HOT SUMMER, COOL ART
Reg, Dennis and I have been working round the clock on our Shhh book which features Reg’s poem and artwork created in ART YARD Summer Session 2021 virtual programs.
Sneak preview of the book cover:
It’s hard work. I awoke feeling stressed and anxious. The din of crashing from the construction in my neighbor’s house providing an apt sound track. As I put my Freya dark roast Turkish grind into my Moka, I turned on Spotify. And then a miracle occurred!
There on the screen “Recommended for you newly released: Prince: Welcome 2 America.” The album recorded in 2010 which feels fresh and pertinent in 2021 was reviewed in the New York Times yesterday. When Hot Summer (Click that link to listen!) came on I started dancing in my kitchen. Art Saved The Day.
Thus inspired, here is a recap of some art to save your day!
Congratulations to ART YARD Artist Vera Tineo who has work included in Black Artists In Their Own Realm: Ideas, Materials And Techniques curated by Atim Annette Oton at Calabar Gallery 2504 Frederick Douglass Blvd. NYC through September 5, 2021.
Kudos to ART YARD Teaching Artist Alex Limpert who life-size kinetic metal sculptures in action in Natural Essence--Motion Perceived at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road Morristown, NJ through Sunday, August 15th! Alex is also a featured artist in the Summer 2021 Issue of NAWA NOW Magazine published byNational Association of Women in the Arts!
You are all invited to attend a virtual opening and artists talk for PAPERWORKS 2021 an International Juried Competition for artists creating work; in, on, or about paper which includes many of my Inside Outside Windowphilia paintings. Works were selected by Sewon Kang, Archivist, The Easton Foundation, NY.
Join us at the Opening Reception, Saturday, August 7th at 7:00pm on ZOOM. Meet the PAPERWORKS 2021 winning artists (including me!), see and discuss their work, and meet juror Sewon Kang. REGISTER HERE!
ART YARD Artist Pat Larash stopped through Brooklyn on her route from Boston to PA to visit her parents. Pat and I went to the Morgan Library and Museum to see Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities on view through September 26. I loved this exhibition so much I was wildly texting many of our ART YARD Posse about it! Equally fantastic, right across the hall, is Recent Acquisitions: Modern and Contemporary Drawings and Prints on view through August 15th which includes a piece by one of my favorites Beauford Delaney and stunning work by Martin Puryear!
ART YARD Artists Eden Moore, Pat Larash and I took what seemed like a mini-vacation over to Governors Island. There’s some great public art including a Duke Riley installation Not For Nutten featuring a huge portrait of one of my favorite gender-fluid NYC fore-humans, Lord Cornbury, governor of New York and New Jersey from 1701-1708) on view at the Ferry Terminal.
Pat writes in more depth: “I was very excited to see Meridith in person after such a long time! We went to the Morgan Library to see the Shahzia Sikander exhibition. I hadn't been familiar with this artist, and her work looked intriguing. She trained as a miniaturist in the tradition of Persian manuscript illuminations. That's impressive in its own right (Meridith wondered whether Sikander was using a single-hair brush); but Sikander takes her art well beyond the continuation of a tradition. Sikander alters and intervenes in her own miniatures to challenge notions of gender, race, and other constructs. I was particularly taken by the way she uses "veils" (often what appears to be carefully controlled dribbles of white paint) on human women and creatures from folklore, and the way she juxtaposes traditional and modern imagery. I highly recommend this exhibit. In addition, we got to see an exhibit on (often women-led) book ownership, commissioning, publishing, and binding at the court of Versailles, and a very well-curated exhibit of works by a variety of modern artists. In many of the galleries we could hear a live violin duo--the performers were playing in the courtyard, and the music wafted through the building. I was also (of course) delighted to see the Morgan's permanent collection of illuminated manuscripts and their collection of tiny, intricate Near Eastern cylinder seals. Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities is at the Morgan until Sept. 26; highly recommended. Also running until Sept. 26 is Bound For Versailles. Closing sooner (Aug. 15, hurry!) is Recent Acquisitions: Modern and Contemporary Drawings and Prints.
