The third week of Winter in New York

Featured image
Out with the old. Photo: JH.

Monday, January 13, 2020.  A Climate Change: sunny  weather of temperatures over the weekend on this third week of Winter in New York. Beginning last Friday, temps ranged from thelow to high 60s and just t-t-t-touching on 70 yesterday early afternoon. Cooled off to the mid-50s by mid-evening. 

New Yorkers adjust instantly. Sunday morning, checking out the weather from my terrace, I spotted many neighbors on the sidewalks, out jogging, or walking their dogs, or pushing their baby strollers in shorts and tee-shirts.

Peeking at the Wolf Moon.

The weekend was the first full moon of the new year. I recently learned the first full moon of the year is known as the Wolf Moon, a name given by the ancients. It began Friday afternoon at 2:21 p.m. and appeared full until yesterday (Sunday) morning. There was also a partial eclipse that began on Friday afternoon at 12:07 p.m. Eastern time, and peaking two hours later. 

I read it online several weeks ago. The name intrigued me; where it came from and what it meant. I also read among the info that astrologers believed this particular moon was a significant date in the world (because of the moon and its relationship to the planet). 

How was it significant? I have no idea. I tend to imagine some kind of disaster or catastrophe to define its “significance.” I then calm down and realize that what is significant, good or bad, is my imagination. 

So I saw none of it, the eclipse or the moon, although it wasn’t visible anyway to the naked eye in the middle of the day. There was live coverage online of the actual eclipse on line. Its affect on the world will have to be determined by historians. The daily news is bad enough.

There is good news too, lest we forget. For example, last Thursday night our friend and neighbor Charlie Scheips had his first solo exhibition of paintings, Inventions Fugues Flowers, at the Richard Taittinger Gallery on 154 Ludlow Street in SoHo.


Charlie Scheips photographed by Jill Krementz.

Diary readers have been reading about Charlie or seeing his name on these pages since the Diary’s inception. He and his partner Tom Graf moved into their apartment in the same building (down the hall) about the same time I moved in, in the mid-90s. Most recently you might have seen Charlie’s sensational Christmas tree on the NYSD that he “does” every year. 

Charlie is multi-faceted in interests. His is a life in the arts. He’s even written a number of arts-oriented columns (Art Set) for the NYSD. He’s an author, curator, archivist, historian, besides painting. An important influence on his life has been David Hockney whom he met in the early ’80s when he was just out of college, and with whom he has a close, more than 40-year friendship. Early on after college he worked for Hockney as a chief studio assistant in Los Angeles and has since remained a close friend and associate to the painter. 

Charlie with his friend and former boss, David Hockney, in 2009.

Charlie has been a painter for as long as I’ve known him. I know this because his works are hanging in his apartment along with the works of others including Mr. Hockney.  However, a couple of years ago I, being a fairly frequent dinner guest at their apartment, noticed that Charlie was painting regularly. He’d often have a recent painting resting on the easel of his upright piano. I loved them. I love his sense of color and the details that can distract and charm the viewer. I am not an artist or a connoisseur. My “educational” part of being a spectator is meager and uninformed. I’m one of those who just responds with my senses. Charlie’s colors take me right in.

The Taittinger Gallery press release for the exhibit explains it more concisely for those who are curious:  Charlie’s “painting technique and style reflect his obsession with cubism, collage and Picasso which has informed his work since his college days as an art student. He consciously rejects photographic depiction and instead relies on his eye and hand in his drawings and paintings. He invites us, through his paintings, into his multi-faceted world. He works both figuratively and through more inventive constructions that he calls his “glueless collages.”

Continuing the word from Taittinger: Charlie “…. has developed a body of work that reveals his love of literature mythology, art, religion, music and culture.” Hear! Hear! It “mirrors his interests and passions. His enthusiasm for the pleasures of the table and travel also find their way into their canvases.” They observe that his work is both autobiographical and provocative.

The opening night reception brought out a big crowd of Charlie’s friends and associates including the Gallery owner Richard Taittinger and his wife Elodie, the gallery’s Sharon Phair Fortenbaugh, Michele Gerber Klein, Culture Corps’s Yvonne Force Villareal, Jared Goss, Sam Shahid, Robert Littman and Sully Bonnely, James LaForce, Richard Mauro, Christophe von Hohenberg, Pilar Viladas, Nancy Whyte, Joan Schenkar, Alice and Paul Juddelson, Christopher Mason, Wadsworth Atheneum curator Patricia Hickson, Anthony Haden-Guest, New Museum’s Scott Campbell, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States Gaetan Bruel, and scores more.

I got there early so I could photograph his paintings. The color draws you in and lifts you. The images fascinate, intrigue, and indicate the man. They’re wonderful!


Madame Butterfly, 2018
Gouache on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 inches (framed: 28
1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500 (SOLD)
Great Expectations, 2018
Gouache on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 inches (framed: 28 1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500
Detail of Great Expectations.
Poussin, 2017
Gouache on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 inches (framed: 28 1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500
A Dance to the Music of Time, 2017
Gouache on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 inches (framed: 28 1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500
Provincetown I, 2017
Gouache on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 inches (framed: 28 1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500
Atlantic Crossing, 2018
Gouache on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 inches (framed: 28 1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500
Left: Lilies in Jobi Vase, Provincetown, 2018
Gouache on Arches paper
16 x 12 inches (framed: 201/2 x 161/2 inches)
$6,500
Right: Zinnias, Provincetown, 2018
Gouache on Arches paper
14 x 10 inches (framed: 18 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches)
$4,800
Ouija (James Merrill), 2017
Gouache on Arches paper
22 /12 x 30 inches (framed: 28 1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500
Le Portail, 2018
Acrylic on canvas
28 1/2 x 39 inches
$16,000
Ganesha (Remover of Obstacles), 2018
Gouache on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 inches (framed: 28 1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500
Intermezzo II, 2018
Gouache on Arches paper
22 /12 x 30 inches (framed: 28 1/2 x 36 inches)
$9,500

I had to rush off to a dinner but fortunately my friend and colleague Jill Krementz arrived and was able to add a few photographs to the mix.


Elodie and Richard Taittinger.
James Goldschmidt and Jeff Lewis and his dog Timmy.
Art historian Larry Qualls.
L. to r.: Lily Vonnegut with Wyatt and Jack; Richard Mauro, Lily Vonnegut and her son Jack.
Anthony Haden-Guest and Charlie Scheips.
L. to r.: Amanda Gordon who writes for Bloomberg News, with her partner, Daniel Temkin, an artist; Artist Joachim Eckl.
Bob Merrill provided the music (piano), while his son accompanied him on the guitar.

The Gallery is open 11- 7 Sunday-Saturday and Mondays by appointment, 154 Ludlow Street.  www.richardtaittinger.com

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