Thursday, June 7, 2018

Rain’s gonna fall

Taking shelter from Tuesday's shortlived downpour on Fifth Avenue. 1:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, June 7, 2018. A partly sunny day in New York where much of the time it looked like maybe a rain storm was coming our way. It was on the cooler side of 70 to the mid-60s and at nightfall it went lower. It feels like rain’s gonna fall.

I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Judy Price, president of the non-profit National Jewelry Institute which will honor the Academie des Beaux-Arts at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the the first night of the FIAC international arts fair on October 15th in Paris. Judy and her husband Peter, like several New Yorkers I know, have flats in Paris, frequently giving them reason to go.
Michael’s was its Wednesday self, very busy with a gaggle of media, publishing and financial people. Mrs. Price introduced me to Michael’s back in the late '90s. More than 20 years have passed and it remains one of the leading popular restaurants for media and publishing and financials in the city. You often see the familiar faces and not infrequently some famous ones, but it’s not like a club so much as it’s kind of a version “The Neighborhood.”

Michael himself was there greeting the guests. He and his wife, artist Kim McCarty, leave in the next day or two for London and their annual three-week jaunt including Paris and ending up the month in Capri. They do this every year. They’re taking in the art in London with Charlie Scheips who will be there showing them the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition, its 250th annual (, and the Picasso 1932 at the Tate.
Yesterday, Steve Millington, the GM, pointed out that there were a noticeable number of tables occupied by women. In the bay, Esther Newberg hosted Lesley Stahl, Faye Wattleton, Linda Fairstein; Betsy Perry was lunching with Michael Gross; around the room: Wendi Sturgis of YEXT; Nancy Spears of genConnect; Bonnie Lautenberg was lunching with two other women. At the table next to me CeCe Cord was hosting Annalu Ponti, Becca Thrash; at the table next to them were Margo Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Felicia Taylor; Alex Lebenthal was at table 17; Sara Nelson at table 6 with author Sally Koslow (“Another Side of Paradise”); our former Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley was lunching with Joan Jakobson; Laurie Haspel Aronson up from New Orleans with her daughters Anna and Maria; mega-agent Boatie Boatwright; Judith Miller was lunching with Eva Mohr; and around the room: Donna Holloway; Francesca Beale; Beatriz Garcia; Karyn Williams; Linda Lerner; Enma Baron. 
On Tuesday Linda Fairstein gave a book launch party for Lis Wiehl (the brilliant - Harvard Law, former fed prosecutor, tv news anchor and author, seated at the table in coral dress/blond hair). She launched a new series - the HUNTING series - telling stories of major crime figures. This is the first - HUNTING CHARLES MANSON - out this week, This lunch was the kick-off for her book tour.

Seated, l. to r.:
Karen Jackson, Nelson Books-Harper Collins; Author Lis Wiehl; Gwen Marder, Fox News Stylist, and Diane Dimond, journalist.

Standing, l. to r.: Rachel Stockman, Producer Law and Crime; Maria Lane, Atlas Entertainment; Deb Huberman, Law and Crime; Kate White, former publisher of Cosmo and now author; Linda Fairstein; and Linda Kenney-Baden, defense attorney
Also among the crowd were quite a few familiar faces of men. Maer Roshan was at the table across from us, in from Los Angeles where he lives in Brentwood; and around the room: Steven Nelson, Steve Blacker,  Adam Blackwood with Ira Akselrad; David Gaynes, Nick Rubenstein;  Stan Shuman, Patrick Murphy, Carl Folta, Andrew Pontoja; Zhi Lim; Ian Zinn; Hans Arstad, and many more.

I wondered if any of the women guests were talking about Kate Spade. Her note to her daughter was the headlines in the tabloidals including the Post as well as online.

This past Tuesday noontime, I’d taken my dogs out for a quickie down by the river, and when passing the Brearley School there were two NYPD cars parked in front and some policemen on the sidewalk talking to someone or some people. Police cars parked on that posh little cul-de-sac overlooking the river are a rarity and therefore very serious when present.

The last time there were squad cars in multiples was last year when Jean Stein committed suicide across the way in the 10 Gracie Square building on a Sunday morning. Suicides always have an impact unlike other deaths.

I was curious about the police cars, naturally, but I did not stop to ask. Then Mike, who runs the Parking Garage (in the back of my building) across from the school, came out and gave me the news: Kate Spade had killed herself, and her daughter was in the school at that moment.

Soon after the young girl, in a very fragile state of grief, came out of the building with her father. To witness that was grievous for everyone nearby. Several other classmates also came out red-faced in tears. Nevertheless, the daughter’s loss is inestimable. The loss of mother is the greatest tragedy in a child’s life.
Meanwhile, to change the subject to another part of the world, at the end of last month,The Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The museum officially opened on May 23, 1993 in a building designed by Prentice & Chan, Ohlhausen in the Ming Dynasty style to blend with the adjacent traditional architecture.

Arthur M Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology
Dame Jillian Sackler said in an Anniversary opening ceremony speech, “I congratulate and thank the President of Peking University, Dr. Lin Jianhua, and all the past presidents beginning with Professor Ding Shisun with whom Dr. Arthur M. Sackler and I signed the original agreement.

