February 09, 2011
© Courtesy Park Avenue and Creative Time/photo: Diane Bondareff
The seasonally changing Manhattan restaurant Park Avenue—currently in its Winter phase—has teamed up with the public art organization Creative Time on a year-long project, where a different artist will collaborate with chef Kevin Lasko on a dish for each of his quarterly menus. A few days ago I got an early taste of the first offering, Marina Abramovic’s dessert as performance art Volcano Flambé.
Diners who order the $20 treat are given a white lab coat to wear and presented with wooden box containing headphones and a tiny mp3 player. Put on the headphones, press play and the fun begins. The soundtrack features Abramovic, known for performances testing her own physical and mental limits (including sitting silently across from strangers for the entire run of her two-and-a-half-month retrospective at MoMA last year), intoning instructions in a hypnotic and sultry voice: “Close your eyes…Breathe slowly, deeply…” Timed correctly, you’re told to open your eyes just before the server pours a flaming liquid over the dessert that’s been placed in front of you. As you taste, Abramovic urges you to focus on flavors and textures: “Hot…cold…creamy…crunchy…”
Described as a riff on Baked Alaska, the Volcano Flambé features almond cake, chocolate ice cream, banana mousse, meringue and chocolate cookie crumbs—all topped by a swirl of golden spun sugar. I could have sworn I also tasted ginger, unless that was just my palate falling prey to the suggestiveness of Abramovic’s voice, purring “spicy.” As Cecile Panzieri, executive director at the Sean Kelly Gallery, which represents Abramovic, joked to me: “It’s like phone sex.” Indeed, Abramovic noted at the tasting that many of the dessert’s ingredients are aphrodisiacs.
Volcano Flambé is available through March 15 at Park Avenue Winter (100 E. 63rd St.; 212-644-1900; parkavenyc.com).
February 09, 2011
To call the works of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave "paper dresses" does them no justice; they are ornate and painstakingly accurate life-sized replicas of historical garments made entirely of crinkled, pleated, hand-painted, twisted and braided paper. Sixty of these elaborate pieces are now on view in "Pulp Fashion," a four-month exhibit that opened February 5 at San Francisco's Legion of Honor. De Borchgrave calls it "a wink at history," as the collection includes trompe l'oeil facsimiles of Renaissance dresses worn by the Medicis, gowns once donned by Elizabeth I and Marie-Antoinette (one can imagine the attention to detail required there) and couture from the houses of Worth, Fortuny, Dior and Chanel. The four designs created for this exhibit should be of particular interest: As part of the museum's "Collection Connections" series (in which participating artists are asked to reinterpret pieces from the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts's permanent collection), de Borchgrave will unveil new work inspired by fashions depicted in paintings such as Anthony van Dyck's Marie Claire de Cory and Child. At 100 34th Ave.; 415-750-3600; legionofhonor.famsf.org.
Photo courtesy Andreas von Einsiedel
February 16, 2011
Anyone who has seen Shine, Shakespeare in Love, Exit the King or most recently The King's Speech knows that everything Geoffrey Rush touches turns to gold, and his current theater engagement should be no exception. The Diary of a Madman, which opened last week for a one-month run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, showcases Rush as Poprishchin, an unaccomplished civil servant living in 1830s Russia during the reign of Nicholas I. Based on a satirical short story by Nikolai Gogol, the play details the protagonist's descent into insanity as told through his diary entries: He suspects two dogs of swapping love letters and spies on their affair, believes himself to be heir to the Spanish throne and falls in love with his superior's daughter. If Rush's past performances offer any clues as to how he will play a man held captive by a rigid social structure and a debilitating mental state, it's a safe bet to expect brilliance. At 651 Fulton St., Brooklyn; 718-636-4100; bam.org.
Photo Heidrun Lohr
February 23, 2011
Pablo Picasso is one of the most recognized names in art history, but it wasn't always so. In 1900, the then-unknown 19-year-old Picasso moved to Paris and discovered the works of Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh. He would spend the next seven years there, coming into his own as an artist. That period of his life and work is the focus of "Picasso in Paris, 1900-1907," on view at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam through May 29. Guest-curated by art historian (and Picasso expert) Marilyn McCully and organized jointly with the Museu Picasso in Barcelona—with loans from Paris's Centre Pompidou, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim in New York—the show demonstrates how the artist's style was influenced by his time in the City of Light, from the death of his good friend Carles Casagemas in 1901 (which marked the start of his Blue Period) to his friendship with writers Max Jacobs and Guillaume Apollinaire, who piqued his interest in harlequins. Every Friday evening during the exhibition's run, dancers from the company Dansgroep Amsterdam perform Nomade, a site-specific work that celebrates Picasso's love of the circus, alongside his paintings. Picasso is also the topic of a lecture series taking place the first Sunday of each month. On March 6, literary historian Peter Read will examine the artistic relationship between Picasso and the poets in his circle of friends. At 7 Paulus Potterstraat; 31-20/570-5200; vangoghmuseum.nl.
