Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last Call:Fall 2014 Exhibitions Ending in January, February and March 2015

Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline in a Black Scarf, October 11, 1954
Private Collection,  
©2014 Estate of Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The end of the Fall Art Season is quickly approaching as the old year fades into the new. 
Here is the list of  important Fall 2014 shows closing in January, February and March 2015.

"Picasso and Photography," Gagosian Gallery on West 21st. St., through January 3rd.
"The Crusader Bible," "Artists' Holiday Cards," Morgan Library and Museum, through January 4th.
"Assyria to Iberia - Classical Age," Metropolitan Museum, through January 4th.
"Zero: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s," Guggenheim, through January 7th.
"Picasso and Jacqueline," Pace Gallery on West 25th St., through January 10th.
"David Hockney," Pace Gallery on West 25th St., through January 10th.
"Richard Pousette-Dart," Pace Gallery on West 25th St., through January 10th.

Marisol Escobar, The Family, 1969
All rights reserved, Marisol Escobar/Licensed by VAGA, 
New York; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN

"Marisol: Sculpture and Works of Paper," El Museo del Barrio, through January 10th.
"Iceland: Artists Respond to Place," Scandinavia House, through January 10th.

Kathleen Gilje, Woman with an Ermine, Restore, 1997
at the National Academy, 
Courtesy of  Francis Naumann Gallery and the artist
All rights reserved

"Beyond the Classical," National Academy, through January 11th.
"Renaissance Tapestry," Metropolitan Museum, through January 11th.
"Theodore Rousseau and the Untamed Landscape," Morgan Library and Museum, through January 18th.
"Robert Gober," Museum of Modern Art, through January 18th.
"Egon Schiele," Neue Galerie, through January 19th.

Irving Harper, Owl, Paper Sculpture

"Irving Harper," Rye Art Center, through January 24th.
"Chris Ofili," New Museum, through January 25th.

"Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis," Jewish Museum, through February 1st.
"Bartholomeus Spranger," "Death Becomes Her," Metropolitan Museum, through February 1st.

Henri Matisse, Blue Nude II, 1952

"Henri Matisse: The Cutouts," Museum of Modern Art, through February 10th.

Georges Braque, Le Roche-Guyon, Summer 1909,
Leonard A. Lauder Collection 

"Leonard A. Lauder Cubism Collection," Metropolitan Museum of Art, February 16th.
"Madame Cezanne," Metropolitan Museum, through March 15th.
"Helena Rubenstein," Jewish Museum, through March 22th.

Happy New Year - with our best wishes,


Beth New York

aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic
Director, New York Arts Exchange

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Year, New You: Celebrate with Tea 101 - classes begin on December 30, 2014

  • Tea 101

  • Prep the Pot (Tea 101) Class  - Tuesday, December 30, 2014; 6:30
    • How tea created empires and revolutionized culture.
    • Overview of the production process: harvest, oxidation, blending, and bagging.
    • Introduction to the main types of tea, and their less common variations.
    • Benefits to a lifestyle of overall wellness
    Place: 1120 Avenue of the Americas, 4th Floor; near 42nd Street, NYC
      If you'd like to know more about classes, or to arrange an on-site course at your business,

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

    Merry Christmas 2014 - Nativity Scenes in Art

    18th Century Neapolitan ornaments on the  Metropolitan Christmas Tree
     Collected by Loretta Hines Howard since 1925 and on view since 1957, 
    over 200 figures were donated in 1964;  Linn Howard, Loretta's daughter, 
    still dresses the tree with her daughter, Andrea Selby  
    Made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.

    The Metropolitan Museum's Christmas Tree is a seasonal favorite. Fully decorated by Thanksgiving Weekend, it remains one of the time-honored traditions for New Yorkers and visitors, who seek out the best holiday displays all around the town. This year the tree will be on view through January 6th: Epiphany.

