Friday, October 4, 2013

The Art Set: Back in the New World

A screen shot from the Paris 3D project — an amazing creation that allows one to not only explore the city of today but to go back into its history in three dimensions.
The Art Set: Back in the New World
by Charlie Scheips

I arrived back in New York two weeks ago after two months in France. What beautiful weather to return to — New York is stunning in September.

My first full day back I had a craving for Mexican food so we had brunch at Maz Mezcal on 86th Street. Maz Mezcal is my favorite Mexican restaurant in New York. It’s not Tex-Mex nor is it nouvelle Mexican — just classic authentic Mexican food as I tasted during a memorable trip to Mexico City a few years back.

We ordered three different salsas with chips, quesadillas with cheese and jalapenos, huevos rancheros and a delicious Bloody Mary definitely to let me know I was back in the New World! They even make a fabulous Sangrita — a spicy shot of tomato juice that you sip alternatively with a shot of one of the dozens of great tequilas the restaurant offers.
Bloody Mary and margarita with salsa and chips at Maz Mezcal. Delicious Huevos Rancheros and crispy bacon at Maz Mezcal.
I’ve been a regular there for 18 years since I moved to the Upper East Side from the East Village. Over the years, I have marveled at how owners Eduardo and Maria Silva and their wonderfully friendly staff (many of whom have been working there for years) continue to improve the restaurant’s décor, tableware, and keep serving such delicious food. They go nuts decorating for the Halloween season so you’re in for a treat soon (

A couple days later I went over to Craig Starr’s gallery for a visit. I met Craig through Beth De Woody a decade ago — just has he was opening his well-situated space on 73rd Street off Fifth Avenue in 2004. Since that time Craig has mounted some of the best shows in New York — always accompanied by an amazing catalog, and (because of the gallery’s relatively small size) frequently featuring works on paper, a medium in which I have a particular interest.
Craig Starr and Beth DeWoody at the Venice Biennale in 2009.
Craig often works with major artists who have other primary gallery representation but thanks to Craig’s charm, and the high quality of shows that often focus on a specific body of work, he is able to put on important exhibitions of these artists such as his recent Lucas Samaras Pastels show this summer. He’s done several shows focusing on various works or related series by artists including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Barnett Newman, and Bruce Nauman.

Just take a look at the gallery’s website to see the long list of sophisticated exhibitions that have taken place there (

The current show is devoted to British Linocuts from The Grosvenor School featuring the modernist works of Cyril Power, Lill Tschudi, Sybil Andrews and Claude Flight. The exhibition celebrates the heyday of the Grosvenor School print making studio that was located on Warwick Square in London in the 1920s and 1930s. Craig’s show continues until October 19.
Cyril Power, Speed Trial, c. 1932. Three color linocut on Japanese paper, 7-3⁄4 x 14-3⁄4 inches. © The Estate of Cyril Power / Bridgeman Art Library.
That same day, I had a catch-up lunch at Orsay with my pal Jennifer Ruys. Jennifer and I first met over a decade ago at a dinner in honor of Lord Snowdon at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven. The Center was then showing a retrospective of Snowdon’s photography. At the time, the stunning Jennifer — a former television journalist originally from Seattle — was public affairs officer for British Petroleum, which had sponsored Snowdon’s traveling exhibition.

It was an unexpectedly lively dinner so afterwards the then British Center’s Director Patrick McCaughey (whom I got to know when he was Director of my beloved Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford) took a group of us including Snowdon’s daughter Lady Sarah Chatto down the street to a bar.
Vincent DiGregorio and Jennifer Ruys at the Gritti, 2005.
Jennifer and I became instant friends that night. These days she is secretary on the board of Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island where she and her husband Vincent DiGregorio (a Garden City plastic surgeon) have a beautiful house that I have visited many times. Vincent’s been going there his whole life, and their present house was built on the same land where he spent summers as a child.

Last year I got an amazing tour with Jennifer and Executive Director Cara Loriz of the 1652 plantation, which was established as a non-profit entity in 2009 by the eleventh generation of the Sylvester family — the present Lord Eben Fiske Ostby and his nephew Bennett Konesni. The house, outbuildings and grounds reside on 243 acres of unspoiled land and include a working organic farm. A couple years ago, the family placed 10,000 Sylvester family records for safekeeping at the Bobst Library at New York University. It's an amazing place and a must-see for anyone interested in American history (
Pulling up to Sylvester Manor.
A view of the backside of Sylvester Manor from the pond.
Canon at Sylvester Manor dating to 1670. Inset: A great old Oak at Sylvester Manor.
Jennifer Ruys and Sylvester Manor Exec. Director Cara Loriz.
Jennifer and Cara n the parlor of Sylvester Manor.
Looks like my bookshelves! A corner of the study at Sylvester Manor.
Vincent DiGregorio and Jennifer Ruys at Sylvester Manor
This past Monday I attended the press preview for Sensitive Geometries: Brazil 1950s-1980s organized by freelance dealer and curator Olivier Renaud-Clément at Hauser & Wirth’s uptown gallery at 69th and Madison. The exhibition was organized more because of Olivier's personal interest in several generations of Brazilian artists rather than an attempt to create a comprehensive survey of post war art from Brazil.

Another interesting point was his discussion of how all of the artists featured in the exhibition are avidly collected in Brazil but have little name recognition outside the country. They’ve published a handsome catalog in the spirit of a publication created for the first and historic New-Concrete exhibition that was held at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro in 1959.
Through the Looking Glass at Hauser & Wirth. Olivier Renaud-Clément discusses his exhibition at Hauser & Wirth.
Installation view at Hauser & Wirth.
Franz Weissmann
Aluminum plate
90 x 110 cm / 35 3/8 x 43 1/4 in
© Franz Weissmann
Courtesy of Private Collection
Mira Schendel
Tempera on paper
50 x 35.5 cm / 19 5/8 x 14 in
© Mira Schendel Estate
Courtesy of Mira Schendel Estate
Photo: Max Schendel
Anna Maria Maiolino
S.O.S. no Trópico de Capricórnio, from Mapas Mentais series
1974 / 2008
India ink and Letraset on paper in wooden box with glass
51 x 42 x 6 cm / 20 1/8 x 16 1/2 x 2 3/8 in
© Anna Maria Maiolino
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Paulo Werneck
c. 1950
Gouache on paper
38.5 x 50.5 cm / 15 1/8 x 19 7/8 in
© Paulo Weneck
Courtesy of Paulo Werneck and Gaspar Saldanha
I’ve known Olivier for years and always marvel at his ability to organize exhibitions of art and photography that are truly educational for me. This exhibition of a diverse range of twelve artist previously unknown to me is yet another feather in his multi-plumed hat! The exhibition continues through October 26.

Now that the traffic nightmare of the UN General Assembly is behind us perhaps I can venture outside the Upper East Side to take in this season’s exhibitions have to offer. I did venture to mid-town once — to 30 Rockefeller Center to meet Jean-Marc Leri, director of Paris’s Carnavalet Museum at the Rockefeller offices there.
After leaving Hauser & Wirth I spotted Jamie Creel taking a Zebra head out of a car in front of Creel and Gow on 70th Street.
30 Rock from Fifth Avenue.
Leri was in town to promote the new Paris 3D project — an amazing creation by Dassault Systems that allows one to not only explore the city of today but to go back into its history in three dimensions. Unfortunately, it's only available currently for PCs so this MAC loyalist can only pray for a compatible version to come out in the near future.
A screenshot from the Paris 3D project.