the Bride of Frankenstein.

No, Indeed! She has just become the Bride of Peter Paul Rubens.

Helena Fourment Rubens has raised her Veil, so her Widower Husband can paint her Portrait!

Spanish Ladies were more Fortunate in Fashion, for they could use great Tortoise Shell Combs to hold their Mantillas aloft…

Making Frau Rubens the Poster Girl for the new Frick Exhibition certainly does get Attention, but the Poster on the outside of the Frick is far more Challenging: Michelangelo's Il Sogno, or The Dream.

In the Center is a Male Nude, leaning on a Sphere on an Open Box that has a Jumbled Collection of Antique Masks inside.

Meanwhile, an Angel is blowing a Trumpet into this Attentive Man's Ear!

Is he just blowing out the Build Up of Ear Wax or is this Cherub announcing the Book of Mormon?

Each of the Nearly Sixty Drawings, Sketches, & Watercolors from London's Courtauld Gallery is worth a visit to the Frick.

But Pieter Breugel's Kermis at Hoboken is especially interesting for it shows, in painstaking detail, how Ordinary Flemish Folks had a Rousing, Carousing Good Time at the Town Fair.

In fact, this Study for a larger Painting suggests that Modern New Jersey ites--in the American Version of Hoboken--don't have any Idea of what Good Times really are.


At the Met Museum:



Compared with some Met Museum Installations, this Salute to Bashford Dean may seem rather small, considering all that he did to create one of the most important Arms & Armor Collections in the World.

An Overview of Dean's Life & Career is ingeniously deployed in a Chamber donated by NY Timesman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger--who died only the day before the Press Preview.

A Vintage Photo of Dean's own Armor Collection at Wave Hill suggests that he was born with a Silver Poinard in his Doublet

Working as a Field Zoologist in Japan, Dean was able to collect some important Japanese Armors.

This led to his becoming Prof. of Vertebrate Zoology at Columbia, followed by a Post as Curator of Fishes at the American Museum of Natural History.

This Exhibition is not only about Bashford Dean: it also includes some New Cases & New Acquisitions.

Even if you are adamant about Gun Control, you may well admire some of the handsome Firearms on display.

Fortunately, no one now makes a fuss about Lance & Sword Control


Also At the Met Museum: Bernini in the Basement!

The Met Museum's Bernini: Sculpting in Clay may save you an Easter Trip to Rome.

Or it may well make you want to see the Castel Sant' Angelo & St. Peter's live & close up, instead of in the Met's black & white photos that show Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Great Works in place.

Thanks to the Munificent Patronage of the Barberini Cardinal who became Pope Urban VIII, the Ingenious Bernini had so many Papal Commissions that he had to employ a large Workshop of Lesser Talents.

Highlighted in this show are small Clay Angels which Bernini himself modeled for the Angels of the Passion Statues, designed for the Ponte Sant' Angelo, the Bridge that Emperor Hadrian built over the River Tiber--in 134 AD--leading to the Castello.

Few such works have survived, even though the damp Clay Models were fired as Terracotta.

Bernini is perhaps best remembered for all the Magnificent Enhancements he designed for St. Peter's Basilica, especially the Colonnade & the Baldacchino over the High Altar.

The Four Rivers Fountain in the Piazza Navona is only one of the Famous Fountains Bernini designed for important Roman Piazzi.

He was lucky in his on going Papal Patronage, as he outlived several Vicars of Christ, beginning with Pope Paul V Borghese, formerly Cardinal Scipione Borghese.

As the Renaissance Papacy seemed to get passed around among the Noble Roman Families, the Barberini Cardinal--Maffeo, who muzzled Galileo--was next in line, as Pope Urban VIII, for whom Bernini also designed a Majestic Tomb in St. Peter's.

But Bernini had not yet run out of Popes.

He also received later commissions from Pope Alexander VII--the former Cardinal Fabio Chigi--as well as Pope Innocent X & Pope Clement IX.

Art may be Eternal, but one Lucky Artist got to Outlive a Succession of Holders of the Keys of St. Peter's

There are 39 Clay Models & 30 Drawings in the current exhibition, on loan from Major Museums.

For some odd reason, this show will close on Twelfth Night--6 January 2013.


At MoMA: ALINA SZAPOCZNIKOW: Sculpture Undone, 1955 1972

Anyone who wants to Stamp Out Breast Cancer may be intrigued by the apparently Abandoned Severed Breasts of Polish Artist Alina Szapocznikow, who uses such Lactic Organs freely in her Work.

Whoever invented Polyester Resin also Owes her a Debt, for it is one of her Mainstay Materials.

There are also Detached Body Parts, some of Plaster…

Nonetheless, the Artist is also capable of Almost Academic Sketches & Busts, though she obviously favors Distortions & Deformities, as well as Bizarre Visions.

How about a Chin & Lips--Kiss Ready--sitting in a Bowl?




Birdhead, Zoe Crosher, Shirana Shahbazi & Michele Abeles

Actually, Birdhead is not a Real Person, but a Chinese Team, working in Modern Shanghai.

Their Song of Early Spring consists of Massed B&W Snapshot Style Photos of Shanghai & its Peoples. Plus two Wooden Frames…

They do not do Digital! They still use Film!

But there is a Problem about Massed Photos: You Lose Focus when looking at such a Clutter.

Michele Abeles, however, favors Inkjet Prints of Collaged Oddments or of Banal Objects.

Consider such Titles as Pitcher, Paper, Arm, Scuba, Lycra or Red, Rock, Cigarettes, Newspaper, Body, Weed, Lycra, Bottle…

What you see is what you get?

Best of all are the Photos of Shirana Shahbaz, especially her Geometric Constructions!


Amazement at the Whitney: WADE GUYTON OS

That OS stands for Operating System, for Wayne Guyton is a Slave to Computer Generated Images & Designs.

Or perhaps he is a Servant of the Computer & the Ink Jet Printer?

The Whitney has bought a Long Wall Filling Set of Eight Panels of Non Figurative Horizontal Bands.

These were run through a Large Format Ink Jet Printer…

This Large Scale Work is appropriately titled Untitled [2008].

Another Untitled [2012] on Linen is 600"x108". It has alternating Narrow Bands of Orange & Green.

A similar Untitled [2012] on Linen--also still owned by the Artist--was run through an Epsom UltraChrome K3 Inkjet, with somewhat Messy Results.

Most interesting--especially when massed on the Whitney's floor--are Wade Guyton's U Sculptures of Mirrored Stainless Steel.

You can see Your Face in them: but distorted like a Fun House Confrontation.

Guyton likes X's a Lot: Big & Small; Colored & Not.


Craig Wright's GRACE [**]

Why Would Anyone Want to Create a Chain of Christian Hotels in Florida?

When Paul Rudd shot his Wife Dead & Totaled a Badly Disfigured Guy, then shot himself in the Head--at the opening of Grace, at the Cort--there seemed no where to go but Backward.

Or Homeward…

Already knowing the Outcome, would finding out why he had a Concealed Hand Gun be a Cliff Hanger?

Unfortunately, Not for This Viewer, who did not find any the Four Characters of Compelling Interest or Fascinating Humanity.

If Jesus came to Florida, would he stay at a Crossroads Inn?

Paul Rudd plays a Jesus Freak who believes He Has a Call to create a Christian Hotel Franchise in Alligator & Israel Bond Rally Country.

What he does not know is that Satan was really Whispering in his Ear.

Ed Asner is now Very Old but he relentlessly plays a Survivor of the Hamburg Firestorm, who goes from Apartment to Apartment in a Tacky Complex, spraying around some Noxious Toxic Liquid that seems to make Paul Rudd constantly itch.

There was, understandably, No Intermission--to prevent Some from fleeing into the Street, or possibly to Miami--but I had to Heed the Call of Nature & totter up the Aisle in the dark & then negotiate the Winding Stairs down into the Men's Section of the Cort Netherworld.

At the close, Rudd was once again shooting


Ed Rostand's CYRANO DE BERGERAC [*****]

Rambunctious & Robustious, in New Roundabout Staging, Cyrano Leads by a Nose!

