May, 2013

Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.

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

Mark Nadler’s I’M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF [★★★★] *
★★★★★] *
★★★★★] *
Richard Foreman’s OLD FASHIONED PROSTITUTES (A True Romance) [#!§#¥]
David Bruce & Glyn Maxwell’s THE FIREWORK MAKER’S DAUGHTER [
★★★] *
Stephen Sondheim’s SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM: A Musical Entertainment [
★★★★★] *
Jason Robert Brown’s THE LAST FIVE YEARS [★★★★★]
Julia Jordan & Juliana Nash’s MURDER [HEART] BALLAD [
★★★★★] *
David Willinger’s Version of Saroyan’s Rock Wagram, Now Known as THE UPPER LIP [recused]
Richard Nelson’s NIKOLAI & THE OTHERS [
★★★★★] *
Ernest Abuba’s DOJOJI: The Man Inside the Bell [
★★★★] *
Conor McPherson’s THE WIER [
★★★★★] *
★★★★★] *
Bertolt Brecht’s Der Caucasischen Kreiderkreis [
★★★★] *
Tom Attea’s BENEDICTUS [
★★] *
Mark Brown’s Version of Jules Verne’s AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS [
★★★★★] *
Does Matthew Barney need a Restraining Order? Morgan Library Offers Subliming Vessel
Press Preview at Christie’s: When Did Picasso Find Time for Love & So Many Ceramic Plates?
At the Whitney: I, YOU, WE
New Sales Records at Bonhams & Christies
At the Jewish Museum: Long Dead Appropriation Artist Jack Goldstein Has Vinyl Disks On View!
At Grand Central Terminal: The Grand Centennial Parade of Trains!
More Millions Paid at Manhattan Auctions: Christie’s & Bonhams Keep Setting Records!
Meanwhile, Over at Christie’s: Impressionist & Modern Art Win Totals of $158 Million!
Saving Wildlife & The Environment with Leonardo DiCaprio’s 11th Hour Auction
At the Met Museum: Land Marks on the Wall--Blood on the Roof!
Nothing of Jeff Koons, of Bamboo, or Simply Monumental on the Met’s Roof: Blood Patterns
Not Pin the Tail on the Donkey, But Search for the Unicorn at the Met’s Cloisters!
The Last Supper at the Morgan: Celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Medieval Manuscripts
At the Met Museum: More About the War Beween the States--American Art & The Civil War: Including Generous Lendings from the Museum of The Confederacy, Located in Virginia!
Paul Krugman at the CUNY Graduate Center, That Place with the Upside Down Flags
Tribal Arts Week at Bonhams: Not the Whole Canoe, Only the Prow!
All Time World Record for Art Auction Sales Set at Christie’s: $638.6 Million!
At the Whitney: Hopper Drawings & David Hockney: The Jugglers
David Hockney Shows his Jugglers Video on Floor Two of the Whitney!
New Ways of Thinking about Contemporary Portraiture on the Whitney’s First Floor!
More World Records Shattered at Christie’s: $828.8 Million Finds Safe Haven in Artworks!
Tour the Morgan Library/Museum on Your Cell Phone, Thanks to Google’s Art Project!
Monster Show at Met Museum of Old Masters: From 1300 AD To 1800 CE--Out of the Vaults!
Kolo Moser at the Neue Galerie: Die Wiener Werkstätte Lives Again!
Theatre Folk at Sardi’s OCC Get Together: Cicely Tyson, Nathan Lane, Andrea Martin, & Others!
NY Philharmonic at St. John the Divine: Not as Tough as Being a Canterbury Pilgrim
At the Morgan Library/Museum: Old Masters, Newly Acquired
More Museum Notes: American Folk Art’s Innovative Former Home Facing Destruction, While Its Palazzo del Mondo Is Off To the Venice Biennale!
End of Month Auction House Sales Results: Bonhams & Christie’s Break Records, Again


Yes, Virginia, the Official Broadway Theatre Season used to end--either with a Bang or a Whimper--on 31 May each & every year.

Decent God Fearing WASPs donned White Summer Clothing & fled the City for their Estates in the Hamptons, Connecticut, or the Jersey Shore.

Some even took the Normandie to the Continent, or the Queen Mary to Anglo Saxon Heaven.

Those Days are Gone Forever

But so are the Days when Theatre Lovers actually read Thoughtful Reviews by Respected Drama Critics, representing Major Newspapers & Serious Journals.

Even well before Dailies & Magazines began to Hit the Dust, Editors were often opting for--instead of Considered Critiques or even Racy Reviews--a Color Production Photo, accompanied by an Information Laden Caption.

Arts Reportage was becoming less important than chronicling the Latest Mass Murders by Disturbed Adolescents & Political Dissidents.

Laid Off Reviewers were reduced to Blogging.

Mass Murderers seemed only Odd Extensions of the National Rifle Association’s Fight for a Citizen’s Right to Bear Arms

Even Marginally Surviving Weeklies like The Village Voice were dumping the Performing Arts.

Hoberman on Films was gone…

Then, Mid May, Michael Feingold on Theatre & Michael Musto on Gossip & Arts in General were relieved of Regular Responsibilities.

The Two Michaels were the only reasons for anyone to bother to pick up a Free Copy of The Voice, unless he or she wanted to scan the Sex Ads

But even the Production End of the Performing Arts was in trouble:

The Met Opera fired its long standing Corps de Ballet.

Milan’s La Scala--with declining State Subsidies--reduced its Repertory

And so it goes: Money--or lack thereof--always Calls the Tune!

À propos of Memorial Day--formerly called Decoration Day, in which Grieving Women decorated the Graves of both the Union Boys in Blue & the Confederate Men in Grey--it’s worth remembering that there are no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Heaven!

Also: No TV or Starbucks




After the Pre Tony Nomination Glut of New Plays & Musicals, you might well have thought that Openings would level off.

And so they did, at least On Broadway, leaving some Large Theatres empty, notably Disney’s New Amsterdam, which is now a colorfully animated LED Billboard for Newsies & The Lion King, playing in other Houses.

Off Broadway & Off off Broadway, however, seem determined to keep the Footlights on all summer long.

No Rest for the Wicked--especially not for Evil Minded Theatre Critics



  1. Mark Nadler’s I’M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF [★★★★]
  2. After the Weimar Republic & Hitler, A Jewish Boy in Iowa--the Pork State--Recalls the Past…

    The Lobby Spaces at the York Theatre are plastered with Iconic Images of 1920’s Berlin during the short lived but All Stops Out Weimar Republic.

    Inside the modest Auditorium Space, a Proscenium Frame is handsomely decorated with Art Deco Designs, inspired by the Collages of Kurt Schwitters, including such Modernist Signifiers as BAUHAUS

    But Mark Nadler’s fascinating Cabaret Show is not so much about Christopher Isherwood’s I Am a Camera Weimar Berlin--staged, in fact, as Cabaret--as it is really designed to tell the story of a variety of Refugees--not all of them Jewish--who had to flee their own countries, becoming, effectively, Strangers in a Strange Land, often unassimilated, despite their Best Efforts.

    Nadler sings their songs, notably those of Charles Aznavour, whose family fled the horrifying 1915 Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks.

    Of course, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Weill, Bert Brecht, & Friedrich Holländer are musically invoked, but the energetic & engaging Mark Nadler also wants to honor those American Jewish Songwriters who gave the world Great Songs from the 1920’s into World War II--the Era of Epic Genocides

    Not many Americans realize that Jews were not the Only Targets of Hitler’s Extermination Policies.

    Socialists, Communists, Dissidents, Gypsies, & what the Nazis called Asoziale Elemente were swept up & interned in Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Bergen Belsen, & other KZ’s & Death Mills.

    The Asocial Elements were those very same people that the Republicans do not want to have the Civil Right of Marriage: Gays & Lesbians

    So, among Nadler’s Strangers, are also those who have been endlessly persecuted because of their Sexual Orientation.

    In 1920’s Weimar Berlin, almost anything was OK. But not when the Nazis came to power…

    Nadler’s Grandparents were German Jews, but they escaped. That’s why he was a Pork Shunning Lad in Iowa: born as a Stranger.

    So, this Show covers a Lot of Territory & Topics, in which Nadler--often at the Grand Piano, backed by wonderful Vintage Photos & Film Clips--recalls All That.

    He is assisted by a Female Accordionist & a Female Violinist, establishing the 1920’s Era’s Vanished Aura.

    Interacting with the Audience--very Trendy, even in Broadway Shows, this Spring--is not entirely successful.

    Nonetheless, Mark Nadler is well worth watching at the York Theatre, Weimar Iconography & all that…

    Still: A Strange Melange



  3. Leos Janácek’s THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN [★★★★★]
  4. All the Forest Animals & Insects Are Running Wild! Watch Out for the Forester!

    The Cunning Little Vixen--wonderfully sung & acted by Julia Bullock--is initially so cute that The Forester [a Hunter with a Heart, Aubrey Allicock] takes her home with him, to the immense annoyance of his Wife [a properly acerbic Lacey Jo Benter].

    The Juilliard Opera Center’s Spring Show was also a Salute to Spring, with all those Woodland Creatures romping across the stage, with a background of Horizontal Apertures that could have been designed by Piet Mondrian.

    Eventually, Das Schlaue Füchslein--as she is called in German--escapes, runs free, finds her foxy Fox Mate [a charming Karen Vuong], & proceeds to have many Little Foxes.

    Then, a desperate Hunter kills her…

    No one--not even Foxes--lives forever. Still, The Hunter is very sad when he finds the Body.

    In the meantime, however, Juilliard Audiences got to know some Plucky Chickens, a grousing Old Badger, a Young Frog, & many kinds of Chirping Insects.

    After so much Springtime Joy & Music & Laughter, it is a bit of a Downer to have the Little Vixen, now a Foxy Mother, die.

    But, when you consider some of Janácek’s Deeply Depressing Masterpieces--such as From the House of the Dead or Katya Kabanova--this charming Pastoral seems almost like Time Out for the Lives of Ordinary People & Animals, Tame & Otherwise

    Anne Manson conducted with verve; Emma Griffin staged with a spritely Sense of Fun, & Laura Jellinek--how’s that for a Czech Name!--created the Mondrianesque Setting.

    Costumier Jessica Trejos gave all the Animals & Insects either Masks--worn backwards--or Signifying Headgear.

    But her White Clad Flock of Chickens looked good enough to Eat!



  5. JM Barrie’s THIS SIDE OF NEVERLAND [★★★★★]
  6. Buy a Typewriter for £12? You Must Be Dreaming--of a Barrie Play!

    The Pearl Theatre has done it again: An excellent exploration of two One Acters by James Barrie, of Peter Pan Fame!

    The better known of the Duo is The Twelve Pound Look, in which a very successful & Self Inflated Man is about to be Knighted.

    This may be one of the First Feminist Dramas, even if written by a Scotsman.

    The Typist who arrives to type out responses to all the Greetings & Good Wishes that have piled up is none other than Sir Harry’s First Wife. Thereby hangs a Tale

    Actually, way back then, they were themselves called Typewriters, not Typists

    The Soon To Be Lady Sims--but not until Her Gracious Majesty taps Harry on both shoulders--is verbally much abused but also much bejeweled, as befits the Dutiful Spouse of a Self Made Man.

    How much do those Machines cost?

    The remarkable JR Sullivan has ingeniously staged both Mini Dramas, the Curtain Raiser being Rosalind, in which a Famed West End Actress takes a Lazy Holiday Incognito.

    The estimable Sean McNall provides the Production’s Glue, linking both plays as Barrie Himself, though it is difficult to imagine that Barrie ever exuded as much Radiant Confidence & Self Regard as McNall does, dapperly in character.

    Also admirable in the Cast: Rachel Botchan, Brad Cover, Carol Schultz, & Vaishnavi Sharma.



  7. Richard Foreman’s OLD FASHIONED PROSTITUTES (A True Romance) [#!§#¥]
  8. Out of Retirement, One More Time: New Characters, New Theme, but Same Old Stage Décor!

    How many now remember Dr. Selavey’s Magic Theatre?

    That was the first time the Hand of Richard Foreman was almost made visible in the Off Off Off Broadway, Avant Avant Avant Garde Theatre.

    Although his Unusual & Often Unsettling Theatre Experiments have been seen in Central Park, at LaMaMa, & other venues, his Longtime Home was upstairs in the back of a wing of St. Marks in the Bowery.

    But Foreman also has a Long Record at Joe Papp’s Public Theatre, where his Old Fashioned Prostitutes are on Parade, along with Rocco Sisto & that Trademark Foreman Ontological Hysterical Décor.

    It would be a Cop Out to say that "Words cannot describe…" because they can do that, more or less.