     Neapolitan Baroque Crèche 

    As we look at this magnificent  Baroque Nativity scene, arranged at the front of the Metropolitan's Christmas Tree, we might wonder when the Nativity scene in art began.  According to contemporary literature on the subject, we believe that the earliest Nativity scenes appear on sarcophagi in the 4th century, when Emperor Constantine permitted public worship and the building of churches:

    Nativity, Stilicho's Sarcophigus, 4th century, 
    Sant'Ambrogio Basilica, Milan

    In the East, Byzantine depictions follow the description of Christ's birth found in the Gospel of James, which sets the joyous occasion in a cave:

    Nativity, Byzantine, ivory, 10th century, Louvre 

    Nativity, Daphni Monastery, 11th century

    Later artistic interpretations relied on the Gospel of Luke and Matthew, in which the birth takes place outside an inn and the Christ Child is placed in a manger.

    Nicola Pisano, Nativity, Pulpit, Baptistery, Pisa, c. 1260

    Giovanni Pisano, Nativity, Pulpit of Sant Andrea, Pistoia c. 1300

    Early Netherlandish and other late medieval works in northern European found inspiration in the 14th century visionary texts of St. Bridget of Sweden, who described  the Virgin Mary kneeling over the Christ Child laying on a bed of straw, radiating light: 

    Hugo van der Goes, Nativity, Portinari Altarpiece,c. 1476-8, 
    Uffizi Gallery, Florence

    The mystery and miracle of Christ's birth finds several expressions in the history of art - peace and love, exultation and song, spiritual meditation and faithful devotion:  

    Alessandro Botticelli, Mystical Nativity, c, 1500, 
    National Gallery, London

    George de la Tour, The Newborn Christ, 1645-7, 
    Museum of Fine Art, Rennes

    El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Adoration of the Shepherds, 1605-10
    Metropolitan Museum of Art (part of the El Greco exhibition through February 1)

    Matthias Grunewald, Nativity, Isenheim Altarpiece, 1510-15
    Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar, France

    Feliz Navidad 

     Merry Christmas

    Joyeux Noël

    Fröhliche Weihnachten

    Feliz Natal!

    from all of us at
    New York Arts Exchange

    Beth New York
    aka. Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.

    Saturday, December 20, 2014

    Judith and Hanukkah

    Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes, 1620

    T'was the 5th Night of Hanukkah and all through the house,
    Cheese blintzes scent the kitchen
    Sour cream delights the mouth.
    Dairy products recall the courage of Judith
    Who fed Holofernes cheese and wine
    Then smote him to save the Israelites
    In Bethulia, way before Antiochus IV's time.

    The story of Judith of Bethulia who beheaded the Assyrian general Holofernes belongs to the Hebrew Bible's Apocrypha, right next to the chapters on the Maccabees, which tell the story of Hanukkah. We imagine that Judith's selfless act foreshadows the triumph of the Maccabees.

    Here is the story of the Maccabees and Hanukkah.

    Here is the story of Judith and Holofernes on Arthistory.about.com,
    And here is a video about Judith and Hanukkah.

    Plus - more works of art that feature Judith: 

    Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and her Maidservant, 1612-13

    Alessandro Botticelli, Judith and Her Maidservant, 1472

    Caravaggio, Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1598-99

    Cristofano Allori, Judith and the Head of Holofernes, 1613

    Valentin de Boulogne, Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1626

    Donatello, Judith and Holofernes, 1460

    Johann Adam Boller, Hanukkiah, c. 1705-32, 
    Jewish Museum, NY, gift of Frida Schiff Warburg

    Happy Hanukkah to all and to all a good 5th night,
    Beth New York

    aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
    New York Arts Exchange

    Saturday, December 13, 2014

    NYAE Exclusive: Luncheon with Diane Radycki on Wednesday, December 17th at 12 noon

    Professor Diane Radycki with her book on 
    Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist (2013)

    The New York Arts Exchange is pleased to offer an exclusive opportunity to meet Professor Diane Radycki, associate professor of art history at Moravian College and the director of Payne Gallery, for a private lunch and conversation about Paula Modersohn-Becker.  Professor Radycki has just returned from the opening of the Modersohn-Becker Retrospective at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, in Humlebaek, about 22 miles outside of Copenhagen, Denmark.  She will tell us about her work on PMB and the current exhibition - a virtual trip to Louisiana in the heart of NYC.

    Please join us for this exceptional occasion - and holiday celebration as we end our 2014 Fall Tour Series.

    Day and Date: Wednesday, December 17
    Time: 12 noon
    Place:  Asia Society, in the Garden Court Cafe, Park Avenue between 70th and 71st Streets
    Fee; Included in the Fall Tour series; $60 a la carte.
    (Lunch is not included.)