Kid You Not: This is the Plot Summary for Cyrano in a Drama Critics' Guide for Up Coming Shows: Odd looking Poet helps a handsome but tongue tied Soldier woo a Maiden…

Well, Yes, I guess… But Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac is rather more complicated than that Reduction.

As staged by Jamie Lloyd--for Roundabout at the American Airlines Theatre--this handsome Soutra Gilmour Designed Production has the Look, Smell, Sound, & Feel of the Not for Profit London Theatre.

Including some Brit Accents, although the Central Swordsmen are supposedly Gascons.

Douglas Hodge is admirable--even Lovable--as Cyrano: His Nose, like His Verse, becomes him!

In fact, Rhyme Smith Ranjit Bolt has a genius for the Couplet.

Richard Wilbur would be jealous of his New Translation of Rostand.

[For the Record: Bolt is the Nephew of Playwright Robert Bolt who wrote Home & Vivat, Vivat, Regina!]

Patrick Page has taken off his Green Goblin Costume from Spiderman to don the Elegant Wigs, Doublets, Weskits, & Frock Coats of a 17th Century Paris Nobleman who is the Nephew of the All Powerful Cardinal Richelieu.

His De Guiche makes a dangerous Foil for the Passions of the Unfortunate Cyrano, who hopelessly loves the Virginal Roxanne [Clémence Poésy], who has fallen for the Pretty Face of the Novice Guardsman Christian [Kyle Soller].

Only as a few Paper Leaves fall from the Fly Galleries overhead, does she finally learn that the Dying Cyrano is the Man She Really Loved. Even with that Nose

This is a Magnificent Production, teeming with Talent & Great Stage Effects: The Pastry Kitchen of Poet/Baker Ragueneau [Bill Buell] is a Wonder!

Gene Ionesco's RHINOCEROS [*****]

Don't Be Left Out! Join the Herd! Rhinos Are the Thing This Season!

The stunning Théâtre de la Ville Parisian production of Eugène Ionesco's Rhinocéros was only at

BAM for three performances.

But Not to Worry: if you missed it at UCLA in Royce Hall, or at UC/Berkeley in Zellerbach, you can catch it in Ann Arbor.

Or even later, in London, at the Barbican. Or in Moscow, at the International Chekhov Festival…

What Anton Chekhov might have thought about a Pack of Frenchmen going berserk & turning into Rhinos boggles the Imagination.

Although Ionesco began Life as a Romanian, he migrated to Paris & wrote in French, where he became a Satirically Acute Observer of Human Follies, especially of the Gallic Variety.

When the feckless Bérenger's Best Friend & his Office Colleagues begin to turn into Rhinos, stampeding in the streets, he is valiantly determined to Remain Human.

Even his Beloved Daisy joins the Herd, leaving him the Last Man Standing.

This odd Dramedy can be viewed as a Metaphor for the French who so eagerly Collaborated with the Nazi Accomodating Vichy Government in World War II.

Your Roving Arts Correspondent first saw Rhinocéros in London, at the Royal Court Theatre, with
Sir Laurence Olivier as Jean, Bérenger's friend.

At the close, when Daisy & Bérenger are vowing to remain Human, she suddenly grabs the Flowers from a Vase on the Café Table & begins to munch them…

My next Rhinocéros was on Broadway, with Zero Mostel turning into a Rhino before our very eyes. A Definitive Staging…

Now, Emmanuel Demarcy Motta has given us a New Vision: a more Mechanistic Version, as Floors skid & rise; Stairs clatter in collapse.

The Streets are now full of Rhinos & their Stompings & Snortings are shaking the Office as though an Earthquake had hit.

This brings out the Worst in almost everyone, but even though these are Humans who are turning into Rhinos, they are not Universal, but Very French!

Kudos to the Entire Cast, as well as to Set & Lighting Designer Yves Collet.

Bravo BAM, for bringing this French Metaphor to Brooklyn, where there is No Danger of its Artisanal Citizens becoming either Rodents or Rhinos…


Was That Polish Pope Pushing the Roman Catholic Church To Commit Theological Suicide?

It wasn't the sort of News Item that you expect to find in the New York Times: In Rome, Pope John Paul II told a Crowd of the Faithful that Heaven & Hell were Not Real Places!

This was way back in 1999, when many Christians still believed in an Afterlife…

My Critical Colleague & Longtime Friend, the Playwright Mario Fratti, was not in New York, so I cut out the Report & sent it on to him.

Mario was as astonished as I. But that's what happens when you have a Polish Pope instead of a Reliable Italian.

I was raised Methodist, so the Idea that Above & Below were only States of Mind--in Your Relationship to The God of Your Choice--wasn't really a Problem.

Who--aside from Mormons--wants to spend Eternity with All Your Relatives?

But I did feel sorry for my Catholic Friends who had spent so much Money to get the Priests to Pray Uncle John out of Purgatory.

There is No Purgatory for Protestants, so we save a Lot of Money!

Nonetheless, the Great Baroque Edifice that is Bernini's St. Peter's--not to overlook the Hundreds of Landmarked Cathedrals all over Western Europe--could not have been paid for without the Donations of the Catholic Devout, hoping to buy their way into Heaven.

In Fratti's Three Sisters & a Priest, an Unfortunate Cleric--with No Real Answers--is confronted by Two Wealthy Roman Catholic Siblings, who want to know What Now?

If there really is No Afterlife

These Sisters are Not in Orders. Not Sisters of Mercy. They are Civilians

Devastated by the Pope's Pronouncement--He is Infallible in matters of Faith & Morals, after all--the Third Sister, Unseen & Offstage, commits Suicide!

As always, when Fratti Plays are premiered at Theatre for the New City, both dramas are very handsomely mounted & well cast. Stephan Morrow staged.

But what are Roman Catholic Parents to think when they learn that an Altar Boy Son has been debauched by a Pedophiliac Priest?

If there is NO Hell, then he certainly cannot Rot in It…


Steven Cosson & Michael Friedman's PARIS COMMUNE [*****]

La Belle France, the Nation of Failed Revolutions: The Civilians Revisit the Paris of 1871…

Bertolt Brecht once wrote a work of Epic Theatre which he titled Die Tage der Commune.

But who now remembers Bert Brecht's Proto Communist Dramas?

Not to Worry: The Civilians--who gave us This Beautiful City--have sunk themselves into the Historical Record to recreate the Brief & Fervent Days of the Necessarily Doomed Paris Commune.

It opens with a Concert in the Grand Hall of the Palace of the Tuilleries--destroyed by Fire, as were the Communards by Bullets & Bayonets.

The Can Can is often invoked as a Colorful Musical & Motion Metaphor for Revolutionary Movements, not only that of 1871.

The Civilians visually demonstrate that--beginning with the Fall of the Bastille--Parisian Revolutions have never really worked out well.

Les Mis' celebrates another Failed French Revolution, followed by that of 1848.

Both are passingly mentioned, as are later More Successful Proletarian Revolutions such as that of the Soviets in 1917 & those of Fidel Castro & Chairman Mao…

The Eight Person Civilians Ensemble is remarkable, as is the Political Entertainment Cosson & Friedman have crafted.

[Friedman created Music & Lyrics for Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, recently on Broadway!]

This entrancing, High Energy Musicalized History Seminar needs a Longer Run in New York, as well as Engagements around the Nation.

It's of Interest that the Communards seemed always to be fighting The Bourgiosie, rather than the Plutocrats, or the Aristocrats…

That Mother of Revolutions, the American Revolution, doesn't really Get a Mention.

But then, Martha Washington & Abigail Adams weren't born & bred for the Can Can


From Salvation Army Soup Kitchen to Performing Arts Powerhouse: Thank you, Hugh Hardy!

The new BAM/Fisher facility not only preserves a Brooklyn Landmark Building, but it also substantially increases & enlarges BAM Spaces to be used for Performance, Rehearsal, Education, & Community Activity.

When Harvey Lichtenstein undertook to save the BAM Opera house--adding to it, over time, such additional facilities as the LePerc Space, the Helen Carey Theatre, the Dodgers, & the Majestic, made over into the Harvey Theatre--his Dream was always to create a Cultural Center in Downtown Brooklyn that would spark a Community Renaissance.

