Friday, November 8, 2013

The Art Set: “As The Old Sing, So Pipe The Young”

From the Calder Shadows exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan gallery on Madison Avenue.
The Art Set: “As The Old Sing, So Pipe The Young”
by Charlie Scheips

Readjusting to New York after a couple months living in France has its challenges. I am not a fan of the new Citi bikes nor the bike lanes and all the traffic rules that have been imposed on us from on high. I am sorry, but the New York City bike program is NOT like Paris. The Paris bikes are painted pale beige and totally blend into the color scheme of the city. Paris also rarely gets the snowfall we get here. I wonder how the snowplows are going to maneuver piles of snow from the street around these visual monstrosities. Thumbs down on the bikes!!!
Paris bikes.
Citi bikes.
One of the most enjoyable nights I had recently was at the Whitney Gala that was held this year at the James A. Farley Post Office that has now been renamed the Moynihan Building.

The old Post Office’s enormous sorting room has been dubbed “Skylight” for groups renting the space for parties as the Moynihan is being transformed into the new train station to replace the ghastly Penn Station across the street.
Entrance to Skylight at the Moynihan Building.
Doormen at the Whitney Gala.
Whitney parties are like going to a family reunion for me. The first person I spotted was the Whitney’s longtime Trustee Joanne Cassullo in a fantastic gold “great coat" made for her by Brian Wolk and Claude Morais of Ruffian.

I walked past the “red carpet” noticing the odd fact that there were none of the annoying logos that have come to dominate “VIP” photos and seemingly every event. When I went out for a smoke during the dinner I noticed why — the backdrop was actually a reproduction of a painting by the evening’s honoree Ed Ruscha — it looked great so I had someone take a photo of me in front of it where you could actually see the painting.
Ruffian's Brian Wolk and Claude Morais flanking Joanne Cassullo in Ruffian!
Riley Keough. Scott Campbell and Lake Bell. Michelle Williams.
Adam Weinberg and Ed Ruscha. Sofia Coppola.
Julia Restoin Roitfeld. Max Snow and Victoria Traina. Dianna Agron.
The VIP Ruscha backdrop sans celebrities.
For the cocktail hour, the organizers had built a platform in the middle of the room where totally nude male and female models were posing amid stacks of Louis Vuitton (the evening’s chief sponsor) luggage — around the periphery there were easels where anyone could take a stab at making a drawing. Trustee Beth De Woody went the more convenient route by snapping a couple dozen photos with her phone. I did see Whitney Film and Video curator Chrissie Iles making a quick sketch.
Nude models at the Whitney Gala.
Fake smoke trying to capture the good old days!
The crowd gathering at their tables for the Whitney Gala.
At table.
Afterwards, Chrissie introduced me to photographer Gabriele Giugni. I was at a great table for dinner sitting between art patron Barbara Tober and Susan MacGill. Also nearby was the great photography collector and philanthropist Henry Buhl. Henry is selling off his amazing collection of photography in Paris later this month timed to take place during the prestigious Paris Photo art fair which opens on November 14 at the Grand Palais. Over the course of many years Buhl has assembled an encyclopedic photography collection by focusing on depictions of hands. You should take a look at the catalog here before the sale on November 19.

Also at my table were the amazing photography collector and patron Sondra Gilman Gonzalez-Falla, Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Pace/MacGill's Peter MacGill, Donald Tober, fashion designer and collector Kasper, Susan Jenkins, and Britt-Marie Tidelius.
With Venus Over Manhattan's Anna Furney exiting the Whitney Gala.
Unfortunately, as I am completing work on a book to be published next year, I was unable to attend the opening of David Hockney’s A Bigger Exhibition that opened October 24th at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.

Current cover of Art & Antiques with my portrait on cover.
I do plan to make it out sometime soon though not simply due to the fact that there are several portraits of me in the exhibition, including London’s National Portrait Gallery’s Self-Portrait with Charlie that is the cover image of the catalog and the title image at the exhibitions entrance. Just yesterday, Art & AntiquesAdele Grossman sent me a copy of the current issue that also features the Hockney painting on its cover.

I haven’t been to San Francisco for more than two decades — so a trip is long overdue. The new director of the de Young is none other than former Frick Chief Curator Colin Bailey who once gave David Hockney and a few of us a memorable private tour of an exhibition of paintings by Hans Memling that was on view at the Museum in 2005.

