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DOG STAR NYC IS A CREATIVE ARTS GUIDE | ART + THEATER + CHEAP DATES + POP CULTURE + FREE EVENTS + CITY LIVING + DESIGN + MUSIC + PHOTOGRAPHY + SPORTS + VIDEO + FILM + STREET LIFE + WRITING + POETRY & LOTS OF FUN + MAKE ART OUT OF YOUR LIFE!

Image above: Vik Muniz

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère after Édouard Manet, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2012.

Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life. Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, painted in 1882, explores the treachery of nineteenth-century Parisian nightlife through the depiction of a bartender attending to a male patron reflected in the mirror behind her. Muniz plays on Manet’s style, replacing Manet’s visible brushstrokes with the frayed edges of torn paper and lending the work immense visual interest.

“Thank you for DogStarNYC, in general. The site speaks to so many kinds of interests; it discerns which qualities will appeal to many different tastes in a tremendous number of activities. I love how it encourages young people to pay attention to the unusual.

In New York we let so many teens walk around the periphery, mildly shell-shocked by life, while the information that they need to make sense of their world sits in the center of the room. DogStarNYC welcomes them into the middle of the room; the blog tells them how to walk there. ” - Stacy L.

EMAIL: dogstarcontact@gmail.com

DOG STAR is the creation of a high school English teacher in New York City. This blog began in 2008 as an online community for a journalism class and has since evolved into a curated site on the creative arts, arts-related news and a guide to free and low-cost events for teens. Our mission is to offer teens real-life options for enjoying all the creative arts in New York City. May wisdom guide you and hope sustain you. The more you like art, the more art you like!

IMPORTANT NOTICE OF NON COMMERCIAL & EDUCATIONAL CONTENT Unless otherwise stated, we do not own copyrights to any of the visual or audio content that might be included on this blog. Dog Star is for criticism, commentary, reporting and educational purposes under the FAIR USE ACT: Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. If you own the copyright to any images and object to them being included in this blog, please advise and the content will be removed. No attempt is made for material gain from this blog's content.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

GO SEE Spring Exhibitions at NYC's Museums

THIS IS A PRINTER-FRIENDLY POST. 

Dog Star's mini-guide to the Spring 2015 museum exhibitions.

Keep it in your agenda or refer to it and make dates to see these exhibitions with family and friends.

All of the museums have a free or pay-what-you-wish (it can be just $1) night so be sure to check the website - it is linked in BOLD in the name of the museum.

GETTING TO THE MUSEUMS - MAKE IT EASY WITH FRIENDS
You may read about artists here that you've never heard of before - that's a good reason to check it out.  Read the list and make a plan to see at least three to start - pick one you are excited about seeing and invite your family.  Choose another one and invite two friends to join you!  On the third go by yourself - it will be an entirely different experience and you would be doing less socializing, less talking, less talking ABOUT the art and MORE LOOKING. 

PRETEND YOU'VE LOST YOUR PHONE
And always keep your phone in your pocket.  It's tough to make a real connection to the artwork if you are texting, taking pictures or researching.  Give yourself the chance to have a "phone-free" experience with art. 

Escape Route:
Paintings and Drawings by Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave
Bronx Museum of the Arts
February 12 - May 31, 2015
Escape Route: Paintings and Drawings by Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave will present a selection of works by the New York based artist created from 2011 to 2014 that deal with issues related to race, religion and sexuality. Since 1998 Hargrave has produced a compelling, deeply personal body of work incorporating painting, drawing, sculpture and video that explore the dynamics between race, sexuality and religion in relation to his upbringing in the south and early adulthood as an African American gay male coming to terms with racial and sexual identity.

UNDER THE MEXICAN SKY: Gabriel Figueroa—Art and Film
El Museo del Barrio
March 4, 2015 – June 27, 2015
From the early 1930s through the early 1980s, the Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (1907–1997) helped forge an evocative and enduring image of Mexico. Among the most important cinematographers of the so-called Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, Figueroa worked with leading directors from Mexico, the United States and Europe, traversing a wide range of genres while maintaining his distinctive and vivid visual style.

Russian Modernism:
Cross-Currents in German and Russian Art, 1907-1917
Neue Galerie 
February 19-June 15, 2015
This exhibition will be dedicated to the radical modernist movements in German and Russian art at the beginning of the 20th century. Their development was parallel and often intersected. Such artists as Vasily Kandinsky or Alexei von Jawlensky are claimed by the Germans but remain Russian artists for the Russians.

Björk: The Exhibition
Museum of Modern Art 
March 8–June 7, 2015
The Museum of Modern Art presents a retrospective of the multifaceted work of composer, musician, and artist Björk. The exhibition draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and adventurous projects and her seven full-length albums—from Debut (1993) to Biophilia (2011)—to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, costumes, and performance. The installation will present a narrative, both biographical and imaginatively fictitious, cowritten by Björk and the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón Sigurdsson. Björk’s collaborations with video directors, photographers, fashion designers, and artists will be featured, and the exhibition culminates with a newly commissioned, immersive music and film experience conceived and realized with director Andrew Thomas Huang and 3-D design leader Autodesk.

Also at MoMA:
The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters - Through March 1, 2015
This exhibition is the first MoMA exhibition in 30 years dedicated solely to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and features over 100 examples of the best-known works created during the apex of his career.