The Fisher will surely advance that Mission, interestingly enough, because it has been constructed inside & behind an abandoned Salvation Army Mission!

Including the Roof Terrace, it now offers Seven Floors of Activity Space, thanks to the Genius of Architect Hugh Hardy & Partners--who call themselves H3.

Your Roving Arts Reporter is a Great Fan of Hardy, not least because--as a Brendan Gill Prize Nominator for the Muni Arts Society--he nominated Hardy for his brilliant & prize winning Preservation of what is now the New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street.

Built in 1900 as the Belasco, it later became the Grind House Republic & later the Victory…

Hugh Hardy & Associates also restored Radio City Music Hall, as well as the New Amsterdam Theatre. The Joyce Theatre for Dance is another achievement.

The new Claire Tow Theatre on top of Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre is also a Hardy Project.

Not to overlook the Renovation of Bryant Park…


Dark Doings in the Dark Room: FAKING IT: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop

Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland had his Political Career derailed when his Opponents circulated a Doctored Photograph showing him shaking hands with Earl Browder, Head of the Communist Party of the United States.

That Dishonest Photo is not in the fascinating new Exploration of Photo Faking at the Met Museum.

But there are Ample Evidences of Intent to Deceive, as well as to Astonish, Amuse, Entertain, & even to Baffle.

Appropriately, this extensive show is sponsored by Adobe Photoshop™, which can save you all the Fussing, Dodging, & Retouching that were formerly required to Manipulate Photographic Images.

Soviet Leaders were famous for having Out of Favor or Disappeared Colleagues removed from "Historical Photos."

Chairman Mao--even as he Aged--had his Official Portrait frequently Retouched, so that his Millions of Faithful Followers would know there would be on going Stability in the State.

How about Spirit Photos?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a willing Dupe of Photos that seemed to show Spirits hovering over the Living at Séances…

In some cases, Nature Photos were altered to make the Majesty of Great Mountains appear more powerful than a Sun Struck Lens could capture.

Methods of Faking Photos are also explored in this show.

Man Ray's famed Print of the Back of a Naked Woman--featuring those Baroque Scrollings that are usually reserved for Violins & Cellos--is here decoded.

Thanks to Digital Manipulation, it is now almost impossible to introduce a Photo as Evidence in a Court of Law: How can the Prosecution prove that the Photo has not been Digitally Faked?

Senator Tydings had never met Earl Browder, but the Photo argued Otherwise for Undecided Voters.

This was the Dire Time of the Red Menace & the House Un American Activities Committee…

Another interesting instance of Historical Record Faking--also not in this show--involves that Sepia Photo of President Abraham Lincoln on his Deathbed, across the street from Ford's Theatre, where he had just been shot by John Wilkes Booth.

Soon after the Original was published--showing only a few men at the head of the bed--successive Published Versions of that Photo kept adding Distinguished Men who wished to be included for Posterity, until the tiny Hotel Room seemed big enough to hold a Convention…


New Exhibitions at the Morgan Library & Museum:



If you missed the recent revival of Einstein on the Beach at BAM, you can at least look at the Original Pages of Philip Glass' deliberately Monotonous Score, as well as 13 pages of Robert Wilson's Storyboard Designs for the Initial Production at BAM many, many years ago.

There is also a Wide Screen TV in the intimate Thaw Gallery, so you can actually see Footage from the New York Rehearsals & the 1976 Production in Paris & Brussels.

Wilson's 13 pages detail some 113 Scenes from the Einstein staging.

Downstairs, in the Morgan's Basement--in the Gilder Lehrman Hall--you can also see repeated Screenings of the 1984 BAM Revival, titled: Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera.

Nonetheless, the Popularity & Reputations of both Verdi & Wagner have not been much damaged by Wilson's Innovations…


DÜRER TO DE KOONING: 100 Master Drawings from Munich

Considering the fascination of Bavaria's longtime ruling Wittelsbach Royal Family with the Arts & Art Collecting, it is scarcely surprising that Munich's Graphische Sammlung contains so many Master Drawings from the Renaissance onward.

What is perhaps more surprising is that, even after the Royals were deposed after The Great War, the Master Drawings of important Modern Artists continued to be acquired.

So it is at first, at the Morgan, a bit astonishing to see a Cartoonish Drawing by Sigmar Polke in the same Galleries as a Dürer Portrait of 1517.

How about a Bruce Nauman or a Larry Rivers breathing the same Metaphoric Air as a Michelangelo or an Inventive Sketch by Leonardo da Vinci?

A David Hockney makes an odd contrast to a moody scene by Caspar David Friedrich…

It is also good to see Major Drawings by such German Moderns as Emil Nolde--whose work as an Artist was proscribed by the Nazis--as well as George Grosz, Franz Marc, & Käthe Kollwitz.

[Did you know that Larry Rivers' maiden name was Yitzhak Grossberg?]



When Josef & Anni Albers left Germany for residency in the United States, their departure prevented the Nazis from preventing him from developing his growing fascination with The Square & its many possible Color Permutations.

At the Morgan, his colorful Preliminary Studies for Various Square Potentials are on view for the First Time, as well as his studies for the Adobe Series, inspired by Mexican Architecture.

These are indeed Colorful, but they obviously cannot have any Figurative or Ideational Content.

Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebels would surely have denounced Albers' Squares as "Entartete Art," or Degenerate Art.


Stephen Belber's DON'T GO GENTLE [****]

Choleric Retired Judge Misjudges Much: Abandoned by Family & Friends…

Michael Cristofer's Retired Judge is a Study in Control Freakism, but he cannot get anything Right because he doesn't Listen to others.

Stephen Belber's title is borrowed from Dylan Thomas' famed poem about the Death of his Father, but there is No Danger that Lawrence will go Gently into anything. He is much given to Instant Rages.

As a Bush Appointed Judge, he has sent many Minor Pot Offenders off to Prison, which he now begins to regret.

In trying to help a Young Black Single Mother, he ends by alienating his Long Suffering Daughter & his Addled Loser Son.

He plans to leave his House & their Childhood Home to the Attractive Mother & her Intelligent Son, who have been living with him…

Lucie Tiberghien tautly staged her excellent Cast, in a handsome Scenic Environment by Robin Vest.


At the Asia Society: CHINA CLOSE UP All Year Long!


BOUND UNBOUND: Lin Tianmiao--The Obsessive Thread Binder

The Thought of Chairman Mao must have made a Deep Impression on the Major Chinese Woman Artist Lin Tianmiao, but her stay in New York City from the late 1980s until 1995--when she returned to Mother China--surely taught her something about the Virtue of Creating Unique Visions.

In Manhattan, she was part of the Chinese Artist Diaspora that included the Internationally Known Art Provocateur Ai Wei Wei & the Innovative Composer Tan Dun.

Lin Tianmiao has a Way with Thread!

How about a Singer Sewing Machine completely wrapped in White Thread?

Or a Gallery filled with Thread Wrapped Bones Ending in Tools?

The Bones are Synthetic, but--underneath all that tightly wound Gray Thread--the Ordinary House & Garden Tools are Real.

Lin Tianmiao uses Threads of Various Colors for Special Effects.

She has even made a Movie Screen of Vertical Threads, on which to project films of her Live Action Projects.

One Chamber is completely White, with everything wrapped in White Thread. You will have to put on White Shoe Protectors to enter…

Some Standing Fiberglass Figures are not Thread Wrapped, but are, instead, tightly encased in Colored Silk Skins.

There are two whole floors of these Haunting Images. Until 27 January 2013…

What would Chairman Mao have thought?

Simon Stephens' HARPER REGAN [***]

Harper Needs Time Off for Death & Other Unexpected Interactions…

To begin at The Beginning, the radiant Mary McCann is enthralling--but also maddening--as the Tempest Tossed Harper, whose Father is dying in the English Midlands.

This Finding Yourself Drama seems endless, but it does give employment to a Large Cast of Excellent Actors, including Mary Beth Piel.

Actually, at times this Production seemed more about Unveiling Surprising New Set Elements than explaining Harper's Problems with Relationships.

