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Art Break: Stretching Your Mind and Maybe Your Waistline

Celebrating Bill Cunningham

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, June 4, 2018

Art Break is taking time this week to study the creative process in the art world. We’re starting at the New-York Historical Society with the late, great Bill Cunningham, the photographer who spent decades recording New Yorkers’ wardrobe choices and the Society’s show, Celebrating Bill Cunningham. His only criteria: they had to look good, whatever they looked like. The Whitney has Mary Corse, an artist who set herself the challenging goal of capturing the essence of light in painting, not through the effect it has on objects (as the Impressionists did) but on light itself.

Another artist who worked though complicated questions of representation versus abstract concepts was Giacometti. Besides going to his Guggenheim show, we recommend the recent movie Final Portrait (watch the trailer here) showing the agony and joy of a great artist. In Brooklyn’s Industry City, a tribute to M. C.  Escher gives visitors the math and science behind the famous illustrator’s works. Then there’s the group show at Marc Straus taking on the challenge of the seated object, otherwise known as the chair. This is no easy task, since it’s a concept that everyone knows but can’t define. Speaking of undefinable, The Public Art Fund’s Hot Dog Bus by Erwin Wurm will be open every weekend at various locations in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s definitely creative, but is it art? Only you can decide.

Celebrating Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham: 181 Madison Avenue Belmont Building (built 1924−25), ca. 1968−76; gelatin silver print; New-York Historical Society Library, gift of Bill Cunningham.

N-Y Historical Society: Celebrating Bill Cunningham (June 8 – September 9), is a terrific selection of photographs and ephemera donated to the museum by the photographer’s estate. Cunningham documented over fifty years of fashion and social history in our city, becoming so well-known that aspiring fashionistas would go to his favorite streets, trying to get themselves photographed for his weekly photo column in The New York Times.

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
Hours: Tue – Thurs: 10-6, Fri: 10-8, Sat: 10-6, Sun: 11-5
Admission: Adults: $21, Seniors, Educators, Active Military Personnel: $16, Students with current id: $13, Children (5-13 years of age): $6, Children 4 years and under: Free
On Fridays between 6-8pm, admission is pay-what-you-wish

Mary Corse Untitled

Mary Corse: Untitled (Space + Electric Light), 1968; Argon light, plexiglass, and high-frequency generator, 45 1/4 x 45 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (114.9 x 114.9 x 12.1 cm); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; museum purchase with funds from the Annenberg Foundation; photo: Philipp Scholz Rittermann / courtesy of the Whitney Museum.

The Whitney: Mary Corse: Survey in Light (June 8 – November 25), is a retrospective of the American painter who made light her subject, rather than abstract or physical concepts. Corse’s questions and solutions to this most obvious and elusive element make for a fascinating intellectual and artistic challenge for the viewer.

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street
Hours: Wed – Thurs: 10:30-6, Fri – Sat: 10:30-10, Sun – Mon: 10:30-6
Admission: Adults: $25, Seniors: $18, Students with current id: $18, Children under 18 years of age, accompanied by an adult: Free
On Fridays between 7-9:30pm, admission is pay-what-you-wish

Giacometti The Nose

Alberto Giacometti: Nose (Le nez), 1947 (cast 1949); bronze, wire, rope, and steel 81 x 71.4 x 39.4 cm; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP/FAAG, Paris.

Guggenheim: Giacometti (June 8 – September 12) goes beyond the famous pieces of emaciated people and animals. This major exhibit discusses his wide-ranging influences, studio practice, and relationship with the Guggenheim and New York City.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue at 88th Street
Hours: Fri: 10-5:45, Sat: 10-7:45, Sun – Wed: 10-5:45
Admission: Adults: $15, Seniors: $10, Students with valid id: $10, Children under 12 years of age, accompanied by an adult: Free
On Saturdays between 5:45-7:45pm, admission is pay-what-you-wish

Folkert de Jong Dust (2004)

Folkert de Jong: Dust (2004); styrofoam, polyurethane foam, silicone rubber; 67 x 39.4 x 39.4 in (170 x 100 x 100cm); courtesy of Marc Straus.

Marc Straus: STEREO LOVE SEATS HOT WHEELS (June 6 – August 17) is a show about chairs. But not chairs as something to sit on but chairs as something to look at. Not too sure what that means? We can’t really describe it, you’ve just got to see it yourself.

Marc Straus
299 Grand Street
Hours: Wed – Sun: 11-6
Admission: Free

M.C. Escher Drawing Hands

M. C. Escher: Drawing Hands; lithograph; Private Collection, UsaAll M.C. Escher Works @ 2018 The M.C. Escher Company. All rights reserved

Escher: The Exhibition and Experience (June 8, 2018 – February 3, 2019) is a show that both explains the science behind the art and the art behind the science. Simple experiments on display show how Escher used the power of the viewer’s perceptions to make images that are simultaneously logical and nonsensical. It’s the best kind of mind trip you can take.

Industry City
34-34 Street, Building 6 Brooklyn (a 7 minute walk from the 36th street train stop on the D, N, R lines)
Hours: Fri – Wed: 10-7, Thurs: 10-9
Admission: Adults: $20, Seniors and military personnel: $15, Students (ages 18-24) with current id: $15, Youth (ages 12-17): $13, Children (ages 5-11): $6, other special rates, see website for details.

Erwin Wurm Hot Dog Bus

Erwin Wurm: Hot Dog Bus; courtesy of Public Art Fund.

Public Art Fund: Erwin Wurm: Hot Dog Bus (June 9 – August 26) is a fully interactive art piece between the artist and the public. Using a specially modified Volkswagen Microbus as a food truck, free hotdogs will be handed out to the public. The art is in multiple forms: the vehicle, the artist’s actions, the food, the recipients of the hot dogs, and the act of consuming the food. We’re not sure how New Yorkers will respond to it but if you do go, remember you’re part of an artwork – so try to eat neatly.

Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 1), various locations inside park
Hours: Sat – Sun: Times to be announced on website
Admission: Free

Cover: Erwin Wurm: Hot Dog Bus; courtesy of Public Art Fund.


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