Month: September 2014

Unexpected Art at the Mid-Manhattan Library


Heading west on 41st — my destination Fifth Avenue — I was struck by the beautiful paintings I saw in the windows of the Mid-Manhattan Library. As I walked on, I learned that these paintings were part of an exhibition: Peter Bynum:Illuminated Paint, The Interconnectedness of All Life. This exhibit is one in a series by the Mid-Manhattan Library called, “What Inspires Artists.”

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Bynum creates three-dimensional illuminated paintings on glass. At the exhibition I learned that he “opens new territory for painting by exposing paint’s intrinsic branching behavior, and then illuminating the complex nervous system it creates.” What was especially interesting was that, “Bynum devised an innovative method of pressuring paint between panes of tempered glass, which he then layers through a precise bracketing system, and backlights with LED-powered screens.” As a viewer, you see these spidery and colorful paintings that seem to be moving.

The artwork will be on display until January 25th 2015. On Tuesday, October 7th at 6:30pm, there will be a discussion between the painter and senior art librarian Arezoo Moseni about Bynum’s illuminated paintings.

Auction Houses: Great Venues For Seeing Art

You don’t need to to bid on art in order to enjoy art that’s up for auction. There are many auction houses in New York that offer public viewing times for their auctions. Below is a list of auction houses that are worth a visit, as well as some upcoming auctions you might like to check out. Go to their websites to learn when you can view the art. Dates given are for the actual auctions.

Art Auctions Preview


Bonhams, New York (580 Madison Avenue)

November 4 — Impressionist and Modern Art

November 5 — 19th Century European Paintings

November 11 — Post-War and Contemporary Art

November 12 — African, Oceanic and Pre Colombian Art

November 18 — American Art

December 17 — The Art of Fashion Photography

Christies (20 Rockefeller Plaza)

October 27 — 19th Century European Art

November 5 — Impressionist and Modern

November 12 — Post War and Contemporary Art

November 19 — American Art

November 24 — Latin American Art

Doyle New York ( 175 East 87th Street)

November 5 — Important paintings from the collection of Norman Mack, II (Impressionist and Modern Art)

November 11 — Post-War and Contemporary Art

Sotheby’s (1334 York Avenue)

October 2 – American Paintings, Drawing and Sculptures

November 6 — 19th Century European Art

November 25 — Mexico Contemporary

December 4 — Israeli and International Art

December 15 — Impressionist and Modern Art Including Russian Art

Swann Auction Galleries (104 East 25th Street)

September 23-24 — 19th and 20th Century Prints & Drawings

October 9 — African-American Fine Art featuring the Richard A. Long Collection

Gagosian Gallery: More Intimate Museum Like Experience


Owned and directed by Larry Gagosian, the Gagosian Gallery began with one location, in Los Angeles, in 1979. Now, it is a global enterprise with 15 locations around the world, including 6 gallery locations in New York —  in Chelsea,  on the Upper East Side and at Rockefeller Center. The exhibitions you find there are diverse and the experience of visiting is museum level but more intimate.


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Recently, I went to the gallery at 980 Madison Avenue  to see paintings by Helen Frankenthaler (on view until October 18). I wasn’t very familiar with her work but was attracted to the abstract color images used to promote the exhibit. According to the gallery, “the exhibition focuses on a brief but critical period in Frankenthaler’s career during 1962-63, when she ‘composed with color’ rather than with line..,” Of particular interest to me were a series of paintings — “Filter, Gulf Stream and Moat (all 1963)” — that include imprints of the floorboards at Frankenthaler’s studio.

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While at the gallery, I also visited an Ed Ruscha exhibit — prints and photographs of the past forty years. While more familiar with Ruscha, an American artist associated with the Pop Art movement, I had never seen an in depth look at his work. The prints were simple, elegant and playful. Among my favorites were “Bowl,” from 1974, and “Carp With Fly,” from 1969. I also enjoyed a series of 12 Los Angeles “Roof Top Views” — photographs taken by Ruscha in 1961 and then again in 2003. There are many other photographs and prints that underscore Ruscha’s diversity and creativity.

The Ruscha exhibit is only on view until September 27th.

Hockney at Pace Gallery

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Contemplative yet joyful, The Arrival of Spring is a new exhibit at the Pace Gallery on West 25th Street which features recent prints, drawings and videos by David Hockney. All the art work in the exhibition was inspired by the gradual change from winter to spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire. Hockney spent two summers there as a teenager, working on a farm nearby. He returned to Yorkshire in 1999, after years of living in Los Angeles.