    But why bother, when there is so much Decorative Detail that Wiki Leaks could not find a Server able to contain all those Words?

    Foreman himself notes: "All the junk says, ‘Look at this! Look at this!, but I’m making an environment that’s so complex you don’t see it anymore."

    Well, that’s what he thinks…

    Foreman also insists: "I make work not for Audiences but for Art History."

    Oh oh! That kind of talk will get you a MacArthur Genius Grant!

    But Foreman surely now has had more Grants & Honors than have been heaped on Eugene O’Neill?

    No no! Gene O’Neill won the Nobel Prize. That may be beyond Foreman’s Grasp or Desire



  9. David Bruce & Glyn Maxwell’s THE FIREWORK MAKER’S DAUGHTER [★★★]
  10. A Runaway White Elephant Named Hamlet--with a Counter Tenor Inside--Causes Fireworks!

    Just as the new Broadway Musical, Matilda, was based on a Tale by Roald Dahl, so also is The Fireworks Maker’s Daughter adapted from the Novel by Philip Pullman.

    Both Made in Britain!

    There are Fireworks indeed in The Fireworks Maker’s Daughter, some of them Metaphoric, as when the Peking Opera Style King sentences the Fireworks Maker to Death for Treason, blaming him for the Disappearance of his Beloved White Elephant.

    What is especially interesting about this very Complicated Libretto is that it is Through Composed, in the manner of Richard Wagner’s Musik Theater.

    Everything is Sung--also without Mikes & the resulting Deafening Amplification.

    The Show’s Debut--at the New Victory Theatre, on New 42--was its US Premiere, having been originally produced by The Opera Group, Opera North, & the Watford Palace Theatre.

    So it was that the Rear Stage was crammed with Drums & Two Xylophones, which would have made the Heart of Carl Orff glad.

    For Theatre Buffs & Theatre Historians--as well as Stage Designers & Technicians--this was also a remarkable show in terms of the variety of Stage Techniques, such as Shadow Puppets & Projections, that were employed.

    Designer Dick Bird deserves a lot of credit for various Devices & Costumes, especially that of the White Elephant, with a Pink Parasol attached to its head. Its Trunk had a Life of Its Own

    Acting & singing Hamlet, Counter Tenor James Laing is a Talent to watch

    But the Entire Cast--directed by John Fulljames--was admirable.

    The Problem, in production, was that the Fable seemed to Invent Itself as it rambled along…

    At the Interval, about half of the Younger Audience departed, Parents in tow.

    Not only was the Narrative too long & too complex for many Children, but the Stage was at times Under Lit, to facilitate the Projections & Shadow Play Effects.

    Even though I savored many of the Asian Theatre Techniques, I feared the Show might prove to be as Long as Parsifal

    With all the Musicians, Stage Handlers, & Principals, this is surely a Very Expensive Production to Tour.

    Could it be Simplified & Shortened, especially for Young Audiences?



  11. Stephen Sondheim’s SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM: A Musical Entertainment [★★★★★]
  12. Plundering All Those Sondheim Hit Shows for Famous & Even Forgotten Gems…

    Some of Steve Sondheim’s Most Beloved Songs do not have his own Musical Accompaniment.

    The Score of West Side Story is, of course, by Leonard Bernstein.

    Jule Styne composed the Music for Gypsy--with Sondheim’s ingenious Lyrics.

    But there were also two Rodgers Family Collaborations: Steve’s Lyrics for Richard Rodgers’ Score for Do I Hear a Waltz? & for Mary Rodgers’ The Mad Show--which even Sondheim Fans may have forgotten…

    The End of Term Musical Theatre Production at the Manhattan School of Music was Joyous Recycling of Hal Prince’s initial Broadway Staging, revitalized by Carolyn Marlow.

    The glamorous Stars of Tomorrow in this MSM Mounting were indeed impressive, but Peter Tinaglia--as a Burlesque Nance, pretending to be a Dancing Bug--could easily understudy Nathan Lane in The Nance.

    There were, finally, a Grand Total of Thirty Sondheim Songs, some of them from shows that rapidly disappeared, like Anyone Can Whistle, which didn’t make it, even with Angela Lansbury starring…

    If anyone wondered why Send in the Clowns--from A Little Night Music--seemed almost like a Talked Lyric, that was because Sondheim composed it especially for the Original Desirée, Glynis Johns.

    As Steve once told my CUNY Grad Center Music Theatre Seminar, Glynis had a Vocal Range of about Six Notes.

    When Hal Prince was working on Company--represented by Seven Songs in Side by Side--I was able to interview him about his Collaboration with Sondheim. He felt there was something that wasn’t quite working.

    Knowing that this Unusual & Innovative Musical embodied some One Act Plays by George Furth, I told Hal that it seemed to me that the Character of Bobby--who doesn’t seem to have a Character of His Own--was more like Glue, to hold the Real Stories together…

    Bobby is an Unmarried Outsider, who is invited Over to Dinner, so he can be like an Observer, a Referee, or even a Tennis Net, over which the Married Combatants lob Balls.

    Hal told me that Bobby was a lot like himself, before he got married to Saul Chaplin’s Daughter: Everyone wanted to have him for Dinner, possibly a bit like Sue Mengers’ I’ll Eat You Last.



  13. Jason Robert Brown’s THE LAST FIVE YEARS [★★★★★]
  14. Blonde Shiksa from Ohio Meets Angst Ridden Jewish Author from Washington Heights…

    "Why oh why oh did I ever leave Ohio?"

    That was a Hit Song from My Sister Eileen, but Cathy--wonderfully embodied by Betsy Wolfe--goes back there when Things Don’t Seem To Be Working Out…

    In fact, the Entire Cast of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years is excellent, as the Other Half of the Cast is the powerfully driven Jamie of Adam Kantor.

    The Second Stage--which will soon be moving to a New Home in the Helen Hayes Theatre--is known for giving what used to be called Beautiful Losers a Second Look. Or Second Chance

    But that’s not a Problem with The Last Five Years--last seen in Manhattan eleven years ago--because, in the meantime, it has had over 500 Regional Theatre Productions, with Three Thousand Performances around the World!

    Who knew there were so many Regional Theatres, let alone so many American Towns & Cities with Producing Theatres

    Jason Robert Brown has not only drafted the Narrative, provided the Lyrics, & composed the Score, but he has also Directed.

    But one wonderful Aspect of this production for which he cannot take All the Credit is/are the Remarkable Video Windows of Derek McLane [set design] & Jeff Sugg [projection design].

    When Norbert Leo Butz & Sherrie Renée Scott premiered this Two Hander--over a Decade ago, in the Minetta Lane Theatre--it didn’t have all the Production Values of this Revival, so I was not persuaded that it was an Important Play.

    CD Sales took off; Post Teens everywhere saw themselves in Cathy & Jamie.

    You think First Love is going to last. You think you can make it in Manhattan

    Guess Again!



  15. Julia Jordan & Juliana Nash’s MURDER [HEART] BALLAD [★★★★★]
  16. Hey! Just Like Once on Broadway, Now You can Have a Drink at the Union Square Theatre!

    The Official Title Logo of this Dynamic Show looks like it was made out of Leggo Tiles, for Murder has a Leggo Style Heart separating it from Ballad.

    Julia & Juliana obviously think their Powerful Music Drama will be at the Union Square Theatre a long time, for the floors are plastered with all kinds of Ads & Posters.

    You not only won’t need to bring Bottled Water--with Alcoholic Stuff on tap on stage--but you can also leave your Hearing Aids at home. Loud & Violent

    The High Powered & Emotionally Fragile Sara is wonderfully embodied by Cassie Levy, having Two Affairs at the same time.

    One is with an Older Book Reader, called Michael--strongly played by John Ellison Conlee. He is obsessed by Sara, but she’s also having an Affair with Bar Keeper Tom [Will Swenson] who is actually married to the Narrator of this Four Handed Tragedy, powerfully played by Rebecca Naomi Jones.

    The No Name Narrator finally beats Tom to death with a Baseball Bat, so there is a kind of Closure, although No More Drinks from the Bar

    This Show was earlier seen at The Manhattan Theatre Club & it is still staged by Trip Cullman.

    What is now called the Union Square Theatre was once upon a time the Auditorium of the Ladies Garment Workers Union, who now have had most of their Stitchings & Cuttings deported to Bangladesh.



  17. David Willinger’s Version of Saroyan’s Rock Wagram, Now Known as THE UPPER LIP [recused]
  18. Well, Rock, You Made Some Films in Hollywood, But How About Making a Family?

    My Old Friend & Colleague, David Willinger--who has quite a long Bio of Writing & Directing Feats--has dug up a long forgotten Novel of the also almost long forgotten William Saroyan, he of the Fresno Armenians, which is, in itself a kind of Auto Bio: Rock Wagram.

    There was a Time--especially in Fresno, Modesto, & San Francisco--when William Saroyan was a Name To Conjure With.

    His Literary Exploits were Trumpeted in The Fresno Bee & The Modesto Bee, both McClatchy Newspapers, but also in The Sacramento Bee, which My Family read religiously…

    How about My Name Is Aram? The Man With The Heart in The Highlands? The Beautiful People? The Cave Dwellers?

    Who now remembers The Time of Your Life? No Foundation! No Foundation, all the way down…

    Willinger’s Title, The Upper Lip, does not refer to having a Stiff Upper Lip--which Rock Wagram certainly needs--but, instead, to the Necessity for a Real Man, especially if he is an Armenian Man, to have a Moustache on his Upper Lip!

    After the Horrendous Massacre of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915--which gave the World the Name & Concept of Genocide--it was all the more important for those Surviving Armenian Men to demonstrate their Masculinity: a Heroic Moustache was one way; another was having an Obedient Wife & Lots of Children

    As dramatized by Willinger, Rock’s Story seems to move back & forth in time. It is also a Complicated Narrative, with a Number of Characters, some being played by the same Dynamic Actors, compounding the Incipient Confusion.

    Live Stage Action is mixed with Rear & Front Projections & Filmed Footage of the Characters in Action.

    This attempt at Multi Media Production, however, suffers from the Filmed Segments being so Glossy & Professional that the Live Action looks sometimes clumsy in comparison…

    Frankly, given Dave Willinger’s dedication to Saroyan & Rock Wagram, The Upper Lip would really work much better as a Major Motion Picture.

    Except that Rock seems a bit of a Loser



  19. Richard Nelson’s NIKOLAI & THE OTHERS [★★★★★]
  20. Maria Tallchief & Nicholas Magellanes Rehearse Orpheus for Balanchine & Stravinsky in CT.

    What the Audience sees as Richard Nelson’s Nikolai begins is a group of Russian Emigré Women setting up a series of Long & Short Tables for an Outdoor Dinner.

    Even though Vera Stravinsky is overseeing everything, this is not a play about Talented Russians having a Feast.

    Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see how George Balanchine & Igor Stravinsky inter act with the Others, as well as with Nikolai Nabokov--Cousin of Novelist Vladimir--who, although initially a Composer, has become a Fixer for the Russian Emigré Community.

    In fact, Nikolai is the Voice of America in Russian & he is also working for the CIA, as the Cold War begins to Heat Up.

    One of the Guests has been involved with Hanns Eisler, who fled to East Germany. Nikolai advises him how to behave if he is summoned to answer Questions.

    HUAC is also Heating Up: the House Un American Activities Committee will become notorious in Hunting Down Commies & Fellow Travelers.

    But this is not a Political Play. Not at all…

    It is a Play about People; a Play about Making Art--in which Maria Tallchief & Nicholas Magellanes will rehearse Balanchine’s new ballet, Orpheus, after dinner.

    Richard Nelson has said: "As a Playwright, I do not write words; I write People… It’s not really what they say. [But] What they say, hopefully, is the best way for me to convey those People."

    For Nelson, the Exciting Challenge was to work with Historical People, which required a great deal of Research:

    "So that the audience can feel that maybe this is how Stravinsky, Balanchine, Koussevitsky were on this particular day."

    That he has so brilliantly succeeded is in his Good Fortune to have David Cromer as Director of a Large Cast of Excellent Actors.

    Not only that: Nelson also has George Balanchine as his Choreographer--although that Master is now Long Gone.

    Nelson says: "I’m interested in tying important events--about a Society or a Human Being--to something very Organic, very Domestic."

    So the Order of his Play is a Dinner, followed by an Artistic Presentation, followed by People going to Bed.

    At Table, we really get to know the Stravinskys, the amorously inclined Nikolai, & Balanchine--who has made an American Indian both his Wife & his Prima Ballerina

    This is because No One onstage is visibly Acting: They are all in the Act of Being!