Since the museum opened, Beijing has been transformed into a megalopolis. It is amazing what the P.R.C. has achieved in a short period. My husband first visited China in 1976, when he was invited to give advice to the Ministry of Public Health. While we were here in 1980 visiting the Palace Museum he remarked that he admired Chinese art, but could see it was not being properly cared for.

He suggested that we could provide a teaching museum for China to incorporate all elements of modern museology.  Before arrangements were complete, my husband died. This was a catastrophe in my life and I still miss him. In difficult circumstances, I went ahead with the museum with help from Curt Cutter and Miguel Benavides of the Foundation, Zhang Wei of the China Medical Tribune, and architect Lo-Yi Chan.

This Sackler Museum started the continuing proliferation of new museums in this country. In fact, from 2011 to 2015 museums opened at an average of almost one per day. Back in 1993, China’s leaders were not interested in art or museums, which is why a small building was deemed adequate for the museum. We now all agree that more space is necessary, especially as other universities are building modern facilities. We look forward to the coming expansion. I am very proud of the way this museum has progressed and anticipate an even more exciting future.”
Ambassador Terry Branstad, Dame Jillian Sackler, and Wang Bo
Noel Lateef
Dame Jillian Sackler and Miguel Benavides
A contemporary art exhibition entitled Intersection: International Art and Culture coincided with the 25th Anniversary and runs through August 27th. Fourteen artists from both China and America were invited to participate. Highlights included: Flight, a photograph depicting Anindita Dutta’s wet-clay-performance, Mark Fox’s sculpture of randomly arranged text cut-outs, Patricia Guzmán Meditations, a painted exploration of native Mexicans, and Zhan Wang’s Artificial Rock No. 175, a Chinese rock covered in hammered stainless steel and extensively buffed to a mirror-like reflection.
Artificial Rock 175 by Zhan Wang installation Scholars Rock in the museum's courtyard
Sculptor Mark Fox
Flight photograph of performance by Anindita Dutta
Meditations painting by Patricia Guzman
A symposium for historians and art scholars accompanied the exhibition, concentrating on the importance of cultural exchange. Noel Lateef, President of the US Foreign Policy Association, delivered the keynote address. Artist Xu Bing gave a special lecture.

American guests at the celebration included the US Ambassador to China, The Honorable Terry Branstad, Dr. Alice Kandell, Mary McFadden, Erik and Cornelia Thomsen, and Dame Jillian Sackler’s brother and his wife Bryn and Janet Tully, who were visiting China for the first time.
Dr Alice Kandell and Mary McFadden
Bryn and Janet Tully
And out east: ‘Women Artists: Reshaping the Conversation’ is back by popular demand. “When we started this project, we thought it was a one-off,” Toni Ross noted, “but the need for this has overwhelmed us. Conversations between women are different”, she said to a packed room as she introduced the second talk of the second season of her panel discussions at Nick & Toni’s restaurant.

Lisa Dennison, the former director of the Guggenheim Museum and now Sotheby’s Chairman of North and South America, discussed the many recent price records shattered for women artists, but noted that “all lag behind the prices of their male counterparts."
Laurie Lambrecht opened by saying that, “I don’t think I ever thought of being anything but an artist. From a very young age, I was always making things.” She also recalled how, “Sometimes, when I worked for magazines, I would hire a guy for muscle to carry equipment.  They would be identified at the shoot as the photographer—which meant I was left alone to focus on the work.”

Sally Gall echoed the experience, explaining that her work has sometimes been criticized as, “too feminine, too soft, too sensual-- but that’s what I’m drawn to", and later offered, “I know discrimination exists but I look beyond it…the New York Times Magazine used to hire all these guys to go around the world shooting for travel stories. I would be chosen to go to Baltimore.”

The distinguished collector Sondra Gilman recalled that she had, “never seen a photograph that my father and grandfather hadn’t taken. The Eugène Atget show at MoMA was a revelation to me. Berenice Abbott brought his work to America. When I bought one for $250 my family thought I was crazy. I told them I had just found a Rembrandt!” In closing, she mentioned that, “I don’t think the Whitney has bought a single photograph by a straight white male photographer in the last two years.”
Neda Young, Toni Ross, and Sally Gall
The next conversations are slated for Sunday, June 3 at Nick & Toni’s with Pernilla Holmes and Judith Hudson; Saturday, August 11 at LongHouse Reserve with Carla Chammas, Carrie Moyer, Dorothea Rockburne, and Terrie Sultan, Saturday, August 25 at LongHouse Reserve with Aliza Nisenbaum; and Saturday, September 22 and at LongHouse Reserve with Barbara Toll and Kennedy Yanko.  For more information, contact Jack Meyer at 212.271.4283 or
Lisa Denison, Laurie Lambrecht, Sally Gall, and Sondra Gilman
Dani Effron Kline, Gina Gibney, and Debbie Bancroft
Agathe Snow and Ron Kaplan
Americk Lewis
Janet Goleas and Bonnie Rychlak
Jean Pagliuso and Bastienne Schmidt
Laurie Lambrecht Neda Young
Matko Tomici and Sandy Perlbinder
Sally Gall, Mary Heilmann, and April Gornik
Sandy and Steve Perlbinder

Contact DPC here.