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The first rooms you enter at the Pace gallery are filled with charcoal drawings Hockney did in Woldgate between January and May 2013. “They are five separate views of Woldgate, and with each one I had to wait for the changes to happen. Some were too close to the previous ones and I realised I was being impatient. I had to wait for bigger change. I thought it was an exciting thing to do. It made me look harder at what I was drawing,” noted Hockney in his artist statement.

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What I found truly spectacular were the works Hockney created on his iPad. Each work, bursting with color, depicts a specific day between January 1 and May 231st 2011. While the charcoal drawings are very detailed with fine lines, with the iPad drawings Hockney took a different approach. “These were drawn knowing they would be printed a certain size. The mark making is very varied for this reason.”

The exhibit will be on view until November 1st. Don’t miss it.

Enduring Brilliance! 42nd Annual Pastel Society of America Exhibition


Enduring Brilliance! is the premier event for pastel artists in this country and abroad. It is sponsored by the Pastel Society of America and on exhibit in the National Arts Club’s historic mansion along Gramercy Park. Marjorie Shelly, a distinguished authority on pastels and the Sherman Fairfield conservator in charge, Sherman Fairfield Center for Works on Paper and Photography Conservation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, will jury the selected finalists and choose the recipients of $25,000 to $30,000 in cash and material awards.

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There are 182 pastels on display selected from 1,222 entries. I was really taken by the diverse ways the artists used pastel. There are still lives, landscapes, portraits, and abstract pieces. There were some pieces that were so realistic that they looked like photographs.

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In other pieces, you could more easily see the mark of the pastel chalk. Among my favorites was “Bouquet,” by Deborah Stewart, because of its vibrant colors. Also, “Shaving Brush,” by Maceo W. Mitchell, Director of Education at PSA (and a wonderful teacher). It reminded me of paintings by Wayne Thiebaud.

The exhibit, which is free, runs from September 2nd-27th. You can visit M, W, Thu and Fri 10am-12pm and 2-5pm; Tues 3-5pm and Sat-Sun. 10am-5pm. The address is 15 Gramercy Park South (20th Street between Park Avenue South and Irving Place).

Monita Buchwald, "Still life, July 2014"

Monita Buchwald, “Still life, July 2014”

Making Your Own Art

paint palette

We all have creative potential. For some of us, it’s buried deep inside and for others it’s ever-present. If your summer art treks have fueled your creativity,  here are ways to bring that creativity to life.


Throughout the city there are a wide range of classes for beginners or for those wishing to hone a skill. Here’s a selection.

92nd Street Y —  92nd and Lexington. The Y offers both daytime and evening classes ranging from basic drawing to collaging. Fall classes start September 29

National Academy Museum — Fifth Avenue and 90th street. Evening and daytime courses are offered in all areas of fine arts. There are two Fall semesters. One beginning September 8 and a second starting November 3.

Pastel Society of America — 15 Gramercy Park South.  If you enjoy drawing with pastels then it’s worth looking at the classes offered here. There are one day workshops, like “Exploring Abstraction in Pastel,” and also drop-in classes that meet every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, like “Color and Composition.” You can attend one class or buy a 6-pack. Classes are offered both during the day and in the evening.

School of Visual Arts — East 23rd Street. The School of Continuing Education offers classes in all the fine arts with most classes taking place in the evening. The semester begins September 18th.

The Educational Alliance Art School —  Ceramics and painting classes at 331 East 12th Street, Sculpture and portrait painting at “Compleat Sculptur,” 90 Vandam Street, and graphic novel drawing at the 14th Street Y. Both evening and daytime classes are offered.

The Shed Project — 179 Mott Street. An interactive gallery/studio space that also offers art classes. The classes are for one night and are limited to 10 people per class. They are arranged at your request.

Art Supplies

For me, going to an art store is like being a kid in a candy shop — so many media; so many colors. My favorite was Pearl’s Paint (RIP). But if  you need to buy supplies for a class or you just want to explore at home, there are still many stores to choose from. Here are a selection of ones I like:

Blick — Bond Street and 650 Sixth Avenue

Jerry’s Palette Shop — 111 Fourth Avenue

Lee’s Art Shop — West 57th Street

Michael’s — Columbus Avenue and 100th Street

SOHO Art Materials — located at 7 Wooster Street off Canal.

Utrecht — West 23rd Street ; East 13th; and Lafayette Street