And then the rains came

Featured image
Sailing down the mighty Hudson. 5:00 PM. Photo: JH.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Hot and humid in New York right now. Day after day after night. The weatherman tells us that Isaias is bound to cool things off for a moment, but not until late today or early tomorrow. The heat has not stopped New Yorkers — those remaining after the Covid-exodus — from going out to dinner every night and late afternoon. We the people are our only relief right now after those four months of no speakee-no laundry-know nothin’. 

Restaurants are still not allowed to serve inside, and the mugginess does extend to the evening hours (with some let-up). But that’s all right with most of us. You can feel the relief in the guests everywhere you look — just glad to be out and among each other. Restaurateurs and bar owners have made the best of a terrible financial situation, and you can see their creative positives anywhere you go in New York right now.

I was meeting Mary Hilliard for dinner at Sette Mezzo. Mary took the sensational portfolio of photos we ran last June of New York Public Library galas from the 1980s and ’90s.  She also took a series of “Look Who’s Talkin’” photos.

JFK, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy in 1996 from Mary Hilliard’s “Look Who’s Talkin’” series.

When I arrived at the restaurant at 7 p.m., it was 89 degrees and humid. But we were sitting outside, and it does cool off some when the Sun goes down — and it’s a pleasure to be dining outside among friends and others enjoying the evening.

Lexington Avenue between 70th and 71st Streets, 7 p.m. Monday night. That’s Sette Mezzo on the left and Bella Blu to its right.
Brasserie Cognac is two doors down on the corner of 70th Street.
Waiting for my dinner date like many others at the restaurants on this corner — Sette Mezzo, Bella Blu and Brasserie Cognac.

By 9 o’clock we had finished our dinner (no dessert). Our table was located under the awning, and as I was signing the check Mary picked up her handbag from her chair and said it felt like it was beginning to … rain.  Ha! Within seconds it began. Then, as if out of nowhere, it poured torrents and with WIND! We quickly ran inside the interior entry way of the restaurant. Everyone else came running right behind us. It was like a hurricane but a day early.

Ten minutes later it looked like it was letting up so we made a run for the car, which was parked around the corner and next to an apartment building surrounded by scaffolding. That sheltered us from the rain. When I got home, twenty minutes later, and sat down to write this Diary, the rain had stopped entirely. I looked up the temperature: 70 degrees!! A pleasure.

Then at nine o’clock …

Back to business. This coming Saturday, the Newport Art Museum will present its 2020 Benefit Art Auction in support of art, artists, and the Museum, This will be a “virtual auction so you won’t have to be in Newport, and you can attend at your desk with your computer. It will run through Saturday, August 29th.

The auction will feature the work of 70 established artists who have donated their exceptional artworks, including paintings, prints, and photographs, and will be hosted via online auction house, Bidsquare. To view artwork and place bids, guests must register for the auction HERE. It is recommended that guests register early to allow time for approval.

The Newport Art Museum has recently reopened its doors to the public after a temporary closure due to the coronavirus crisis. However, due to the limitations imposed on large public events this summer season, the Museum is unable to invite guests to any of its annual fundraisers or its  gala. Those events raise essential funds for arts programming, exhibitions, and historic preservation. So, with the 2020 Benefit Auction those looking forward to supporting artists and the Museum still can “attend” as well as adding artwork to their own collection.

Proceeds from this auction will ensure the Museum continues to build and care for its collections, exhibit a diversity of artists, provide arts education in the Museum School and out in the community, and preserve its historically significant buildings.

Ross Bleckner
Dream and I Do
17-color silkscreen

The Museum will split 50% of the proceeds from each artwork sold with its contributing artist. Many artists have been denied exhibition openings, gallery sales, and teaching posts as a result of postponements and temporary closures due to the coronavirus crisis. The hope is that these sales will help in supporting their art practice during these challenging times.