Photo Self-portrait with a palette, 1906 , Philadelphia Museum of Art. A. E. Gallatin Collection, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2011 Pablo Picasso
March 02, 2011
Contemporary art collectors and admirers, rejoice! The Armory Show begins today. Running through March 6 on Piers 92 and 94 on Manhattan's west side, this year's fair hosts 274 galleries from 31 countries. At the Paul Kasmin Gallery booth, sculptor Iván Navarro has installed 82 feet of neon-lit fencing, while multimedia artist Sam Van Aken has transformed the Ronald Feldman Gallery stand into an orchard of live trees genetically altered to simultaneously produce peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines and apricots. Hirschl & Adler Modern is showing seven marble sculptures by Elizabeth Turk, the first exhibition of her work since she won a 2010 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. Eighteen galleries, both renowned and up-and-coming, from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela will represent Latin America at the second edition of Armory Focus, a curated, invitation-only section of the fair showcasing a particular artistic community (last year's featured Berlin). Don't miss the Casa Triângulo stall, where Brazilian painter Mariana Palma's colorful work will be on display. For its art-loving guests, private club and hotel Soho House is hosting a series of panel discussions and brunches with presenting artists, and offering guided tours of VOLTA NY, an Armory Show satellite exhibit on view on 34th Street. One-day admission to the Armory Show is $30 and a combination pass, including entry to VOLTA NY, is $40; thearmoryshow.com; voltashow.com. Soho House is located 29-35 Ninth Ave.; 212-627-9800; sohohouseny.com.
Photo Mariana Palma, Untitled, 2011, oil on canvas, 250 x 150 cm. Courtesy Casa Triângulo.
March 09, 2011
Based on the 1982 children's novel by British author Michael Morpurgo, War Horse is the story of a young boy in search of his beloved horse, who has been sold into the cavalry at the outbreak of World War I. Adapted by Nick Stafford, the play premiered at London's National Theatre in 2007 and spent two sold-out seasons there. The production, which is still showing to full houses in the UK—Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip even ventured out to see it for their first private theater appearance in four years—makes its highly anticipated American debut when previews begin March 15 at New York's Lincoln Center. The cast of 35 includes members of the Handspring Puppet Company, who maneuver the painstakingly—and, at times, heartbreakingly—realistic life-sized horse puppets that show the animals' every sinew and breath. Through June 26 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, 150 W. 65th St.; 212-239-6200; warhorseonbroadway.com.
Photo Simon Annand
March 16, 2011
The ribbon cutting at the Yohji Yamamoto exhibit at London's Victoria & Albert Museum marks the UK's first solo show of the designer's work. Laid out by his longtime collaborator, scenographer Masao Nihei, it is a collection of 80 garments spanning the Tokyo-born artist's 30-year career. Shown on the main floor are 60 mannequins wearing Yamamoto's most iconic styles, noted for their asymmetric cuts, bold curves and Japanese embroidering and dyeing techniques. The other 20 pieces have been strategically placed in other galleries and in hidden corners of the museum, creating an artistic dialogue between the clothing and the art surrounding it. Don't skip the gift shop, where a selection of Yamamoto shirts and billowy Furoshiki shoulder bags (created specially for the V&A) are available for sale. Through July 10 at the V&A Museum, Cromwell Rd.; 44-207/907-7073; vam.ac.uk.
Photo Nick Knight Art Direction Peter Saville
March 24, 2011
Attending TEFAF Maastricht is like going to a museum where everything can be taken home. Collectors, curators, interior designers, creative consultants and art lovers visit the Netherlands city every March for the event, in which MECC (the town's 101,700-square-foot convention center) becomes home to 260 elegantly designed booths for ten days. Each stall brims with paintings, sculpture, furniture and jewelry spanning 7,000 years, including works by Renoir, Rembrandt, Picasso, Dalí, Miró and Klimt. The quality of every piece is guaranteed: The day before the fair opened, 29 vetting committees comprised of 168 international experts assessed each and every item, assuring its authenticity and condition. (And it's not all centuries-old: A Jeff Koons-designed BMW is also on view this year.) Visitors can take a break from gazing at one of the two sit-down restaurants, a casual café, an oyster bar or a sushi spot. TEFAF runs through March 27; tefaf.com.
Photo Loraine Bodewes
March 30, 2011
In recent years the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, just across the river from Washington, D.C., has been on a hot streak. First came the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award, then last year a celebrated performance of Sweeney Todd in honor of Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday, and now Art, which opened March 29. Written by Yasmina Reza, author of the Broadway hit God of Carnage, the dark comedy won a Tony for Best Play in 1998 and revolves around a blank canvas, a so-called piece of art purchased for nearly $43,000 by one of three friends—Serge, Marc and Yvan—who proceed to argue the question: Is this piece an avant-garde painting or a sham? Starting as a theoretical debate, the conversation spins into a wildly funny yet acerbic argument that exposes personal rifts and ultimately tests their 15-year friendship. A trio of much-lauded local actors—John Lescault, Mitchell Hébert and Michael Russotto—take the stage as the three friends and are accompanied by original music from Peter Lerman, winner of the 2010 Jonathan Larson Award. Tickets start at $50. At 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington, VA; 703-573-7328; signature-theatre.org.
Photo Chris Mueller
April 07, 2011
Some creative collaborations amount to more than the sum of their parts, and this is one of them. Last month, Lalique released to its boutiques the first of 83 "Winged Victory of Samothrace" crystal sculptures that incorporate the artistic methods of the late French artist Yves Klein. After a year of experimentation with a chemist, Klein discovered an intense, completely absorbent shade of ultramarine blue, a hue now known as IKB (International Klein Blue). The scientific formula—a combination of copper and cobalt oxides—remains a secret, but Klein used the color to paint many of his sculptures, including Winged Victory, the moulds for which he acquired in 1962, the year of his death. Nearly fifty year later, Lalique comes in: the glassware and jewelry house worked with Klein's estate and revived its cire perdue (or "lost wax") method, in which a molten wax coagulates into a material described as crystalline skin. The result is a life-sized Winged Victory sculpture made of IKB-colored Lalique crystal, priced at $110,000. Two of the 83 that were crafted have already been purchased. For more information, please visit the Lalique New York boutique at 609 Madison Ave., or call 212-355-6550.
Photo Courtesy Lalique