We were joined by Eden the next day to look at more art! We went to Governors Island for the day, making sure to look at the new Duke Riley installation (Not for Nutten) in the Manhattan ferry terminal. Riley's installation--mostly a mural--consisted of bold, vibrant paintings that combined motifs from New York's history and natural life with a commentary on our over-reliance on disposable plastic goods. There was also one of Riley's signature scrimshaw-esque pieces displayed discreetly in a porthole, but made not from a walrus tusk but from a painted-over plastic bottle that could have been plucked from anyone's recycling bin. We sauntered around and enjoyed being in an open green space near water. There was some art to be enjoyed here and there around the island, in addition to the historical buildings. I liked the patterns and depth of a wooden "X" sculpture (I haven't been able to find identifying info for it yet). Most of the food stalls were closed, but we were able to get some excellent chips and guacamole and, later, fries and surprisingly good popsicles (I recommend the Mexican chocolate flavor). Here and there, fountains and hydrants spewed out cold water with which we splashed ourselves and watched other visitors ride bikes through. We sat by the water and enjoyed the view of the Statue of Liberty, various ferries going by, and the south tip of Manhattan. We were amused by a colony of yurts (some sort of corporate retreat glamping site) and amazed by the size of some glorious hibiscus blossoms. I appreciated the chance to see Governors Island in person, after reading about ART YARD's field trip here two summers ago. What a nice getaway!
Thank you to ART YARD Advanced Studio for providing a welcoming, creative community throughout this past year. It was so restorative to meet with other ART YARDers to try out and talk about ideas and techniques with each week's teaching artist. I'm amazed by, and grateful for, the productive balance between focus and openness that each teaching artist was able to strike--every session, I learned something new about technique, artistic influences, and the ideas that go into our pieces. I really did feel like I was part of a circle, mutually influencing and encouraging one another. And all of this over Zoom! It's hard to maintain such a spirit of warmth of liveliness over a glowing rectangle week after week--and somehow Meridith, Dennis, and the entire ART YARD community did it! Thank you so much.”
Dennis enthusiastically shares his visit to Poster House: “I worked at The Metropolitan Opera for 9 seasons, in the 1990's, in an administrative position- and my office was next door to the List Art Poster department (which eventually became the Vera List Art Project). Every day, people would scurry about carrying posters and large cardboard tubes. It all seemed quite mysterious to me. Both (The Met and the List Art Project) were constituencies of Lincoln Center but didn’t officially cross paths so it took me a while to introduce myself to the people who worked there - and was offered a terrific tour and explanation of what the project was. They even did their own printing in that office space back then.
Skip ahead to 2021. A former Met associate invited me to see an exhibit of some of the posters Vera List commissioned for Lincoln Center in the 1960’s at Poster House in Chelsea. I was happy to join her - and had heard great things about Poster House but had never been.
Although a small exhibit (maybe 6 or 8 pieces), Poster House has the works of Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall, Robert Indiana, Ben Shan, and Roy Lichtenstein - all commissioned by Vera List. Each poster advertises a new building or event at Lincoln Center around the time of its opening in the mid-1960’s, chronicling how a now-famous NY institution was introduced to the public through posters.
Vera List was an art collector and philanthropist who supported the development of Lincoln Center (specifically the inclusion of The Met), Mt. Sinai Hospital, The Jewish Museum and The New School. She helped found the New Museum of Contemporary Art on the Bowery. She is the namesake of the Vera List Center for Arts and Politics at The New School. She died in 2002 at age 94.
At The Met, there’s a beautiful and large auditorium/performance space called List Hall, used for recitals and private events. Once, an opera patron told me that the spelling of “List” was incorrect, and that it should be “Lizst”, assuming the hall was named for the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. When I explained who Vera List was, she was adamant that I was wrong and left in a huff (picture a New Yorker cartoon of a well-dressed opera goer with her nose in the air and flipping her silk scarf over her shoulder, walking away from an attempting-to-be polite person with a puzzled expression on his face). These were the days before mobile devices and Google, so she could not prove her point on the spot. Weeks later, however, I received a letter of apology from her admitting that she was wrong.
Poster House is bright and neat and sparkling clean - with several exhibits running concurrently, a beautiful cafe and lovely book and gift shop. Other exhibits currently on view are “Julius Klinger: Posters For A Modern Age” and “Freak Power”. The Vera List exhibit is up through October 3rd. Poster House is at 119 West 23rd Street.
“I always felt that if people’s sensibilities were awakened, they would seek to make the whole city a more amenable place in which to live” - Vera List
Keep it hot and keep it cool with ART,