    We look forward to sharing this wonderful event with you -
    Best wishes for the holidays,
    Beth New York

    aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
    New York Arts Exchange

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours -

    Thank you for 11 years of joy and friendship - 

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Beth New York
    aka Beth S. Gersh-Nešić
    Director, New York Arts Exchange

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Face Painting in the Dark: Poems by Ann Cefola

    Ann Cefola paints with poems: still lifes, landscapes, self-portraits and other works of art.  She is a visual artist, as surely as those who delineate with brush or pencil.  She shapes, carves, digs in and reveals.  Peeling away layers of optical appearance, she mines for meaning, creating a personal iconography of circumstance.

    In “Teint Pur Mat,” Cefola begins our reading of the poem with a French proverb: “Il fait dur d' être jolie (It's hard to be pretty).”

    In white slip like lace, close to mirror, my mother fills 
    eyebrows with Charles of the Ritz gold pen.

    Chanel No. 5's scent glossy and brown as her mink stole, dabs
    from a square bottle.  Touch & Glow, shaken hard in one hand.

    And so the poet continues to describe the intimacy of a woman's toilette observed by her daughter, the room suffused with “pharmaceutical scents” sprinkled, sprayed and poured into use that become the heirlooms of experience: habits, products, gestures and olfactory associations.  These moments of watching and waiting transition into joining the female tribe by enacting rituals of beautification.

    pale frosts of junior high.  How makeup marks my life;
    Elbowing at the girls' room mirror, I draw

    And contemplate: ruminating over this fashioning of the mask, this living inside and outside of the body:

    help me get closer to my true snakeskin.
    To swim toward grace, she knew what must be applied.

    Along with these evocative images – the optical, the physical, the invisible and the remembered – which interact and overlap, simultaneously, like a Cubist's collage, there is sound: a voice that too sketches out the scenery, as in "Sugaring"

                At the pancake house, I say Blueberry, you say Cinnamon Sugar.                                                      

    This poem makes my mouth crave maple syrup.

    Thankfully, Cefola includes her masterpiece “Demoiselles 7,” which I have enjoyed for lo these seven years since we worked on our respective “Demoiselles” for the 100th anniversary of the painting's birth (mine was the catalog essay for an exhibition; Ann's her magnificent dialogue between the five prostitutes and art history):

    To give and daily be discarded.
    To live a heaviness in limb,
    to feel  one's blood finely carbonated,
    to sink back into empty pupils.
    You blame Braque, Léger, Gris
    They saw the world vibrate, could see the other side.
    They heard the discordant violin, broken guitar.
    They knew the danger of still life.

    Picasso's ladies talk back, released from their stationary poses, to rant about the issues that still plague humankind:

    We Demoiselles that changed the world,     and didn't.

    As we travel from page to page, following the poet alight on urban and rural terrain, capturing the very essence of existence in all its vibrant or drab quotidian colors, we eventually face death itself in her poem “Road to Windsor,” dedicated to Susan Hall Anthony (1930-2009), co-founder of the New England Writers Association.

    There she is, shimmer and light,
    about to loose the body like an old nightgown.
    I offer useless prayers.  Embrace her a second, last, time.
    She holds on as if spirits speak in dialogue no one can hear.

    This mural-like existence no less than two women, a portrait,
    a Vermeer.  Love doesn't go away, I say.  She knows.
    I put my hands at my heart in Namaste,
    a gesture she returns.

    And so the poet heads for home through the Vermont farms and Main Streets as we too take our leave from this journey through a virtual exhibition of Celofa's perceptive imagery:

    Green hills home to sheep and dog, black-eyed Susans bright.
    The envelope that folds in on itself,
    daylilies that close at night.

    Chuffed, we look forward to another Cefola collection.

    Ann Cefola's 
    Face Painting in the Dark was published by Dos Madres Press in 2014.   Her other collections of poems are St. Agnes, Pink-Slipped published by Kattywompus Press in 2011 and Sugaring published by Dancing Girl Press in 2007.  She also translated Hélène Sanguinetti's poem Hence this Cradle published by Seismicity Editions in 2007 (enjoying the Witter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency at Santa Fe Art Institute to prepare).  Cefola received the Robert Penn Warren Award, judged by John Ashbery.  She earned her MFA in Poetry Writing from Sarah Lawrence and still lives in New York.

