Month: August 2014

Art In The Village: Labor Day Weekend

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit in New York City

The Arch in Washington Square Park by Sonia Grineva

For the past 84 years, Washington Square  has been host to an annual art exhibit. This year The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit will take place August 30- September 1 and the following weekend, September 6-7.

You will find fine arts, photography, crafts and sculpture along the sidewalks of University Place from East 13th Street south along the side of Washington Square Park to NYU’s Schwartz Plaza.

Don’t miss this opportunity to have a New York experience in the waning days of summer.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts


The county courthouse still looms over 161st street, but the Yankees have a new home; the corner candy store is a Burger King; and the synagogue I went to as a kid is now a museum.  While change can be hard, it was more than made up for by my visit to the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Located at 165th street and the Grand Concourse, at the site of the former Young Israel of the Grand Concourse, the Bronx Museum offers an eclectic collection of artworks.


The museum was founded in 1971 and is a contemporary art museum that “connects diverse audiences to the urban experience through its permanent collection, special exhibitions, and education programs.”  There were several interesting exhibits on view when I was there, including a large scale installation by Sarah Sze called “Triple Point (Planetarium),” recently reviewed in the New York Times.

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I really enjoyed  a charming exhibit on the museum’s terrace called “One Kind of Behavior.” The installation, by Taiwanese artist Shyu Ruey-Shiann, consists of overturned buckets mechanically opening and shutting in response to the wind. The installation, according to the museum, was inspired by the quasi-mechanical movements of creatures such as the hermit crabs. “The artist sees in the random opening and closing of their shells on the beach, a stark contrast with contemporary society where things move at high speed.” This exhibit closed August 17th. But several others are still on view.

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“Portraits of Veterans”  is a series of colorful paintings by Nina Talbot based on interviews she conducted with men and women from the U.S. Military. The ten paintings in the show, displayed in a bright gallery overlooking the street, focus primarily on Bronx residents and  is on view until August 24th.

SuperPuesto : temporary pavilion by Terence Gower

SuperPuesto : temporary pavilion by Terence Gower

Diagonally across the street from the museum is “SuperPuesto,” a temporary pavilion by Terence Gower.  The pavilion is part of an exhibition at the Museum entitled “Beyond the Supersquare.” It’s the first U.S. museum exhibition to examine “the complicated legacies of modernist architecture in Latin America and the Caribbean through the perspectives of 30 contemporary artists.”  The pavilion is housed on the grounds of the beautiful Andrew Freedman Home, a “Renaissance Palazzo.”  It served as a home for the elderly for 59 years where “couples and seniors lived out their twilight years in delightful charm and elegance.”  Today, with landmark status, it is undergoing it’s own renaissance and is “expanding into a new and exciting destination for art, culture, learning and creativity.”

SuperPuesto will be on view until November 16.

The Studio Museum In Harlem




If you weren’t looking for it you would probably pass it by. But the Studio Museum in Harlem is worth seeking out. Founded in 1968 and located on west 125th street, The Studio Museum showcases work from artists of “African descent locally, nationally and internationally,” as well as work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture. The museum’s permanent collection  “represents more than 400 artists, spans 200 years of history and includes over 1,700 works of art, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, watercolors, photographs, videos and mixed-media installations. ”

Albert Vecerka Untitled (from “The Harlem Project” series), 2014

Albert Vecerka
Untitled (from “The Harlem Project” series), 2014

Art work from the ongoing “Harlem Postcards” Project is the first thing you’ll see, even before entering the galleries. The Project invites contemporary artists of varied backgrounds to capture the diversity and vitality of Harlem, culturally or politically Each photograph is reproduced as a limited edition postcard and available free to visitors.

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What I really love about the museum is that the gallery space is bright and broad, and the art work is very accessible.  And though the museum is small, there is usually 1 large exhibit and 1-2 smaller exhibits on view. Recently opened is  “Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974-1989. Gaines is a Los Angeles based conceptual artist and is celebrated  for his photographs, drawings and works on paper that “investigate systems, cognition and language.” I was particularly taken by the “Numbers and Trees” series; both the individual paintings and the collection viewed as as whole. What I learned at the exhibit was that Gaines often began these works with an arbitrarily selected arithmetic formula. He then used the formula to generate shapes plotted on a grid. As you view each painting you can see how these grids progressed.

Bethany Collins: Southern Review, 1987, 2014

Bethany Collins: Southern Review, 1987, 2014

“Material Histories: Artists In Residence 2013-14″ is another special exhibit featuring the works of three young artists, Kevin Beasley, Bethany Collins and Abigail DeVille. They were all awarded an eleven-month residency at the Studio Museum as part of the Museum’s commitment to support emerging artists. I really liked the work of Ms. Collins. describes Collins as “a conceptual artist who makes alluring paintings. She parses, decodes and deconstructs language and then deploys sentences, words and letters as visual vocabulary.” In one piece, Collins taped pages of the 1993 edition of Southern Review to the wall and blacked out the text, creating rectangular blocks. Up close you can see what was blackened, but from afar the pieces work together to create an engaging abstract visual.

Both these exhibits will be on view until October 26.

Art Making In The Park

Often times when visiting a museum you will catch a professional, or a student, with a sketch pad, capturing a favorite work of art. You can also sometimes see people  painting in corners of the city. Just the other day, I passed an elderly gentleman sitting in front of an easel on York avenue, painting the cafe on the corner.

Janet Ruttenberg

Janet Ruttenberg

Janet Ruttenberg, 83, is on a different level, making art in Central Park nearly every day for the past 15 years. She uses Sheep Meadow as her inspiration and creates park “portraits” that can be as large as 15 feet wide. She works in oils, watercolors, and on the day I was at the park, pastels.

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Unfortunately, you can’t see any of Ms. Ruttenberg’s finished works. She says she isn’t interested in selling any of her work and she’s had only one exhibit. It was last fall at the Museum of the City of New York. I asked her if she would be exhibiting again, and she demurely said, “no, not again.” You can read more about the artist in a profile the New York Times did when the MCNY exhibit opened. Or you can wander over to the northern end of Sheep Meadow and catch her creating art in the park.