Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New Poetry Bookstore in Kensington Market

Yesterday, Bill and I read with excitement a note on Facebook by Stuart Ross.
A new bookstore featuring poetry has opened in Rick's Café at 281 Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market. 
 We dropped in that afternoon and discovered a very attractive stock of poetry books.
The shop mixes new and used books. What could be better?
I bought a trade paperback of Frank O'Hara's complete poems.
Must have a good look through these chapbooks on my next visit. 
Nice surprise -- I don't know this Duane Michals book. Must look it up online.
Best of luck to Jeff Kirby on his new shop -- knife | fork | book. We'll be stopping in regularly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Festival of San Gennaro, NYC

Bill and I were pleased to find ourselves in New York during the 90th anniversary of the annual Festival of San Gennaro. 
It takes place on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. We walked south from our apartment to where Lafayette Street divides into Mulberry on the left.
 When we arrived the street was packed.
Bill and I entered the closed street under the watchful protection of the NYPD
and the Fire Department.
We were tempted by the colourful cocktails for sale
 as well as  the crazy photo ops
and the traditional carnival games. 
A vendor of sweets
including this enormous halvah.
Deep fried Oreo cookies and other deep fried treats
 and traditional Italian pastries were available about every ten feet.
A display of plates of decorative fake food.
 For the savory palate there was roasted corn,
there were kebabs
 and sausages all barbecued over coal fires
and oysters on ice!
The bars filled up fast. These signori are enjoying hand-rolled Cuban cigars.
The local Italian restaurants lined the street with covered patios.
 Mambo Italiano!
At the bottom of Mulberry Street we stopped in to the Church of the Holy Blood
with its classic Neapolitan nativity crèche.
 Saint Januarius, also known as San Gennaro, is the patron saint of the city of Naples in Italy and of the Little Italy Festival. This shrine was outside the church -- note the paper money offerings.
 On his three feast days Gennaro's blood (preserved in a bank vault in Naples) is said to liquify. That's Gennaro on the right in a niche in the church.
 It was dark when we returned to Mulberry Street.
 It was our turn to eat. I got us a chicken parmigiana sandwich. It was tasty.
The street was very festive after dark
but sated in body and soul we tourists made our way home.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ydessa Hendeles at Barbara Edwards

Yesterday Bill and I visited the new Ydessa Hendeles exhibition, Death to Pigs, at the Barbara Edwards Gallery. The show includes a painting, some photographs of objects from the artist's collection and some found objects.
There is always more than meets the eye at a Hendeles show so be sure to pick up a copy of the helpful notebook.
From the book: "... because I take elements from outside the arena of contemporary art, I provide 'Notes' that contain all a thoughtful viewer needs to experience the works without being a connoisseur in the various disciplines represented in the components of my work."

Because photography is not allowed at this show the gallery staff sent us the photos below by Robert Keziere for us to use in this blog post. All artworks 2015.

 We were drawn to Prize, -- a wooden Anatomical Teaching Model of a Domestic Sow, German, ca. 1930, a child's table and a charming Victorian painting Farmer with Prize Pig (English Naïve School), ca. 1860. Gallery staff will allow you a peek at the pig from behind.

 Some of the photos Keziere made for the artist hang in themed groups. Above, Hope (a wind-up tin toy of a butcher riding a cart pulled by a pig) and Nose (clockwork bell in the form of a pig, two clockwork pigs and a terracotta sow from a Neapolitan crèche).

Don't miss the video called Three Little Pigs. There is only one pair of headphones to ensure an immersive experience for each single viewer
I'm glad I watched the video without first reading the notes (do read them later). I was quite unprepared for what I saw and heard. Afterward I looked at the rest of the show with new eyes.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Stroll Through Chelsea

If you like contemporary art try to make time for a visit to New York's Chelsea neighbourhood. You'll find a wealth of independent galleries between 10th and 11th Avenues, from West 18th Street north to 29th.
 This time we started at West 18th St and worked north. It's always a pleasure to pass the frosted windows of Frank Gehry's wonderful IAC Building on 11th Avenue.
Hauser & Wirth on 18th Street was showing work in a variety of mediums by Rashid Johnson. This monumental installation, Fly Away, reminded me of the warehouse shelving in an Ikea self-service area stuffed with exotic plants.
 At Matthew Marks on 24th Street we liked Peter Cain's gas station paintings.
 As usual we particularly liked his preparatory drawings.
Cain made collages from magazine advertisements. John found this one inspiring.
 The Chelsea neighbourhood is still very industrial. A delivery man takes a break.
Sikkena Jenkins and Co at 22nd Street had new work by Leonardo Drew.
 We once saw a huge installation of burnt structures by the artist at this gallery 
reminiscent of this recent wall piece
but this time the installation featured individual  pieces with a "found art" quality. 
 Of course after seeing such work the streets begin to look like art installations too.
There was a big show of work by Oscar Murillo at David Zwirner.
The collage-elements in the paintings reminded us of some of Robert Rauschenberg's work from the 70s and 80s.
Here's a detail of the painting on the left, above.
Murillo's installation reminded us that we don't always "get" the work we look at, but we like to look at it nonetheless. Often we "get" things much later.
 We both loved John Baldessari's new series of prints -- Madame Cezanne's Hairdos at Gemini G.E.L.
Later, at the Met, we looked again at Cezanne's portraits of his wife.
 Even the Chelsea architecture started to look like her hairdos!
 Another fun show was at the Tanya Bonakdar gallery. Art collective Slavs and Tatars presented their new work: Auteur Pasteur. John passes through a curtain of plastic strips.
Some of the best pieces in the show were rag rugs on twisted political themes. 
I want one!!
Chaim and Reid Gallery on West 25th St featured new work by Lynda Bengalis. Her works on paper are fascinating
but my favourite piece was this plastic purse sculpture with kissing anonymous couple.
John seemed to fit into the work on display as he crossed the street outside the gallery.
The work of Tomoo Gokita at Mary Boone on 24th St was other-worldly
to say the least! Again, not sure we got it but it was fun to see it.
We finished our tour at West 28th Street and by now everything was looking like art.