London's prestigious Observer has observed of Playwright Simon Stephens: "…Harper Regan sends his work into orbit." [Good that it's Orbit, instead of Obit…]

In the Atlantic Theatre's Season Program Book, they have this to say: "Stephens has emerged as one of the most renowned & prolific playwrights in his generation in the UK, & has won the Olivier Award for Best New Play…"

Last season, the Atlantic produced Stephens' Bluebird, with the admirable Simon Russell Beale.

Gaye Taylor Upchurch staged both dramas for the Atlantic.

Circolombia's URBAN [***]

Not Yet Quite Cirque du Soleil, Performers from the Barrios & Calles of Cali in Colombia…

Well, Your Roving Arts Reporter has been to both Bogota & Cali, but that was way back in 1967--to report on the work of our USAID Education Programs--so obviously things have changed somewhat in the streets.

Although Urban wants to present itself as a kind of Narrative, built up around a series of Circus Acts, were it not for a Program Insert that explains what each section is supposed to show the audience, one would have No Idea of why almost all the Performers are Jiving, Chanting, Singing, Break Dancing, & doing Flip Flops in the middle of a Trapeze Act.

The Acrobatics, Tumbling, Rope Jumping, Rope Walking, & Balancing are all skillfully accomplished, but most of the time there is just Too Much Else going on for Spectators to focus.

There's a Reason Canada's Cirque du Soleil has been such a success Worldwide: Each show has a distinctive Theme--if not an actual Story Line--into which all aspects of the production can be woven.

All the Cali Athletes trained at the Escuela Nacional Circo Para Todos in Cali--where it is said the Best Spanish in El Neuvo Mundo is spoken!

Felicity Simpson--who is this Ensemble's Artistic Director & Creative Producer--believes that Urban is "at the forefront of a revolutionary new style of circus."

If that were really so, why were some of the Kids in the New Victory Audience busily Texting & Game Playing on their Hand Held Devices, instead of Watching the Show?


Deanna Jent's FALLING [*****]

What Do You Do If You Have a Son Who Is Both Overweight & Not All There?

This is yet another Typically American Drama about a Dysfunctional Family.

But this is not quit like the Others we've seen in the Last Two Weeks: No one set the House on Fire.

No one threw the Set Props in the Grand Canal…

But several times, Josh--the Overweight & Under Brained Son of Lisa & Bill--nearly broke her Neck in an excess of Sudden Rage.

The Loving but baffled Parents do not want to put Josh away: they love him too much, but he is not only a Problem but also a Danger.

When Grandma comes to visit, she thinks Bible Verses will, perhaps, produce a Miracle.

Josh requires more than mere Miracles.

Even Lisa's Hallucination that Josh has died & at last the Family can live free is Only a Dream…

The Entire Cast is excellent, with Jacey Powers' long suffering Lisa outstanding.

Daniel Everidge is at times frightening as Josh.

Lori Adams tautly staged: nothing faked


WW II & NYC: How New York City Helped Defeat the Japs & the Nazis!

If you are Too Young to remember VE Day in Manhattan, you can recapture the Rapture, with that Iconic Sailor kissing the White Clad Nurse in Times' Square--at the New York Historical Society.

You can also see this Famed Alfred Eisenstaedt Image live on Broadway when you take THE RIDE…

At the NYHS, however, there are so many more Memories on view: Posters, Photos, Maps, Models, Artifacts, Rationing Books, Film Footage, & even Period Radio Broadcasts!

This Exhibition--deftly displayed in the Ground Floor Gallery--honors the 900,000 New Yorkers who were involved in Winning the War Against Fascism.

Not only was the New York Area a center of Ship Building, but its Harbor saw countless Troop Ships & Supply Ships depart for the Atlantic Crossing.

Thousands & thousands of American Servicemen & Service Women poured through this Port.

Many Thousands did not return

The Stage Door Canteen is recalled. Varied aspects of the NYC War Effort are celebrated.

Although Metropolitan New York had been an Industrial Center before World War II, that all changed as Defense Contracts increasingly were spread across the Nation, especially in California & the Far West, where the Pacific War Against Japan was mounted.

Workers at Long Island's Grumman Factory are shown assembling Fighters, but this was a small effort, compared with the Vast Factories rapidly constructed across the Hudson & across the Country.

No longer a Major Manufacturing Center, New York City had to re invent itself as a Service Center after the War.

Post War, however, Returning Veterans rapidly peopled such Affordable Developments as Levitt town.

The GI Bill swelled enrollments at Brooklyn College & NYU, not to overlook Columbia & Hofstra…

How about the NYHS's Classic Film Series: World War II & Its Legacy in Film?

Not only will you get to see Mrs. Miniver, Casablanca, I Was a Male War Bride, From Here to Eternity, The Third Man, & Twelve O'Clock High, but each film will be introduced by Distinguished Commentators such as George Lucas, Roscoe Brown, Michael Korda, Lee Grant, David Denby, Stanley Donen, & Adam Gopnik.

There are also several Lecture Series which touch on The Second World War, but the range of Topics in various series at NYHS is amazing.

There's even a President Bill Clinton Lecture Series!

How about hearing Robert Morgenthau discuss WWII, moderated by Tom Brokaw?

Go on line to find out more about these Lectures by Experts:


The Hudson River School returns to Central Park West!

If you have been missing all those Huge Paintings of the Hudson River School that were once upstairs at the New York Historical Society, They are finally Back, after a Nation Wide Tour!

Your Roving Arts Reporter saw them most recently down in Bentonville--at Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum--where the Lines to see them were Long


A Brief Brush with Daniel Brush at MAD: Gold/Silver/Diamonds--Blue Steel/Gold Light

Daniel Brush was on hand at MAD to talk about his Inspirations & Processes for creating some amazing Objects d'Art & Jewelry from Silver, Gold, Steel, Precious Stones, Thread, & Ink on Paper.

The Complimentary Brochure for this astonishing Exhibition extols Brush thusly: ARTIST… WRITER… PROFESSOR… Daniel Brush is a Renaissance Man--

What more can one say?

Well, for one thing, Brush actually makes all these fascinating Objects.

Some may seem merely Decorative, but many are, in themselves, Works of Art.

He doesn't hire Real Craftsmen to make them for him, as do so many "Conceptual Artists" favored by MoMA & the Whitney.

As he says: I carve steel like wood with hammers & chisels of my own making.

Although Brush is obviously a Deep Thinker, he also has a Lighter Side.

For Xmas in 1987, he made a Tinker Bell's Wand, filled it with Gold Dust from his Workshop Floor, & then dusted Tourists in Rockefeller Plaza!

Oddly enough, one case at MAD is filled with Extremely Cute Costume Jewelry that seems almost Kitschy…

This may be the Tinker Bell Effect drowning in Cuteness?

Words cannot describe--really not--so here are some Images of Brush's Objects, on view at Columbus Circle until 17 February 2013.

[Insert Images…]


Sitting in Chris Columbus' Sitting Room on Columbus Circle!

If you want to sit for a bit in Chris Columbus' Sitting Room at Columbus Circle, you need to get a Timed Ticket.

Don't just stroll over, thinking there won't be anyone around who wants to climb all those Stairs--Six Flights, 70 feet above Street Level--to get to the top of the Monument.

The Actual Statue--installed in 1892, to commemorate that 1492 Voyage of Discovery to the New World, the same year that Their Most Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand & Isabella, expelled all the Jews from Spain--stands 13 feet tall in the Sitting Room that Tatzu Nishi has devised for him.

The Mass of Scaffolding that surrounds the Monument must have cost a lot to construct, but, supposedly, some kind of Preservation Work will also be accomplished.

Although this Odd Installation Celebration has been sponsored by The Public Art Fund--which "Needs Your Support!"--they have once again, as with so many American Undertakings, managed to Outsource what might have been an All American Art Project, to a Japanese Artist.

At least, this is not quite like having Chinese create & install the Martin Luther King Monument…

Nishi has tried to make Chris comfortable in his Little White House atop his Pillar: There's even a Flat Screen TV, against Wallpaper that Nishi designed, inspired by watching Hollywood Movies!

The Chamber embodies Nishi's "interpretation" of "Contemporary New York Style."

