New York: Monday to Wednesday

Saturday, December 25th, 2010 | Art, Performance, Travel

I’m still in New York, still freezing.  Big Chrissy and I saw an interesting show at the Guggenheim, Chaos and Classicism, focusing on european art between the World Wars.  Pictured above is Renato Bertelli’s Profilo Continuo del Duce (1933), a dazzling futurist portrait of Mussolini included in the show.

Manet’s Devant la Glace, (1876) was also on display at the Guggenheim, a vigorously painted portrait of a woman at a mirror, her back to us, a private scene of observation.  The tension between surface and subject is heightened by our own position of surveillance.  First Picasso’s women, and then John Currin’s at Gagosian continued our engagement with the female form, the latter like viewing a pornographic Saturday Evening Post.

Moving on to the male form, we stopped by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery for the Jess, Joe Brainard, and John O’Reilly show.  While each artist utilized collage to create works of tender sensuality, John O’Reilly’s layered and sliced imagery haunted me the most, sublime juxtapositions of sexual, erotic and aesthetic experience.

At the Music Box on Tuesday night, we saw La Bête, a satire set in the 17th century, with Joanna Lumley in her Broadway debut—and boy does she make an entrance, in a billowy shower of gold.  The play is presented entirely in rhymed verse, whimsically and cleverly illustrating the triumph of mediocrity over quality.

The next day we stepped back another century for Jan Gossart at the Met, and forward again for a fabulous restored Velasquez portrait of Philip IV.

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