VAN GOGH; VAN NO — I went to NYC’s Van Gogh Immersive yesterday afternoon. I had read all the reviews and heard the very heavy PR-campaign, yet still didn’t really know what to expect. I was never what you might call a Van Gogh-aficionado (Basquiat and Warhol are more my speed), yet I felt that was an opportunity to learn more about the artist.
After a quick subway ride and walk, we approached the entrance which was mobbed. Once inside -and, with masks on- we were ushered to one of four massive warehouse units and instructed to sit on the floor, where the program would commence. With terrific music, Van Gogh’s most impressive works were shown in a marvelous 360-degree manner. To say there wasn’t a bad seat in the house would be an understatement. The ambient music immediately put me into a tranquil mood.
Having never seen much of the artists’ work, the images were terrifically impressive.
After an hour’s worth, the show was over and the exits were in sight, but not before you passed through a huge merchandise center, where you could purchase everything from a Van Gogh hoodie to a Van Gogh key-chain. Honestly, it was a bit much to bear.
Believe me, I know how these massive touring-shows work; they go from city-to-city with an intensive media campaign and you go thinking you’re going to see the best show ever. I’m not saying this wasn’t grand, but the Bowie-show I traveled to Toronto see several years back, had much more lasting power and context.
I would have preferred to have read -or seen- more about the artists life.
HARRISON’S COSMIC EMPIRE — George Harrison cut “Cosmic Empire” on May 27, 1970, the second day of his sessions for the album with co-producer Phil Spector. The deluxe update to All Things Must Pass is executive produced by Harrison’s son Dhani, with varying editions including a book, a Blu-Ray disc, and a wooden crate. The reissue is out August 6.
I’m a big Harrison-fan; loved All Things Must Pass; the Traveling Wilburys and his work with Jeff Lynne. This track, which features Harrison-singing in a falsetto, is cute … and, was left off the album, for maybe being too cute.
It features George’s patented lyrics and it’s definitely up there with “This Song” and Crackerbox Palace.”
I love it – take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty_1U08_jjg
BRANSON HAS LANDED — (Via Deadline) The billionaire has landed. “It was the complete experience of a lifetime,” said a beaming Richard Branson of his trek into space, a place where no billionaire has gone before. “Now looking down at the spaceport, congratulations to everybody for creating such a beautiful plane and all the hard work for getting us this far.”
Branson’s rocket was released at an altitude of 53 miles — further than the 50-mile boundary considered by the US to be the boundary of space. The crew then had a few minutes of weightlessness before returning to earth.
The crew was cheered by a crowd on the tarmac as the plane landed. Branson, who served as a mission specialist, jogged down the tarmac for a reunion with his wife, children and grandchildren.
The flight made Branson the first owner of a private space company to take his own spacecraft Origin flight plans by several days, as the Bezos launch is set for July 20.
Bezos’s team, however, claims that its flight will reach the true edge of space, going up 62 miles to Branson’s planned 55.
Branson will be joined by two company pilots and three Virgin Galactic crewmates. They will take wing from Spaceport America, a hub near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
VirginGalactic.com will be posting a livestream that morning, hosted by late night host Stephen Colbert. Grammy-nominated singer Khalid will also be debuting a new song at the landing site after Branson’s anticipated return.
Instead of a ground launch, the Virgin Galactic VSS Unity will be carried by a twin-fuselage carrier jet, then released at 45,000 feet for its journey via rocket power.
Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 and already has a waiting list of so-called “space tourists” eager to take their own flight.
I first met Sir Richard many years ago at a launch for some new product of his. Everyone was attired in Virgin t-shirts and I recall leaving with an arsenal of Virgin-products. I must admit looking back on it now, I was suitably impressed by the quite orderly and detailed the procession of events went off. As one who has produced many a event, I can tell you first-hand that a tightly-wound agenda is a necessity.
Honestly, Branson has always seemed to me to be missing a screw or two, but he has made his dreams reality. Don’t forget, Branson started his whole professional life as the owner of a record store, Virgin Records, in London. The airlines, space program, superstores, and God knows what else, were all his dreams.
Guys like Branson, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, don’t live in the same world as we do. Their expectations, their needs, are far different than ours. Even the trash-talk between Branson and Bezos was amusing, but that’s how these guys think and work.
In this dreadful year and last, Branson could well have found his own COVID-cure, but he continued on with his dreams.
One non-excited Ralph posted: So the billionaire “B” boys are bragging over the LENGTH of their…space trips. Gosh, this would be comical if it weren’t so monumentally stupid. Aren’t we dealing with a worldwide pandemic? This is what the richest MEN in the world are doing – playing Luke Skywalker while the world burns. (Yeah, bit ‘o hyperbole there.)