Nishi's Announced Purpose in such "Transformations" of Monuments & Statues is to give "the Public Intimate Access to aspects of our Urban Environment & at, the same time, Radically Alter our Perceptions." [Emphases added…]

What might Nishi have done at Pearl Harbor…

To get your Timed Tickets--hurry, for 18 November 2012 is the Closing Date!--you need to contact

You might well be able to discover where the Money comes from for these often Immense Projects--something Big is coming to the Plaza, behind the Golden Rump of Sheridan's Horse--as well as Who decides What to show in New York City's Public Places.

If You want to Help: Text PAF to 20222 to make a $5 Donation!

Oh oh! The New Installation at the Plaza is what looks like a Collapsed Steel Spiral Staircase, with even its Balustrade drooping down.

The Artist--a Polish Lady, whose Studio is in Warsaw--says the Structure or Sculpture is supposed to suggest a Fir Tree. She is "into" relating Art to the Environment.

But, hey! She's not an American Artist!

Why all this Art Out Sourcing by the Public Art Fund?


Pigpen Theatre's THE OLD MAN & THE OLD MOON [****]

Irish Accents for Carnegie Mellon Talents: A Picaresque Quest Across Oceans & Time…

This is an altogether remarkable Theatre Event, concocted out of an Invented Myth & Odds & Ends…

In some ways, it resembles Peter & the Star Catchers, with its amazingly versatile Ensemble of Seven Actor/Musicians creating Multiple Roles & playing Various Musical Instruments.

The essential differences are that it is not a Musical, but a Play with Music, & that it is not grounded on a Familiar Fable, such as Peter Pan.

In performance, it is rather like Paul Sills' Story Theatre: it seems to invent itself as it goes along.

The Old Man has to keep filling up the Moon--which leaks--so that the Stars won't fall from the Heavens.

But his Wife wants to Sail Away into Uncharted Waters…

The Old Man misses her so much that he abandons the Moon, in pursuit of her Shadow Puppet Image in a tiny Boat.

This leads to a series of Picaresque Adventures on the High Seas & beneath them, when the Old Man is swallowed--Jonah like--by a Sea Monster.

Pigpen's uses of the Traditions of Shadow Puppets are a Total Delight, as well as are their varied 3 D Constructions of Imaginary Cities & other Devices.

Lydia Fine & Bart Cortright are credited with the Overall Design, with Fine & the Ensemble responsible for the Varied Forms of Puppetry: Rod, Hand, Shadow, & Whatever.

What this charming, inventive Entertainment now needs, however, is a Director!

It is Too Long & in some Scenes, rather Self Indulgent.

Deftly Edited, this Show could be a Hit on Tour. It could be ideal for the All Ages Audiences at the New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street.

Now, however, it is still Too Complicated, Too Extended


Brian Friel's LOVERS [*****]

It's 1968 in Ireland, Before the South Went Bankrupt: In the North--Winners & Losers

Why is almost any Play by Brian Friel better than most of the New Dramas by Young Playwrights that we are now being Force Fed?

Could it be that Friel's Irish are basically More Interesting than almost any Invented Dysfunctional American Family?

Even if Friel's Ballybeg & nearby Irish Towns are fictional, somehow their Residents seem like People we know. You do not have to be Irish to recognize Religious Craziness when you see it…

Italian American Playwright Mario Fratti has just written a comedy about the Havoc the Polish Pope caused when he announced that Heaven & Hell are Not Real Places.

Whoever the Pope happens to be--Italian, Polish, Ex Wehrmacht--He is, almost By Definition, Infallible in Matters of Faith & Morals.

So, imagine the Horror of Devout Irish Catholics--way back in 1968--to have the Then Pope announce that there was never any Saint Philomena!

My Irish Friend, Philomena Dooley, took this in Good Stride, but the Tyrannous Bed Ridden Mrs. Wilson [Nora Chester] in Friel's Losers, is devastated.

Unfortunately, her Miserable Love Starved Daughter [the admirable Kati Brazda] doesn't profit from this Ecclesiastical Revelation because her Frustrated Lover, Andy [the hilarious James Riordan], gets Smashed & makes a Hash of confronting the Old Gorgon…

The Pope also Trashed some other Long Venerated Saints, including Saint George, England's Patron Saint.

But, if there never was a Real Saint George, what about The Dragon?

That Pope didn't say…

Oddly enough, Friel titled his play--in this TACT Double Bill--about Two Teen Age Suicides, Winners.

As George--the Lad--Understudy Gregory Perri was Outstanding!

Justine Salata was often Hyper as Mag, his Pregnant Girlfriend.

Drew Barr staged in an Elemental Set Environment.

Wigs were by Robert Charles Vallance…


Colman Domingo's WILD WITH HAPPY [****]

Who Wouldn't Be Happy To Scatter Ashes in the Cinderella Suite at Disney World?

One hopes that this Hilarious & Bizarre Tale of a Loving Son's Disposal of his Beloved Mother's Ashes is not entirely Autobiographical

If so, then the Dynamic Author Performer Colman Domingo has an Odd Taste in choosing his Best Buddy… A Screaming Queen?

Gil loves his Mother, but he loses her to Immortality.

After a Black Funeral Parlor Salesman tries to shame him into purchasing the Most Expensive Casket, to be buried in a Hilltop Plot with an Excellent View--is she going to come up to have a Look?--the Hilarity exponentially increases, as all the Coffins are turned into Something Else Entirely.

Sharon Washington's stunning performances as Gil's Mother & as her Tart Tongued Sister, Aunt Glo, are Prize Winners, especially when she is emptying her Dead Sister's Wardrobe.

The Production Values are Fabulous: The Cinderella Suite alone is Worth the Price of Admission, but the Enchanted Projections of Aaron Rhyne & the Ingenious Settings of Clint Ramos are also Award Worthy!

Kudos also to Director Robert O'Hara…


Joe Papp Would Have Been Proud!

After weeks & weeks & months & months of Reconstruction, the Lobby Space of the Public Theatre has been Transformed.

As you enter, Do Not Proceed Directly to that Lavish Counter that confronts you. No. It is only selling Refreshments.

What you really want, the Ticket Windows, are now hidden behind the Food & Drink Goodies…

But All Is Not Lost: above the Food Counter is a remarkable Art Installation, which may at first look like an Overhead Fan.

But its Blades keep changing with Brief Phrases from the Plays of Christopher Marlowe, the "onlie begetter" of the Dramas commonly attributed to Will Shagspere…

Ben Rubin has been The Begetter of this "large scale, multimedia sculpture," the Shakespeare Machine, composed of 37 LED Screens for displaying Unforgettable Quotes from the 37 Scripts supposedly crafted by You Know Who…


Ernie Lubitsch'sTHE LOVES OF PHARAOH [****]

Restoring That Which Was Lost: Mega Egyptian Epic of Passion & Power in Berlin's Babelsberg!

If you thought DW Griffith's Intolerance was the Epic to End all Epics, you could be excused because you never--until Now!--had the opportunity to savor Ernst Lubitsch's Das Weib der Pharaoh.

The Scale of the Pharaonic Settings--both Interiors & Exteriors--is amazing, especially for German Film Studios in the wake of a Lost World War.

But Pharaoh profits from German Archeological Interest in the Ancient World, beginning with Heinrich Schliemann.

In fact, Pharaoh opened just months before the Discovery of King Tut's Tomb, by Howard Carter & Lord Carnarvon…

Potential Students of the NY Film Academy could save their Tuition Money by watching this Restored Epic: Just by Looking into the Eyes & Watching the Jumping Eyebrows of Lubitsch's Players, you Just Know what they are Thinking & Feeling!

The Story of how Pharaoh was Restored is an Epic in Itself…

Not only did Lubitsch have Acres of Settings for his Epic, he also had Hordes of Extras, recruited from German Unemployment Agencies. Just in case you still do not understand the Rise of Adolf Hitler…

But why was it necessary to Depict the Peace Seeking Ethiopians as Fright Wigged Golliwogs?

Unfortunately, Major Opera Houses still do this when herding Hordes of Conquered Nubians on stage in the Triumphal Scene of Aida

In Hollywood, Lubitsch became somewhat More Subtle, although SoCal, even then, was not noted for Subtlety.

Pharaoh was projected on the new Steinberg Screen, in BAM's Harvey Theatre.