One-Way Ticket:  Jacob Lawrence's
Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North
Museum of Modern Art 
April 3 – September 07, 2015
MoMA marks the centennial of the beginning of the Great Migration, the multi-decade mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North, with Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series.  The show highlights the ways in which Lawrence and others in his circles developed a set of innovative artistic strategies to offer perspectives on this crucial episode in American history. One-Way Ticket reunites all 60 panels of Lawrence’s Migration Series at MoMA for the first time in 20 years, and includes other accounts of the movement in a broad variety of media, including novels and poems by writers such as Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Richard Wright; music by Josh White, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday; photographs by Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Gordon Parks, and Robert McNeill; sociological tracts by Carter Woodson, Charles Johnson, Emmett J. Scott, and Walter White; and paintings by Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, and Charles White.

Bazm and Razm Feast and Fight in Persian Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
February 17–May 31, 2015
For centuries, Persian kingship was epitomized by two complementary pursuits: bazm (feast) and razm (fight). The ruler's success as both a reveler and hunter/warrior distinguished him as a worthy and legitimate sovereign. The pairing of bazm and razm as the ultimate royal activities is an ancient concept with roots in pre-Islamic Iran. It is a recurring theme in the Shahnama (or Book of Kings)—the Persian national epic—as well as other poetic and historic texts.

Also at the Met:
Reimagining Modernism is a re-installation of the Met's American and European modern paintings, decorative arts, photographs, sculpture and works on paper from 1900-1950.  On view until 2017.

Coypel’s Don Quixote Tapestries: Illustrating a Spanish Novel in Eighteenth-Century France
Frick Collection
February 25, 2015 - May 17, 2015
A masterpiece of comic fiction, Cervantes’s Don Quixote (fully titled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha) enjoyed great popularity from the moment it was published, in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615. Reprints and translations spread across Europe, captivating the continental imagination with the escapades of the knight Don Quixote and his companion, Sancho Panza. The novel’s most celebrated episodes inspired a multitude of paintings, prints, and interiors.

Lincoln Speaks: Words That Transformed a Nation
The Morgan Library
January 23 - June 7, 2015
This exhibition focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s mastery of language and how his words changed the course of history. Today, nearly 150 years after the end of the Civil War, he remains an exemplar of exalted leadership in a time of great crisis and people the world over continue to look to him as a standard-bearer for principled governance. Lincoln Speaks explores Lincoln as a writer and public speaker whose eloquence shaped the nation and the world, in his time and in ours.

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic
Brooklyn Museum
February 20 – May 24, 2015
The works presented in Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic raise questions about race, gender, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using the conventions of traditional European portraiture. The exhibition includes an overview of the artist’s prolific fourteen-year career and features sixty paintings and sculptures.

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks
Brooklyn Museum
April 3 – August 23, 2015
Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat filled numerous notebooks with poetry fragments, word play, sketches, and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class, and world history. The first major exhibition of the artist's notebooks, Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks features 160 pages of these rarely seen documents, along with related works on paper and large-scale paintings. A self-taught artist with encyclopedic and cross-cultural interests, Basquiat was influenced by comics, advertising, children's sketches, Pop art, hip-hop, politics, and everyday life.

After Midnight:
Indian Modernism To Contemporary India 1947/1997
Queens Museum of Art
March 1 2015 - June 28 2015
After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997 presents a comparative study of art created in the wake of two defining moments in Indian history. The first, Indian independence in 1947 was notable for the emergence of the Progressives Artists Group. The second was 1997, which marked 50 years of India’s independence, a period that coincided with economic liberalization, political instability, the growth of a religious right wing, as well as a newly globalizing art market and international biennial circuit, in which Indian artists had begun to participate.

Also on view at the Queens Museum
Robert Seydel - The Eye in Matter
Jul 19 2015 - Oct 26 2015
The art of Robert Seydel (1960-2011) is a rare hybrid of the visual and literary that dissolves boundaries between the lyrical, the narrative, reading and looking, marked by an unrelenting sense of play. Seydel merges the historical past with the present by merging actual personages with fictional characters – for example, the viewer/reader meets Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp. Much of his work is made under the auspices of various personas in place of the singular first person perspective. 

Inaugural Exhibition - Re-Opening of
the Whitney Museum on The High Line
Whitney Museum
When the Whitney Museum’s new Renzo Piano-designed home on Gansevoort Street opens its doors on May 1, 2015, the inaugural installation will be the largest and most comprehensive display to date of the Whitney’s unparalleled permanent collection of 20th and 21st century American art. This ambitious display will offer new perspectives on art in the United States since 1900, following the Whitney’s in-depth analysis of its collection of more than 21,000 works, an initiative that has been underway since 2012. The sweep of the collection is echoed in the building’s magnificent multiple perspectives: the new Whitney looks south toward the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, east into the city, and west across the Hudson toward the expanse of the country.


Everything Is Design: The Work of Paul Rand
Museum of the City of New York (MCNY)
February 25 - July 19, 2015
"Everything is Design. Everything!" —Paul Rand Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand features more than 150 advertisements, posters, corporate brochures, and books by this master of American design. It was Rand who most creatively brought European avant-garde art movements such as Cubism and Constructivism to graphic design in the United States. He argued that visual language should integrate form and function. Born in Brooklyn in humble circumstances, Rand (1914-1996) launched his career in the 1930s with magazine cover design and, starting in the early 1940s, he worked as an art director on Madison Avenue, where he helped revolutionize the advertising profession.

Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera
NYU - Grey Art Gallery 
April 21 - July 11, 2015
Born in Hong Kong and later based in New York City, Tseng Kwong Chi (1950–1990) produced a large body of witty, playful, performance- based photography that both captures the pivotal Manhattan downtown and club scenes and reflects the increasingly globalized movement of people across nations and continents. In so doing, he raised critical questions about identity and culture.

Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection
Japan Society
March 13 — June 7, 2015
Since arriving in Japan aboard Chinese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art. Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection illustrates the depth of this mutual attraction by mining the wealth of bravura depictions of cats to be found in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1615-1867).

Colorful Boxy Exterior for Japanese Bank Branch

Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design have designed a colorful boxy exterior for the Nakaaoki Branch of the Sugamo Shinkin Bank in Tokyo, Japan.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Scoreboards Where You Can’t See Your Score

from The New York Times:

The characters in Gary Shteyngart’s novel “Super Sad True Love Story” inhabit a continuously surveilled and scored society. Consider the protagonist, Lenny Abramov, age 39. A digital dossier about him accumulates his every health condition (high cholesterol, depression), liability (mortgage: $560,330), purchase (“bound, printed, nonstreaming media artifact”), tendency (“heterosexual, nonathletic, nonautomotive, nonreligious”) and probability (“life span estimated at 83”). 

And that profile is available for perusal by employers, friends and even strangers in bars. It’s a fictional forecast of a data-deterministic culture in which computer algorithms constantly analyze consumers’ profiles, issuing individuals numeric rankings that may benefit or hinder them. 

 Observing a street billboard that publicly broadcasts the score of each passer-by, the Abramov character says in the novel, “The old Chinese woman had a decent 1,400, but others, the young Latina mothers, even a profligate teenaged Hasid puffing down the street, were showing blinking red scores below 900, and I worried for them.” 

In two nonfiction books, scheduled to be published in January, technology experts examine similar consumer-ranking techniques already in widespread use. Even before the appearance of these books, a report called “The Scoring of America” by the World Privacy Forum showed how analytics companies now offer categorization services like “churn scores,” which aim to predict which customers are likely to forsake their mobile phone carrier or cable TV provider for another company; “job security scores,” which factor a person’s risk of unemployment into calculations of his or her ability to pay back a loan; “charitable donor scores,” which foundations use to identify the households likeliest to make large donations; and “frailty scores,” which are typically used to predict the risk of medical complications and death in elderly patients who have surgery.

GO HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Street of the dancing cat

"Rue du chat qui danse" (Street of the dancing cat)
Saint-Malo, Bretagne, FRANCE


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Over 70% of Americans Age 17-24 Fail to Qualify for Military Service

More than two-thirds of America's youth would fail to qualify for military service because of physical, behavioral or educational shortcomings, posing challenges to building the next generation of soldiers even as the U.S. draws down troops from conflict zones.

READ THE STORY HERE AT THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Five Paintings We Love @ The Frick - Bring your friends and family!

Dog Star enjoys The Frick Collection because it NEVER changes its permanent collection - it always has on view the paintings Henry Clay Frick selected and placed within his home.  

This does not mean the Frick doesn't have room for special exhibitions; it has separate spaces for temporary little shows.  We want devoted readers to visit the Frick to see these paintings in person - for yourself.  

The descriptions of the paintings are taken from the museum's website.  

Here is a photo of the West Gallery - imagine having this room in your home as your private art collection.  It's just ONE of the rooms you will see at the Frick:
 


   
The Frick welcomes quiet and respectful teens who put away all electronics, check their coats and bags and enjoy this very special museum as if they are visiting a stranger's home.  The Frick is open to ALL NEW YORKERS!

The Frick Collection (more here) is EASY TO REACH at 70th Street and Fifth Avenue - take the 6 train to 68th Street / Hunter College and walk over to 5th Avenue from Lexington & 68th. Admission for teens is $10 (students with valid identification).  Dog Star says go early on Sundays and pay just $1!  On Sundays, pay what you wish from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


Learn more about the Frick family and origins of the collection and museum here.  The museum was planned as a permanent art collection to be open to the public by its founder Henry Clay Frick!



PAINTING #1 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE:  Lodovico Capponi painted by Agnolo Bronzino. This proud young aristocrat is Lodovico Capponi (b. 1533), a page at the Medici court. As was his custom, he wears black and white, his family's armorial colors. His right index finger partially conceals the cameo he holds, revealing only the inscription sorte (fate or fortune) — an ingenious allusion to the obscurity of fate. In the mid 1550s Lodovico fell in love with a girl whom Duke Cosimo had intended for one of his cousins. After nearly three years of opposition, Cosimo suddenly relented, but he commanded that their wedding be celebrated within twenty-four hours.   

WHY WE LOVE IT: We like to think that Frick chose this painting of Capponi because of its association with one of the most powerful families in history.  The Medici family of the Italian Renaissance ruled over the region of Florence / Tuscany and nobody did anything without their permission.  They made a fortune owning farms, mills, textile (tapestry) companies and family members were even connected to the Vatican in Rome.  Frick most likely admired this young man and may have seen an aspect of himself in the picture:  bold, proud and ready for the upper classes!


