Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Simmie Knox, 2000

Simmie Knox, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2000

Thank you for your wisdom, your courage
 and your numerous contributions -

May your memory be for a blessing


Friday, September 11, 2020

Remembering Michael Rolando Richards (Brooklyn, August 2, 1963-WTC, September 11, 2001)

Michael R. Richards, Winged, 1999


 “The idea of flight relates to my use of pilots and planes, but it also references… the idea of being lifted up, enraptured, or taken up to a safe place–to a better world.”  

 ---  Michael Richards

Michael R. Richards in Miami, 1999

On September 11, we remember the vibrant Michael Richards, whose career was certainly on the ascendant when planes attacked the World Trade Center, killing him in the studio of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council on the 92nd floor of the North Tower. Thousands perished on that day and subsequently from health-related conditions caused by spending time at the site, cleaning up or living in the area.  The devastation of this heinous act goes well beyond the recorded and unrecorded. We are still processing the moment and the aftermath.

Michael R. Richards, Tuskegee Airman, 1999

We are also still processing the loss of Michael Richards, especially at a time when his work is more relevant than ever.  We see the model Mustang planes piercing his sculpted body in a Tuskegee Airman's pilot suit and think "how prescient!"  The miniature planes remind us of the attack from the massive passenger jets piercing the WTC Twin Towers on that sunny morning in 2001.  

Michael R. Richards, Are You Down?, Franconia Sculpture Park, created in 2000, installed in 2012

Today, nineteen years later, Michael Richards' work seems more relevant to the Black Lives Matter moment, because he work always addressed BLM issues: Black aspirations met with systemic racism that weighed down upward mobility. In Winged (1999) we see black arms fringed in feathers, spread out like Christ on the Cross, reminding us of persecution and the desire to transcend the daily grind of microagressions.

Richards said that his work“allows for an examination of the psychic conflict which results from the desire to both belong to and resist a society which denies blackness even as it affirms. In attempting to make this pain and alienation concrete, I use my body, the primary locus of experience, as a die from which to make casts. These function as surrogates, and as an entry into the work.”

From this statement, we can continue to believe that Michael Richards still lives among us, in these personal effigies that speak more powerfully and poignantly in our current political climate. 

Michael Richards: Winged, a retrospective exhibition  on Governors Island, Summer 2016

The Michael Richards Grant to support a Miami-Dade artist was established by Oolite Arts a few years ago.  For more information click on to this link.  For more information about Oolite (formerly known as the ArtCenter/South Florida), click on to the link here:

Today we remember Michael Rolando Richards.  May his memory be for a blessing.


Friday, September 4, 2020

Zooming into Fall with Lectures, Online Articles and Museum Appointment Info


Vincent van Gogh, Tree Roots, 1890

Dear friends of the New York Arts Exchange,

September is here with the promise of refreshing autumn breezes. And yet, confusion still reigns over the New York area as we continue to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.  Whom do we trust?  Where should we go without concern for our health?  Should I make an appointment with a museum or wait a bit until the museums test their new procedures?  

I prefer prudence and will continue to Zoom my classes at Mercy College and at other venues this fall.  

Here is Beth's Fall Schedule on Zoom.  Click on the titles to find the website and register with the specific organization.

Wednesday, September 23rd at 7 pm: "Vincent van Gogh's Auvers Period: Considering the Latest Revelations."  Hosted on Zoom by the Greenwich Arts Council
Free for Members of GAC; $15 for non-members.  Register through the GAC

Tuesday, October 13th at 10 am: "Three Important Contemporary Black Artists: Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley and Yinka Shonibare."  Hosted by Learning in Retirement. 
Fee: $5.  Register through LIR.

Wednesday, October 21st at 7 pm: "Recycled and Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious." Hosted by the Greenwich Arts Coucil.  This is an interview with Ruby Silvious with plenty of time for a Q and A.  Mark your calendars - not to be missed! 
Free to member of the GAC. $15 for non-members.  Register through the GAC

Thursday, November 12th at 7 pm: "Andy Warhol and the Pop Revolution." Hosted by Byram Shubert Library, Greenwich, CT.  Free.  Register through BSL.

James Tissot, Seaside (Portrait of Kathleen Kelly NewtonP, 1878

People often ask: What are you up to these days?  Well, I am ashamed to admit, I didn't "Marie Kondo-ize" my house, as I promised myself back in March  Instead I wrote articles on art, because this is my #1 passion.  Here are a few examples on the New York Arts Exchange blog: Lester Rapaport, Fereshteh Priou, Chizuru Morii Kaplan, and Ruby Silvious.

Jacqueline Marval, Les Odalisques, 1903

Here are my articles in Bonjour Paris articles since April 2020:

And finally, museums are beginning to open again.
You have to make appointments, which at first seems strange until you discover that you don't miss navigating through the midday mobs.

Here are the websites for reservations in NYC:

New York Historical Society: https://tickets.nyhistory.org/?date=2020-9-11

El Museo del Barrio has posted guidelines, but does not require reservations:

Farther afield:
Hudson River Museum, Yonkers: https://www.hrm.org/plan-your-visit/
Il Magazzino, Cold Springs: https://www.magazzino.art/booking
Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY: https://stormking.org/visit/

Best wishes for your Labor Day Weekend,

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