Possibly, BAM might want to use this Screen to project Leni Riefenstahl's Tiefland, another almost lost German Film Classic. Leni's Peasants were played by Gypsies, who, post filming, disappeared into Auschwitz.

Live Music for this Silent Film was composed by Joseph C. Phillips, jr, who also conducted his Own Orchestra, Numinous. Some Cello Passages were deeply moving…

Nonetheless, Musicians Union Pickets were posted outside the Harvey.

During the Summer, the Harvey opened its Downstairs Entrances--so you do not now have to climb all those Vertiginous Stairs to reach the Auditorium.

Now, going down the Internal Stairs to reach your Seats, you no longer are in danger of Pitching Forward, for there are Firm Steel Stanchions beside each Rank of Seats to guide you to your Designated Places.


Daisy Foote's HIM [***]

Horton! We're Not in Texas Anymore! Daisy Foote Relocates Us to New Hampshire…

This may become the Season of the Mentally Challenged & Morbidly Obese.

In Falling, we had an Over weight but Under brained Lad who came close to strangling his Mother.

In Him, we have a Chubby & Simple Brother who needs Watching

When he gets an equally Simple Girl from the Neighborhood a little bit Pregnant, well, just think of the DNA Combination!

Hallie Foote is excellent as Sister Pauline of the Simpleton & of their Sexually Challenged Brother, Harry.

Both Harry & Pauline resent their Recently Deceased Father, the Him of the title, who is represented by an Empty Armchair.

Whatever His Failings as a Husband & Father, he has left Harry & Pauline Acreages ideal for Housing Developments, which will solve their Money Problems, if not their Essential Loneliness…

The Acting was admirable, but, after repeated Character Defeats--in various Dramas by her Dad, Horton Foote--one longs to see Hallie Foote in a Fun Play like Uncle Vanya.


Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again! $40 Million Restoration of Memorial & North American Mammals!

Unfortunately, it was not possible to book Robin Williams to portray Teddy Roosevelt on Horseback for the Ceremonial Re Opening of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial at the American Museum of Natural History.

This Overcrowded Event was, however, no Night in the Museum Scenario.

Nonetheless, I did find myself standing next to Theodore Roosevelt IV, who is carrying on the Family Tradition of Nature Conservation.

Whatever you may think of Teddy Roosevelt as the Leader of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill, or the Presidential Buster of Gilded Age Corporate Trusts, surely one of his most Important Achievements must have been to save some 280 Million Acres of American Wilderness for Posterity!

Yes, there were also the Panama Canal, the Great White Fleet, & Walk Softly but Carry a

Big Stick…

But Teddy Roosevelt--the Apostle of the "Strenuous Life," the African Big Game Hunter, & the Patron of the American Museum--should most be remembered as Our Environmental President!

Not only has the Great Roosevelt on Horseback Statuary Group on the Museum's front steps been conserved, with a lot of that Green Glop used to preserve Bronze Memorials, but there's now also another Teddy down in the Basement.

This Bronze is a Seated Teddy, complete with Binoculars. He's firmly sited on a Wooden Bench & you are welcome to take a Family Photo with him on your iPad.

The Heroic Murals in the Roosevelt Rotunda have been restored to Glowing Color, celebrating Teddy's many Adventures both in Nature & in Statecraft.

The Murals aren't the only Newly Preserved & Restored Treasures: the Hall of the North American Mammals has been wonderfully freshened & Digitally Enhanced.

Oddly enough, No one at the American Museum--not even President Ellen Futter nor Science Provost Michael Novacek--seems to realize that the Two Legged Denizens of New York City are also North American Mammals.

Why don't we also have some Historical Dioramas of Human Mammals?

How about Teddy Roosevelt Presiding at Table at Sagamore Hill, the Family Estate on Oyster


It is maintained by the National Park Service, which Teddy established!


Edvard Munch Screams Again at MoMA: Only On Loan for Six Months! Otherwise, Oslo!

That Iconic Agonized Image of the Screamer--standing on a Long Diagonal Bridge, under a Threatening Norwegian Sky--is now recognized Worldwide, even if many do not know that it was created by Edvard Munch.

This Million Dollar Artwork does not belong to MoMA.

It is on loan from a Private Collection. No Names cited…

Aside from his 1895 Lithograph of The Scream--of which only Thirty Copies are now known--Munch made only Four Images of The Scream, three of which are still in Norway, in what was once Kristiania, now Oslo.

MoMA does own a Scream Litho, which is also on view, along with other Edvard Munch Oils & Lithos.

Among them: Melancholy, The Storm, Angst, Madonna, & Vampire.

If the Munch Estate still holds a Copyright for the Scream Image, the Oslo Munch Museum could be rolling in Euros, Kronor, or whatever Currency Medium they are currently using in Norway, because the Iconic Image has been borrowed or re cycled so many times & in so many ways.

Not least by Andy Warhol…

Indeed, at MoMA's Press Check In, there was a Halloween Pumpkin, with The Scream cut into its Orange Flesh, lit from behind by a Candle!


The Art of Richard Artschwager Pre empts an Entire Floor at Whitney Museum!

You do not have to Just Look at Richard Artschwager's distinctive Chair at the Whitney Museum.

You can buy one at Auction, either at Phillips de Pury or at Bonhams!

Although there are a number of Works in Wood in this new show which are designed/crafted to suggest the Idea of a Piece of Furniture, few of them are clearly intended to be in any sense Practical.

But there are also Paintings of Would Be or Imagined Furniture, such as Window/Table & Door Window Table, Basket, Mirror Rug #10--which dates from 1974.

Not to be confused with Basket, Mirror, Window, Rug, Table, Door, of 1985.

You cannot put any Books in Artschwager's Bookcase III because it's a Formica on Wood Construction.

Apparently Eli Broad--LA's Post Modernist Art Maecenas--liked this work so much he acquired it for the Broad Art Foundation of Santa Monica.

What would the Real Saint Monica think of all this? Would she want to know if Artschwager actually makes his Wooden Constructions himself?

His RA 26 looks like the Piano Box in which a Victorian Pianoforte might have been shipped from the Factory…

Another Fun Construction--made of Wood, Aluminum, & Formica--is Symbolically Titled Table Prepared in the Presence of Enemies.

Unfortunately--at least in the Whitney Show--there is no My Cup Runneth Over nor Valley of the

Shadow of Death, to complete the Suite of 23rd Psalm Inspired Artworks.

Nonetheless, there are lots & lots of Fun Canvases & Idiotic Assemblages on view.

Some of the Artworks are Untitled

How about S.M.S [Shit Must Stop]?

Come On! Get Real!

If the Shit ever Stopped, what would the New Museum have to exhibit?

Beyond the Whitney, do look for Artschwager's "Iconic" BLPS down at the High Line.

These Blips seem to be Oblong Black Markers that are supposed to Draw Attention to Stuff…


At the Guggenheim: Picasso's Black & White Artworks, Plus: Looking Ahead at Guggenheim Museums Worldwide

Currently, the Great White Frank Lloyd Wright Rotunda at the Guggenheim Museum & its encompassing Spiral Ramps are crowded with Black & White Sculptures, Paintings, & Engravings, created by the Art Machine known as Pablo Picasso.

How he found time to make so many B & W Images--still having time to devote to various Mistresses & Models--is a Mystery.

These will be on view until 23 January 2013, but they will be joined on 9 November by Gabriel Orozco's Asterisms, from the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. This is part of the Deutsche Bank Series at the Manhattan Guggenheim.

Orozco has Combed the Beach in Baja California, where he found that Whale Skelton he used in Mobile Matrix.

The results--in Sandstar--consist of a Layout of Thousands of Pieces of Washed Up Detritus, including Fishing Net Floats, Burned Out Light Bulbs, Brooms, Balls, Stones, Shells, Clear Plastic Beverage Bottles, Bricks, & What Have You. Plus some Wall Grids & Photos…

But the Big News at the recent Press Presentation & Luncheon at the Fifth Avenue Guggenheim was what's Going On in Guggenheims Around the World.

Both Britain & America may have given up on Dreams of Empire, but not the Guggenheim.