PAINTING #2 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Gilbert Stuart  (1755 - 1828) George Washington, 1795-1796  Stuart earned a fortune producing replicas of the three portraits he painted from life of the first President of the United States. The Frick canvas is thought to be one of two copies painted by the artist for the Philadelphia merchant John Vaughan. It belongs to the group known as the “Vaughan type,” although it differs from the related versions in the color of the coat and in the treatment of the background. Stylistically the portrait recalls the work of Stuart’s English contemporaries, such as Romney and Hoppner.

WHY WE LOVE IT: The first thing to know is that the portrait of Washington on the one dollar bill is by Gilbert Stuart - same artist.  We like this painting because it shows our first president in a red velvet coat and we like to think Frick liked that, too.



PAINTING #3 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Johannes Vermeer  (1632 - 1675) Mistress and Maid, 1666-1667  The subject of writing and receiving letters, which recurs frequently in Vermeer’s work, is given an exceptional sense of dramatic tension in this painting of two women arrested in some moment of mysterious crisis. The lack of final modeling in the mistress’ head and figure and the relatively plain background indicate that this late work by Vermeer was left unfinished. Nevertheless, the artist seldom if ever surpassed the subtly varied effects of light seen here as it gleams from the pearl jewelry, sparkles from the glass and silver objects on the table, and falls softly over the figures in their shadowy setting. Bought by Mr. Frick in 1919, the year of his death, this painting was his last purchase and joined Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, Holbein’s Sir Thomas More, Bellini’s St. Francis, and Velázquez’ King Philip IV among his favorite acquisitions.

WHY WE LOVE IT: Frick had exquisite taste and bought the very best paintings.  His taste in art is strongly conservative; by the time of his death in 1919 cubism and abstratcion were very popular but he would never have bought those kinds of pictures - he did not have a taste for "modern" art.  But there is just no disputing the beauty of a Vermeer - the way he handles the light so delicately!



PAINTING #4 - ABOUT THE PAINTER/ING ABOVE: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn  (1606 - 1669) Self-Portrait, 1658.  Rembrandt first studied art in his native Leyden and later worked under Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. Around 1625 he returned to Leyden, but in 1631/32 he settled permanently in Amsterdam. Although he enjoyed a great reputation and pupils flocked to him, he suffered financial difficulties that led to insolvency in 1656. By 1660 most of his debts were settled, and his last years were spent in relative comfort. Rembrandt painted many portraits, biblical scenes, and historical subjects.

WHY WE LOVE IT: This painting was completed about ten years before the painter died.  By the time he painted it his career had long been over.  And yet Rembrandt makes himself look so majestic, so regal like a king who is still at the top of his game.


PAINTING #5 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Jean-August-Dominique Ingres  (1780 - 1867) Comtesse d'Haussonville, 1845Louise, Princesse de Broglie (1818–82) and granddaughter of Madame de Staël, married at the age of eighteen. Her husband was a diplomat, writer, and member of the French Academy, and she herself published a number of books, including biographies of Robert Emmet and Byron. For her time and her elevated social caste, she was outspokenly independent and liberal. This portrait, begun in 1842, was the fruit of several false starts and a great many preparatory drawings, including full-scale studies of the raised left arm, the head, and its reflection. According to a letter written by the artist, the finished work “aroused a storm of approval among her family and friends.” Ingres appears to have surprised the young lady in the intimacy of her boudoir, where she leans against an upholstered fireplace, having just discarded her evening wrap and opera glasses.  


WHY WE LOVE IT: This painter's last name is pronounced eng-ah.  It's so easy to see why Frick would have loved this painting and why we love it, too.  The Comtesse is so beautiful and so charming in this portrait while also hinting that she is ready and willing to have an intelligent conversation.

Friday, April 17, 2015

QUOTE OF THE DAY (Kurt Vonnegut)

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place." —Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

GO SEE Spring Exhibitions at NYC's Museums

THIS IS A PRINTER-FRIENDLY POST. 

Dog Star's mini-guide to the Spring 2015 museum exhibitions.

Keep it in your agenda or refer to it and make dates to see these exhibitions with family and friends.

All of the museums have a free or pay-what-you-wish (it can be just $1) night so be sure to check the website - it is linked in BOLD in the name of the museum.

GETTING TO THE MUSEUMS - MAKE IT EASY WITH FRIENDS
You may read about artists here that you've never heard of before - that's a good reason to check it out.  Read the list and make a plan to see at least three to start - pick one you are excited about seeing and invite your family.  Choose another one and invite two friends to join you!  On the third go by yourself - it will be an entirely different experience and you would be doing less socializing, less talking, less talking ABOUT the art and MORE LOOKING. 

PRETEND YOU'VE LOST YOUR PHONE
And always keep your phone in your pocket.  It's tough to make a real connection to the artwork if you are texting, taking pictures or researching.  Give yourself the chance to have a "phone-free" experience with art. 

Takahiro Iwasaki: In Focus 
Asia Society
January 27 - April 26, 2015
Takahiro Iwasaki creates detailed miniature landscapes using towels, toothbrushes, used clothing, and other found and recycled materials. This exhibition is a part of Asia Society Museum’s ongoing In Focus series, which invites contemporary artists to create new works, often in conversation with the Asia Society Museum’s permanent collection of traditional Asian art.