    In fact, as Nelson has crafted his drama, there are almost no Supporting Roles. Everyone is somehow important, each in his or her Own Way.

    Considering his Advanced Age, it is marvelously encouraging to see Alvin Epstein as the Aged Designer, Sergey Sudeikin, still full of Piss & Vinegar.

    But Outstanding Performances come from most of the Cast, which includes Blair Brown, John Glover, Stephen Kunken, Natalia Alonso, John Procaccino, Michael Cerveris, Dale Place, & Gareth Saxe, as our former Man in Moscow, Ambassador Charles "Chip" Bohlen.

    At this Dinner Party, we are witnessing the Birth Pangs of the New York City Ballet, as well as the Informal Debuts of two of its Greatest Artists: Tallchief & Magellanes.

    On a Personal Note: I was fascinated early on with reports of Balanchine’s Ballets, although I was far distant in the SF Bay Area--but they eventually did Tour.

    When writing for the Christian Science Monitor, I had the good fortune to meet Nicholas Nabakov & I was once introduced to Ambassador Bohlen at the Metropolitan Club.

    I never met Vera Stravinsky, but I did photograph her Gravesite, on the Isola Morta--Venice’s Isle of the Dead.

    Nearby was the Grave of Sergei Diaghilev, another Russian, but not in Nelson’s Play, as he was not only already Dead, but also not an American Immigrant



  21. Ernest Abuba’s DOJOJI: The Man Inside the Bell [★★★★]
  22. Of Buddhist Bells & Demon Lovers, with Some Karma & Anime Added…

    The Tale of Dojoji, it is said, is as familiar in Japan as Romeo & Juliet is in the West.

    Nonetheless, while R&J may be Star Crossed Lovers, the Emperor’s Son, Anchin, has a Different Problem: His Beautiful Lover, Kiyohime, may also be a Demon, a Ghost

    Tisa Chang’s new production for the Pan Asian Repertory--now celebrating its 36th Season!--is a Visually Lovely Evocation of an Ancient Love Story, retold through aspects of Traditional Japanese Noh, Bunraku, & Kabuki Performance Arts, as well as Modern Anime & Multimedia Effects.

    The Enchanting Dances of Sachiyo Ito are alone worth the trip to Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre, where the Costumes of Carol Pelletier range from the most Elaborate of Traditional Kimonos & Obis to the Dull Black of Buddhist Monks in a Silence Ridden Monastery.

    It has been a very long time since Manhattan has seen Authentic Noh or Kabuki Productions, so Dojoji may be an Introduction to these remarkable Forms of Performance.

    What a Horrible Surprise to find that the Woman You Love has suddenly turned into a Ravenous Fire Breathing Dragon

    True, in the West, that may Metaphorically Occur in Doomed Marriages, but this Union was Mythically & Magically Made way back in AD 929.

    Overhead Projections suggest the Seasons, while the Action occurs beneath on a Simple Platform of Steps.

    But--because the Action moves forward to an Anime World of 2013--we are treated to Film Clips of what looks like Downtown Tokyo at Rush Hour.

    Having been There & done That--that is, making photos of the Ginza, the Neon, & the Thronging Crowds--this Rebirth & Redemption didn’t work for me…

    Nonetheless, this is an Overwhelmingly Beautiful Staging, outstandingly performed by a Talented Cast, led by Toshiji Takeshima [Anchin] & Kiyo Takami [Kiyohime].

    I witnessed the first of the Pan Asian Rep’s productions at Ellen Stewart’s LaMaMa ETC, where Ellen was an Ardent Supporter of Tisa Chang’s Vision, so I salute both our dear departed Ellen & our wonderful Tisa!



  23. Conor McPherson’s THE WIER [★★★★★]
  24. At Last: An On Stage Bar That’s Not Serving Drinks To The Audience!

    There’s this lonely little Irish Pub way out in the country, see?

    The Regulars include the Unmarried Owner Barkeep [Billy Carter], the feisty Unmarried Jack [Dan Butler], & the gentle Jack of all Trades, Unmarried Jim [John Keating].

    See, there’s long been this Thing about Rural Irishmen not getting Married.

    It’s a wonder the Irish Race didn’t die out, what with all that Emigration to America & to Liverpool!

    So, it’s somewhat resented that the Married Finbar [Sean Gormley], a successful Local Realtor--well, we’re really not all that Rural here--is bringing out a lovely new Addition to the Community, Valerie [Tessa Klein], who’s just bought an Old House from him.

    But there’s a Problem about this House: it has a History!

    How about Fairies? The Irish are Great Believers in the Little People

    So, the Evening progresses increasingly drunkenly, as even Finbar tells tales about That House--which would make any Normal Person take the next Bus back to Dublin.

    Jaysus, Finbar! You’ve just sold that House to the Lady! Now you’re scaring the Bejaysus out of her!

    Everyone has some kind of Tale to Tell about the Supernatural, even Valerie--who has had a Terrible Loss, the Reason she has relocated.

    The Entire Cast--directed by Ciarán O’Reilly--is exemplary, in Charlie Corcoran’s dark & dusty Pub Setting.

    But, after hearing some of these Stories of Haunts & Apparitions, you may well want to get up on the Stage & have a Pint with the Others



  25. Henrik Ibsen’s THE MASTER BUILDER [★★★★★]
  26. Playmaster Ibsen! Do You Think There Are Too Many Phallic Images in Brygmester Solness?

    Oh oh!

    Here comes John Turturro ranting, raving, & raging onto the Stage, like a Madman, instead of the Self Important Famous Norwegian Architect he’s supposed to be Impersonating

    Are we in for a Rough Night of Post Modernist Ibsen, despite the fact that the Drama is firmly set in the Late 19th Century?

    From the Looks of Santo Loquasto’s Angular Steel Cage on stage, we could even be in Post Post Modernist Bergen.

    Not to Worry! This remarkable Structural Sculpture encloses Victorian Furniture & an amazing Black Shaft of a Noble Iron Stove!

    Even in Summer, it’s cold in Norway, but in Master Builder Solness’ house, the Temperature is often near Freezing, especially when it concerns Relationships between him & his abused, neglected, & humiliated Wife, Aline [a noble Katherine Borowitz].

    Things heat up a bit when Solness is leaning in on his Book keeper, Kaja [Kelly Hutchinson], who has been engaged for five long years to his abused, neglected, & humiliated Assistant, Knut Brovik, [Max Gordon Moore].

    Then there’s this Problem about how Solness was able to build his Remarkable Career: That Terrible Fire in Aline’s Parents’ Old House, where they were living.

    Not to overlook the Loss of the Only Children they would ever have had…

    Solness--who has dreamt of building Noble Buildings, notably Norwegian Churches with Noble Bell Towers--has instead been prospering by designing Modern Homes for the Prosperous.

    But his Life is Empty & Brovik’s Unacknowledged Talent threatens him…

    Suddenly & unannounced, Hilda Wangel arrives from Northern Norway. She is a radiant, nubile Young Woman.

    She believes that Solness made a Promise to her ten years ago when he heroically Climbed the Steeple of the New Church he had designed in her Village, to place the Inaugural Wreath on its Weather Vane.

    Talk about Phallic Symbols! Or Metaphoric Penises, if you like…

    If there are no more Church Commissions, Solness can always put a Tower on a Noble New House!

    As erotically, teasingly played by Wrenn Schmidt, Hilda seduces Solness with a real Mind Fuck: He must climb the Tower of his New Project & place the Wreath at its Summit.

    For Her

    Of course, Solness is now Much Older & he has always had a Fear of Heights

    You do not have to be George Bernard Shaw--an Early Champion of Ibsen’s Well Made Plays--to guess how this is going to Work Out.

    Not well…

    Andre Belgrader’s remarkable Production--thanks to Loquasto’s Genius--closes as a Modernist Architectural Background parts to reveal a Victorian Era Red Steeple slanting sideways.

    Cheered on by Hilda Wangel, Solness begins his Epic Climb--only to Fall to his Death.

    For every Master Builder staging I’ve ever seen--even in Norway, in Bergen & in Oslo--everyone on stage is always Looking into the Wings when Solness makes his Ill Fated Ascent.

    Even Ibsen honored that Aristotelian Dictum that all Scenes of Horror must occur Off Stage.

    Much less Messy

    This was the most Brilliant Staging of Master Builder that I have ever seen & I’ve seen many in different Lands.

    Belgrader has his Excellent Cast clad in Victorian Costumes, thanks to the designs of Marco Piemontese. So the Period Flavor is preserved, but the Modern Implications are not Lost.

    Previously, the Essential Problem was that Solness has been basically portrayed as a Brilliant Bourgeoise, surrounded by Boring People, including his Prosperous Clients.

    Turturro breaks that Mold.

    But Hilda Wangel, all too often, has seemed an Overgrown Girl Scout.


    Her Fanaticism & Essential Selfishness in willing Solness’ Sacrifice is terrifying.

    It’s believed that Master Builder was partially inspired by the Eager Young Women who swarmed about the Famous Playwright, Henrik Ibsen--who wrote largely in Munich & in Rome, rather than in his Native Norway.

    Yes! There were Ibsen Groupies, even though he didn’t have a Grammy Album

    Beginning with his Nora--who walked out of her Doll’s House, to be free of her Tyrant Husband Torwald--Ibsen became a Champion of The Liberated Woman.



  27. Bertolt Brecht’s Der Caucasischen Kreiderkreis [★★★★]
  28. Better Known as The Caucasian Chalk Circle, with Lyrics by WH Auden & Chris Lloyd as Azdak…

    Bert Brecht would have hated Bryan Kulick’s Soviet Inflected staging of The Caucasian Circle of Chalk.

    Brecht liked keeping his productions very Simple, stripped down. He even created Model Books to show just how he wanted his Teaching Plays to be done when he was No More.

    The recent Mahagonny Revival up at the Manhattan School of Music came very close to an essentially Brechtian Production.

    That said--from One who was often in East Berlin to see shows at the Berliner Ensemble--the new Chalk Circle at the CSC is both Colorful & Entertaining.

    With the Vivid Designs of Tony Straiges--Epic Soviet Style Posters plastered onto the Backstage Wall--it seems no more than Politically Correct to topple a Statue of Lenin.

    A Cast of Seven--featuring the dynamic Mary Testa in a Variety of Roles & the Very Venerable Christopher Lloyd as Azdak--animates Brecht’s Version of The Judgment of Solomon.

    A Violent Uprising has just killed the Hated Governor of what seems to be a Mythical Province in Pre Soviet Georgia.

    His Fur Bedecked Consort is fleeing the Wrath of the Troops, but she is more concerned with saving her Wardrobe than she is with protecting Her Male Child

    The Babe Bundle is left behind, forgotten by the Imperious Mother [Testa at her best]--even though he is the Heir to his Father’s Estates.

    A simple Kitchen Maid, Grusha [Elizabeth A. Davis], finds the Swaddled Babe & cannot abandon him, even though she puts Her Own Life repeatedly in Peril, trying to escape from the Iron Shirts.

    When the Tide has changed, the Governor’s Wife needs the Heir to claim the Estates.

    Grusha--who has nourished the Babe & named him Michael--will not, cannot, Give Him Up, so Azdak, a kind of Drunken Clown, who has been quixotically appointed Provincial Judge, must decide to whom Michael best belongs: The Birth Mother or the Kitchen Maid?

    So he draws a Circle of Chalk, placing Michael in its Center.

    Then he orders the Two Female Opponents to each take one of Michael’s Arms & pull him out of the Circle.

    Grusha lets go, for she cannot bear to hurt Michael.

    Guess What? Azdak gives Michael to her, just as King Solomon understood that the Woman who most loved that Biblical Baby could not bear to see him Cut in Half with the Royal Sword

    Well, there you have it!

    With Lyrics by WH Auden & Original Music [apparently meaning not lifted from an East German Composer] by Duncan Sheik.

    Actually, as a Teaching Play--or Lehr Stücke--Chalk Circle is framed by the Drama of the Two Tribes who have come together to contend for a Fertile Valley that once belonged to the Raisers of Horses.

    But, in all the Turmoil of War, it had been taken over by Raisers of Food.

    To whom should the Valley now belong?

    Which would the People need more: Horses or Food?

    Well, you can always Eat Horses, but if you are a Tartar Vegan

    Thinking about the Framing Structure of Brecht’s Chalky Play now, could the Two Contending Tribes have been Chechnyans--back when it was still a "Soviet Democratic Republic"?


  29. Tom Attea’s BENEDICTUS [★★]
  30. The Pope Has a Visitation from Jesus, Mary, & God, Plus the Holy Ghost…


    OH, MY GOD!



