Friday, October 3, 2008

Dark Cloud Consensus

Looking up Sixth Avenue from 20th Street. 6:30 PM. Photo: JH.
10/3. Yesterday was a beautiful early autumn day in New York. The air has got cool enough that you needed to walk in the sunshine to stay warm in light clothes. In the late afternoon, in the northern distance, massive dark grey/purple rain clouds were gathered. By dusk, the cloud cover loomed over the East River and the Bridges casting a silvery grey blue light against the pink sunset sky the south. Beauty triumphant.

Dark Cloud Consensus. The subject on the lips of most people I ran into yesterday was about the financial markets. There is a consensus now that things have got really bad and will get worse. This consensus, however, is only acknowledging the unknown. Otherwise very little is known about what and where the dangers are. I know quite a few people in the financial business as well as in the financial media business who pretty much haven’t got a clue. So you are not alone if that’s where you’re at with it. Although there are many commentators in all the media full of knowing opinions. Haha to all that.

Many have heard of subprime and Fanny and Freddie ad Credit Default Swaps, and derivatives, etc. But few comprehend what they are and what risks they pose not only to our bank accounts but to our well-being. Those who do know and understand toss around financial scenarios that include the word “Armageddon.” Now we are a society that has had so much ballyhoo and hype that even the monstrous can be trivialized.

There are all kinds of stories floating around about the next shoe to drop, and there is a consensus now that another shoe will drop. The “Bailout” is now common knowledge, if in name only. Some feel assured this will fix things. Others, many others, have a variety of grim doubts about it. We shall see, said the blind man.
The scene at last night's Opening Preview of the International Art + Design Fair.
And with all that in mind, last night JH and I went to the Opening Night Preview of the International Art + Design Fair (a Haughton Fair) at the Seventh Regiment Armory at 66th and Park. It’s times like these when you almost instantly get the value of ART in our lives.

It’s a beautiful show, beautifully set up, wide spaces, almost casual settings of expansive booths set up with fabulous fabulous stuff. I walk those aisles well aware that I could afford little if any of the items on exhibition for sale. But I can dream, can’t I? And isn’t that how it all starts for any collector?

Last night’s Preview was a benefit for the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture. The center was started in 1993 by Susan Weber Soros who was married at the time of its founding to the famous billionaire investor/philanthropist, George (she was his second wife). 1stdibs served as the sponsor of the Gala Preview Party.

Mrs. Soros, told me last night that she now goes by Weber, however. This is the fifteenth year of her school’s existence and it is quite an achievement. The Center has aimed to become the leading graduate institution for the study of the cultural history of the material world awarding M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Last night’s benefit raised funds for student scholarships and fellowships.
This year’s “public exhibition” – Knoll Textiles: The Designer’s Vision. Installation by Proenza Schouler.
Brian and Anna Haughton are the Directors of the Fair, one of several they present here in New York over the course of the year. Until I got into this business I had no idea of the fairs’ existence let alone their purpose. I had no idea that it is not a new idea but centuries old. They are purveyors, retailers, promoters but with the universality of the Arts and Culture proliferating. The objects and items are often beyond the possibility of purchase for most of us, but they are nevertheless a great pleasure to view, to see, to learn about. That is a reality for all of us.

The Art and Design Fair is contemporary. It’s an excellent way to put your head in a higher place, in these lower times, on a higher consciousness. If you want to get out and see some of the city and get a strong reminder that our imaginations are powerful and progressive no matter what, this is for you.

The Art + Design Fair runs through next Wednesday. Today and Saturday it’s open from 11 in the morning until 7:30 in the evening, then till 6 on Sunday, till 7:30 on Monday and Tuesday and then till 6 on the final day, Wednesday.

This year’s “public exhibition” has been produced by the Bard Center – Knoll Textiles: The Designer’s Vision. Installation by Proenza Schouler
Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder Charlotte Moss, Alex Papachristidis, and Scott Nelson Ann Pyne and Susan Weber Soros
Ann Pyne and Benoist Drut Chance Yeh at work
Stephanie Stokes Victoria Bonaddio and Marion Blair Tom Sellin and Nick Donahue
Dr. Wassim Taktouk, Emma Jane Haughton, and Giles Haughton Ann Pyne and Bernd Goeckler
Jeffrey Munger, Anna and Brian Haughton, Giles Haughton, Emma Jane Haughton, and Adrian Sassoon Christina Juarez and Todd Merrill
Charlotte Moss and John Yunis Guests browsing Brook Mason and Sallie Brady
Michael Bruno and Stacy McLaughlin Rosalind Lipsett and Haesther Libbey wearing Van Cleef jewels
Antik, USA.
Brian Kish, USA.
Primavera, USA.
Galerie Watelet, FRANCE.
Bernd Goeckler Antiques, USA.
Tom Veilleux Gallery, USA.
Wexler Gallery, USA.
Love Wood Gallery, BELGIUM.
Galerie Lefebvre, FRANCE.
Lost City Arts, USA.
Orley & Shabahang Persian Carpets, USA.
Jane Kahan Gallery, USA.
Camilla Dietz Bergeron, USA.
Ayyam Gallery, SYRIA.
Martin du Louvre, FRANCE.
Charon Kransen Arts, USA.
Goedhuis Contemporary, USA.
Barry Friedman Ltd, USA.
Mondo Cane, USA.
Dai Ichi Arts, USA.
Mantiques Modern, USA.
A collection of couture sketches made by the designers of items created for Nan Kempner at Potterton Books, UK.
R 20th Century, USA.
Dillon Gallery, USA.
R Gallery.
Ophir Gallery, USA.
Maison Gerard Ltd, USA. Floral design by Lavenders Blue.
Donzella 20th Century Design, USA.
Cristina Grajales, USA.
Jason Jacques Inc., USA.
Elaine Sargent at Antik.
Cristina Grajales, USA.

Photographs by JH & DPC/NYSD
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