Also at the Asia Society:
Buddhist Art of Myanmar
February 10 - May 10, 2015
Buddhist Art of Myanmar will be the first exhibition in the West focusing on works of art from collections in Myanmar. The exhibition comprises approximately 70 spectacular works—including stone, bronze and wood sculptures, textiles, paintings, and lacquer ritual implements—from the fifth through the nineteenth centuries. Artworks include objects created for temples, monasteries, and personal devotion, which will be presented in their historical and ritual contexts. The exhibition will explore how Buddhist narratives were communicated visually and the multiplicity of regional styles.

Escape Route:
Paintings and Drawings by Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave
Bronx Museum of the Arts
February 12 - May 31, 2015
Escape Route: Paintings and Drawings by Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave will present a selection of works by the New York based artist created from 2011 to 2014 that deal with issues related to race, religion and sexuality. Since 1998 Hargrave has produced a compelling, deeply personal body of work incorporating painting, drawing, sculpture and video that explore the dynamics between race, sexuality and religion in relation to his upbringing in the south and early adulthood as an African American gay male coming to terms with racial and sexual identity.

Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion
New York Historical Society
September 26, 2014 - April 19, 2015
Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion explores the centuries-long history of trade and immigration between China and the United States—a history that involved New York from its very beginnings—and will raise the question “What does it mean to be an American?” The exhibit narrative extends from the late eighteenth century to the present and includes all regions of the country, thus interpreting the Chinese American saga as a key part of American history.

UNDER THE MEXICAN SKY: Gabriel Figueroa—Art and Film
El Museo del Barrio
March 4, 2015 – June 27, 2015
From the early 1930s through the early 1980s, the Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (1907–1997) helped forge an evocative and enduring image of Mexico. Among the most important cinematographers of the so-called Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, Figueroa worked with leading directors from Mexico, the United States and Europe, traversing a wide range of genres while maintaining his distinctive and vivid visual style.

Russian Modernism:
Cross-Currents in German and Russian Art, 1907-1917
Neue Galerie 
February 19-June 15, 2015
This exhibition will be dedicated to the radical modernist movements in German and Russian art at the beginning of the 20th century. Their development was parallel and often intersected. Such artists as Vasily Kandinsky or Alexei von Jawlensky are claimed by the Germans but remain Russian artists for the Russians.

Björk: The Exhibition
Museum of Modern Art 
March 8–June 7, 2015
The Museum of Modern Art presents a retrospective of the multifaceted work of composer, musician, and artist Björk. The exhibition draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and adventurous projects and her seven full-length albums—from Debut (1993) to Biophilia (2011)—to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, costumes, and performance. The installation will present a narrative, both biographical and imaginatively fictitious, cowritten by Björk and the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón Sigurdsson. Björk’s collaborations with video directors, photographers, fashion designers, and artists will be featured, and the exhibition culminates with a newly commissioned, immersive music and film experience conceived and realized with director Andrew Thomas Huang and 3-D design leader Autodesk.

Also at MoMA:
The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters - Through March 1, 2015
This exhibition is the first MoMA exhibition in 30 years dedicated solely to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and features over 100 examples of the best-known works created during the apex of his career.

One-Way Ticket:  Jacob Lawrence's
Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North
Museum of Modern Art 
April 3 – September 07, 2015
MoMA marks the centennial of the beginning of the Great Migration, the multi-decade mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North, with Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series.  The show highlights the ways in which Lawrence and others in his circles developed a set of innovative artistic strategies to offer perspectives on this crucial episode in American history. One-Way Ticket reunites all 60 panels of Lawrence’s Migration Series at MoMA for the first time in 20 years, and includes other accounts of the movement in a broad variety of media, including novels and poems by writers such as Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Richard Wright; music by Josh White, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday; photographs by Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Gordon Parks, and Robert McNeill; sociological tracts by Carter Woodson, Charles Johnson, Emmett J. Scott, and Walter White; and paintings by Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, and Charles White.

Bazm and Razm Feast and Fight in Persian Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
February 17–May 31, 2015
For centuries, Persian kingship was epitomized by two complementary pursuits: bazm (feast) and razm (fight). The ruler's success as both a reveler and hunter/warrior distinguished him as a worthy and legitimate sovereign. The pairing of bazm and razm as the ultimate royal activities is an ancient concept with roots in pre-Islamic Iran. It is a recurring theme in the Shahnama (or Book of Kings)—the Persian national epic—as well as other poetic and historic texts.

Also at the Met:
Reimagining Modernism is a re-installation of the Met's American and European modern paintings, decorative arts, photographs, sculpture and works on paper from 1900-1950.  On view until 2017.

Coypel’s Don Quixote Tapestries: Illustrating a Spanish Novel in Eighteenth-Century France
Frick Collection
February 25, 2015 - May 17, 2015
A masterpiece of comic fiction, Cervantes’s Don Quixote (fully titled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha) enjoyed great popularity from the moment it was published, in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615. Reprints and translations spread across Europe, captivating the continental imagination with the escapades of the knight Don Quixote and his companion, Sancho Panza. The novel’s most celebrated episodes inspired a multitude of paintings, prints, and interiors.