  31. Mark Brown’s Version of Jules Verne’s AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS [★★★★★]
  32. Get Your Passports Stamped for a Whirlwind Journey into Primal Monty Python Farce!

    It’s not Really Safe to take a Railroad Train through the Middle East into Asia anymore, but it’s Positively Horrifying--as well as Hilariously Funny--to take this Possibly Doomed Trip with the Unsinkable Phileas Fogg, trying to Win a Wager by Girding the Globe in Eighty Days.

    Jules Verne--who wrote the Very Original Novel--would surely be dazzled by what has been wrought at the New Theatre by Director Rachel Klein & her Super Charged, Super Talented Cast.

    These Five Brilliant Farceurs play 39 Different Characters, with Amazing Dexterity & Rapid Fire Costume Changes.

    Monty Pythons, Eat Your Collective Hearts Out!

    This is the kind of Goofy Ensemble Playing that you can only find in London. Until now…

    If only Rachel Klein had been invited to stage The Mystery of Edwin Drood, it might have been almost as Laugh Prone as Around the World in 80 Days.

    Most American Actors--trained in Stanislavsky & Lee Strasberg’s Method--really do not know how to do Farce. But the New Theatre’s Ensemble is Pitch Perfect.

    This is also possibly the Gayest Show in Town--with Kinky Boots running a Close Second

    What used to be the Home of Primary Stages--over on West 45thStreet--has been rechristened, by Producer Cedric Yau, as the New Theatre, which even sounds like a London Theatre Venue.

    The Yow! Theater Company, it seems, plans to Run--if not Forever--for as long as Audiences keep flocking over to West 45th.

    The handsome & elegant Bryce Ryness is an equally elegant & imperious Phileas Fogg. Talk about Good Breeding & Bespoke Tailoring!

    In the Cast I witnessed, the lovely Shirine Babb played the Eventual Love Interest, for Fogg is too much of a Gentleman to betray Emotion for a Poor Hindu Widow who was about be thrown onto her Late Husband’s Funeral Pyre, as they used to do along the Ganges

    She has Made This Role Her Own, so sinuously & insidiously does she change Forms, Functions, & Costumes to help Fogg & his Serving Man, Passepartout [the acrobatic John Gregorio] return to the Liberal Club in London to Win the Wager.

    But a Glance at the Program reveals that Babb is the Understudy for very blonde Emily McNamara, who must be very good indeed. Maybe Cedric Yau will invite me back to see Emily in Action?

    Two of the Cleverest & Cutest Farceurs imaginable are Jimmy Ray Bennett & Stephen Guarino.

    As Bette Midler/Sue Mengers might say: "I’ll eat you last…"

    But all these Hysterical Hi jinx wouldn’t work so wonderfully were it not for the All Encompassing Scenic Environment that Robert Andrew Kovach has created inside the New Theatre.

    Not only have the Walls been Muralized with Jules Vernian Images, but the Dual Level Stage functions as many Locales, as well as including a variety of Prop Tricks that astonish, not to overlook those Multiple Doors that are Requisite for Classic French Farce!

    A Large Clock in the Upper SL Corner not only Tells the Time, but also serves as a Projection Screen for the Ingenious Images of Kate Freer: We are able to track the Frantic Fogg Journey on Pre Google Maps

    Were I still writing for the Long Defunct Theatre Arts & Theatre Crafts, as well as for Theatre Design & Technology, I’d want to interview all the Design Talents involved to discover out How They Did It!






  33. Does Matthew Barney need a Restraining Order? Morgan Library Offers Subliming Vessel
  34. One of Matthew Birney’s more memorable Art Stunts involved trying to draw on the Slanting Walls of the Guggenheim Museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright Rotunda, while physically restrained by Ropes.

    Another time, he let Hot Melted Beeswax run down the Spiraling Rotunda

    Or was that just some form of Petroleum Jelly & Silicone--among his favored Art Materials?

    Now, at the Morgan Library & Museum--where his Sub Sublime Drawings are on view until 2 September 2013--he has created an Instant Artwork on three of the walls of the Morgan’s Clare Eddy Thaw Gallery, with Drawings to match.

    This is the Twentieth in the DRAWING RESTRAINT Series, in which Barney is still exploring the "Relationship between Self Imposed Resistance & Creativity."

    One remembers that Serial Killer who wrote in Lipstick on a Bathroom Mirror: "Stop Me Before I Kill More!"

    Looking at some of the Barney Drawings, one might suggest: "Stop Me Before I Make a Fool of Norman Mailer & Harry Houdini…"

    At the moment, Matthew Barney is inspired by Norman Mailer’s flaccid novel, Egyptian Evenings, so there is an Ancient Egyptian Pharaonic Votive Figure of the God Osiris in a Clare Eddy Thaw Glass Case.

    This Male God is tethered to Barney’s own Artwork: Djed: The Case for Saving Detroit, which is made up of Salt, Cast Iron, Cast Copper, Copper Wire, & Gold Electroplated Copies of Time Magazine

    Several of my Colleagues were already busily photographing this & other Artworks with their Cell Phones, when I was politely asked not to make any Photos, owing to Copyright Restrictions.

    Considering that the so called "Picture Artists" have built their Considerable Careers by Appropriating Photos & Ads & even Newsprint for their Ground Breaking Artworks, Copyright Laws seem increasingly In Danger.

    Almost anything Interesting will soon turn up on the Internet, so who is Policing Copyrights anyway?

    Probably the same Federal Agency that is giving underhanded Oversight to such Problems as Bankster Fraud & Despoliation of America’s Natural Resources

    Matthew Barney doesn’t seem to have any Problem with appropriating Photos of Harry Houdini or Norman Mailer, let alone Time--which is, in any case, Up For Sale, with David H. Koch waiting in the Wings, to buy it, as well as the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, & the Orlando Sentinel

    Although the Guggenheim is Barney’s Favored NY Exhibition & Performance Venue, the Morgan has lucked out because it has encouraged Barney to select from its Rare Book & Manuscript Treasures such Images & Texts as may relevantly resonate with such Art $ Performance Sagas as Cremaster, Drawing Restraint, the OTTOshaft Trilogy, & the Egyptian Inflected River of Fundament.

    Here, for instance, is an Image from the Book of the Dead: Weighing the Heart.

    But how about a More Modern Source? Say, from 1999: The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Free Masons & the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus?

    This is exhibited close to Barney’s Fifth Degree--not a Masonic Third Degree, fortunately--made with China Marker, Graphite Pencil, Petroleum Jelly, Polypropylene, Adhesive Residue, & Postcard on Aluminum Clipboard.

    Talk about an All Inclusive Artwork!

    In a sense Illustrating Ideas for Cremaster 3, we have Andrew Snape’s 1686 Anatomy of a Horse, alongside Death on a Pale Horse, in the 1475 Apocalypse of Margaret of York, by the Master of the Moral Treatises, Ghent.

    This also recalls another kind of Artwork: Pale Horse, Pale Rider…

    But how about bracketing Michelangelo with Julia Butterfly Hill: The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, & the Struggle to Save the Redwoods.

    The Florentine Master’s David Slaying Goliath is a long way off from the Sierra Club.

    Even today, there are no Redwoods in Florence, although my late friend, Luisa, the Marchesa Fossi, lived in an Ancient Villa called Sieti Olivi, for all those Florentine Olive Trees

    But enough of Ancient Memories, possibly not so Salable as Mailer’s Ancient Evenings.

    Among the Morgan’s other Treasures on view in conjunction with Subliming Vessel are a Diane Arbus Photo of Norman Mailer at Home & Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.

    Also selected by Matthew Barney are Maurice Maeterlinck’s La vie des abeilles & the 1868 Deseret First Book, printed throughout with Deseret Characters, the Phonetic Alphabet of the Mormon Church, better known as Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints.

    The Things that JP Morgan collected! They Boggle the Mind

    My Absolute Favorite is a 14th Century Image of A Beaver Castrating Himself

    Bottom Line: Whatever you may think of Trying to Draw when metaphorically Bound & Gagged, Matthew Barney can really Draw--even if some of the Works on View are very small, featuring Thin Black Lines on Dark Red Grounds

    He also makes His Own Frames!



  35. Press Preview at Christie’s: When Did Picasso Find Time for Love & So Many Ceramic Plates?
  36. May is to be a Big Month at Christie’s!

    So the Press was invited--Video Cameras & all that--to examine some Modern Masterpieces to be offered in Up Coming May Sales.

    How about a Rare Portrait of Matisse’s Wife, but not by the Master Himself: André Derain, instead.

    How about Roy Lichtenstein’s Woman with a Flowered Hat? It’s a colorful Picasso Knock Off!

    How about Jackson Pollock’s Number 19--Oil & Enamel [Drips & Spatters] on Paper, laid down on Canvas?

    How about Jean Michel Basquiat’s Dustheads? Christie’s is thinking you may want to begin bidding in the range of $25 $35 Million

    Then there are all those Treasures from the Collection of Celeste & Armand Bartos, not to overlook the Artworks from the Collection of Mona Ackerman

    Can they outdo the Collection of Andy Williams, "An American Legend"?

    Christie’s Rock Center Galleries cannot contain all the Goodies they are offering in May, so you may want to go up to the 20th–Floor of the Scribner’s Building, to see Ruth Asawa: Objects & Apparitions.

    There’s even The 11th Hour Auction--sponsored by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which wants to Save the Planet, at this its Eleventh Hour--to be held on the Evening of 13 May 2013!

    There are Major Major Major Artworks, including an attractive Portrait of DiCaprio, but not by George Bush

    This Sale comes just in time to help promote that new Leonardo DiCaprio Movie, Gatsby, based on a Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who does not seem to have had a Foundation.



  37. At the Whitney: I, YOU, WE
  38. Actually, the Graphic Form of the Title of this new Second Floor Filling Show is I, YOU, WE, with the emphasis on the WE WE WE WE WE…

    Here are all the Usual Suspects from the Whitney’s Storage Vaults: Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sue Coe, Jackson Pollock, & You Name Them.

    Some of these Photos, Paintings, Prints, & Sculptures are like Old Friends.

    But others have been put away, in Drawers & on Racks, out of Strong Overhead Lights, which might make some of them fade.

    A Novelty for me was the Large Bronze with Gold Leaf Three Paneled Altarpiece by Keith Haring.

    Still, Curators always need some kind of Hook on which to Hang a Show & get stuff out of Storage

    A number of works seemed obsessed with Sexual Orientation, American Bellicosity, & AIDS.

    There was No Press Preview & No Press Kit--saving on the usual Muffins & Coffee for the Always Hungry Press--so here’s what the Whitney Museum Guide has to say about this Show:

    I, you, we: Three very Commonplace Words. These Pronouns--with all their Implied Complexities of Meaning--provide an Unexpected Guide for assessing the Works of Art from the 1980s & early 1990s in the Museum’s Collection.

    Well, Yes. If I, You, or We say so…

    The Point, apparently, is that all these Artworks demonstrate that the Personal, Social, & Collective Issues & Concerns of the Artists of this time are Still Relevant several decades later.

    Well, if they were not, would you Junk Them?



  39. New Sales Records at Bonhams & Christies
  40. If your Dream was to be a Stand Up Comic, you missed out on the Milton Berle Memorabilia Auction at Bonhams in LA.

    Berle’s "Joke File" was bought for $64,900, but his Scripts from more than 85 Years in Show Biz went for $158,500.

    Oddly enough, his Custom Bound 74 Volume Collection of Working Scripts fetched only $8,125.

    Nonetheless, a Tiffany Silver Humidor--a gift from Mike Todd, who was once married to Liz Taylor--went under the Hammer for $5,250.

    At the same Entertainment & Animation Sale, Larry Hagman’s Custom Made JR Belt Buckle sold for $18,750, which is not so much, considering that it was Encrusted with Rubies & there will never be another JR Ewing

    Also On the Block: Sammy Davis Jr Scripts, a Painting & a Bust of Frank Sinatra; a Sammy Davis Jr Desk, & a Class Photo of Marilyn Monroe, Personally Inscribed to a Classmate from Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High.

    Not to Overlook the Two Mount Sinai Granite Tablets from Paramount’s Ten Commandments; a Gold Cigarette Case that Barbara Stanwyck gave to Robert Taylor; a View finder used by Francis Ford Coppola in filming Apocalypse Now, & Stuff from George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, & other Hollywood Luminaries

    In both San Francisco & LA, Bonhams used to be known as Butterfield’s, but it was bought out. No matter what the Banner, Western Arts & Memorabilia always do well in West Coast Sales.

    Consider: The recent Western Art Sale totaled almost $5 Million!

    It’s worth noting that Bonhams is the only International Auction House that features Sales dedicated to California & Western Art.

