Jeff Koons: On the Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art
A week ago, I stopped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to check out and take photographs, of the new exhibition by internationally renowned American artist Jeff Koons. Three of his sculptures, based on toys and childhood themes were installed on the museum's roof. All are made of high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating. It is one of my favorite outdoor spaces for its lovely views of Central Park, Midtown, and the Upper West Side.
What can be better than viewing whimsical sculptures, on a sunny day, in one of the greatest cities in the world? It's a momentary journey into complete fantasy, and honestly, it made me smile.
The exhibition is located on the Metropolian Museum of Art's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, until October 26. 2008.
The Met has provided an explanation of each work:
Balloon Dog (Yellow), 1994-2000 The more than 10-foot-tall Balloon Dog (Yellow) is based on balloons twisted into the shape of a toy dog; the highly reflective and brightly colored surface gives the appearance of an actual balloon in a form that would delight a child but would also fascinate any student of Freud.
Coloring Book is an abstraction rendered in cheerful pastel colors; the artist was inspired to create this piece by a page from a Winnie the Pooh coloring book featuring Pooh's companion Piglet.
Sacred Heart (Red/Gold), with its sumptuous surfaces of wrapping and ribbon, may suggest childhood – as well as adult – dreams and fantasies about candy and luxury goods, intermixed with religious imagery. As a group, they demonstrate extraordinary technical virtuosity in the rendering of large perfected forms on an enormous scale, and offer viewers a certain jouissance and jubilant spirit.
Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans [Image from Dionne Butler]
Last month, I received an invitation from film producer Lucie Faulknor to attend a screeening of a new documentary about the Treme neighborhood in New Orleans. I've been following the progress of this project for about two years, and I was so thrilled to see the results! I truly enjoyed it.
Faubourg Tremé, The Untold Story of Black New Orleans is a fantastic history lesson about culture lost and found. Tremé is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban Black neighborhoods in America. The film explores how in many ways, it was the unheralded epicenter of the Civil Rights movement- which started as far back as the 1800s! Historians give thought-provoking discourse about the laissez faire attitudes of the white French ruling class, who allowed slaves more "freedoms" in New Orleans, than anywhere else, prior to the signing of the Louisiana Purchase. The filmmakers also chronicled, the riveting and captivating current struggle to preserve New Orleans' incredible heritage post-Katrina.
For a brief moment in time, between semesters, I worked at Lord and Taylor's Fifth Avenue flagship store. Retail gave me a great appreciation for how much fun interacting with the public can be (I had a good time, and no horror stories).
On a night that made Global Warming appear nonexistent (it was freezing outside), I attended a great panel discussion moderated by Simran Sethi of Sundance Channel's the Green in Manhattan. People of Color Don't Care About the Environment was filmed at the Society for Ethical Cultural, and can be viewed on the Sundance Channel.
The title itself was purposely fashioned to be tongue in cheek, as there are both people of color and those who work in communities of color, actively involved and engaged in environmental justice related issues. It was full court floodlights, as the Sundance Channel filmed the event for their new web-based series called “The Good Fight.” The new webisode program will launch on April 22 (Earth Day).
Arturo O'Farrill, Musical Director, Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, photo by John Abbott
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to see Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra for the first time in their new home at Symphony Space in Manhattan. The 18-member orchestra completed their inaugural season, producing three shows, dedicated to the advancement of Afro-Latin jazz music. The former resident orchestra of Jazz at Lincoln Center had a successful season, filled with expanded community education programs, and opportunities to work with new composers, arrangers and instrumentalists.
In all of my excitement about the soon to be closed ORCHID SHOW at the New York Botanical Garden (ends 04.06.2008!), I failed to mention that one of the true highlights of the day was the spotting of several Gardenia plants amongst the Orchids. Yes, the strongly fragrant flowers stopped many in their tracks, "what's that smell?" repeated over and again whenever someone entered the conservatory. Alas, it's one of those memorable scents that just intoxicates the senses to a point of memory.
My most fond thoughts about the Gardenia stem from a dinner that I attended at Poplar Grove Plantation in Port Allen, Louisiana, less than 100 miles away from New Orleans. I was with a party of 12, and we were served really fantastic Creole food, outside on the house's porch, as we dined by teeny, tiny tea lights. The Wilkinson family, the owners of the home had Gardenia bushes along the perimeter of her property, which abutted a levee, near the edge of the Mississippi River. The breeze from the water drifted against the Gardenias, and it was a dewy June night, so the whole moment felt like being enveloped in a giant bubble bath.
Yes, over the years, I've attempted to find a scent of Gardenias to capture that feeling in time, because it was pretty special. I've discovered Jo Malone's Vintage Gardenia fragrance collection, which is very nice, albeit pricey. However, the fact that I only had to travel to the Bronx to catch a whiff of Gardenias in bloom was an unexpected surprise!
The New York Botanical Garden is currently hosting its annual Orchid Show in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The theme of this year's show is Singapore, in honor of the country that exports more than 10 million sprays of orchids per year. The flowers were so beautiful, magical, and so fragrant. I had a fantastic time yesterday and it's a must see! Hurry, it will only be there until April 6.