    Beth New York
    aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic
    New York Arts Exchange

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Kolektiv1: One Night of Wine + Jazz for Art

    and the New York Arts Exchange

    invite you to


    to support
    emerging art + artists

    NOVEMBER 20, 2014, 6-9 PM

    Liederkranz Club at the Phipps Mansion
    6 E. 87th Street 

    Click to buy Tickets 

    Wine tasting with 100+ different wine/food pairings
    to support kolektiv1's artists + spring art shows
      Brad Baker Jazz Ensemble 

    Dance to jazz and swing
    Taste 100+ wines from all over the world
    Enjoy tapas style food pairings
    Bid on a silent auction of affordable art

    Mane Sakic-Slobodan Miljevic-Valentina Brostean-Robert Dandarov-Gerri Davis-Gregory de la Haba-Clarity Haynes-Esther Ruiz-Fabian Tacuri-Max Tzinman-Marjorie Van Cura

    ·        Live Jazz, Swing, Dancing by the Legendary Brad Baker Jazz Ensemble

    ·        Wine Tasting of over 100+ wines

    ·        Tapas-Style Food Pairings of: Dates, Gorgonzola, Pastourma, Pan Roasted Rack of Lamb, Lollipops, Pan Seared Scallops, Cauliflower & Raisins, Duck Fries and more!

    Like kolektiv1 on Facebook
    Follow kolektiv1 on Twitter
    Like New York Arts Exchange on Facebook
    Follow Beth New York on Twitter

    Sunday, November 2, 2014

    Modernism at Christie's - through November 6th

    Edouard Manet, Le Printemps, 1881
    Christie's sale on November 5, 2014

    Time for the Fall auctions at Christie's and Sotheby's, best known for the impressive Impressionists paintings and other delicious Modernist treasures that chase those Post-Halloween blues away.

    The star of Christie's evening sale on Wednesday, November 5 is Edouard Manet's Le Printemps (Spring), from 1881, which features the actress Jeanne de Marsy or Demarsy.  A video about this magnificent painting can be viewed here.

    However, during my visit to the auction exhibitions yesterday, I completely fell in love with the Hope and Abraham Melamed Collection of Cubist Works, an exceptional find on display for this week's auction of works on paper, November 6th.

    Pablo Picasso, Figure, 1913
    Melamed Family Collection

    Hurry to see this wonderful group of prints, drawings, books and one letter from Juan Gris to André Simon (Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler's partner for his Galerie Simon in Paris) before it disappears from public view (unless Leonard A. Lauder scarves it up for his promised collection of Cubists works for the Met).   

    Pablo Picasso, Guitar, Spring 1920
    A Swiss Charitable Foundation

    Could Fall 2014 mark the beginning of Cubist Fandom?   I hope so.  Cubism is the most intellectually stimulating modernist movement to date - and its quiet appearance among the usual art celebs (Renoir, Pissarro, Matisse and Dufy) convinces me of that more and more.   

    Still cogitating on the Lauder Collection.  Review in the works.

    Best wishes for Election Day,
    Beth New York

    Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
    New York Arts Exchange

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Last Call: Koons and the Whitney on Madison Ave.

    Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog (Yellow), 1994-2000
    Mirrored-polished steel, with transparent color coating, 121 x 143 inches
    (307.3 x 363 x 114.3 cm). Private Collection.  © Jeff Koons

    On Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 6 pm, the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, currently located at 945 Madison Avenue, will close to the public, along with the museum  itself, after 48 years in its iconic Marcel Breuer, Hamilton Smith and Michael Irving home. Koons, of course, will continue to produce his financially successful extravaganzas, bringing joy and k'ching-k'ching to the artist, his crew of about 180 employees, his dealers Larry Gagosian and David Zwirner, the auction houses, his collectors, and the Whitney itself (which made a tidy sum for its swan-song on the swanky Upper Eastside).  

    Andy Warhol said: "Being good business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art." In this respect, Koons and the Whitney made a Warholian decision to join forces to fill their respective coffers and seduce the public into believing good business makes "fascinating" art. 