    The Difference between Western Art & that created in or inspired by California may be that Western Art is more about Boots & Saddles, as well as Native Americans & Cactus?

    A World Record was set for a Painting by Charles Reiffel: $398,500 was bid for his 1937 Rainy Evening. In case you’ve never heard of Reiffel, he was one of California’s most admired Plein Air Painters.

    Other Artists featured included E. Charlton Fortune--with The Señora’s Garden, Carmel inflected; Granville Redmond, Maurice Braun, Guy Rose, & Oscar Edmund Berninghaus.

    Alas, there was nothing by Albert Bierstadt on the Auction Block: one of his Views of Yosemite could now fetch Millions

    Andy Warhol & Joan Miró topped the $1.9 Million Print Auction at Bonhams San Francisco. Also up for sale were Prints by Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha, Richard Diebenkorn, & Wayne Thiebaud.

    Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, a Fifty Year Old Bottle of Macallan Anniversary Scotch sold for $40,460, with other Labels such as Remy Martin, Springbank, Bowmore, Courvoisier, Old Weller, Green River, Old Quarter Century, & George Washington Vatted American Whiskey also on offer…

    Over at Christie’s, Prints & Multiples topped out at over $10 Million, with a Complete Set of Andy Wahrhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans bid in for $411,750.

    Andy’s Mickey Mouse--even though it was sprinkled with Diamond Dust--fetched only $129,750. Mind you, this is a Print, not an Original

    Other Print Makers who fared well included René Magritte, Marc Chagall, Edvard Münch--with Der Küss, & of course Pablo Picasso.



  41. At the Jewish Museum: Long Dead Appropriation Artist Jack Goldstein Has Vinyl Disks On View!
  42. Jack Goldstein was one of those Emerging Artists--like Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, & David Salle--who appropriated Images from Magazines, Advertisements, Books, & Film Footage, being called "Picture Artists" by Imaginative Curators.

    Damn the Copyright Laws! Full Speed Ahead, John Baldessari!

    It’s worth noting that Baldessari influenced even more Art World Celebrities than the Above Named Suspects when they were students at CalArts--in Anaheim, founded by the Walt Disney People!

    Mickey & Walt! You have a lot to answer for…

    The current show at the Jewish Museum was initially supposed to be seen in LA at MOCA.

    That didn’t happen, possibly because the Mega Bucks Collector, Eli Broad, prevented it?

    Instead, Jack Goldstein x 10,000 opened in Orange County--at the Orange County Museum of Art.

    Orange County is supposed to be Bankrupt, but apparently there’s still Funding for showing off the Collections of the Super Wealthy.

    [Of course, not all Forms of Bankruptcy involve Money: there are also the Concepts of Moral Bankruptcy & Spiritual Bankruptcy…]

    Anyway, the Reason for the Ten Thousand in the Show Title is that Jack Goldstein thought his Name wasn’t so important: There must be 10,000 Jack Goldsteins in the Telephone Book, he said.

    Goldstein committed Suicide in 2003--at Age 57, possibly having run out of Ideas for Quirky Art?--so he was mercifully spared the Spectacle of a Nation now not anymore needing Telephone Books!

    Would he have been able to find 10,000 Golda Meiers in a Telephone Book?

    In the new show, there are a number of Film Projectors projecting brief & uninspiring Film Loops of Goldstein Appropriations.

    Not quite the same thing as the Goldberg Variations

    Wall Cases are filled with Vinyl Phonograph Records, but you cannot take them out & play them.

    One Yellow Wall has a Ring of Black Vinyl Phonograph Records as its Sole Ornament

    Goldstein also liked to pile up Pieces of Wood--without Internal Supporting Rods--so that they were held in place by the Force of Gravity.

    There is one of these by the Gallery Entrance, so walk around with both Care & Gravitas!



  43. At Grand Central Terminal: The Grand Centennial Parade of Trains!
  44. Now celebrating its 100th Birthday, Grand Central Terminal has been mounting some impressive Exhibitions & Shows. The most impressive of all was the Two Day Only Parade of Trains.

    On Tracks 34 35 36 37, Pullman Cars & other Historic Coaches were brought to Manhattan from all over America!

    A real Blast from the Past was the US Railway Car Post Office, created for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Imagine Sorting Letters while the Train was rushing through the Night !

    How about the Phoebe Snow Tavern & Lounge Cars, built for the Erie Lackawana RR?

    Or the Hickory Creek Sleeper/Observation Lounge Car, built for the 20th Century Limited!

    From the Southern Pacific, an Overland Trail Coach; from Union Pacific, the Pacific Sands Sleeper, & from the Boston & Maine RR, the Salisbury Beach Sleeper

    The Spectator Lines were over long, as Hundreds pressed to pass through the various Coaches, marveling that once upon a time, you could See America First, on the Ground, with No Security Checks.

    Among the Handsome Coaches, it was depressing to see Cars from Metro North that were scuffed & dirty. Does Mayor Bloomberg know they aren’t washing the Train Windows often enough?

    In Grand Central’s ornate Vanderbilt Hall--named for the Commodore who gave us the New York Central--there were Model Trains, Train Memorabilia, Railroad Collectibles, & much, much more.

    But the Crowding was so severe, that it was difficult to get close to any of the Booths.

    It did seem strange to bring all those Historic Coaches into Grand Central, from all over the Nation, for only One Saturday & One Sunday

    Still, it was the Mothers’ Day Weekend, so you could be reminded of that Old RR Song: Throw Mother from the Train, a Kiss…



  45. More Millions Paid at Manhattan Auctions: Christie’s & Bonhams Keep Setting Records!
  46. Considering that Christie’s Auction House posts regular Sales Reports in the Millions of Dollars & Euros, Auction Results at Bonhams--whether in London, New York, or San Francisco--do not seem so staggering.

    Nonetheless, some very impressive Artworks are sold at Bonhams, at very encouraging Prices--especially for those who may just have an Edward Weston Photo Print at home.

    Edward Weston’s 50th Anniversary Portfolio--printed by his son, Brett Weston, in a Limited Edition of only 100 Copies--was the top lot in the Madison Avenue Photo Sale.

    The Twelve Photographs in the Portfolio brought $80,500.

    Other Photo Masters who achieved Good Prices included Gary Winogrand, Ansel Adams, & Joel Peter Witkin.

    Some of the Artworks from the Collection of Sir Anthony Quinn--you may remember Quinn in Major Motion Pictures, or even on stage in Streetcar Named Desire, replacing Brando on the Road--sold well in Bonham’s New York Impressionist & Modern Art Auction.

    But Marc Chagall’s Les Amoreux aux Fruits ou Deux Tetes was the Top Lot, fetching $362,500.

    A rare Gustav Klimt sketch from 1900 was bought for $45,000.

    The NYC Bonhams May Sale of European Paintings brought in more than $2 Million. Hardly a Christie’s Total, but still…

    Jean Baptiste Camille Corot achieved the highest bid: $134,500--for a painting of his friend & fellow painter, Constant Dutilleux, seated at an Easel.

    The Artwork’s Title: Douai, glacis des fortifications, près la porte Notre Dame



  47. Meanwhile, Over at Christie’s: Impressionist & Modern Art Win Totals of $158 Million!
  48. Chaim Soutine’s Le petit pâtissier astonished with a Winning Bid of $18 Million.

    A World Record for Soutine! Too bad he’s not around to enjoy the Added Fame. If not to share in the Money made for the Painting’s Previous Owner.

    Soutine’s Vue sur Village won $1,803,750, so his Star may be Rising.

    But who can keep up with Pablo Picasso?

    Here are some of his Million or More Bids in the same Sale:

    $8,523,750 for Femme assise en costume rouge sur fond bleu.

    $9,195,750 for Mandoline et portée de musique.

    $6,283,750 for Homme et femme.

    But let’s hear it for Egon Schiele, with $11,323,750 for his Selbstbildnis mit Modell.

    How about Marc Chagall, with $13,003,750 for his Les trois acrobats?

    Then there’s Joan Miró, whose Peinture fetched a fetching $10,987,750.

    Amadeo Modigliani’s The Jewess--or La juive--was purchased for $6,843,750.

    Even Claude Monet did very well: His Chemin was bought for $5,163,750, with his Argenteuil, fin d’après midi winning $6,059,750

    Henri Matisse called his $5 Million Canvas Jeune femme assise en robe grise, but his Venus à la Coquille won only $1,143,750

    Good Old Renoir, however, clocked in at $3,595,750 for his Confidence.

    Other French Impressionists--such as Camille Pissarro & Edgar Degas--also had sales over $One Million, with Beyond Impressionism’s Fernand Leger achieving $4,603,750 for Nature morte & $3,035,750 for Les Deux Figures.

    Of course, if you are really interested in Art, the Prices being paid for Dead Modern Masters will be of No Interest to you…

    Still, it’s worth noting how Art Auction Prices are rising, with Bids coming in from Asia & the Former Soviet Union, as well as from Western Europe & the Americas.

    Telephone Bids are still accepted, but On Line Bidding is increasingly Popular. You do not have to be in New York or London to bid anymore.



  49. Saving Wildlife & The Environment with Leonardo DiCaprio’s 11th Hour Auction
  50. A Record $38.8 Million Is Raised with Important Modern Artworks!

    Who knew that a Big Spender like Jay Gatsby would be interested in Saving Wildlife?

    Considering that Two Tigers together earned the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation $6.5 Million, perhaps Jay had an Affinity with Tigers?

    DiCaprio asked a number of Important Artists to donate Artworks to the 11th Hour Auction, in order to raise Funding for Preservation Projects.

    But Funding Donations also came from Collectors & Non Bidders: Anonymous contributed $5 Million, to match the sums bid for Three Tiger Paintings, by Robert Longo, Zeng Fanhzi, & Takashi Murakami.

    Here are some of the Donating Artists, along with some of the Spectacular Prices some Artworks achieved:

    Banksy, Sherrie Levine, Sterling Ruby [$1,785,000 for SP 2321], George Condo, Andreas Gursky, Julian Schnabel, Raymond Pettibon [$1,575,000 for No Title (The Lower Half…)], Mark Grotjahn [$6,510,000 for Untitled (Standard Lotus No. II, Bird of Paradise, Tiger Mouth Face 44.01)],

    Neo Rauch, Carol Bove, Joe Bradley, Rudolf Stingel, Bharti Khar [$1,758,000 for The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own], Urs Fischer [$1,102,000 for Good Problem], Anish Kapoor, Walton Ford, Richard Prince [$1,260,000 for Silhouette Cowboy],

    Adam McEwen, John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton [$1,050,000 for Leonardo], Sergei Jensen, Rob Pruitt, Cecily Brown, Mark Ryden--with his Queen Bee, complete with a Beehive Hairdo Frame, Dan Colen, Ed Ruscha, Peter Beard, Kai Althof, & Cady Noland.

    Ugo Rondinone--now on view in Rock Center Plaza, with his Huge Stone Giants, called Human Nature--had his ersteraprilzweitausenunddreizehn snatched up for only $283,500. The Title translates as April First, 2013…possibly an April Fools Joke?

    Donating such Artworks is not entirely an Exercise in Selflessness, Awareness of Environmental Issues, & Public Charity. It also helps establish new Upper Ranges of what your Stuff will sell for…

    The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is a component of the California Community Foundation, raising awareness about Critical Environmental Issues, as well as to benefit Innovative Conservation Projects.

    As a Native Son of the Golden West, Your Roving Arts Reporter--born 1928, in Sacramento, California--is well aware of Serious Environmental Concerns in the Golden State.

    Save the Redwoods is only one of Many

    There’s the Eternal Problem of Water. Not to mention Over Development in SoCal.

    Malibu may be OK, but how about San Luis Obispo & Fresno?



  51. At the Met Museum: Land Marks on the Wall--Blood on the Roof!
  52. Miss the Re Marks, But Check Out the Land Marks

    Considering the Vast Scope of some Earthworks Projects--notably Robert Smithson’s 1973 Bingham Copper Mining Pit--it is always Unfortunate that they usually have to be Admired/Experienced by looking at Black & White Photographs of them.

    When the Photographs themselves are not very impressive--as Photos, not necessarily for their Visual Content--an Exhibition like Land Marks at the Met can be a disappointment.

    Especially when it is deployed in part of a Corridor that Met Visitors use to get to Restrooms, Elevators, & Galleries. It seems a kind of Afterthought, a Space Filler

    Nonetheless, Christo Javacheff’s memorable Running Fence, Project for Sonoma County & Marin County is worth noting once again.

    Years ago--1975, to be exact--Your Roving Arts Reporter went along that Fence, photographing it in both Color Slides & Prints.