Not only is there Peggy Guggenheim's original Guggenheim in Venice, but there's also that famed Frank Gehry Guggenheim in Bilbao, a City you wouldn't dream of visiting, were it not for that Amazing Architecture…

Thomas Krens--onetime Manhattan Guggenheim Director--even dreamt of a Salzburg Guggenheim, inside a Mountain!

He hoped that the Salzburgers would hollow out Tons of Mother Stone from the Mönchsberg, that towers over the Medieval/Baroque City of Mozart.

This Plan was foiled--by Salzburg itself.

Instead, it destroyed the beloved Café Winckler, atop the Mönchsberg, to construct a Museum der Moderne, which is, in effect, Salzburg's MoMa.

Not its Guggenheim

At the recent Press Presentation--if I understood correctly--there is also now a Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi or one of those Arab Emirates, as well as the BMW Lab Mumbai & the UBS MAP Global Art Initiative of No Country: Contemporary Art for South & Southeast Asia.

Forthcoming Manhattan Guggenheim Exhibitions were described in detail by Curators--with what we used to call Lantern Slides of the Artworks to be on show, even demonstrating their Galley Placement in some cases.

Coming Soon: Zarina: Paper Like Skin, Gutai: Splendid Playground, James Turrell, Robert Motherwell: The Early Collages, Christopher Wool, & Italian Futurism, 1909 44.

Marinetti's Futurist Manifesto--saluting the Modernism of the Machine--was also a Founding Document of the Fascism that Benito Mussolini brought, disastrously enough, to Italy.

This promises to be a Very Important Exhibition, with some Modernist Treasures such as Umberto Boccioni's striding bronze statue: Unique Forms of Continuity in Space.

The Presentations took about an Hour & a Half, followed by a Sumptuous Buffet up in the Guggenheim Board Room: Great Views of the Lake in Central Park.


The Builders Association's HOUSE/DIVIDED [*****]

Walls of Foreclosed Ohio House Meet the Joad Family, Alan Greenspan, & Lehman Brothers!

Center Stage at BAM's Harvey Theatre stand some Sections of a Disembodied House…

These are, in fact, the Remains of a Foreclosed House from Columbus, Ohio.

They stand in for the Thousands & Thousands & Thousands of Mortgage Foreclosed Houses across the United States of America.

They also become a Projection Screen for further Horrors of the Housing Bubble Melt Down, engineered by the likes of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, AIG, & Goldman Sachs.

The Immediate Tragedy of House/Divided is that it was on view over in Brooklyn only for a few evenings.

It should have been moved to Manhattan & made Required Viewing by all the "Bangstas" & People Who Voted for Mitt Romney…

The Depression Era Dispossessed Joad Family of John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath are a Concurrent Running Commentary on our own "Recession."

The House may be the Center of Attention, but it is vigorously & visually framed by Videos & Actualities of the Machiavellian Machinations of Wall Streeters & such Fiduciary Rascals as Dick Fuld & Alan Greenspan.

Many Talents were involved in constructing House/Divided, but Marianne Weems, Director of the Builders Association, should get Titular Honors for this singular achievement in Theatrical Exposure of the Evils of Unbridled Capitalism.

During the Performance, many Cell Phones, Androids, & iPads were glowing among the Audience. This was OK, as there was an AR Layer to the Production.

Augmented Reality is as yet in its Infancy, but who know what the Builders Association will do with it next time out?

The Conflation of the Joads with the Housing Bubble is, however, a bit Tenuous.

They & thousands of other "Okies" & "Arkies" basically lost their Farms because of Nature or an Act of God.

The Dust Bowl was not manufactured by Wall Street…


Millionaires Buy Treasures of Other Millionaires at Christie's: Artworks & Furniture Recycled!

Ex President George Bush should be very pleased with the Results of his Policies of More Tax Cuts for the Rich!

None of this Gelt has really "trickled down" to create Jobs & Food for the Poor, but it has made possible such Fabulous Sale Results as the nearly $50 Million Total achieved on 16 October at Christie's Auction of Magnificent Jewels.

Top Lot was a Pear Shaped D Color Flawless Diamond of 50.52 Carats. It sold for $9.5 Million!

Another Pear Shaped D Color Flawless Diamond--but only of 10.05 Carats--was sold for a mere $1.2 Million…

At Christie's Sale of Important American Furniture, Folk Art, & Decorative Arts, only an Important Chippendale Carved Mahogany Easy Chair broke the $1 Million Marker.

If you find it difficult to think of a Chair being Important, please be aware that this Chair is "attributed to the Garvan Carver," of Philadelphia, c.1760 1765.

De escalating from the Million Dollar Stratosphere, the Top Sale at the Treasures of France: From The Sun King to the Belle Époque was only $278,500.

But this Lot was a Louis XV Ormolu Mounted Amaranth, Bois Satine, Tuplipwood & Bois de Bout Marquetry Table, á la Bourgogne, by Jean Pierre Lutz, c. 1755.

If you had been among the One Per Centers, you could have purchased--at the same Sale--a François Boucher Painting, titled The Bird Nesters, for a modest $242,500.

Christie's Sale of American Art realized only $2,649,475 Million, whereas the Sales of Photographs & Richard Avedon [also Photographs, of course!] totaled $7,793,000 Million.

Peter Beard's Photo Triptych of an Orphan Cheetah set a New World Record for a Beard Photo Assemblage: $662,500.

Avedon's Photo Portrait of Brigitte Bardot sold for $266,500, but his Lauren Hutton fetched only $104,500.

Not To Worry: These are not the Only Prints of these Photos out there…

But Avedon's Bardot did better than Norman Rockwell's Keeping his Course (Exeter Grill), which brought only $218,500. Still, this is an Oil on Canvas, not a Photo Print

One of a Kind, but you could also have had Rockwell's Study for "The Runaway," oil on paper, for $206,500.

Also on offer in this Sale of American Art: Works by Andrew Wyeth, Robert Henri, & Steve Wheeler!


Not Porn! Anxiety Rather Than Arousal: Egon Schiele's Women at Galerie St. Etienne

Jane Kallir has done it again!

Not only has she just mounted an excellent, challenging Exploration of Egon Schiele's distinctive way of looking at Women & Girls, she has also just published her own study of this Controversial Austrian Artist, with the appropriate title of Egon Schiele's Women.

If you have never seen one of Schiele's Watercolors of Girls or Women--with their Sexily Stockinged Legs splayed outward--you are In for a Surprise.

Nonetheless, Jane Kallir helpfully notes: "Although the Artist was repeatedly accused of Peddling Pornography, even a Cursory Review of his Work shows that it more often evokes Anxiety than Sexual Arousal." [Caps added for Emphasis…]

True Enough!

But why was Schiele so obsessed with Matters Vaginal?

If you cannot get enough of these Schieles at St. Etienne, Ronald Lauder has collected a lot of them over at the Neue Galerie


Edward Albee's Steppenwolf WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? [*****]

College Town Horrors: A Cluttered Room of One's Own for Martha, But No Watery Suicide…

If you have admired the Talents of Tracy Letts--Playwright of August, Osage County, Bug, & Killer Joe--you will be astounded at his Devastating Performance as George, the Bog in the History Department, who has, perhaps unwisely, married Martha, the Daughter of the President of the College where he toils Unsung & Unrewarded, not least by his Raging Wife.

Virginia Woolf Playwright Edward Albee recently had an Important Heart Operation, which he has survived.

Considering his somewhat Heartless Treatment of a New Professor & his Ditzy Wife--who have been invited over to George & Martha's Book Littered Living Room after a rather Late Mixer at the College--which he wrote Years Ago, Albee's Heart has certainly seen a Lot of Wear & Tear.

The Current Incarnation of Who's Afraid?--now at the tiny, little Booth Theatre--is one of the best, especially with Amy Morton's tormented Martha.

Despite all the horrible, hurtful Things they say to each other, it is finally clear that they not only Love Each Other, in their Odd Ways, but that Each cannot live without the Other.

Also excellent are Madison Dirks & Carrie Coon, as the Young Faculty Couple in George & Martha's devilish game of Get the Guests.

This impressive Steppenwolf Production--tautly staged by Pam MacKinnon--should remind New Yorkers that there is Theatre Out There Beyond the Hudson!