Lincoln Speaks: Words That Transformed a Nation
The Morgan Library
January 23 - June 7, 2015
This exhibition focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s mastery of language and how his words changed the course of history. Today, nearly 150 years after the end of the Civil War, he remains an exemplar of exalted leadership in a time of great crisis and people the world over continue to look to him as a standard-bearer for principled governance. Lincoln Speaks explores Lincoln as a writer and public speaker whose eloquence shaped the nation and the world, in his time and in ours.

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic
Brooklyn Museum
February 20 – May 24, 2015
The works presented in Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic raise questions about race, gender, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using the conventions of traditional European portraiture. The exhibition includes an overview of the artist’s prolific fourteen-year career and features sixty paintings and sculptures.

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks
Brooklyn Museum
April 3 – August 23, 2015
Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat filled numerous notebooks with poetry fragments, word play, sketches, and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class, and world history. The first major exhibition of the artist's notebooks, Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks features 160 pages of these rarely seen documents, along with related works on paper and large-scale paintings. A self-taught artist with encyclopedic and cross-cultural interests, Basquiat was influenced by comics, advertising, children's sketches, Pop art, hip-hop, politics, and everyday life.

On Kawara
Guggenheim Museum
February 6 – May 3, 2015
Through radically restricted means, On Kawara’s work engages the personal and historical consciousness of place and time. Kawara’s practice is often associated with the rise of Conceptual art, yet in its complex wit and philosophical reach, it stands well apart. Organized with the cooperation of the artist, On Kawara—Silence will be the first full representation of Kawara’s output, beginning in 1964 and including every category of work, much of it produced during his travels across the globe.

After Midnight:
Indian Modernism To Contemporary India 1947/1997
Queens Museum of Art
March 1 2015 - June 28 2015
After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997 presents a comparative study of art created in the wake of two defining moments in Indian history. The first, Indian independence in 1947 was notable for the emergence of the Progressives Artists Group. The second was 1997, which marked 50 years of India’s independence, a period that coincided with economic liberalization, political instability, the growth of a religious right wing, as well as a newly globalizing art market and international biennial circuit, in which Indian artists had begun to participate.

Also on view at the Queens Museum
Robert Seydel - The Eye in Matter
Jul 19 2015 - Oct 26 2015
The art of Robert Seydel (1960-2011) is a rare hybrid of the visual and literary that dissolves boundaries between the lyrical, the narrative, reading and looking, marked by an unrelenting sense of play. Seydel merges the historical past with the present by merging actual personages with fictional characters – for example, the viewer/reader meets Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp. Much of his work is made under the auspices of various personas in place of the singular first person perspective. 

Inaugural Exhibition - Re-Opening of
the Whitney Museum on The High Line
Whitney Museum
When the Whitney Museum’s new Renzo Piano-designed home on Gansevoort Street opens its doors on May 1, 2015, the inaugural installation will be the largest and most comprehensive display to date of the Whitney’s unparalleled permanent collection of 20th and 21st century American art. This ambitious display will offer new perspectives on art in the United States since 1900, following the Whitney’s in-depth analysis of its collection of more than 21,000 works, an initiative that has been underway since 2012. The sweep of the collection is echoed in the building’s magnificent multiple perspectives: the new Whitney looks south toward the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, east into the city, and west across the Hudson toward the expanse of the country.


Everything Is Design: The Work of Paul Rand
Museum of the City of New York (MCNY)
February 25 - July 19, 2015
"Everything is Design. Everything!" —Paul Rand Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand features more than 150 advertisements, posters, corporate brochures, and books by this master of American design. It was Rand who most creatively brought European avant-garde art movements such as Cubism and Constructivism to graphic design in the United States. He argued that visual language should integrate form and function. Born in Brooklyn in humble circumstances, Rand (1914-1996) launched his career in the 1930s with magazine cover design and, starting in the early 1940s, he worked as an art director on Madison Avenue, where he helped revolutionize the advertising profession.

Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera
NYU - Grey Art Gallery 
April 21 - July 11, 2015
Born in Hong Kong and later based in New York City, Tseng Kwong Chi (1950–1990) produced a large body of witty, playful, performance- based photography that both captures the pivotal Manhattan downtown and club scenes and reflects the increasingly globalized movement of people across nations and continents. In so doing, he raised critical questions about identity and culture.

Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection
Japan Society
March 13 — June 7, 2015
Since arriving in Japan aboard Chinese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art. Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection illustrates the depth of this mutual attraction by mining the wealth of bravura depictions of cats to be found in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1615-1867).

Leo Tolstoy on Abraham Lincoln (1909)

“Of all the great national heroes and statesmen of history Lincoln is the only real giant. Alexander, Frederick the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, Gladstone and even Washington stand in greatness of character, in depth of feeling and in a certain moral power far behind Lincoln. Lincoln was a man of whom a nation has a right to be proud; he was a Christ in miniature, a saint of humanity, whose name will live thousands of years in the legends of future generations. We are still too near to his greatness, and so can hardly appreciate his divine power; but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do. His genius is still too strong and too powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us.”