    Later, he photographed both Christo’s Gates in Central Park & the Process of Wrapping the Reichstag in Berlin, following Christo & Jean Claude on their [very early] Morning Rounds.


  53. Nothing of Jeff Koons, of Bamboo, or Simply Monumental on the Met’s Roof: Blood Patterns
  54. Usually, the Good Weather & the Summer Season at the Met Museum are greeted with a Major Show on the Roof, in what is charitably called The Roof Garden.

    Customarily, these Installations have been both Complicated & Monumental, Tourist Magnets!

    At the Press Preview, there was a Clear Field of View as one walked out onto the Terrace. Nowhere was any kind of Art Structure to be seen, not even the Giant Balloon Dogs of Jeff Koons.

    Instead, there--splattered on the floor--was a lot of Red Paint!

    It looked like a Red Cross Blood Donation Program gone wrong…

    But NO!

    This was, instead, The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi, which will stay on the Tiles until 3 November 2013, as long as Torrential Rains refrain from attacking the Artwork.

    Actually, what’s on the ground--even if it resembles a Crime Scene--is both Red Acrylic Blood Splatters & also Intricate Fern Like Foliated Patterns that are worked into the Gore.

    Qureshi--who hails from Pakistan--is distressed at the Violence endemic in our Modern World.

    The 8,000 Square Feet of the Roof Garden now bear His Painterly Reaction to this Carnage.

    He hopes for Regeneration & Lasting Peace, even if Relations between the United States & Pakistan do not seem so stable or friendly now.

    The Paisley Like Swirling Fronds have been inspired by the Secret Gardens seen in Mughal Miniatures.

    Nonetheless, it’s safer to go to the Met’s Roof than it is to travel to Lahore



  55. Not Pin the Tail on the Donkey, But Search for the Unicorn at the Met’s Cloisters!
  56. In honor of the 75th Anniversary of The Cloisters--high on a Peak in Fort Tryon--the General Public is invited to study the fabulous Unicorn Tapestries, as well as other Unicorn Centered Artworks.

    There is even a Unicorn Horn on display, but even those Spiraling Ivory Shafts-- often seen in Medieval & Renaissance Wunderkammer--aren’t really from Unicorns, living or dead.


    At the Cloisters--as in the Wunderkammer of the Salzburg Cathedral--the Horn is from a Norwhal--a Creature from the Briney Deep.

    Cloisters Visitors, looking at the Tapestry Sequence in which a Snow White Unicorn is Hunted Down & Killed, are often surprised by this Elegant Chase: Why would Anyone want to kill Anything so Beautiful?

    Although it is now well known that Unicorns were Mythic or "Fabulous Beasts"--never Actualities, always Metaphors or Symbols--in the Dark & Middle Ages, it was believed that the Powdered Horn of a Unicorn was a Powerful Medicine.

    Indeed, it was the Viagra of its day: it was regarded as an Aphrodisiac!

    Too bad Pfizer or Bayer cannot replicate it now.

    Oddly enough, in the Renaissance & well before, Unicorns were Symbols of both Virginity & Lechery.

    The pristine White Unicorn was the Mythical Protector of Virginal Young Maids.

    But Houses of Ill Repute were often marked with a Randy Unicorn Sign: Just imagine the Damage that its Thrusting Horn could do to a Hymen

    There are so many Treasures at the Cloisters--including Actual Courtyard Cloister Columns removed from their Mother Houses in Catalonia & Basque Lands--that you should plan to spend the day up at Fort Tryon, where you can also look across the Hudson River, still Searching for Unicorns.

    Also: Take Money with you--Admission now costs $25!



  57. The Last Supper at the Morgan: Celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Medieval Manuscripts
  58. There’s that Song about a Hundred Million Miracles are happening every day…

    But for both Medieval & Modern Catholics, Two Miracles happen every day, when Mass is Celebrated.

    When your Parish Priest elevates the Chalice of Wine & when he elevates the Holy Host, Bells sound three times to let you know that the Wine has been turned into the Blood of Christ & the Matzoh has been miraculously Transubstantiated into the Flesh of Christ.

    At the Morgan, amazing Medieval & Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts depict these Daily Miracles & even some of the Amazing Effects the Sacred Host has had on True Believers.

    The most splendid of the Manuscripts is the Hours of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, a 16th Century Masterpiece by Giulio Clovio.

    It depicts Pope Paul III in a grand Corpus Christi procession, winding its way into Old St. Peter’s Basilica.

    Another [Un discussed] Miracle is how it was possible for Pope Paul to be the Grandfather of the Farnese Cardinal

    Weren’t these Clerics--both High & Low--supposed to be Celibate?

    In the early Medieval Era, the Holy Mass was celebrated behind a Rood Screen, so the Ignorant Masses really could not see what was going on. You had to take the Miracles for granted…

    Nonetheless, every Roman Catholic was expected to take part in the Lord’s Supper at least once a year.

    The Blessed Juliana is credited with a Vision that launched the Corpus Christi Celebrations, when the Sacred Host was paraded through Cathedral Cities, often accompanied by Mystery Plays!

    Corpus Christi was initiated in Liège, Belgium, in 1246.

    What is it about the Belgians?

    In Bruges, they have The Holy Blood of Jesus Christ--not in a Golden Chalice, but in a kind of Crystal Tube--which miraculously Liquifies once a year.

    Supposedly this is the Very Blood that Joseph of Aramithea caught in a Chalice as Jesus was dying on the Cross!

    Over the Centuries, however, even Holy Blood tends to dry up. Just like that of St. Gennaro in Naples, which Liquifies once a year, on His Feast Day.

    When I was teaching in Naples--at NATO HQ--I made a point of going to the Cathedral for the Magic Moment. I was so far down the Nave that I couldn’t see anything.

    But the Officiating Bishop did tell us when the dry dust became Holy Liquid!

    Had I been a Roman Catholic--instead of a Methodist--& had I gone to Confession before beholding the Miracle, I would have won Remission for all my Temporal Sins!

    But Holy Blood is not such a Big Deal as Holy Wafers that have been Transformed into the Body of Christ.

    They can, of course, be ingested at the Holy Mass, but if they are placed in Elaborate Golden Gothic Monstrances, they can be on view in Cathedrals & Chapels, to be Worshipped & to Heal the Sick--even Scrofula…

    The best kind of Holy Hosts are not those that merely look like Communion Wafers, but those that actually Bleed Christ’s Holy Blood!

    One of the most famous of these was the Host of Dijon--for Three Hundred Fifty Years--always oozing Precious Drops of Jesus’ Holy Blood.

    Roger S. Wieck--Curator of the current exhibition at the Morgan--is the World’s Leading Expert on the Dijon Host.

    Unlike ordinary Communion Wafers, this Host came already embossed with an Image of Christ, as well as the Droplets of Holy Blood that marked Christ’s Holy Wounds & which also marked its Circumference.

    Ordinarily, your basic Matzoh or Wafer will crumble into Dust, over time, so the centuries long Survival of the Dijon Host seemed an added Miracle.

    I told Dr. Wieck that--when I was teaching in France--I made a special Pilgrimage to Dijon, hoping to behold the Blessed Host.

    No such Luck!

    It had been burned during the French Revolution, by the Revolting Masses

    Fortunately, I was able to enjoy some Dijon Mustard on my Roast Beef instead. But there was No Remission of Sins. Not even the Sin of Gluttony!

    Dijon was not the only Catholic City that rejoiced in a Bleeding Host. There were many such Hosts all over Christian Europe.

    But there is a Perfectly Natural explanation for the Bleeding: it was caused by Micrococcus Prodigiousus, a Microscopic Organism that thrives on Bread, turning Red & Liquifying!

    Illuminating Faith: The Eucharist in Medieval Life & Art will close on 2 September 2013, but it may not be of great interest to Satmars & Lubovitchers

    Today, it is difficult to imagine the Power of the Holy Church in enforcing Order in a Divided Europe that was a Multiplicity of Counties, Earldoms, Dukedoms, Principalities, & Kingdoms.

    Not only was it Important for Everyone--even the most Miserable Peasant--to take Communion at least once a year, but there was also the Threat of Excommunication for Great Kings who did not Obey.

    Think of Henry, who had to come to Canossa & kneel in the Snow!

    Although JP Morgan bought many of the most valuable Illuminated Manuscripts dealing with the Eucharist & other Rituals of Religious Piety, one wonders what Morgan ate for his Last Supper?



  59. At the Met Museum: More About the War Beween the States--American Art & The Civil War: Including Generous Lendings from the Museum of The Confederacy, Located in Virginia!
  60. Lehman Brothers crashed & went down in Economic Flames

    Fortunately for the Met Museum, its Lehman Wing is still flying high!

    It currently shelters the Smithsonian Institute Exhibition: The Civil War & American Art.

    This now runs concurrently with the recently launched Met Show: Photography & the American Civil War.

    Although Photography was not then so developed that Action Shots could be made during, say, the Battle of Vicksburg, nonetheless Matthew Brady & his Assistants could make Plates of the Bloated Corpses of both the Boys in the Blue & the Boys in the Gray.

    Not to overlook those Shuddering Images of the Shattered Ruins of Noble Plantations & Richmond & Atlanta

    Famed American Painters such as Eastman Johnson, Winslow Homer, & Frederic Edwin Church were not exactly like Modern War Correspondents--embedded with the Troops as Dick Cheney arranged for Our Triumphal Iranian Cakewalk.

    But Homer did, in fact, function as a Civilian Artist Correspondent, visiting Union Front Lines to make Sketches that would later be Wood Blocked for Harper’s Weekly.

    If you can find any Back Issues from that time in an Old Book Store, you have a Thing of Value.

    Now, if you can even find an Old Book Store--as Lower Fourth Avenue Bookstores have vanished--you also have a Thing of Value.

    Lesser known Painters of the Civil War Era on display in this Show include Sanford Robinson Gifford, Conrad Wise Chapman, & Alexander Gardner.

    It may be surprising to some--who know him best for his Huge Canvases of Far West Visions--but German born Albert Bierstadt painted a very taut scene of Civil War Guerilla Warfare.

    Sharp Shooters crouch beneath a huge Oak, firing over a rickety Log Fence at Horse Borne Soldiers.

    To give a Flavor of the Period--as well as the Aftermath of the War to Save the Union--Peacetime Painted Images are also included.

    Notably Albert Bierstadt’s Looking Down Yosemite Valley--from 1865--which suggests that Bierstadt couldn’t wait to get out of the Eastern United States

    According to the Exhibition’s Curator, this Vision "…addressed the Nation’s Hopes for the Future."

    This is a Yosemite devoid of Humans or Animals--not even a Shoshone Indian or two…

    So it can be imagined to represent "…a new Eden that promises Renewal & Healing after the Trauma of War & Sectarian Strife."

    Well, if you’ve ever actually seen Yosemite, that is certainly a Stretch



  61. Paul Krugman at the CUNY Graduate Center, That Place with the Upside Down Flags
  62. Fifth Avenue is One Way going Downtown.

    When your M 1 or M 2 or M 3 or M 4 Muni Bus approaches the former B. Altman’s Department Store Building--now the Home of the City University of New York’s Graduate Center--you may notice that the Blue Flags, with White Letters, celebrating the CUNY Location are hung Upside Down.

    They only look Right, if you get off the MTA Bus at 33rd Street & walk back

    Either way, All Roads led to the Harold Proshansky Auditorium, where the New York Times’ Resident Genius, Princeton Prof & Nobel Prize Winning Economist Paul Krugman was to discuss Inequality & Economic Growth.

    Actually, Krugman was not Alone--though, often at the Times, he seems to be the only Op Ed Writer who has his Head Screwed on Right [or Left, as the case may be]--because he was In Conversation with Sir Tony Atkinson, of Oxford University.

    Yes, Britain has Economic Problems, as does the so called European Union, but both the UK & Western Europe do not represent the Vastness of America, nor the Growing Gap between the Super Rich & Everyone Else in the United States, including the Growing Group of the American Poor.

    It was suggested that, if Things Get Much Worse--with the Erasure of the Middle Class & with Massive Unemployment--there might be Civil Unrest

    Gated Communities & Secluded Estates--even with Killer Dogs, Electric Fences, Machine Guns, & Hovering Drones--may not protect the Ill Gotten Super Fortunes of those who have forgotten their Fellow Citizens.

    Chrystia Freedman--of Thomson Reuters--was the Moderator, but CUNY Prof Vivian Gornick introduced the Session, in her Function as Director of the Luxembourg Income Study Center at CUNY.

    Gross Herzogin Charlotte of Luxembourg might well be astonished--were she still with us--to know that the LIS Cross National DATA CENTER is not only Registered in Lux City, but is also Located there, on 17, rue des Pommiers, although the Satellite Office is at the CUNY Grad Center.

