Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hallowe'en, NYC

Join us for a Hallowe'en Breakfast at the Moonstruck Diner in New York City. Mind that first step!
Kudos to the Moonstruck Diner for picking such a terrific artist to do their windows! Is this the finest witch in New York? Link to artist info.
Happy Hallowe'en to one and all
from Bill Kimber and John

Thursday, October 28, 2010

La Taza de Oro

Bill and I love this Puerto Rican diner at 96 Eighth Avenue. Whatever you order comes with rice and beans. Here I have roast chicken and red beans, Bill has baked fish and black beans. We both have yellow rice and are sharing an avocado salad. Delicious and very satisfying. 
Around 3 p.m. you could often find us there after a morning and afternoon tramping through the museums and galleries.
Bill and I love to be surrounded by locals when we eat. We love the locals.
We were served by this waiter several times. Nice guy. He made us feel very welcome. We got hooked on La Taza's espresso with hot milk. Tasty!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sarah Sze

One of the highlights of our tour of New York's Chelsea galleries, indeed one of the highlights of our trip, was Sarah Sze's four installations at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, at 521 West 21 Street.
Sze uses thousands of everyday objects in her installations as you will see as you look closely. Here are some details of The Uncountables (Encyclopedia) on the main floor of the gallery.
The show is intensely immersive. You can't help but be drawn in. Electric lamps provide local illumination of spots of interest.
I love this box folded from a picture of mountains, forest and lake.
And these folded papers with their grey felt shadows.
Bill and I were thrilled and delighted wandering through the maze.
The total effect is dizzying, and intensely psychedelic 
Stones dipped in nail polish [?] cover the faces of the people in these photos.
In one of the rooms upstairs we found an entirely different installation: Landscape for the Urban Dweller (Horizon Line).
Sze's ability to transform ordinary objects is unsurpassed.
Speechless, we drink it all in...
If you look closely, you'll see that's not a real concrete block floating overhead.
In another upstairs room, another ravishing installation: 360 (Portable Planetarium).
Bill took this picture of me approaching with caution, bewitched. I hope we've made it clear how exciting we found this show.
No, this isn't another Sze installation. It's a car park on West 21st Street, over toward 10th Avenue. After we left the gallery, the streets looked like more Sarah Sze. We can never look at construction hordings without imagining her eye and hand at work. Look, there is even a concrete block!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chelsea Galleries

For John and I, trips to big, culturally rich cities like New York involve essentially a busy itinerary of the museums and art galleries. To see contemporary work we head to the Chelsea galleries. The Chelsea neighbourhood between 10th and 11th Avenues from West 20th St up to West 29th Streets is the preferred location for the top end art galleries including Pace, Gagosian and Sonnabend these days. The area was once the center for factories, sweat shops and storage facilities.  
The streets are a constant flux of art lovers darting between delivery trucks and construction. Above we see the surreal construction site for the extension of New York's subway system.
Soon separating the "art" from installations on the street can get difficult.
This accidental collage can often rival the art within the buildings. But again, maybe it's the "art" affecting one's view of the commonplace.
Some of the old, industrial buildings make perfect shells for art institutions. The Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance Company is installed at 547 West 26th Street. Looks like a perfect match, doesn't it?
We left the gallery neighbourhood with fresh eyes for the art and performance on the streets of the Big Apple.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

High Line Garden

One afternoon after visiting the Chelsea galleries, John and I climbed up to the High Line Garden that runs from Ganesvoort Ave to West 20th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues in New York City. Eventually the garden will extend all the way to West 34th St.
The plantings have matured wonderfully since we first visited the garden days after it opened in 2009. The structure is actually an abandoned, raised railway line that once serviced the buildings in the old Meatpacking District.
Now it's a wonderful public space, planted with native plants and offering New Yorkers a place to relax, even sunbathe in the core of the city above the streets of Chelsea.
It's position near the Hudson River offers great views. We found ourselves using it  regularly as a quick and scenic route to and from Lower Manhattan and our hotel on West 23rd Street.
Every visit offered new views at different times of day and in all kinds of weather. Don't miss it when you visit the Big Apple.

High Line at night

The High Line garden is a favoured place for meeting up with friends, strolling or just chilling on one's own. We found ourselves returning regularly.
Frank Gehry's IAC Building on 11th Ave is one of our favourite views from the garden, especially at night when the building positively glows from within.
John and I are big fans of Barbara Kruger's installations. She's covered walls and rooftops at the Gansevoort Ave end of the garden. Great viewing. Great ART.
The same area seems to be popular for catered affairs.
The inhabitants of New York are fortunate to have such a welcoming gathering spot with great views of the Hudson and surrounding neighbourhoods day or night.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Bill and I make it a rule never to pass a church in Italy without going in. If you do you will often be rewarded by the sight of a great work of art. In the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, in Rome, you will see three scenes from the life of Saint Matthew painted by Caravaggio. That's the Calling of St. Matthew, 1599-1600, above.
In the same church is the Inspiration of St. Matthew, also called St. Matthew and the Angel, 1603. It's wonderful to see them where Caravaggio painted them to be seen.
In the Chiesa di Sant'Augustino, in Rome you will find the Madonna dei Pellegrini, 1609. By painting the peasants realistically, with dirty feet, Caravaggio apparently changed the development of western painting. Is this true?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Church Light, Rome

Bill and I love the light in churches, especially Roman churches. There are so many gorgeous sources of light all mixing together in the darkness. This is the church of Santi Vicenzo e Anastasio on the same square as the Trevi Fountain. Greek Othodox -- note the icons.
Here's the heaven sent lighting on the lecturn of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Bill caught the ceiling of Basilica dei XII Apostoli, as seen from the crypt.
I love this lantern in the crypt.
Bill was drawn to the light on this painting in San Rocco,. It was originally the chapel for a hospital for the poor.
He also loved the swirl of chandeliers in the wild, baroque interior of Santa Maria della Scala in Trastevere.
We both loved the clean white light of the sancristy in Santa Prassade in Rome's Esquiline neighbourhood.
When I take pictures I like to go where the light is, like in this accidental spotlight at Chiesa San Apollinaire. To Bill it looks like a prayer spot for mice.