Friday, March 2, 2007

A night in the arts

Looking up in the meatpacking district. 7:55 PM. Photo: JH.
Wintertime lifted for a few hours yesterday and you could see people strolling Fifth Avenue in light jackets. 

I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Sarah Rosenthal and our friend Julienne Marie Scanlon, widow of  one time PR honcho John Scanlon.  Scanlon was an impressive character on the New York scene and a leading opinion-maker.

DPC, Julienne Marie Scanlon, and Sarah Rosenthal
After he died suddenly of a heart attack in 2001, Julienne sold everything and moved to a small village in France, where she remains in residence with her two dogs. She gets back to town two or three times a year and when she does, we meet at Michael’s.

Theatre buffs will remember her from the original production of Gypsy where she took over the role of “Louise” originated by Sandra Church. She later appeared in “Foxy” (for which she was nominated for a Tony) with Bert Lahr and also “Do I Hear a Waltz,” the musical Sondheim wrote the score for with Richard Rodgers. After a first marriage to James Earl Jones, she married Scanlon and retired to the New York life with summers in Sag Harbor.

Julienne still has lots of friends here. Although she’s long retired from her professional career and has NO interest in returning to it, she’s one of those clever ones who is an expert anecdotalist and can regale you for hours with hilarious tales of life upon the wicked stage (and all the wicked egos that have dwelled there).

After lunch I went up to Payard,
the exquisite patisserie on Lexington and 73rd where Vera Gibbons was interviewing a couple of us for her next Sunday’s segment on “High Net Worth” on CNBC at 8 pm (EST).  When I arrived Vera was interviewing Jana Klauer, the Park Avenue nutritionist who’s got a best selling book out called “How the Rich Get Thin: Park Avenue's Top Diet Doctor Reveals the Secrets to Losing Weight and Feeling Great” (St. Martin’s Press).

After Dr. Klauer’s interview, I was next. Asked: how do they stay thin? And what did I say? As I said: Sunday night at 8 on CNBC. Thrillsville? Not really, but you never know.
Vera Gibbons interviews Jana Klauer at Payard for CNBC's "High Net Worth" on Sunday night at 8.
It’s Art Week in New York. Art sales that is. The gallery world is hopping.  Last night I went with my friend Charlie Scheips (NYSD Art Set) down to Chelsea to a couple of openings.

The first one at the Sperone Westwater Gallery was for the artist Charles LeDray. JH and the Digital met us there and took several shots of the exhibition.  This is Mr LeDray’s second show at the gallery and there were twelve new “sculptures,” as well as a fourth installment of his ongoing project “Village People” (2003-2006) which is a procession of 21 storied hats made my the artist. Place high on the wall, the multiple identities/ideologies that this series represents are seen together in an increasingly expanded text.

Fabricated from a long and varied list of materials, LeDray’s sculptures – whether presented individually or collectively in parts – challenge notions of scale. Mr. LeDray makes everything in his works, including the miniature stickpins. They are very complex although they look simple. The media for one work, for example includes: acrylic paint, Alumalite, brasss, embroidery floss, epoxy resin, glitter, various fabrics, oilbased enamel paint, gold-plate, rhodium-plate, patina, paper, pearlescent paint, plastic, sawdust, SO strong coloring, steel, string, thread and wood.

To the ordinary viewer (such as this writer), the result is astonishing and astounding in its detail and intricacy. One installation, “Party Bed” which takes as its form a bed, decked out in striped sheets and floral bedding, is piled high with an accumulation of assorted coats and accessories.” Tiny, little, exquisite detail, everything made by the artist, to scale.” You can’t stop looking at any of it. The works sell for prices in the $80,000 range.

The artist, who was born in Seattle in 1960, was the recipient of the Prix de Rome from the American Academy in Rome in 1997.  His work can be found in many major public collections ncluding MoMA, the Whitney, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hammer Museum at UCLA and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Sperone Westwater is located at 415 West 13 Street (www.speronewestwater.com) and well worth the visit. The trip is a trip.
Charlie Scheips and Angela Westwater
Scenes from Charles LeDray's “Village People” at Sperone Westwater Gallery.
Left: Charlie Scheips demonstrates the scale of the LeDray sculptures. Above: Adele Chatfield-Taylor and John Guare.
A miniature bed from Charles LeDray's “Village People”
From there we dashed up to Perry Rubenstein’s gallery at 527 West 23 Street for a multimedia installation by Brock Enright entitled “Good Times Will Never Be the Same” driven by a series of events that took place in the Mendocino Redwood Forest of Northern California. You had to be there. You should be there. The installation runs through March 31st.

For this tourist, the visits to the galleries is an expedition onto a scene like no other with characters dressed for the occasion in their faux-hardscrabble, street-wise costumes; enthralling, fascinating; a trip for the rest of us and everyone else.
Above: At Perry Rubenstein’s gallery for a multimedia installation by Brock Enright entitled “Good Times Will Never Be the Same.”

Left: An automatic floor sweeper and a plate thrower (marks against the wall from the detritus).
Afterwards Scheips and I went down to Ye Waverly Inn at Bank and Greenwich, newly reopened by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter in partnership with restaurateurs/ club owners Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson with chef John DeLucie. If you’ve been following the changing times in New York, you know that Mr. Carter’s restaurant is surrounded by glittering controversy. The New York Times  restaurant critic Frank Bruni reviewed it as if it were a sociological (and cutting edge-marketing) phenomenon. Evidently it’s not that easy to gain a table rez although god knows the place was jammed when we were there (second time for both me and Mr. S.).
Sarah, the hostess at Waverly Inn and Charlie Scheips
Outside Ye Waverly Inn a couple of smokers indulge
I saw Tony Ingrao passing through, and at the table across the way Frank Rich and Alex Witchel were dining with NYT editor Bill Keller and a lady friend (prob his wife) while next door was Jonathan Newhouse et cie. A few tables over were Sara Vass and Richard Mauro entertaining friends. Charlie told me the last time he visited he was seated at the same table and across the way were the de la Rentas with the Herreras (Carolina and Reinaldo) while a couple of tables up was Ralph and Ricky Lauren entertaining friends.  The barroom when you first enter was jammed then (and last night) with a young and enthusiastic crowd.  Its low ceilings, fireplaces, varnished murals by Edward Sorel of Noo Yawk characters slather on the atmosphere of New York now and even then. Too much to resist. I had the Country Salad and the Dover Sole. Excellent.  Meanwhile, after the meal (and the show), back out on the Village street, it was rainy and warmer.