Tuesday, November 17, 2015

South Florida Social Diary: Picturing Women

Cynthia Friedman and Melissa Parker stand in front of their portraits while having friends photograph them at the Boca Museum of Art's opening reception for its latest exhibition Dames: Portraits by Norman Sunshine.
Picturing Women: Museums showcase female figures
By Augustus Mayhew

From the Virgin Mary to Barbie, women have served as subjects for objects with aesthetic appeal. Several South Florida galleries and museums are staging all-women shows, among them the Boca Museum of Art and the Cornell Art Museum at Delray Beach’s Old School Square.  In Miami’s Design District, the Poltrona Frau Group’s Women doing Women exhibition opened on November 11th.

Dames: Portraits by Norman Sunshine
Boca Museum of Art @ Mizner Park
3 November 2015 – 14 February 2016

Having spent most of his life putting others and their interests in front of the camera, former advertising creative director Norman “What becomes a legend most?” Sunshine has  focused the past several years showcasing his own artistic talents. For his recently opened show Dames: Portraits by Norman Sunshine at the Boca Museum of Art, he  was inspired by “notable women; their poise, their composure, and their self-assurance.” Tapping into a palette of painterly and Photoshop techniques that make for surprisingly evocative impressionistic representations, the exhibition’s 25 painterly-enhanced digital portraits include images of Palm Beach residents Sheila Fine, Cynthia Friedman, Hillie Mahoney, Christine Stiller, Susan Telesco Fran Weissler Lee Wolf, and as well as Agnes Gund, Nancy Kissinger and Anne Sutherland Fuchs, among them. Along with his work found in galleries and collections in Los Angeles and New York, Sunshine’s sculpture Forgotten Worlds III was installed at The Society of the Four Arts garden on Palm Beach. Following the opening, Sunshine and his lifelong partner Alan Shayne hosted a dinner for the portrait subjects and friends at Don Julio’s restaurant next door to the museum.
Opened in 2001, the Boca Museum's 44,000 square-foot facility is in addition to its art guild-school campus on Palmetto Park Road established in 1962. Designed by renowned architect Donald Singer, best known for his contemporary minimalist concrete-and-glass buildings, the museum's exterior architectural features appear to conform with the existing Disneyesque Mediterranean ambiance of Mizner Park rather than reflect Singer's dynamic 21st-century interior spaces. When designing the building on the irregular shaped five-acre lot, Singer said it was "like trying to paint the Mona Lisa on a banana."
The Boca Raton Museum of Art rebranded itself the Boca Museum of Art in 2013. Gulf Stream resident Jean Spence gave the museum $2 million, its largest gift, in 2000, earning her naming rights to the galleries.
The museum's east elevation courtyard entrance opens onto the Count de Hoernle Amphitheater.
Boca Museum of Art, courtyard entrance.
From the courtyard, looking into the museum's thirty-foot Great Hall. Al Held (1928-2005). Mantegna's Edge, 1983. Acrylic on 14-foot by 52-foot canvas mounted to the wall. Gift of the New York Life Insurance Company, 1994.
Norman Sunshine.
Alan Shayne, retired president of Warner Brothers Television, and Norma Sunshine have been partners for more than 50 years. Shayne and Sunshine wrote a biographical book about their life together published in 2011 — Double Life A Love Story from Broadway to Hollywood.
Their book, as well as the catalog for Dames, is available in the museum's bookstore.
A view of the Great Hall, looking north toward the second-floor gallery where Dames is exhibited.
Great Hall, looking south.
Dalia Pabon Stiller, chair of Boca Raton Museum of Art Board of Trustees. Stiller is an architectural designer with a degree from Cornell.
Irvin Lippman, executive director of the Boca Art Museum.
Marilyn Davimos and Diane Miller.
Carol Finn and Andrea Dubroff.
Rod Helm and Melissa Parker.
Bob and Christine Stiller.
Carole Ruhlmann and Regina Porten.
Marisa J. Pascucci, curator of collections.
The Dames exhibit is on the museum's second floor; the lighting was quite well done.
More Dames.
Hillie Mahoney.
Agnes Gund.
Susan and Dom Telesco.
Sheila Fine.
Patti Myura and Melissa Parker with Parker's portrait.
Carole Ruhlmann.
Matthew Byrne.
Kehinde Wiley's portrait titled Big Daddy Kane, 2005 is part of the museum's collection courtesy of John P. Morrissey. Wiley was commissioned by VH1 to paint its 2005 Hip-Hop Honorees.
Norman Sunshine with his subjects and friends.
On the way from the museum across the street to Don Julio's, the arcade ceiling features a series of painted lips titled This Color is Great, a work by Berlin-based artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock.
7:58 pm, Monday. Michael & Madelyn Savarick Tower.
Reception Dinner for Dames at Don Julio's
Of course, this must be "Don Julio"
Douglas Cramer.
Guests enjoyed an array of Mexican flavors in Don Julio's private cantina.
Norman Sunshine, Hubert Bush and Douglas Cramer.
Dames: Portraits by Norman Sunshine at the Boca Museum of Art. Great fun!
Exxpectations @ Cornell Art Museum
Old School Square @ Delray Beach
29 October 2015 – 3 January 2016

At the Cornell Art Museum, curators Melanie Johanson and Brenda Zappitell have assembled a group exhibition of contemporary art by 18 women. Along with their selected works, artists share what they believe the art world expects from women artists.
Cornell Art Museum, north elevation. I braved a persistent thunderstorm and parked in a nearby parking garage that supplanted the town's landmark drug store and post office.
Last Letter. Painted welded aluminum. Sculptor Jane Manus' work is the centerpiece for my first grade classroom when the cultural center was then an elementary school.
Co-curator Brenda Zappittell and sculptor Jane Manus.
She's a F****** Star. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas with heavy resin. Ashley Longshore, New Orleans.
Barbie. Acrylic and oil on Masonite. Holly Farrell, Toronto. Faithful. Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas. Helen Bayley, San Francisco.
Five O'Clock. Oil on Canvas. Hayley Gaberlavage, New Orleans.
Inland Waterway. Oil on canvas. Jamie Kirkland, Santa Fe.
Cornell Art Museum, first-floor corridor.
Cornell Art Museum, second-floor landing.
Cornell Art Museum, south elevation. Banners, signage, flood lamps, and a light show turned the 1913 historic school's façade into a billboard.
The northwest corner of the Cornell Art Museum offers a more definitive less muddled view.
Downtown Delray Beach

With Old School Square as its centerpiece, Delray's East Atlantic Avenue has become an upscale alternative to South Beach and the dining destination for Palm Beachers in search of off-island pleasures.
A former VFW meeting hall was replaced by Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar. According to its website, Racks is "a visionary restaurant concept that has completely transformed neighborhood dining and the existing culinary lifestyles …"
With the success of the Fish House, the opening of the Fat Rooster extended the Racks empire to Atlantic Avenue.
Tile mural, detail. Rocco's Tacos.
East Atlantic Avenue.
At Solita, the Halloween party was about to begin.
City Oyster & Sushi Bar was SRO before 7 pm.
Johnnie Brown's replaced the classic Flamingo gas station.
The Pineapple Grove sign is one of the more captivating aspects of the area.
Ocean City Lumber was transformed into a mixed-use center.
Ocean City Lumber Plaza. On the south side of the plaza, the House of Siam is one of my favorite spots.
View of the Plaza from the Green at Old School Square.
Buddha Sky Bar, 217 East Atlantic Avenue. Owners Chris Licata and Bobby Yampolsky have turned the former Powers Lounge site into one of the diamond bracelet crowd's exclusive destinations.
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.