Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Four-time World Champion Alpine Ski Racer, Bode Miller at the upper eastside apartment of Tracy Stern sporting the “Bode Bang” a partnership between Miller and the Swiss watchmaker, Hublot, December 2009As the holidays approach a few tidings beheld the uptown set.  A dinner organized by Tamsin Lonsdale, Founder of The Supper Club, Inc. where she introduced the “Bode Bang” a limited edition timepiece designed in collaboration with Alpine Ski Champion, Bode Miller, and Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Hublot.  The sandblasted black ceramic timepiece is in an edition of 250.  A portion of the watch’s royalties will go to the Turtle Ridge Foundation, a charity established in 2005 by Bode Miller and his family to share his success with those less fortunate 

Tamsin Lonsdale, Founder of the Supper Club, Inc introducing the “Bode Bang” and other limited edition timepieces by legendary watchmaker, Hublot, Geneve, December 2009British Artist, Richard Woods, at the opening of “Port Sunlight” at Lever House, December, 2009 Park Avenue, New York.Park Avenue came to holiday life with “Port Sunlight” an installation by British artist Richard Woods. The work was commissioned by the Lever House Art Collection in collaboration with Perry Rubinstein Gallery and opened in early December at the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed high-rise.   The artist decorated the outdoor benches and planters and wrapped 40 structural columns and two printed aluminum floor pieces in the lobby in colorful block-printed fiberboard designs reminiscent of late 19th century William Morris patterns and mock Tudor designs.  The artist said the commission held emotional resonance for him.  Port Sunlight was the name of a model village designed by Lever Brothers in the late 19th century who commissioned Lever House in the mid-20th century.  Port Sunlight’s mock-Tudor houses, art gallery and its collection of William Morris textile designs were early influences on Woods who grew up in nearby Cheshire, England.

Alberto ‘Tico’ Mugrabi and Perry Rubinstein at the opening of “Port Sunlight” at Lever House, Park Avenue, New York, December 2009Lever House Publicist, Sara Fitzmaurice at the opening of “Port Sunlight,” New York, December 2009Geoffrey Biddle with his Aunt Flora Biddle at her Upper Eastside Apartment, New York, 2009Celebrating the joy of married life, “Sydney and Flora,” is a photographic portrait survey by Geoffrey Biddle commissioned by his Aunt Flora in 1998 to mark the 80th birthday of her husband, Sydney Biddle.  Published in 2009 by Turtle Point Press, the book is made up of combined portraits of the couple that Geoffrey describes as “outer attachments and inner dialogues.”  “Sydney and Flora” is published by Turtle Point Press with a foreword by Susanna Moore and text by Geoffrey Biddle and is available at  

Turtle Point Press Publisher, Jonathan Rabinowitz with New York Times Correspondent, Diane Cardwell at the book party for “Flora and Sydney,” New York City, 2009 (“Sydney and Flora” stacked in the foreground)



Actor, Val Kilmer at W South BeachStars were out under a full moon as the 8th installment of Art Basel Miami unraveled on South Beach last week.  Eight years going and it was business as usual: collectors, artists, dealers and critics rubbing shoulders with fashion models and celebrities.  While there was a lot of buzz about the art market rebound it couldn’t compete with the energy and sweat that oozed from the parties.


Museum Legs

Amy Whitaker at Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, COOn a crisp fall evening in the American West, snow-capped mountains rose above the South Platte River in Denver’s historic LoDo district where the American artist, entrepreneur, and writer, Amy Whitaker, took the stage at Tattered Cover Bookstore to read from her debut book, Museum Legs: Fatigue and Hope in the Face of Art.  Museum Legs is a collection of essays that starts with a question: Why do people get bored and tired in art museums and why does that matter?

Museum Legs is the first book published by Hol_Art_Books, an independent press dedicated to publishing and promoting exceptional writing on visual arts.  Its title taken from a term for art fatigue, Museum Legs contains critical essays that chronicle the development of the museum.  Sprinkled with humorous anecdotes and factual data, Whitaker writes why museums matter for reasons that have less to do with art and more to do with business, politics and lifestyle.

At Tattered Cover, Whitakaker took hold of the crowd with a buoyant reading from her essay “On Boredom” opening with the line, “Boredom is one of the most inherently interesting topics around...”.  The reading took a deeper, more incisive turn as she went on to quote from Hugh Kenner’s 1972 essay in the book Museums in Crisis wherein he “sounded the death knell” and suggested: “the history of twentieth-century art may someday appear to have been simply a death struggle with the museum.” 