The Newport Art Museum was founded in 1912 on the belief that art is an essential component of vibrant communities. All those who wish to view an exhibition or enroll in an art class are welcome. For more than a century, the Museum has continued to promote these ideals of access and outreach. Today, the commitment is to exhibiting and collecting a diversity of artistic voices and experiences — thus sparking reflection, inspiration, discovery, and connection to ourselves, our community, and our world.

Harry Benson
Jacqueline Kennedy and Lee Radziwill, London 1962
Fiber based archival photograph, signed and numbered from and edition of 35

Artists represented in the 2020 Benefit Art Auction include Donald Baechler, James Baker, Reenie Barrow, Harry Benson, Nicholas Benson, Richard Bernstein, Ross Bleckner, Scott Bluedorn, Lisa Bracken, Jessica Brili, Jean Marie Bucich, EJ Camp, Birch Coffey, Matthew Cohen, Anne Winthrop Cordin, Freddy Cushing, David Dewey, Peter Dickison, Nathan Dilworth, Mary Dondero, Jemison Faust, Mark Fernandez, Ron Galella, Kevin Gilmore, Jodie Mim Goodnough, Robert S. Greenberg, John K. Grosvenor, Joan Hall, Bunny Harvey, Mary Heilmann, Debbie Hesse, Joshua Huyser, Gabriella Imperatori-Penn, James Isherwood, Bill Jacklin, Arghavan Khosravi, Marie Louise Kirchner, Kris Knight, Bill Lane, Freddy Leiva, Christopher Makos, Gayle Wells Mandle, Robert Manice, Liz Markus, Rania Matar, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Sue McNally, Rupert Nesbitt, Maggie Nowinski, Thomas Palmer, Enoc Perez, Anthony Quinn, John Redick, Robert Risko, Nathan Ritterpusch, Kenny Scharf, Kate Simon, Hunt Slonem, Paul Solberg, Michael Stricklin, Stephanie Pfriender Stylander, Billy Sullivan, Ardeshir Tabrizi, Christian Vincent, Roseanne Williams, and Margaret Ann Withers. This list is complete as of July 24, 2020.

More information on the 2020 Benefit Art Auction, including how to register as a bidder, can be found HERE.

The items won’t be viewable until tomorrow, August 5th (and the bidding will begin on Saturday, August 8th), but here is a preview of a number of fantastic submissions from some very talented and generous artists.

Donald Baechler
Blue Flower
Gesso, flashe and paper collage

Christopher Makos
Polaroid of Debbie Harry
Archival pigment print on museum paper
Liz Markus
Slim Keith [with Jimmy Stewart], 2019
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas

Enoc Perez
Hotel La Rada, 2005
Graphite on paper
Nathan Ritterpusch
Old enough to be my Mother #116, 2020
Oil on canvas
Kenny Scharf
Beauty from within, 1997
Color lithograph, edition 25/43
Margaret Ann Withers
Falling through a trap door while eating barbecue in Dime Box, Texas
Flashe paint, ink, acrylic on linen
Billy Sullivan
A drawing of birds, done from life, June 1999, East Hampton
Ink on paper
Stephanie Pfriender Stylander
Kate Moss, Fifth Avenue / Harpers Bazaar Uomo, 1992
Selenium toned silver gelatin print
Kate Simon
Bob Marley holding a coptic cross in front of his house in Kingston Jamaica, 1978
Silver gelatin print
Freddy Cushing
Chinese Tea House, 2010
Limited edition print
Richard Bernstein
Max Kansas City
Silkscreen print
Scott Bluedorn
Solarplate etching with watercolor
EJ Camp
Playa Del Carmen, 2015
Nathan Dilworth
Untitled, 2019
Oil on linen
Ron Galella
John Lennon, May Pang and Mick Jagger attend the second annual American Film Institute Awards, March 13th 1974
Silver gelatin print

Mary Heilmann
Ocean Road
Print on archival pigment, cotton rag paper
Joshua Huyser
C60, 2018
Watercolor on hot press paper
Arghaven Khosravi
Moonlight, 2020
Limited edition digital print
70 x 70 cm

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