Monday, April 13, 2015

POEM OF THE DAY

Coda
by Marilyn Hacker

Maybe it was jet lag, maybe not, 
but I was smoking in the kitchen: six, 
barely, still dark: beyond the panes, a mix 
of summer storm and autumn wind. I got 
back to you; have I got you back? What 
warmed me wasn't coffee, it was our 
revivified combustion. In an hour, 
gray morning, but I'd gone back to my spot 
beside you, sleeping, where we'd stayed awake 
past exhaustion, talking, after, through 
the weeks apart, divergent times and faces. 
I fell asleep, skin to warm skin, at daybreak. 
Your breasts, thighs, shoulders, mouth, voice, are the places 
I live, whether or not I live with you. 


Fog hid the road. The wipers shoved back torrents 
across the windshield. You, on knife-edge, kept 
driving. Iva, in the back seat, wept 
histrionically. The crosscurrents 
shivered like heat-lightning into the parent's 
shotgun seat. I shut up, inadept 
at deflecting them. A Buick crept 
ahead at twenty-five an hour. "Why aren't 
we passing him? My Coke spilled. The seat's wet. 
You guys keep whispering so I can't hear." 
"Sit in the front with us, then." 
"No! I'll get 
too hot. Is the fan on? What time is it? 
What time will it be when we get there?" 
Time to be somewhere else than where we are. 


"What do we have? I guess we still don't know." 
I was afraid to say, you made me feel 
my sectioned heart, quiescent loins, and spill 
past boundaries the way blackberry-brambles grow 
up those tenacious hills I left for you. 
Their gritty fruit's ripe now, but oceans still 
separate us, waves opaque as oatmeal, 
miles of fog roiling between your pillow 
and mine while you say your best: sometimes, she's where 
your compass points, despite you, though a meal 
with me, or talk, is good . . . Where our starfire 
translated depths, low fog won't let you steer 
by sight. The needle fingers one desire, 
and no other direction can compel. 


If no other direction can compel 
me upward from the dark-before-the-dawn 
descending spiral, I drop like a stone 
flung into some scummed-over stagnant well. 
The same momentum with which once we fell 
across each other's skies, meteors drawn 
by lodestones taproots clutched in unmapped ground 
propels me toward some amphibious hell 
where kissing's finished, and I tell, tell, tell 
reasons as thick and sticky as frogspawn: 
had I done this, that wouldn't have come undone. 
The wolf of wolf's hour cried at once too often 
picks out enfeebled stragglers by the smell 
of pond scum drying on them in the sun. 


I miss you more than when I was in France 
and thought I'd soon be done with missing you. 
I miss what we'd have made past making do, 
haft meshing weft as autumn days advance, 
transliterating variegated strands 
of silk, hemp, ribbon, flax, into some new 
texture. I missed out on misconstrued 
misgivings; did I miss my cue; boat? Chanc- 
es are, the answer's missing too. At risk 
again, sleep and digestion, while I seize on 
pricklier strands, crushed to exude the reason 
I can't expect you'll ring up from your desk, 
calling me Emer, like Cuchulain's queen, 
to say, we need bread and some salad greens. 


On your birthday, I reread Meredith, 
whose life's mean truths inform, tonight, his text 
so generously framed. There'll be the next 
night, and the next, cold gaps. I'd have been with 
you now, lover and friend, across the width 
of some candle-lit table as we mixed 
habit and hope in toasts. Instead, perplexed 
by separation like a monolith 
bulked in the rooms and hours I thought would be 
ours, I practice insensibility. 
We crossed four miles, three thousand. You diminish 
now, on a fogged horizon, far away. 
Your twenty-fifth was our first class Tuesday 
—will one year bracket us from start to finish? 


Will one year bracket us from start to finish, 
who, in an evening's gallant banter, made 
plans for new voyages to span decades 
of love and work around a world we'd win? Wish 
was overgrown with fears; voyages vanish 
with empty wine bottles and summer's paid 
bills. Lengthens the legendary blade 
between us: silence; hope I hope to banish; 
doubt, till I almost doubt what happened, did. 
Chicken from Zabar's warms, and frozen spinach 
simmers, while Iva writes a school essay: 
"Both Sides: Everything has an opposite . . ." 
sucking her inky fingers and her braid, 
and I read Meredith, on your birthday. 


"Why did Ray leave her pipe tobacco here 
in the fridge?" Iva asks me while we're 
rummaging for mustard and soy sauce 
to mix with wine and baste the lamb. "Because 
cold keeps it fresh." That isn't what she means, 

we both know. I've explained, there were no scenes 
or fights, really. We needed time to clear 
the air, and think. What she was asking, was, 
"Why did Ray leave 

her stuff if she's not coming back?" She leans 
to extremes, as I might well. String beans 
to be sautéed with garlic; then I'll toss 
the salad; then we'll eat. (Like menopause 
it comes in flashes, more or less severe: 
why did you leave?) 


"Now that you know you can, the city's full 
of girls—just notice them! It's not like pull- 
ing teeth to flirt," she said, "or make a date." 
It's quite like pulling teeth to masturbate 
(I didn't say), and so I don't. My nice 

dreams are worse than nightmares. As my eyes 
open, I know I am; that instant, feel 
you with me, on me, in me, and you're not. 
Now that you know 

you don't know, fantasies are more like lies. 
They don't fit when I try them on for size. 
I guess I can, but can't imagine what 
I'd do, with whom, tonight. It's much too late 
or soon, so what's yours stays yours. It has until 
now. That, you know. 