SHORT TAKES — Looks like Wednesday will be my first concert, post pandemic: Chicago at NYC’s Beacon Theater. Details to follow … This week Romeo Delight will be booked at My Father’s Place in Long Island. Stay tuned for additional details … Check out the new single (“Dance Again”) from ex-Village People member Felipe Rose:
This week I’ve been remembering Gary Wright’s My Love Is Alive” from 1975. Just a brilliant record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82DSEkHatpw … Happy BDay Jimmy Bralower.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Alan Steckler; May Pang; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Bobby Orlando; Sergio Kardenas; Mark Bego; Roger Chasteen; Samantha Ryan; Andy Skurow; Lee Jeske; Zach Martin; Carol Ruth Weber; Felipe Rose; Randy Alexander; Beth Wernick; Robert Miller; Marion Perkins; The Blend; and, BELLA!
Art for All: The Digital Gallery Revolution
The evolution of art accessibility from the hallowed halls of museums to the vast expanse of the digital realm represents a significant shift in how we engage with art. This transformation has democratized art, making it more accessible to everyone, regardless of geographical location, financial status, or physical mobility.
The Traditional Museum Experience
For centuries, art was confined within the walls of museums and galleries, accessible only to those who could physically visit. Museums offer a tactile and visual experience, allowing viewers to engage with art in its physical form. However, this traditional mode of access has its limitations—physical, financial, and geographical barriers that prevent many from experiencing art.
The Rise of Digital Galleries
The advent of digital galleries has revolutionized this landscape. Digital platforms have removed many of the barriers associated with traditional museums, offering global access to art at little to no cost. High-resolution images, detailed artist biographies, and the histories of artworks are now available online, providing a comprehensive art viewing experience that rivals physical attendance.
Pioneering Art Accessibility
WikiGallery.org, with its vast collection of freely usable images, epitomizes the shift towards digital accessibility in art. It functions as a virtual museum, open to anyone with an internet connection, offering access to hundreds of thousands of artworks. This platform allows users to explore art beyond geographical and financial constraints, bridging the gap between the public and the often exclusive world of fine art.
Comparing Experiences: Museum vs. Digital
While digital galleries offer unprecedented access to art, they provide a different experience from visiting a museum. The sensory experience of viewing a painting in person, the scale, texture, and true color, cannot be fully replicated online. However, digital galleries offer other advantages, such as the ability to explore a vast array of art beyond what is physically possible in a single museum visit.
The Impact on Public Engagement with Art
Digital galleries have significantly impacted public engagement with art. They serve as educational resources, providing access to art history and criticism. Interactive elements, such as virtual tours and online exhibitions, have introduced new ways to engage with art, making it more interactive and accessible to a broader audience.
The Future of Art Accessibility
The future of art accessibility is not only promising but on the cusp of a revolutionary change, with technological innovations like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) at the forefront. These technologies promise to bridge the gap between digital and physical art experiences even further, making art more immersive and interactive. Imagine standing in your living room but being transported into the heart of the Louvre or the halls of the Hermitage, examining masterpieces in intricate detail as if you were there. This evolution will make art even more accessible and engaging to the global public, offering unprecedented ways to explore, learn, and connect with art beyond the conventional boundaries of museums and galleries.
The shift from canvas to digital has transformed art accessibility, making it more inclusive and comprehensive. Digital galleries, exemplified by platforms like WikiGallery.org, have played a pivotal role in this transformation. While the experience of art in the digital realm differs from the traditional museum experience, it complements it, offering new opportunities for engagement, education, and appreciation. The evolution of art accessibility underscores a broader cultural shift towards democratizing art, ensuring that it can be enjoyed by all, regardless of physical or financial limitations.
In summary, the journey from traditional art spaces to digital platforms has not only widened access to art but also diversified the ways in which people can engage with and appreciate artistic creations. As technology continues to evolve, so too will the landscape of art accessibility, promising a future where the barriers to experiencing art are even further reduced.
Bonnie Comley Nothing To Wear
Bonnie Comley stepped into the art world last night. She and ChaShaMa presented a piece called “Nothing To Wear”, at 340 East 64th Street, which is an interactive installation, a thought provoking look at fast fashion and body image. This provocative look at our relationship with our clothing choices as it pertains to our self image, fast fashion and textile waste, challenges the fashion industry to create an alternative to current business models and the global appetite for consumption. “Nothing to Wear”, asks viewers to question dress codes like the current policing of women in political office, facilitates self-reflection on biases regarding our own clothing and the community around us as uniform, self-expression, or just protection from the elements of weather.