Whitaker’s discussion was resoundingly current in the face of the recent backlash against the New Museum.  Though the museum’s staff have been working hard to re-awaken New York’s downtown emerging art community with contemporary-themed exhibitions, they seem to be garnering national press regarding the museum’s politics and ethics as much as about the works of art they display.  Days before Whitaker’s talk the museum featured on the front page of the New York Times with an article concerning their forthcoming exhibition devoted to the contemporary art collection of one of it’s trustees, the Greek shipping magnate Dakis Joannou, and curated by Jeff Koons, whose art features prominently in the collection.

Following on from Tattered Cover, Whitaker appeared at The Dikeou Collection, founded by Denver born artist, Devon Dikeou, located off the city’s 16th Street Mall. Speaking before an intimate group of curators, artists and museum-goers (and one candidate for state treasurer) she read from her essay “Ladies Who Launch” that chronicles the history of America’s early modern museums as art projects, themselves products of bold entrepreneurial vision.  The Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art were both established and founded by women and like the Dikeou, were closely tied to the lives of living artists and the creative vision of their founders.

Whitaker continues a self-navigated cross-country book tour and will appear on Dec 4th at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

 (l) Devon Dikeou with Museum Legs author, Amy Whitaker, at The Dikeou Collection, downtown Denver, CO



Director/Choreographer Maria Hassabi performs SoloShow, the second work of a diptych at Performance Space 122 (PS122), November 12, 2009, East Village, New York CityOver the past two years, Maria Hassabi, the Athenian born New York-based choreographer, created two autonomous evening-long solos conceived as a diptych: Solo and SoloShow, while in-residence at Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University and during a creative residency at Performing Art Forum in St. Ermes, France.  The works were co-commissioned by Performance Space 122 (PS122), Performa 09, French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

Directed and choreographed by Hassabi and performed alternately with Hristoula Harakas, the second work of the diptych, SoloShow, premiered on November 12th at PS122’s upstairs gallery.  On a matte black rectangular plinth, Hassabi held poses for as long as 20 to 80 seconds, captivating the audience by near stillness.  As she moved from one pose to another, a voice-over and ambient sound played in tones from low to almost inaudible.  Suspended vertically overhead, floodlights accentuated the sculptural forms she created with her body.  The poses ran the gamut of Western art forms.  Some conjured ancient Greek sculptures of Praxtiteles, others drew purely from classical ballet contours, and more dynamic sections summoned a fashion shoot straight out of Antonioni’s Blow-Up.  Like the British art duo Gilbert & George in their 1970s Living Sculptures performances – the artists painted in gold, themselves the sculpture – Hassabi eliminated the distinction between artist and art.



Lawrence Weiner greets Gerhard Richter at the opening of Gerhard Richter Abstract Paintings 2009 at Marian Goodman Gallery, West 57th Street, NY

Despite the rise in unemployment, New Yorkers are adopting a stiff upper lip, working like mad to keep the city feeling economically buoyant. Global art world players are here in numbers for the modern and contemporary auctions this week while museums and galleries unveil some spectacular new shows: Urs Fischer’s marvelous Marguerite de Ponty at The New Museum; Gerhard Richter’s lusciously beautiful Abstract Paintings 2009 at Marian Goodman Gallery;
Tracey Emin’s Only God Knows I’m Good at Lehmann Maupin’s Lower Eastside space with a sumptuous after-dinner party hosted by Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner at Wallsee; RxArt presented Yayoi Kusama’s Self-Portrait puzzle at a benefit party at Industria in the West Village; and the unstoppable Roselee Goldberg raised the curtain on her Performa 09, a three-week festival celebrating performance/film/theatre/dance at venues all over the city. To get the ball rolling, Performa 09 hosted the first demonstration of the Abramovic Experiment, a performance by Marina Abramovic and Chef Dominique Ansel of Restaurant Daniel ritualizing the act of eating cake. And what’s not better to follow on from dessert…SEX. Performa’s The Lust Weekend spread like a wild fire all over Manhattan with the exhibition Performance, Art, Politics & Eroticism: Valentine de Saint-Point opening at the Italian Cultural Institute on Park Avenue; Tracey Emin gave an entertaining reading from her autobiography Strangeland at University Settlement off The Bowery where she found herself blushing at certain passages and refused to continue with the chapter chronicling nights of debauchery a decade ago in New York. But in the lust department Kalup Linzy took the cake performing newly arranged cabaret songs and cover ballads as his alter ego Taiwan at Taxter & Spengemann Gallery in the East Village. Taiwan opened the set with a revised musical version of the classic Otis Reading tune appropriating the music to his own tale of lost lust singing sitting on the edge of my couch waitin’ for trade.

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