    Paul Krugman is noted for his insistence that the Concept of Austerity as a means of Healing the Worldwide Financial Crisis brought on by International Banksters is Dead Wrong.

    What we desperately need--although President Obama doesn’t appear to understand it--says Krugman, is a Public Works Program, similar to President Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal, to Put America Back to Work.

    Of course, World War II really got us out of The Great Depression, but the Wars we now have are Ruining us, so more Pentagon Billions expended are not going to save Us--or the US.



  63. Tribal Arts Week at Bonhams: Not the Whole Canoe, Only the Prow!
  64. If you were a Native of the Marquesas Islands way back when, you might well have been distressed to discover that someone had stolen the Prow of your Canoe.

    More likely, someone like the late Michael Rockefeller may have offered Hard Cash--or Cowrie Shells-- for it, to take it back to Civilization for either a Rich Collector or a Major Museum.

    The suggested Beginning Bid was $8,000, but On site, On line, & Telephone Bidders shot the Sale Price up, up, & up to almost $80,000.

    Your Roving Arts Reporter regularly visits Bonhams to inspect & to photograph the Range of Treasures that it offers at Auction.

    Most of the Multitude of African, Oceanic, & Pre Columbian Artifacts on view were certainly of Museum Quality, so it’s no wonder New Records were set.

    Inca, Maya, & Aztec Cult Objects were especially dazzling.

    As at Christie’s, the Public is welcome before the Actual Auctions, so Bonhams often functions as a Free Museum & Art Gallery.

    If you cannot afford--or you don’t even have room in a NYC Studio Apartment for--a Senufo Rhythm Pounder from the Côte Ivoire, you can buy a handsome Bonhams Catalogue of the Entire Sale

    This Senufo Artifact sold for $45,000!

    But, when I was last in the Ivory Coast, I bought Artworks much less costly directly from Native Artists, whom I also interviewed for An African Arts Safari, written in 1972, but Never Published because--as I was told by a number of White Editors: "A White Man cannot write a book about Black Africa…"



  65. All Time World Record for Art Auction Sales Set at Christie’s: $638.6 Million!
  66. Why couldn’t one of those Russian Oligarchs or even a Mexican Drug Cartel Billionaire have rounded off that Figure to an even Seven Hundred Million Dollars?

    Nonetheless, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Eleventh Hour Auction alone brought in almost $39 Million, with the Artifacts from the Armand & Celeste Bartos Collection being sold for almost $34 Million.

    Andy Williams’ Treasures were even more admired, fetching some $53 Million.

    In Leonardo’s Auction--to save Wildlife Worldwide, it’s assumed--the Donated Artworks established new World Records for a number of already World Famous Kunstlers.

    No less than Nineteen of the Artists represented had their works sold for over a Million Dollars.

    Elizabeth Peyton’s Portrait of Leonardo was the Low Bid, for only $One Million Plus.

    Soaring to the Top was Roy Lichtenstein’s Comix Inspired Woman with a Flowered Hat.

    This not very large Canvas sold for $56 Million

    But it was topped by Jackson Pollock’s Number 19, 1945, which could not have been donated by Pollock himself, as he crashed his Auto into a tree, many many years ago.

    For some Artists, Death can indeed be a Good Career Move!

    Jean Michel Basquiat’s much publicized Dustheads sold for almost $49 Million.

    A Joseph Cornell Box--Magic Soap Bubble Set--brought almost $5 Million.

    Marc Grotjahn’s Peacock Feather Tiger Fantasy--Untitled (Standard Lotus No. II, Bird of Paradise, Tiger Mouth Face 44.01)--found a Buyer at $6.5 Million. That’s a lot of Money, even for Feathers

    To Fellini, by Philip Guston, fetched nearly $25 Million.

    Other Million Plus Artists in this Sale included: Piero Manzoni, Hans Hofmann, Julie Mehretu, Richard Serra, Luc Tuymans, Kenneth Noland, Robert Longo, Ruth Asawa, Bharti Kher, Raymond Pettibon, & El Anatsui.

    In other Christie’s Sales in this Mid May Week, other Million Plus Artists included Wayne Thiebaud, Louise Bourgeois, Sam Francis, David Park, Sean Scully, Christopher Wool, & Anish Kapoor.

    John Currin’s meticulously rendered Girl in Bed almost broke the Million Barrier, selling for only $993,750.

    Almost makes you wish you’d bought these Artists way back when they were Unknown



  67. At the Whitney: Hopper Drawings & David Hockney: The Jugglers
  68. If you cannot come to Manhattan to savor the Edward Hopper Full Floor Exhibition of Hopper Drawing, go on line to the Museum Website to see for yourself these Wonders. You can also order the Catalogue on line…

    Before the Assembled Art Critics left the Press Buffet to ascend to Hopper Heaven, some expressed disappointment that we’d be seeing only some Old Sketches, instead of Signature Hopper Paintings

    Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

    All the Iconic Paintings are here.

    But what gives them Added Expressiveness are the Multitude of Studies that Hopper made before he began to Paint: a Hand, seen from several angles; a row of Gas Pumps, variously imagined; a bored Movie Usherette, standing this way & that.

    Even Studies of the Side Corridor in which she is standing…

    You like Victorian Houses? Hopper sketched Every Detail, including Window Moldings!

    The Third Floor Galleries have been partitioned & partitioned as never before. Each Important Painting, thus, has its own Corner to demonstrate the Design Process that led to the Finished Image.

    Christie’s has a Unique Hopper that it is promoting for a Major Sale, so it has prepared a handsome Booklet about Hopper’s Fascination with the way Light strikes Houses. As well as the Shadows

    In this Show, that Focus is clearly seen, but Hopper was also interested in how Light & Shadow fall on Nude Female Bodies.

    To Get into the Act of promoting interest in Hopper Drawing, New York Magazine ran a Feature, featuring Photos of Period Sites that might have inspired Hopper’s Epic of Loneliness, Nighthawks.

    One of them is that odd Glass Enclosed Pie Wedge jutting out from the Flatiron Building, down on West 23rd.

    It can barely accommodate small Art Projects, let alone a Diner Counter & Customer Stools.

    Nonetheless, from Hopper’s Drawings & Old Photos, this Site does indeed seem To Be The Place!

    Among the Hopper Masterworks on view are: New York Movie, Morning in a City, Office at Night, Rooms for Tourists, The Road, Route 6 Eastham.



  69. David Hockney Shows his Jugglers Video on Floor Two of the Whitney!
  70. There’s this wide, wide & dark, dark Video Room at the Whitney that is now the Site of the US Premiere of David Hockney’s The Jugglers, June 24th 2012.

    Six Vertical Sections of the Video Screen--vivid in Reds & Blue Hues--show Oval on going Acts of Juggling, including not only Dumbbells but also Hula Hoops.

    All this to the accompaniment of Stars & Stripes Forever!

    Actually, this is not just any old Video. No: It is, instead, a Video Installation!

    What’s More to the Point: "…Multiple Perspectives can transform our Experience of the Moving Image."

    Also: "Hockney mines the Histories of Cinema & Painting, through the Lens of Technology, to create a New Way of Seeing."

    Wow! All of This in only a Nine Minute Long Video!



  71. New Ways of Thinking about Contemporary Portraiture on the Whitney’s First Floor!
  72. Either shown Vertical or Horizontal, Stuart Uoo’s Dystopic Cyborg Mannequins look like Road Kill after a Slash & Burn Tet Offensive.

    Also in this Designed Environment is Jane Euler’s Painting, which--along with those Dystopic Dummies--"…interrogate how the Social, Technological, & Cultural Forces at work today shape the Contemporary ‘Self.’"

    Well, you may well Scoff if you like, but you cannot accuse Curators at the Whitney of failing to conduct such Interrogations!

    But even a Museum dedicated to The American Artist needs to be careful not to confuse Cultural Forces with Cultural Farces



  73. More World Records Shattered at Christie’s: $828.8 Million Finds Safe Haven in Artworks!
  74. Tallying the Results from the Two Week Spring Auction Series at Christie’s finally adds up to the Breathtaking Sum of $828.8 Million.

    The subsequent Sale of Important English, Continental & American Silver topped out at almost Three Million Dollars.

    Two Important 18th Century German Soup Tureens sold for $171,750

    Is there such a Thing as an Un Important Soup Tureen, German or otherwise?

    Meanwhile, at Bonhams in San Francisco, a Case of 1961 Château Haut Brion was purchased for $18,445. That must have been a Very Good Year



  75. Tour the Morgan Library/Museum on Your Cell Phone, Thanks to Google’s Art Project!
  76. With the rapid development of Apps for just about anything, it seems no Stretch of the Imagination to foresee a Time not far off when it will be possible to see the Met Opera & the Met Museum on your Digital Wristwatch.

    Initially, I posited that as a kind of Wry Joke, in which, once it is unnecessary to Pay Real Money & make the effort of going to the Met--either the Singing One or the Art Artifact Warehouse--the Actual Institutions & their Respective Buildings would also become Unnecessary.

    Thanks to the Google Art Project, that Day may not be far in coming

    Just as Google’s Street View Trolley can roll down your Street, Avenue, or Blvd, it can now go inside Major Museums & give you 360° View of the Interiors, Room by Room & their Art Contents.

    Not only can you now study in Great Detail some Hundred of the Morgan Library Treasures--Paintings, Sculptures, Rare Books, & Manuscripts--you can also examine up close the Architectural Details & Interior Decoration of this McKim Masterpiece.

    Online, you can now see the Remarkable Murals on the 30 Foot High Ceilings as you cannot if you are actually There.

    What’s More: You can even examine closely the entire 12’ x 24’ 16th Century Tapestry that hangs over the Library Fireplace!

    If you have ever tried to make a Photo of a Rembrandt or a Rubens at the Met Museum, only to have a Guard rush over to stop you--owing to Copyright Restrictions or some other excuse, Rembandt’s Copyrights having by this time surely run out--the Google Art Project now removes that Problem.

    In order to put Art, Archives, Heritage Sites, & other Cultural Goodies online, the Google Cultural Institute is digitizing Museums, Contents, & Sites all over the World.

    Over Three Million Books in the Stanford University Library are now available online. But then most of the Google Guys & Gals have Stanford Degrees

    If you want to discuss an Art Favorite with Friends, you can Browse by Artist, Artwork, Type of Art, Museum, Country, Collections, & Century.

    You could visit the Louvre or the Vatican Library without ever having to go through Customs & Security

    Using the "My Gallery" feature, you can even build a Personal Art Collection to share with Friends & Family. You can even add your own Comments to the Digitalized Art Photos!

    Soon--unless you need to Work to pay the Rent--you will never have to Leave Home, least of all to go to the Metropolitan Opera



  77. Monster Show at Met Museum of Old Masters: From 1300 AD To 1800 CE--Out of the Vaults!
  78. Google had better get their Google Trolley over to the Met Museum, where the European Paintings Galleries have been Refreshed & Re Hung, with a Third Again New Space added to the former Galleries.

    Now there are more than Seven Hundred Old Masters in Forty Five Galleries.

    Although some of the most celebrated of the Met’s Masters are still on view--but in New Conformations & Contexts--many of the Remarkable Canvases must have been down in the Vaults for Decades.

    I have been a Met Regular since 1960, but I swear some of the Holbeins & El Grecos I’ve not seen on these walls before.

    Instead of just a few Goyas, how about an Entire Room of Masterpieces by Francisco Goya y Lucientes?

    The Met’s Holdings of Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, David, Velázquez, & Goya are the strongest in the Western Hemisphere.

    Not only do some Galleries now have new Floorings & Moldings, but even some Paintings now have outfitted with handsome Period Frames--which enhance the Viewing Experience.

    The Organizing Principle has been Chronology & Geography.

    You cannot do--let alone Do Justice To--all 45 Galleries in only One Day.

    So do plan to Return Again & Again!



  79. Kolo Moser at the Neue Galerie: Die Wiener Werkstätte Lives Again!
  80. In France, they gave this Sinuous New Style the name of Art Nouveau

    Jugendstil was the name used in Germany & Austria, because it was a New Style: Jugend=Youth.

    In Scotland & England, it grew out of the Arts & Crafts Movement, with the Scot, Charles Rennie McIntosh admired more in Austro Germany than back home.

    In Vienna, McIntlosh was revered, but so were the Local Innovators: Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, & Koloman Moser.

    Last year in Vienna, the Secession Genius, Gustav Klimt, was being honored all year long.

    But every year there is Vienna 1900, thanks to the talents of Wagner, Moser, & Hoffmann--who somewhat overshadowed Moser.