Also involved were Sarah DeMarino – Co-Producer/Director, Leah Lane – Soundscape Monologue Writer and Jasper Isaac Johns the Exhibit Designer.
At the opening and on certain dates Hannah Durant Joe Guccione and Dallas Bernstein perform monologues that coincide with the project. These mini playlets were insightful and thought provoking.
In attendance were:
Bonnie is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer. She has, also, won an Olivier Award and two Drama Desk Awards for her stage productions. She was recently re-elected as the Board President of The Drama League. She is a full member of The Broadway League and the Audience Engagement and Education Committee. Comley has produced over 40 films, winning five Telly Awards and one W3 Award. She is also the founder and CEO of BroadwayHD, the world’s premier online streaming platform delivering over 300 premium live productions to theatre fans globally. The theatre community has honored Comley for her philanthropic work; she is the recipient of The Actors Fund Medal of Honor, The Drama League Special Contribution to the Theater Award, The Paul Newman Award from Arts Horizons and The Theater Museum Distinguished Service Award.
ChaShaMa helps create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate. Currently, they present 150 events a year, have workspace for 120 artists, and have developed 80 workshops in under served communities. They have awarded 11 million dollars worth of real estate to artists and have subsidizes another 300 with work spaces. They provide over 215 free art classes and have supported over 75 businesses with free space
To see Nothing to Wear click here
New-York Historical Society Celebrates Women’s History Month
Throughout Women’s History Month, the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (at 77th Street), will showcase women’s stories through exhibitions, installations, and public programming.
On International Women’s Day, renowned Cherokee artist Kay WalkingStick and New-York Historical’s Chief Curator Wendy Nālani E. Ikemoto will be in conversation over a live, free Zoom discussing WalkingStick’s exhibition Kay WalkingStick / Hudson River School, on view at New-York Historical through April 14. Other exhibitions and displays on view throughout March include Women’s Work, an exhibition that demonstrates how “women’s work” defies categorization; Women Who Preserved New York City which explores how Shirley Hayes, Margot Gayle, and Joan Maynard galvanized communities to save historic buildings and places; and Serving Style: Ted Tinling, Designer for the Tennis Stars, which turns a spotlight on the designer who made many of Billie Jean King’s iconic looks. On March 3, the ninth annual Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women’s History will center on exploring how we understand “care.”
Additional details follow:A Conversation with Kay WalkingStickFeaturing: Kay WalkingStick, Wendy Nālani E. Ikemoto Friday, March 8, 6 – 7 pm ET Free | Presented live on Zoom Celebrate International Women’s Day with this online event featuring renowned Cherokee artist Kay WalkingStick in conversation with New-York Historical’s Wendy Nālani E. Ikemoto. WalkingStick is the focus of our acclaimed exhibition Kay WalkingStick / Hudson River School, which places her work in a fascinating dialogue with 19th-century Hudson River School paintings and explores the relationship between Indigenous art and American art history. They’ll discuss WalkingStick’s remarkable career, her recent invitation to the Venice Biennale, and her decades of work reimagining and reframing the American landscape.Kay WalkingStick / Hudson River SchoolOn view through April 14 Kay WalkingStick / Hudson River School places landscape paintings by the renowned, contemporary Cherokee artist Kay WalkingStick in conversation with highlights from New-York Historical’s collection of 19th-century Hudson River School paintings. This artistic dialogue showcases the ways in which WalkingStick’s work both connects to and diverges from the Hudson River School tradition and explores the agency of art in shaping humankind’s relationship to the land. The exhibition celebrates a shared reverence for nature while engaging crucial questions about land dispossession and its reclamation by Indigenous peoples and nations and exploring the relationship between Indigenous art and American art history.Women’s WorkOn view through July 7 Presented by the Center for Women’s History, Women’s Workshowcases approximately 45 objects from New-York Historical’s own Museum and Library collections to demonstrate how “women’s work” defies categorization. The items range from a 19th-century mahogany cradle to a 20th-century doctor’s dissection kit to a pinback button with the message “Shirley Chisholm for President.” The exhibition seeks to demonstrate that women’s work has been essential to American society and is inherently political: Women’s work is everywhere.
Women Who Preserved New York CityOn view through June 9 This installation explores how three women—Shirley Hayes, Margot Gayle, and Joan Maynard—galvanized communities to save historic buildings and places. Each subverted gendered expectations that limited them to the domestic realm and instead led campaigns to protect the historic cityscape.Serving Style: Ted Tinling, Designer for the Tennis StarsOn view through June 23 Our installation turns a spotlight on the designer who made many of Billie Jean King’s iconic looks. King and Tinling had a tremendous influence on the visibility of women on the tennis court. King’s tenacity and commitment for equal rights, together with Tinling’s bold designs, challenged conventions about what women can do, emphasizing that women can be simultaneously powerful, strong, and feminine.
