Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Jill Krementz covers Brian Calvin at Gallery Met

Brian Calvin's banner hanging at the Met’s entrance.
Brian Calvin
Gallery Met
Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center
January 25 - March 31, 2018

This Spring, on the occasion of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Così fan tutte, California artist Brian Calvin (b.1969) has been invited to create a show of work.

“Mozart’s opera has such whimsy and humor — along with darker undercurrents,” says Gallery Met Director Dodie Kazanjian, “and Brian, with his psychologically astute portraits, is the perfect fit.”

Brian Calvin, Duet, Così fan tutte.
Mr. Calvin found inspiration in the opera’s dual pairs of lovers who don disguises to blur the lines of identity.

The 1790 Italian language comic opera with a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte shows what happens when a cynical old man challenges two love struck younger men to see if their respective fiancées would stay faithful to them if put to the test.

Kelli O’Hara will sing the role of the spunky maid Despina in Phelim McDermott’s new staging set in a carnival-esque, funhouse environment inspired by 1950s Coney Island — complete with bearded ladies, fire eaters, and a Ferris wheel.

Christopher Maltman
will play Don Alfonso, and the young lovers will be played by Amanda Majeski, Serena Malfi, Ben Bliss, and Adam Plachetka. David Robertson will conduct.

The production is scheduled to open March 15, 2018, and run through April 19, 2018.

Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager, and Ms. Kazanjian hosted a reception on February 9th for Brian Calvin in the Met Gallery. Among the guests: Mera and Don Rubell, Randy Kennedy, Shara Hughes, Austin Eddy, Aliza Nisenbaum, Pamela Talese, and Anton Kern.
The artist Brian Calvin on the plaza outside of Gallery Met.

"Rather than illustrating scenes from the plot of 'Così fan tutte,' I lingered on the organizing principle of duets in Mozart’s opera, exploring harmony and dissonance through repetition and difference. The overlapping figures interlock into a unified expression of complicity, putting their heads together.” 
Dodie Kazanjian (curator of Gallery Met), Anton Kern (the artist’s New York gallerist), Brian Calvin, and Peter Gelb (General Manager of the Met).

Duet II.

"Mozart's opera has such whimsy and humor — along with darker undercurrents," says Gallery Met Director Dodie Kazanjian, "and Brian, with his vibrant, psychologically astute portraits, is the perfect fit."
Mera Rubell and  Dodie Kazanjian. Art Collector Don Rubell.  He and his wife Mera flew up from Florida for the opening reception.
Mera and Don Rubell. On the wall: Duet III and Duet IV.

Brian Calvin with painter Aliza Nisenbaum and Brigitte Mulholland, associate director, Anton Kern Gallery.
Pamela Talese is known primarily for paintings done on site in Brooklyn and Queens, and for her brightly colored still lifes. She is currently developing a new series of cityscapes done on location in Rome, Italy.

On the wall is Despina.
Paul Pincus and Pamela Talese. Don and Mera Rubell.
Art advisors Kelly Taddem and Elizabeth Fiore, with Duet I.
Brian  Calvin with Randy Kennedy.  Mr. Kennedy works at Hauser & Wirth, where he is editing a new quarterly magazine and creating an oral history archive. Morris Orden and Dodie Kazanjian. Mr. Orden is an art collector as well as a member of the MoMA Drawing and Print Committee. Orden owns a Calvin painting.
The Rubells started collecting Brian's work twelve years ago.

Anton Kern, the son of artist Georg Baselitz, represents youngish and midcareer artists, including Brian Calvin, Ellen Berkenblit, Nicole Eisenman, Mark Grotjahn and Jonas Wood. He has represented Brian since 2003.

His gallery, a five-story townhouse, is located at 16 E 55th Street.
Kristen Smoragiewicz, a director at the Anton Kern Gallery, with Larry Qualls, the writer of a daily newsletter called “Documents on Art & Design." Kristen with Brian Calvin.

Anton Kern and Dodie Kazanjian. Brian and Peter Gelb are part of the pow wow.
Shara Hughes and her boyfriend, artist Austin  Eddy.  I also covered Ms. Hughes' paintings on exhibit at GalleryMet in conjunction with the Met’s production of Dvořák’s Rusalka.
Shara Hughes, Larry Qualls, Randy Kennedy, and Harper Levine. Mr. Levine, a rare book dealer, came in from Sag Harbor where he lives.
Duet (With Chorus).

This painting is not in the gallery but can be viewed on the grand tier wall as you ascend the main stairway.
Brian is already back in Ojai with his wife, Siobhan, and his daughters, Clio (13) and Rose Gold (9), but he will return to NYC to experience the Mozart duets on stage.

"I am thrilled that Gallery Met approached me with this once in a lifetime opportunity.
It's not everyday that a painter gets to collaborate with Mozart. I can't wait to return to experience the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Così!"

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved. Contact Jill Krementz here.