    "Look, it's in a museum," you might say.  "Doesn't that validate its importance!"   Well  . . . . ur . . . not quite.  Museums have to make money. Koons' art is about reflecting our consumerist society (from the vacuum cleaners to inflatable beach toys) and making products that earn plenty of money (these "recontextualized" kitschy versions). Pure and simple: Koons' products sell well - to the uber-wealthy collectors and to the scores of Whitney visitors who often waited on long lines to get into the show.  

    Jeff Koons, Ushering in Banality, 1988. Polychromed wood; 38 × 62 × 30 in. (96.5 × 157.5 × 76.2 cm). Private Collection. ©Jeff Koons

    Which brings to mind the whole aura of the Koons phenomenon: its Ushering in Banality, the title of his Hummelesque sculpture from 1988 (the end of the Reagan Era). Here is Pop Art without the irony or politically-charged sting.  Instead, Koons' work seems to summarized our American appetite for veneer and little else (our obsession with image, superficial beauty and fantasized sexuality).

    Koons Exhibition with the "New" series - Hoovers, etc.

    But you know, America, we deserve him.  Jeff Koons is the Bouguereau of our time: cloyingly sweet, intellectually unchallenging, politically neutral and easy to digest.  Pure eye-candy.  He is the master of giving us what we want, because that's his job - to please us with what he thinks brings us "joy."    

    William-Adolphe-Bouguereau, The Birth of Venus, 1879
    Musée  d'Orsay, Paris

    William-Adolphe-Bouguereau (1825-1905) was the darling of the Paris Salons, an Ingresque academic to the max, and Henri Matisse's instructor at the Académie Julian in Paris (opened in 1868 and still going strong as ESAG Penninghen).  At the end of the 19th century, he was among the best-selling artists in France and abroad (including the United States).    In 1891, Bouguereau admitted that he painted to please his customers: 'What do you expect, you have to follow public taste, and the public only buys what it likes." (Robert Jenson, Marketing Modernism in Fin-de-siècle Europe, Princeton University Press, 1996, pp. 20-22.)

    Sounds like Koons, doesn't it?

    Bouguereau's paintings were scarfed up by collectors and La Patrie itself (France) for the glory of their/its legacy. (Take note, dear Whitney, this is your legacy too: letting money trump taste and coming up empty.) Bouguereau died as the Fauves shocked the nation with their crass colors and bizarre body-types.  Who remembers WAB? Who remembers Matisse?  I rest my case.

    Installation with "Equalibrium" series

    As we see in Robert Hughes' interview with Koons, the guy can't help it.  He seems to be a "Gee, gully" kind of fellow, who believes in his power to spread happiness through making "beautiful" things.  His father was an interior decorator.  (Please watch the video on the Whitney's website.)  

    Jeff Koons, Moon (Light Pink), 1995–2000. Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating; 130 × 130 × 40 in. (330.2 × 330.2 × 101.6 cm). Collection of the artist. ©Jeff Koons

    The weakness in Koons' whole enterprise is that he thinks it communicates to his audience through its reflection. He believes that our images bouncing off the shiny surfaces clearly indicate that the art includes us. I doubt Koons' audience takes the time to figure this out.  Koons' work needs about a nano-second of contemplation. No more - and no less.  Even the spare installation encourages a showroom mentality, wherein we mindlessly eye merchandise for the pure pleasure of looking at pretty things. 

    Therefore, all said and done: it's a surprisingly dull show, essentially a retread of so many gallery and museum exhibitions on view in recent years. Thoroughly devoid of authentic charm, this retrospective of this American celebrity artist may very be a true reflection of the auteur himself.

    Whitney Museum of American Art
     Architects: Marcel Breuer, Hamilton Smith with Michael Irving, opened in 1966

    So why go to the Koons show?   To say good-bye to the Whitney on Madison Avenue and wish it well in the Meat Packing District below Chelsea.  (The selections from the museum's collection is a stunning show, but lacking in a solid representation of American art in all its gender and ethnic dimensions.  Something to work toward in the future.)

    I look forward to the Met's takeover and better days to come at the Whitney. Less "Bouguereauté" (as Degas would call it) and more bite. 

    Farewell to an era,
    Beth New York

    aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
    New York Arts Exchange