    Now--at Ronald Lauder’s Neue Galerie--Moser has at last Come Into His Own for Americans who do not know about either Secession or the Wiener Werkstätte, which Moser & Hoffmann co founded.

    Some years ago, when I had created & edited the Art Deco News for the Art Deco Society of New York, I featured Secession in one of the Quarterly Issues & the Wiener Werkstätte in another.

    Both were the result of Intensive Research in various Vienna Archives, notably those of MAK, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst.

    This is refers to Interior Decoration, but I initially thought--when I was first learning German--that it meant Art put on the Walls, as Wand means, in fact, Wall

    But I also went to Firma Backhausen, in the Kärntnerstrasse, where they gave me Fabric Samples of Kolo Moser’s wonderfully intricate Designs.

    So it was a renewed joy to enjoy so many of the Moser Designs I’d first come to know in Vienna now up on Fifth & 86th!

    Of course, I’d already photographed Moser’s remarkable Stained Glass Windows for Die Kirche am Steinhof years ago, as well as his "Golden Cabbage", as the striking Museum/Gallery for Secession is known.

    There is a handsome Model of the Cabbage in the new show, as well as some innovative Moser Furniture I’d never before seen.

    There is also a Prestel Catalogue which glowingly preserves Photo Images of Moser Ceramics, Silver, Crystal, Jewelry, Furniture, Wall Papers, & Fabric Designs.

    This costs some $60 & seems to weigh about 60 Pounds

    Following its run in Manhattan--closing 2 September 2013--Koloman Moser: Designing Modern Vienna, 1897 1907, will move to Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

    It’s now over a Century since Kolo Moser began designing Modern Things for Still Imperial Vienna, but his Modernity is still Fresh & Striking. They do not look like Victorian Remainders



  81. Theatre Folk at Sardi’s OCC Get Together: Cicely Tyson, Nathan Lane, Andrea Martin, & Others!
  82. This Season End was marked by the 63rd Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards.

    The OCC Honors always come before the Drama Desk Awards, which precede the Tonys.

    Awards in Ascending Order, so to speak…

    But what makes the OCC Party so special is that it’s more like a Theatre Family Get Together.

    Many Broadway & Off Broadway Talents who are onstage eight times a week, seldom have the chance to Compare Notes--or even Family Photos--unless they have been invited to the Always Crowded Eugenia Room at Sardi’s.

    Some Seasons ago, as a Table Host, I sat between Rosemary Harris & Chita Rivera, who were busily visiting across me.

    "Shall I change places, so you can talk more easily?"

    "No, Glenn! This is just fine! But we seldom have the chance to see each other when we’re in shows…"

    On Thursday Afternoon, 23 May 2013, at 4pm, I found myself sitting next to Terrence Mann, who is the Holy Roman Empire’s Emperor Charlemagne in Pippin.

    Although quite different from the Bob Fosse Original, this new Pippin is a Circus Wonder & it won a Cornucopia of OCC Awards: not least to Gypsy Snider, for her Circus Inflected Choreography.

    She shared this honor with Co Choreographer Chet Walker, who honored Fosse by resurrecting his Straw Hat & Cane Vaudeville Routines.

    My Humble Suggestion that we should present Posthumous OCC Scrolls to both Bob Fosse & George Balanchine--as their Signature Choreograpies were once again on Broadway--was ignored.…

    Balanchine’s Orpheus Choreography is being reprised in Nikolai & the Others, now at Lincoln Center.

    Other OCC Winners included Cyndi Lauper & Billy Porter, of Kinky Boots, as well as Nathan Lane of The Nance, & Cicely Tyson, so beautiful in The Trip to Bountiful.

    Not all the Stars were winning Awards. Some--who had previously won OCC Awards--were busy awarding this Season’s OCC Scrolls: Judi Kaye, Michael McGrath, Donna Murphy, Audra McDonald, & Tonya Pinkins!

    John Gassner--who was a Founder of the OCC, because Minor & Out of Town Critics couldn’t join the Drama Critics Circle--was once again remembered & honored with the John Gassner Award.

    Gassner was Sterling Professor of Playwriting at the Yale Drama School & the Mentor of Many--including me, although I went to Stanford, not to Yale.

    John was famed for encouraging a number of Subsequently Successful New American Playwrights, so his Widow, Mollie Gassner, & I helped set up this Annual Award, which this May went to Aaron Posner, for My Name Is Asher Lev.



  83. NY Philharmonic at St. John the Divine: Not as Tough as Being a Canterbury Pilgrim
  84. Those LED Billboards over at Lincoln Center advertised a Free Concert on Memorial Day!

    But it wasn’t to be held across Broadway from the Angel Moroni. No, indeed!

    It was scheduled for a More Mainstream Sanctuary: The Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

    So I thought I’d take the No. 4 MTA Bus over to Cathedral Parkway, stopping off for some Spoon bread at Miss Masie’s

    They were fresh out of Spoon bread & even out of Corn bread. So I ordered the Sampler Platter, but it took over an hour to make it out of the kitchen.

    The Concert was to begin at 8pm & it was already 7pm, so I grabbed a Doggie Bag & scooted over to the Cathedral Block.

    The Line was up the hill from Morningside Park already, so it took almost an hour for all of us to squeeze into the Vast Unfinished Spaces of NYC’s Episcopal Cathedral.

    Alan Gilbert led the NY Philharmonic in an Echo Chamber Experience of Bruckner’s Symphony in D Minor, supposedly his Answer to Beethoven’s Ninth

    Unfortunately, the Cavernous Nave of the Cathedral is not the best Resonator for Symphonic Music.

    When we had finished with our Free Hour of Memorial Day Concertising--an Annual Event--hordes of Music Lovers pushed their Way out the Great Doors.

    One Dyspeptic Spectator/Auditor snorted: "Well, Bruckner’s no Mahler!"

    Alan Gilbert never said he was, did he?



  85. At the Morgan Library/Museum: Old Masters, Newly Acquired
  86. But--Unlike the Old Masters at the Met Museum, These Are Drawings, or Works on Paper.

    Thanks to gifts from such Morgan Benefactors as the late Brooke Astor, Eugene V. Thaw, & former Morgan Director, Charles Ryskamp, JP Morgan’s Collections of Drawings from the Renaissance to the 19th Century have been, in the words of the Current Director, "augmented & transformed."

    Obviously, only Certified Researchers can have access to these Collections, so it is good that the Morgan has found some Wall Space & Exhibition Cases to show some of the best of the New Acquisitions.

    Among them are sketches & drawings by Redon, Vuillard, Manet, & Cézanne, not to overlook the Danes, Eckersberg & Lundbye, nor the Brits, John Martin & Samuel Palmer.

    For that matter, there is a fascinating Sketchbook by George Romney--78 leaves, with 45 drawings--whose dates [1734 1839] suggest that he might have been an Artistic Ancestor of Mitt Romney

    Next to that Open Book is the Sketchbook of Charles Francis Daubigny, showing a splendid perspective of a Victorian Railway Station, all Cast Iron Columns & soaring Glass Vaults.

    The most wonderfully complicated of all the Drawings is Adolph Gustave Binet’s Construction of the Eiffel Tower.

    One delightful Scene you do not want to miss--if you are able to come to the Morgan before this show is taken down on 12 August 2013--is Tiepolo’s Dancing Dogs with Musicians & Bystanders. There are almost a Dozen Dogs, all dancing on their Hind Legs!

    It’s always good to see anything by Caspar David Friedrich, most of whose Major Works were for so many years on view only behind The Iron Curtain.

    My favorite, however, has to be a Fuseli Watercolor: Kriemhild at the Wake of Siegfried.

    Not so much for its Wagnerian Subject, but because I have a handsome large Engraving of this Mythic Scene.

    I bought it years ago off a Barrow in Farringdon Market, for 2/6, having cut it out of an entire book of Fuseli Engravings with a Razor Blade. I also sliced out Macbeth’s Three Witches & other celebrated Fuseli Scenes.

    Only when the Raffish Dealer was rolling up my Purchases, did I think to ask him if I could have bought the Entire Book before I slashed the Best from it…

    Yes, he said. Because I was a Regular--I came down to London on Weekends from my Teaching Post, at Burtonwood Airbase in the Midlands--he would have sold me the Heavy Tome for only £30.

    There is a handsome Brochure available, with Color Reproductions of a number of these Morgan Treasures.



  87. More Museum Notes: American Folk Art’s Innovative Former Home Facing Destruction, While Its Palazzo del Mondo Is Off To the Venice Biennale!
  88. The American Folk Art Museum not so long ago moved from its older cramped quarters on West 53rd Street into a remarkable Rusted Metal New Home virtually across the street;

    Unfortunately, the Footprint on which this Museum was constructed was very constricted, so that Visitors couldn’t really back off from Wall Exhibits to view them effectively.

    Doubly Unfortunate was the fact that the Funding was not there for the Museum to continue, so it was Padlocked & Chained.

    Instead, it Bifurcated: One part of the Collection being installed in the Mormon Building at Lincoln Center. The other is now down at South Street Seaport

    As the handsome, but abandoned West 53rd Street Premises abut the Museum of Modern Art, it might well be thought that MoMA would be eager to reopen this Unusual Structure as an innovative Work of Architectural Art.

    But No!

    It’s Floor Levels do not match those of MoMA, so it must GO!

    Meanwhile, the Met Museum is scheduled to take over the Marcel Breuer Designed Whitney on Madison as a Museum of Architecture, so what’s wrong with the MoMA Management about having an Architecture Museum?

    Oddly enough--although the Folk Art Folks have an immense collection of the somewhat Pedophiliac Drawings of the seriously Odd Man Out, Henry Darger--it is their Enciclopedico Palazzo del Mondo that will be going off to Venice for the Bienalle 2013, the 55th of these now celebrated International Art Exhibitions.

    In fact, Marino Auriti’s Palazzo is the Inspiration for this Summer’s Biennale!

    An Italian Immigrant, Auriti designed his Monumental Palazzo Model as a Skyscraper Museum, to hold all the Works of Man in Whatever Field, from the Wheel to the Satellite & Beyond…

    He intended his Palazzo for the Mall in DC, but, as it would have stood some 2,322 feet, with 136 stories, it could have towered over the Washington Monument.

    If you’ve never seen the Palazzo & you aren’t going off to Venice this summer, be sure to see it when it comes back to Lincoln Center. The Angel Moroni will be up there blowing his Trumpet



  89. End of Month Auction House Sales Results: Bonhams & Christie’s Break Records, Again

The Presidio of Los Angeles is certainly not as old as some of the Dinosaur Bones that Bonhams auctioned there recently in what is now the City of the Angels, sometimes thought of as the City of the Angles..

How about $86,500 for a Tyrannosaurus Rex Maxilla--complete with Seven Teeth?

If you are into Jurassic Crocodiles of Poseidon Shale, one went for $84,100.

From Lebanon, came the 100 Million Year Old Rhombopterygia Guitar Fish Fossil.

Although this is the Largest of the Species ever discovered, it sold for only $17,500

Other Fossils--many of them Millions of Years Old--came from such Rocky Treasure Troves as the Green River Formation, the Duck Creek Formation, the Bearpaw Formation, the Morrison Formation, & the Hell Creek Formation

Meanwhile, back at Bonhams in Manhattan, an Albert Bierstadt painting of another Rock Formation--Sentinel Rock in Yosemite--sold for only $338,500.

Eastman Johnson’s Indian Family, painted when he was with the Ojibwe Indians in Wisconsin--while not depicting the Far West as Bierstadt did--fetched $442,500, the Sale’s Top Lot.

Over at Christie’s, it was all about Edward Hopper--who now has an entire floor over at the Whitney, showing how his Meticulous Drawings segued into his Iconic Paintings.

Hopper’s also Iconic but also Epic Canvas, Blackwell’s Island, sold for $19 Million, the highest bid ever made at Christie’s for a Single Work in an American Art Sale!

That recent Multi Million Dollar Roy Lichtenstein Canvas doesn’t count, because that wasn’t in an exclusively American Art Sale

A Hopper Work on Paper--Kelly Jenness House--broke the World Record at $4 Million.

A Saturday Evening Post Cover Painting by Norman Rockwell, showing a cute boy admiring three Starlet Photos--called Starstruck--went under the Hammer for $2 Million.

My Back Yard, a Canvas by Georgia O’Keeffe, was sold for nearly $4 Million.

A handsome Portrait of George Washington, by John Trumbull, won nearly $1.5 Million.

Other American Artists breaking the Million Dollar Barrier were George Wesley Bellows, Sanford Robinson Gifford, & Maxfield Parrish.

Where is all this Money coming from? There are Homeless People in New York who would be very glad if some of the Christie’s Bidders might drop a few Bucks in their Empty Coffee Cups

Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.

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