Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Eight days to Christmas Eve

Deli flowers on their way to becoming a bouquet. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014. Eight days to Christmas Eve. Yesterday in New York was sunny and mild with temperatures in the mid-40s. It’s holiday time and it’s beginning to feel more and more like it.

The Christmas trees in building lobbies (and of course in stores) are up and lighted, and also in apartments along the avenue. Many people put them close to their windows. Some have colored lights. Many of the lobby trees have white lights. Whatever it is, it’s good to see because no matter its impact on your psyche, it lightens things up, and especially, hopefully, for the children and the animals.

When I was growing up, we never put up our tree until Christmas Eve. We often didn’t have it until Christmas Eve. This gave the kid tremendous anxiety which was assisted by experience. I can still remember the dense uncertainty and worry about (not) getting that tree. Where would Santa leave the present I was wishing for?
The sight on many a street corner.
But we did; in the end we always had a tree. As I got older I realized that it was just tradition of my parents’ generation to put up the tree on Christmas Eve. Nevertheless, my generation often had their trees up (and in the window) a week or more before. However, now as I look around and see the trees decorating the windows and the lobbies, I think it’s good idea. A pick-me-up, a lift. Which is what it always was potentially. We need it now more than ever.

Yesterday, I had lunch uptown, and JH went to Michael’s to lunch with Carol Joynt our Washington Diarist who was in town for business reasons. Carol recently became Vice President of Communications at Foreign Policy magazine. We rarely see each other and when she comes to New York she loves the plate of fries at Michael’s. (They heap them on.) Here’s the story as told by JH and his camera.  A Good Time was had by all.
JH with Carol Joynt, now Vice President of Communications at Foreign Policy.
The festive holiday scene at Michael's. That's Sir Harry Benson holding court.
In the table by the bay: Diane Stefani, Richard Perez-Feria, and Keith Kelly ... taken by Michael's GM Steve Millington.
Lest you think Steve is just "Michael's Restaurant's official portrait photographer," JH wanted to show you Steve's landscape photography skills by running this beautiful sunset he took up in New Preston, CT a couple of weeks ago.
Steve talking shop with another "photographer," Sir Harry Benson.
JH's Tuna Nicoise.
A plate of Christmas cookies for dessert.
Carol's gift to JH ...
... "David Hume Kennerly On the IPhone."

Of Kennerly, Harry Benson said that each time he came to the White house to photograph the President, "David left him alone," which was Harry's way of saying that David was a "good guy" and the gesture was greatly appreciated.
Late yesterday afternoon at the old Marcel Breuer-designed Whitney Museum on 75th and Madison they held a memorial celebration for Richard Marshall, the art historian and museum curator who died suddenly at age 67 at his house in La Jolla last August 8th.

Richard was highly regarded in his profession. That was evident by the turnout at the memorial – which is exactly what it was – friends and family remembering him. He was one of those remarkable personalities who did what he loved to do, did it very well, and without the kind of fervor that makes life difficult for others. He had a quiet but always present sense of humor. He was a California boy who had an eye for art outside of the New York/Paris art axis. He was easy to work with and even easier to be friends with. The memories shared of him all had a subtext of  the pleasure of his company, his humor and his friendship, and in the context of a life well lived.
The portrait of Richard Marshall at the memorial celebration at the old Whitney Museum building on 75th and Madison.
Friends and colleagues gathering before the event began.
He was married to Bill Georgis, the architect. This was a long term partnership. They shared a wonderful house here on East 72nd Street and more recently a house in La Jolla. Richard was an LA boy who came East to pursue his career. But he still loved Southern California and it was a joy for him to be back there.

The Remembrances were shared by
Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, an old friend and colleague of Richard’s; Lisa Phillips, the Toby Devan Lewis Director, of the New Museum. Lisa and Richard worked together at the Whitney and were joined at the hip. Ed Ruscha couldn’t be there but Tom Sachs read Ruscha’s words about his friend Richard. Then Tom Sachs talked about his relationship with Richard and how important he was in the launching of Tom’s career. Then Laurie Munn, an artist who has been close friends of Richard since California, spoke of their friendship which had a “family” quality to it.
Richard Marshall and Bill Georgis.
I first met Richard through Beth DeWoody, when I came back to New York after living in California. He was part of what to me was an Art Set – which indeed it is here in New York – in which Beth was and still is, very much a part. He was well-mannered and almost courtly, if that’s possible for a Southern Californian. Casually courtly maybe. He had a quietly droll personality in my experience. And kind, and courteous.

He hadn’t been feeling well that day in California last August. He and Bill were having guests over for lunch. He excused himself and went to lie down After lunch Bill discovered him. He was gone. Someone told me it might have been an aneurysm. It’s a great loss to all who knew him and all who worked with him. It’s a great loss for Bill Georgis who stated simply that they thought they’d grow old together. However, Richard departed the same way he came into people’s lives: quickly and gracefully.  He will be remembered with sadness because of the loss, but with pleasure because of the man.
Adam Weinberg, Director of the Whitney began the memories.
The art world turned out for the gathering. Adam Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney welcomed everybody and talked about his relationship with Richard, with fondness and admiration. There was a reception after the speakers at the Lever House where there is a memorial exhibition of Richard’s work as a curator. The exhibition was curated by Richard and by Lisa Phillips.
Richard Armstrong of the Guggenheim. Lisa Phillips a long-time associate, now director of the New Museum.
Tom Sachs reading Ed Ruscha's memories of Richard. Bill Georgis closing the evening.
Last night I had dinner with Mai Harrison at Swifty’s. Mai had just come from a book signing at Nancy and Joe Misset’s for Susan Rudin and Louise Maniscalco and their book, “The Trade Off.” Swifty’s was packed and there was a party in the back for  another book: “Manners That Matter Most; The Easy Guide to Etiquette At Home and In the World.”  Researched and written by June Eding, it’s an excellent little book. It’s small enough that it could be a good stocking-stuffer. It’s about exactly what you think.

Manners and Etiquette sound old fashioned nowadays. And in a way, they are, it is. Because we’re a mess now. The lack thereof  is epidemic and the result is we aren’t relating to each other as easily as strangers might/should/could/would. I know a book isn’t going to make the difference. I don’t know what will. But it is clear to me at this late age that I’ve only got along in this life with the basics that we call Manners and Etiquette. It’s the only way we can all get along.
Click to order "Manners That Matter Most."
Eding’s book is comprehensive, serious, easy to read, and actually inspiring on a certain level. She begins each chapter with a “quote” that is reaffirming of her point. For example:

Clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance. — Henry Ward Beecher. Or: Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others ... — Marcus Tullius Cicero. Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. Lao Tzu.

Meanwhile, for more inspiration, here are the windows down at Bergdorf’s. Fabulous, fascinating and more fabulous.

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