Unnecessary Note: Edward Albee is now 84 Years of Age. So are Hal Prince & Marian Seldes. In Two Months, Your Roving Arts Reporter will join them in that Select Club…


Theatre Rites' MOJO [***]

Prague's Black Theatre Lives Again: Puppets from the London Olympics & the Salzburg Festival.

This past Summer, for the first time in over Fifty Years of Reporting on Productions at the

Salzburg Festival, I was denied the Press Privilege.

Supposedly because the Salzburg Festival has become so Famous, Worldwide, that they no longer have Press Tickets for a Professorial Nobody from New York City…

Thus, I missed seeing Mojo, which was a Co Production of the Salzburg Festival & the London Barbican for the Olympic Celebrations.

As Salzburg Festival Productions often cost more than $400 per ticket, this was indeed a Saving for the Salzburg Festival Management, as Press Tix are free

Fortunately, I was finally able to see Mojo on New 42nd Street, at the New Victory Theatre, where tickets for Kids & Adults are often in the $20 range.

Before the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Prague was an East European Center of Theatrical Innovation. The Black Theatre of Prague & Laterna Magika were stunners.

Mojo uses the Black Light Effect that was the Stock in Trade of Prague's Black Theatre.

In the Czech Capitol & also later in Manhattan, the Puppeteer Handlers were dressed in Black, against Black Backgrounds, so Objects which glowed under Fluorescent Illumination seemed to dance & gambol about with a Life of Their Own.

The Technology may be a bit different with Sue Buckminster's Theatre Rites Ensemble, but they also combine seemingly Random Objects to construct, among other things, a Young Girl, who seems to Grow Up.

In the Foreground, there is a Slanted Revolving Platform, with a variety of Hinged Doors in its surface, out of which Performers & Puppets can Pop.

There is a lot of Movement, Dancing, & Song, inspired by two Remarkable Musicians: Adriano Adewale & Leo Altarelli.


Brian Freel's THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY [*****]

Irish Innocents Murdered by Brit Troops on Bloody Sunday 1972: But Irish Poverty Still Relevant!

In Londonderry, if you were an Honored Guest of the Mayor & the City, you would be granted The Freedom of the City, much like being given the Keys to the City, in any American Metropolis.

But, as the Title of Brian Friel's disturbing Evocation of the Dreadful Day of Bloody Sunday, the Phrase is bitterly Ironical.

On 30 January 1972, Peaceful Unarmed Irish Civil Rights Protestors were fired upon by British Soldiers, killing an Unlucky 13 People.

But why were the Brits killing & abusing Irishmen & Women in Londonderry & elsewhere in Northern Ireland?

In 2012, hardly anyone on this side of the Atlantic--aside from some Irish Catholics--remembers the Times of the Troubles, the IRA, the Provisionals, & the Anti Catholic Orangemen…

Although the Irish Free State had gained some Autonomy following The Great War, it took some time before it could become the Free Standing Irish Republic, with its own Parliament, the Daïl.

Not answerable to London, Westminster, & The Queen…

Britain, however--as Her Empire was breaking up in the wake of World War II--didn't want to lose any more of her Sovereign Territories.

So a Tight Grip was maintained on Northern Ireland, where the Protestant Irish had always Lorded It Over the Catholic Irish. Some Anti Catholic Laws were still on the books

The 1972 Civil Rights March wasn't just about Legal Rights--some Wrongs, as well--but also about Extreme Poverty, access to Education to the Highest Levels of Achievement, & lack of Jobs & even Futures for many young Catholic Irishmen & Women.

These Concerns are exposed & aired by Three of the Protestors, who have apparently thus far escaped the Tumult & Shootings in the Square.

They have dashed off the street & into a side door, only to find themselves in the lavishly decorated Mayor's Parlor, complete with Liquor Cabinet & the Elegant Red Robes of Mayorality & Councildom.

Lily [the solidly wonderful Cara Seymour] is a Middle Aged, Under Educated Mother of Eleven, living in Brutal Poverty in a squalid Two Room Flat.

The Boyo, Skinner [the lively Joseph Sikora], doesn't really give a Damn. He has no Hopes, no Expectations.

The System is stacked against him: Getting Drunk is only a Temporary Relief…

Michael [an appealingly thoughtful James Russell], on the other hand, is an intelligent, educated Young Irishman who believes that Life can be better for all of them, if only they hold firm in demanding their Rights as Citizens.

Friel hilariously imagines what happens when the Three are confronted with all the Booze they can drink, as well as the Robes of the Mighty.

But we in the Audience already know what will happen when they tidy up & leave the Premises.

Before we saw them bounding about the Mayor's Parlor, we already saw their Dead Bodies on the ground outside.

We have also been listening in on the Widgrey Commission, seeking to establish that the Three were Armed Terrorists & not Innocent Irishmen, shot dead with Explosive Bullets by the Vengeful Brits.

On 5 July 2012, a Murder Investigation was finally invoked, possibly to provide Posthumous Justice for those killed on Bloody Sunday.

Whatever its Eventual Findings, it cannot Restore Life to Lily, Michael, & Skinner, who--if we are to believe Brian Friel's sensitive evocation of their Personalities & Dreams--are Real People you might want to know.

Brian Friel wrote The Freedom of the City way back in 1974--only two years after Bloody Sunday--but some of its Central Concerns still seem Importantly Relevant, not only for Ireland, but for Lands beyond the Irish Channel as well…

Questions of Religion--Protestant vs. Catholic--are now of relatively little importance, compared with the Escalation of Poverty, the Growing Gap between The Rich & The Poor, & the Lack of Employment Opportunities for Men & Women who are more than willing to Work.

That Fatal March was made back in 1972.

Occupy Wall Street came along much later, but it was also about Economic & Social Problems.

So The Irish Repertory Theatre is to be praised for its Timely Revival of The Freedom of the City.

Especially Ciarán O'Reilly, who staged so ably, & Artistic Director Charlotte Moore, who has so clearly understood this drama's Relevance. Not only for the Irish

As Jobs fly off to Asia & the Rich vs Poor Gap continually widens, as Home Foreclosures continue & Mortgage Debt remains un payable, as Opportunities for the College Educated & the Common Man & Woman evaporate, even in America, there is the Distinct Possibility of Civil Unrest.

To Prevent, Discourage, Break Up, or Contain more Occupy Movements in Major American Cities, there are already Detailed Plans for bringing Police & Military Forces to act against Aggrieved Citizens.

Whereas Ireland had been Oppressed, Abused, & Occupied for Centuries--think of the Anglo Irish, with their Great Estates; think of Scots Protestants being "planted" in Northern Ireland long, long ago; think of the Anti Catholic Laws; think of an English Lord governing Ireland from Dublin--Americans have not had such Problems.

So, for Ireland, Religion & Foreign Intervention are no longer the Central Problems: It's the Economy, Stupid…

With the Entrance of Eire into the European Union, Prosperity seemed everywhere in the air. Not only in Dublin.

Roads were being modernized; Harbors being developed; Tourists encouraged, Festivals mounted!

Hewlett Packard opened a huge Ink Jet Printer Factory across the road from the Wonderful Barn.

Vast Housing Estates were also built!

But then the Housing Bubble exploded. The Euro was threatened.

Cheap Irish Labor was replaced by even cheaper Asian Hands…

Where Are The Jobs?

Has either Ireland or America seen the Last of the Protests?

Will the new "Troubles" be the Poor against the "Bankstas" & the Filthy Rich?


Hurricane Watch: Vintage Vincent Van Gogh Portrait On Loan at the Frick Collection!

If you love Vincent's Yellows, you will surely admire the Yellow Straw Hat of his Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier) now on loan at the Frick from the prestigious Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

Aside from the Annual Rose Bowl Parade, Pasadena really has little else to recommend it other than Norton Simon's Astute Art Acquisitions.

Van Gogh's Peasant has a Reddish Visage, set off by a Green Coat, against a Blue Background.

The Horrible Hurricane delayed the Unveiling--with Commentary by Carol Togneri, Chief Curator of Mr. Simon's Museum.

The Frick & the Simon now have an Exchange Program. But what will the Frick loan to Pasadena?

A Holbein? An El Greco? A Matisse? A Watteau?

Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.

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