Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spring Eternal

John and Jackie at Galerie Vivendi, Paris, France at the 11th annual Sculpture Objects & Functional Art fair, best known as SOFA NEW YORK at the Park Avenue Armory.
May 29, 2008.  John Fitzgerald Kennedy, our 35th President of the United States, was born on this day 91 years ago at the Kennedy family house on 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was 46 when his life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Mr. Kennedy’s 1000 days in the White House ushered in a new era of hope for a whole generation of Americans. His message of hope was characterized by calls to serve one’s fellow man and country for the greater good of all people.

He was a handsome young man with a vigorous mind, remarkable wit and enormous charm. He was also a rich man’s son which added to his charisma in the American mid-20th century mind; a prince with the common touch. He remains an ideal because of those qualities, which in memory overshadow the doubts that had begun to confront him as he approached the last year of his first term.

How he would have fared or whether or not he would have been re-elected to a second term was very much in question in the months leading up to his death. That reality had a great deal to do with his decision to visit Dallas on that fateful November day.

Nevertheless, the light is eternal in his memory, if not in the world that came after. He was a rare one, the likes of which have never been seen quite so brilliantly in an American leader ever since.

His fate preserved his eternal youth. It is impossible to imagine that as a nonagenarian. His youthful weaknesses were many and now voluminously recorded; but his spirit, now preserved in universal memory was transcendental and noble. That nobility, his nobility, is not evident in many of those today who espouse his memory. You never heard a word of hate uttered in his stead. Those words were not in the vocabulary of his supporters and disciples.
Jammed at SOFA NEW YORK's opening night.
Last night in New York, a beautiful night with mild temperatures and a crispness in the air. I started out at the Seventh Regiment Armory where the 11th annual SOFA Fair was having its opening night preview. I’d never been to a SOFA fair before, so I had no idea what to expect.

SOFA stands for Sculpture Objects & Functional Art. And boy does it have a LOT of fans and followers. At 7:30 last night the aisles of booths were jammed with visitors, collectors, curiosity-seekers, contemporary art lovers, all ages, types and sizes. It was hot! 

The SOFA fair will run through Sunday (June 1) and if you’re even remotely interested in masterworks in ceramics, glass, metal, wood and fiber by major artists such George Nakashima, Peter Voulkos, Dale Chihuly, Lino Tagliapietra, Wendell Castle, Lenore Tawney and Anthony Caro, as well as the new generation of emerging artists and their galleries from eleven countries including Japan, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Korea, Argentina, New Zealand, Turkey and the United States, SOFA is the don’t miss on your schedule this week.
Clare Beck at Adrian Sassoon, London, England.
Ferrin Gallery, Lenox, MA.
Heller Gallery, New York, NY.
Joan B Mirviss Ltd., New York, NY.
Snyderman-Works Galleries, Philadelphia, PA . Turkish Cultural Council, Turkey, Istanbul.
Leo Kaplan Modern, New York, NY.
Gallery Gen, New York, NY.
John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA.
Chappell Gallery, New York, NY.
Ornamentum, Hudson, NY.
Lacoste Gallery, Concord, MA.
Jane Sauer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM (left) & Kirra Galleries, Southbank Victoria, Australia (right).
Orley & Shabahang, New York, NY.
Marx-Saunders Gallery, Chicago, IL.
Snyderman-Works Galleries, Philadelphia, PA .
Ruth Lawrence Fine Art, Rochester, NY.
Ruth Lawrence Fine Art, Rochester, NY.
Blue Rain Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
Adamar Fine Arts, Miami, FL.
Chappell Gallery, New York, NY.
ten472 Contemporary Art, Grass Valley, CA.
I left the Armory to head down to The New York Public Library for a black tie dinner given in the newly refurbished Edna Barnes Salomon Room. Mrs. Salomon, who died in 2001 was a long time Conservator and member of the President’s Council of The New York Public Library. She and her family's contributions to the library made a significant difference and so the room bearing her name is a tribute to that generosity.

This was the first dinner held in the room. The event was to celebrate another very significant gift to The New York Public Library – the largest gift ever given by an individual in the Library’s history: Stephen Schwarzman’s gift of $100 million.