Four years later, David Hockney was in town again and told me he wanted to pop over to the Frick to look at the great Claude Lorrain painting The Sermon on the Mount, circa 1656. I called Frick curator Susan Galassi the night before telling her that Hockney wanted to get a reproduction of the painting with the idea of making a copy. The next day Susan presented Hockney with an 8 x 10 color transparency of the painting. Back at his Yorkshire studio Hockney proceeded to make an entire of series of large scale works based on the Frick’s Claude.
Claudia and David Martens at entrance of David Hockney's A Bigger Exhibition featuring a large reproduction of the artist's Self Portrait with Charlie.
At the Hockney opening: de Young Director Colin Bailey, Dede Wilsey, and David Hockney. Photo: Joan Quinn.
Ian Grimshaw, LA Louver's Peter Goulds, and Brian Angel. Photo: Joan Quinn.
Richard Sassin, Don Bachardy, and Don Cribb. Photo: Joan Quinn.
Kevin Sessums and Joan Quinn.
Former Boston MFA curator Barbara Shapiro and I had lunch to commiserate missing the Hockney opening in San Francisco. We are holding a new catalog for a Hockney show at Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago this month.
Five of these are presented at the de Young exhibition including Hockney’s huge 30-canvas rift on the painting that he entitled A Bigger Message from 2010. The exhibition is a survey of Hockney’s incredibly fertile period from 2002 to the present and includes portraits, landscapes, iPad drawings, films as well as a new series of portraits (using acrylic paint) of friends done in Los Angeles only weeks before the show opened. The exhibition is curated by Hockney’s long time friend and manager Gregory Evans. I am told it is the largest exhibition the de Young has ever mounted and that it’s the hottest ticket in San Francisco.
David Hockney's A Bigger Message, 2010.
I went over to the Frick again the other day to take some friends from Germany on their very first day in New York. I had a visit beforehand with the museum’s press chief Heidi Rosenau who took me downstairs to see the fascinating show: David d'Angers: Making the Modern Monument. This is the first exhibition to be mounted outside France of the extraordinary sculptor Pierre-Jean David d’Anger who was part of a cultural circle that included Balzac, Paganini, Goethe and Delacroix.
La Douleur, 1811
Plaster
Head of a Woman in Profile, ca. 1830s
Graphite on paper
Study after a Plaster Cast of the Apollo Belvedere, ca. 1814
Black chalk on laid paper
Ann Buchan Robinson, 1831
Marble
Christening Cup, 1835
Wood, wax, and graphite
Hélène David, 1838
Plaster
The Abbé de Lamennais, 1831
Bronze
The show, organized by Emerson Bowyer, is perhaps slightly overwhelmed by the attention caused by the Frick’s amazing special exhibition: Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis (see Jill Krementz's coverage here).

Of course I love the chance to view once more Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring that was recently restored. But my favorite two paintings were Pieter Claez’s 1630 Vanitas Still Life and the amazing Jan Steen large painting of a hard-partying Dutch family supposedly honoring the baptism of a child. I am surprised the painting can be shown in our puritanical New York depicting a servant pouring wine into a huge goblet over the baby’s head and while another guest offers a pipe of tobacco to a minor. The title’s great: “As The Old Sing, So Pipe The Young.” Both paintings make the same point though from different perspectives: Life’s short! I happen to like both.
Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis at the Frick.
Johannes Vermeer
Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665
Oil on canvas
Jan Steen
"As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young," c. 1665
Oil on canvas
Pieter Claesz
Vanitas Still Life,
1630
Oil on panel
Frans Hals
Portrait of Jacob Olycan, 1625
Oil on canvas
Frans Hals
Portrait of Aletta Hanemans
, 1625
Oil on canvas
At the opening reception: Mauritshuis Director Emilie Gordenker with Frick Director Ian Wardropper. Photo: Christine A. Butler.
Guests enjoy a view in the Oval Room of Vermeer's Girl. Barbara and Donald Tober are in the foreground. Photo: Christine A. Butler.
On Monday I traveled over to Venus Over Manhattan gallery on Madison Avenue to see the provocative Calder Shadows exhibition. Working with Alexander Calder’s grandson Sandy Rower, gallery owner Adam Lindeman has installed a dozen or so masterpieces from most of the artists’ career in a darkened gallery with specially placed lighting that allows for you to both view the works and the changing shadows they cast.

There is something very Zen-like about the experience although I am not much of a fan of music in art exhibitions — maybe giving people headsets would be a better option. I asked the gallery’s Anna Furney and Josh Shaddock if they knew who was the subject of the masterful early wire portrait in the gallery’s small viewing room. They told me that it was not known, but my guess is it's pianist Artur Rubenstein.
Calder Shadows at Venus Over Manhattan ...
Could it be Artur Rubenstein by Calder?
Finally, just a couple days after my Frick visit we learned that Xavier F. Salomon has been appointed to the position of Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator of The Frick Collection, taking up the post in January of 2014.
The new Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator of The Frick Collection, Xavier F. Salomon.