On and Off the Clock: Reconsidering Women’s WorkSunday, March 3, 12—5 pm ET $4; Free for Women’s History Council Members The ninth annual Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women’s History will center on exploring how we understand “care.” Across three linked panels, we probe what “care” means, who does the work of caring, and what services get pushed to the margins by our current social policy framework. The conference will culminate with a keynote conversation on reproductive care. Reception to follow.
Events for March
St. Patrick’s Day, Women’s History Month, a Harlem Renaissance exhibit at the Met with160 works by Black artists. Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature,at The Morgan Library & Museum through 6/9. The Orchid show continues until 4/21 at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Florals in Fashion highlights the work of designers Hilary Taymour (Collina Strada), Olivia Cheng (Dauphinette) and Kristen Alpaugh, aka FLWR PSTL Also Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’s “Giants,”is at the Brooklyn Museum until 7/7. The exhibition features artists who have made and continue to make a significant impact on the art world and contemporary culture. The show features 98 artworks by Black American, African, and African artists including Gordon Parks, Kehinde Wiley, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, Hassan Hajjaj, Barkley L. Hendricks, Lorna Simpson, and Amy Sherald.
3/1 -3: The Vienna Philharmonic one of the world’s most celebrated orchestras, takes center stage at Carnegie Hall.
3/3 -5: Coffee Fest NY Javits.
3/3 -5: International Beauty Show Javits.
3/6 – 10: The New Colossus Festival provides a platform for new artists, including international bands making their NYC debuts. The festival will take place across multiple venues mostly spread throughout the Lower East Side and the East Village, including Bowery Electric, Mercury Lounge, Berlin, Heaven Can Wait, and others. This year’s artists include Cucamaras (UK), Ducks LTD (Canada), Heffner (US), Holiday Ghosts (UK), Hotel Lux (UK), Housewife (Canada), and more. You can check out the full lineup and schedule of events here.
3/8: International Women’s Day
3/15: The New York Pops Hitsville: Celebrating Motown
3/1 -17: The Annual Flamenco Festival with 22 performances across 13 different venues all over the city.
3/1 -17: The New York International Children’s Film Festival
3/17: Join in on the 263rd celebration of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC. The parade kicks off at 11am, moving along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 82nd Street. This year’s grand marshal, Maggie Timoney, president and CEO of Heineken USA, is only the fifth woman to lead the parade since its inception.
3/20 -24: Affordable Art Fair with over 400 living artists to discover you are sure to find your next perfect artwork.
3/23 – 11/: JAPAN Fes, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. This is the largest Japanese food festival in the world, with over 1,000 vendors.
3/24 – 4/7: The Annual Macy’s Flower Show created in partnership with Dior.
3/26 – 10/2: Apollo: When We Went to the Moon at The Intrepid Museum. The exhibit is included with museum admission.
Events For February
There is still the Bryant Park Winter Village’s iconic bumper cars, two Broadway tickets for the price of one and restaurant week end February 4th. Heated Igloos, ice skating goes high on the Edge’s sky deck. Winter markets are still open in February. Don’t miss out on some of the best cultural events of the year during Black History Month after free Fridays make it affordable.
2/2-4: New York’s iconic vintage show Manhattan Vintage over 90 dealers
2/9-11: New York Fashion Week all over NYC
2/9: National Pizza Day
2/11: Experience The Super Bowl Hype The Empire Rooftop Lounge. Participate in a whole host of contests, delicious menu items available to order and drink specials, this is the perfect way for keen and casual fans alike to relax and have fun on the big night!
2/10: Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys. The exhibition will feature more than 100 major artworks by important Black American, African, and African diasporic artists including Gordon Parks, Kehinde Wiley, Hassan Hajjaj, Barkley L. Hendricks, Lorna Simpson, and Amy Sherald. Brooklyn Museum.
2/23: Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature at the Morgan Library & Museum will celebrate the works of beloved English author Beatrix Potter.
2/25: Chinatown’s annual Lunar (Chinese) New Year Parade with dragon dancing, stunning outfits, martial art performers and more. Head to Chinatown for the Lunar New Year Parade, which celebrates the year of the dragon. Bayard Street between Mott and Mulberry Streets.
2/25: The Metropolitan Museum of Art “The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism,” the exhibit will present 160 works exploring how Black artists portrayed everyday modern life in the new Black cities that took shape in the 1920s-40s in New York City’s Harlem, Chicago’s South Side and nationwide amid the Great Migration.
2/25: Central Park Half Marathon
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