The evening was one of the highlights of the Spring Social Calendar this year because the Library is supported by some of the most gilded members of the community. Of all of the cultural monuments in New York that attract the social denizens of the city, The New York Public Library, free to one and all, is perhaps the loftiest for it represents the highest ideals of man and community and is regarded as the cornerstone of precious freedom. It is taken deeply seriously because it is deeply serious business.
Steve Schwarzman and Jeffrey Rosen, friends since Yale and Harvard Business School.
There was a half-hour cocktail reception in the McGraw Rotunda with many familiar faces among the more than 150 guests, including: Candice Bergen and Marshall Rose, Sila Maria Calderon, Lewis Cullman, Deborah and Philippe Dauman, Oscar and Annette de la Renta, Louise Grunwald, Robert Silvers, John Dobkin, William and Jane Donaldson, Commissioner Ray Kelly, Edward Cardinal Egan, Jean Kennedy Smith, Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg, Mort Zuckerman, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Violaine and John Bernbach, Tina Brown, Susan Fales-Hill, Princess Firyal of Jordan, Kathryn and Alan “Ace” Greenberg, Jane Stanton Hitchcock and Jim Hoagland, Linda and Mort Janklow, Kathleen and Chris Matthews, Barbara Goldsmith, Heather and Steven Mnuchin, Grace and Chris Meigher, David Nasaw, Saul and Gayfryd Steinberg, James and Merryl Tisch, Calvin Trillin, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Liz and Jeff Peek, Michael Rena and Kalliope Karella, Billy and Kathy Rayner, Dr. Judith Ginsberg (Mrs. Paul LeClerc), Robert Silvers, Jackie Weld Drake, Sally and Sam Butler, Charlie and Sara Ayres, Donald and Catie Marron who gave the dinner (Mrs. Marron is the President of the board of trustees of The New York Public Library); Jeffrey and Marjorie Rosen (Mr. Rosen and Mr. Schwarzman went through Yale and Harvard Business School together), Elizabeth Rohatyn; quite a few Schwarzmans including the benefactor’s wife Christine, his mother Arline Schwarzman, plus siblings, children, and their spouses including Alexandra, Edward, Ellen, Ginny, Mark, Nancie, Warren, as well as Andrew and Zibby Schwarzman Right and Christine Schwarzman’s daughter Megan Hearst.

It was an evening of a number of speeches – all of which were brief. After remarks by Paul LeClerc, President and CEO of The New York Public Library, Mrs. Marron, historian David Nasaw, Joshua Steiner and finally three women Caryl Soriano, Miranda Tygert, and Rita Capolarello introduced Mr. Schwarzman.
The table settings.
Their introduction by the three represented the force of the Library and its effect on the lives of all who use it. Ms. Soriano came to this country, emigrating from Trinidad. In her early years here, the library became a source of not only education but solace. The most important card she ever acquired in her new country (she became a citizen) was her library card. She is now an executive with the library. Ms. Capolarello is champion of the branches, specifically one that is in the neighborhood of this writer, as was Ms. Tygert, the youngest of the three who is a regular visitor to the library and said that when she heard about Mr. Schwarzman’s contribution, said: “I gotta meet this guy.”

Mr. Schwarzman was the last to speak. He thanked his many friends, his mother, his siblings, his children and his wife, as well as many others who have played important roles in his life. He pointed out that his gift would allow the Library to expand in such a way that its annual number of visitors will increase from one million to three and a half million, expanding its public space greatly.
L. to r.: Ellen Schwarzman, Andrew Right, Zibby Schwarzman Right, Stephen and Christine Schwarzman, Megan Hearst, and Arline Schwarzman.
It was one of the special great evenings in New York where beyond the ballyhoo and hoopla, the glitter and the gold, there is the element of the town, the community, the citizens, the townsfolk. Conversation at our table took to people remembering their first visit to the library (in childhood), and what they remembered. From ages four to seven, we remembered not only the library and the visits, but also the librarians, their names and often what they wore and the sound of their voices. Reading, of course, was the key that was often discovered at the library, that led to a decidedly richer life, blessed with the private pleasure of a book. Most everyone at the table started on the path to the library by being regularly read to as a child.

Mr. Schwarzman’s huge contribution provoked a lot of comment in the community and among his social and financial peers, especially since it will be accompanied by his name being carved on the marble exterior of the main Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, and filled in with gold leaf. Last night’s dinner shed a different light and spirit on the gift, however, something more akin to the light and spirit of our dear departed 35th President whose anniversary we mark today. Hope will continue to spring eternal at the New York Public Library and millions of lives will benefit. More pics coming tomorrow ...
Paul LeClerc and Dr. Judith Ginsberg
Gayfryd and Saul Steinberg
David Nasaw and Ace Greenberg
Chris Matthews, Barbara Goldsmith, and DPC
Miranda Tygert, Caryl Soriano, and Rita Capolarello
Linda and Mort Janklow
Kathy Rayner and Jane Stanton Hitchcock
Ray Kelly and David Monn

Photographs by JH & DPC/
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