Who would divorce her lover with a phone 
call? You did. Like that, it's finished, done— 
or is for you. I'm left with closets of 
grief (you moved out your things next day). I love 
you. I want to make the phone call this 
time, say, pack your axe, cab uptown, kiss 
me, lots. I'll run a bubble bath; we'll sing 
in the tub. We worked for love, loved it. Don't sling 
that out with Friday's beer cans, or file-card it 
in a drawer of anecdotes: "My Last 
Six Girlfriends: How a Girl Acquires a Past." 
I've got "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted" 
run on a loop, unwanted leitmotif. 
Lust, light, love, life all tumbled into grief. 
You closed us off like a parenthesis 
and left me knowing just enough to miss. 


"Anyone who (I did) ran down Broadway 
screaming, or dropped in Bryant Park in a faint 
similarly provoked, will sniff a taint 
of self-aggrandizement in the assured way 
you say: so be it; then she cut the cord; hey, 
the young are like that. Put yourself on main- 
tenance, stoically, without more complaint? 
Grown-ups, at least, will not rush to applaud. They 
won't believe you." And he downed his Negroni. 
Who wants to know how loss and sorrow hit 
me daily in the chest, how like a stone 
this bread tastes? Even though lunch is on me, 
he doesn't. Home alone is home, alone. 
(I'd reach for Nightwood, but she "borrowed" it.) 


Did you love well what very soon you left? 
Come home and take me in your arms and take 
away this stomach ache, headache, heartache. 
Never so full, I never was bereft 
so utterly. The winter evenings drift 
dark to the window. Not one word will make 
you, where you are, turn in your day, or wake 
from your night toward me. The only gift 
I got to keep or give is what I've cried, 
floodgates let down to mourning for the dead 
chances, for the end of being young, 
for everyone I loved who really died. 
I drank our one year out in brine instead 
of honey from the seasons of your tongue.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dog Star Selects Auden's Poem "Alone" (April is National Poetry Month)

W.H.Auden

Alone

1
Each lover has a theory of his own
About the difference between the ache
Of being with his love, and being alone:

2
Why what, when dreaming, is dear flesh and bone
That really stirs the senses, when awake,
Appears a simulacrum of his own.

3
Narcissus disbelieves in the unknown;
He cannot join his image in the lake
So long he assumes he is alone.

4
The child, the waterfall, the fire, the stone ,
Are always up to mischief, though, and take
The universe for granted as their own.

5
The elderly, like Proust, are always prone
To think of love as a subjective fake;
The more they love, the more they feel alone.

6
Whatever view we hold, it must be shown
Why every lover has a wish to make
Some other kind of otherwise his own:
Perhaps, in fact, we never are alone.
*

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Tough Road Is Not an Excuse (Humans of New York)



Dog Star re-posts from Human of New York:



“There has been a lot of evil in the world. But to me, none as great as slavery. It’s the worst thing that has ever happened. They take you from your home. They take you from your family, your history. They make you work. They tell you when to mate. They chop off your foot if you try to run away. And I’m sorry to say this, but white people did that. 
And black people are still living with the remnants. For over 200 years, black people built this country and didn’t get a single dollar. And sure, it isn’t happening anymore, but we’re still living with the remnants. We don’t have the same connections, the same powerful friends, the same access to capital. I tell young African Americans that they’ll do just fine, but they’re going to have to work twice as hard. I tell them that they will need to go out of their way to search for their identity. They aren’t going to find much about their heritage in the history books. 
Even the constitution classifies black people as three-fifths of a man, and that was supposedly written by the most enlightened, glorified white people of that time. I tell young African Americans that they are going to have to dig hard to find out the giant contributions that Africa made to civilization, because they aren’t going to find it on the television. 
And I tell them that just because it’s a tough road does not excuse them from personal responsibility. I tell them that God put them on earth to build and not destroy. And I tell them that some opportunities cost money, but books are absolutely free.”
About Humans of New York (HONY):  New York photographer Brandon Stanton stops strangers on the street and takes their picture and asks them a few questions.  He posts their picture and their responses on his website and Facebook.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why Reading Outside of Our Own Lives is Important


"Reading things that are relevant to the facts of your life
is of limited value.  The facts are, after all, only the facts, and the yearning
passionate part of you will not be met there.

That is why reading ourselves as a fiction as well as a fact is so liberating.
The wider we read the freer we become.

Emily Dickinson barely left her homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts,
but when we read, 'My life stood -- a loaded gun' we know we have met an
imagination that will detonate life, not decorate it."

- Jeanette Winterson, from her memoir
WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

FREE FOR H.S. STUDENTS! Go See JACOB LAWRENCE'S Migration Series at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)



If you only go to one museum exhibition this year I'd say don't miss Jacob Lawrence at the Museum of Modern Art.
It will be another 30 years before all 60 panels of his epic masterpiece THE GREAT MIGRATION SERIES is seen together again.
But there's so much more to see, watch and hear in the exhibition: photography, artwork by friends of Lawrence and music recordings that inspired or come from the time period.
It really is one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. (I'd see this before Kehinde Wiley or Basquiat at the Brooklyn Museum. It's that special, that important and that good.)
A summer music series in the garden includes Jon Batiste (July 23)!
In addition, there are two special events happening at MoMA related to the exhibition. Both are just $15 each and $10 for members.
THURSDAY, APRIL 23: One brings together Bill T. Jones and Jason Moran (and many others) for an evening of "chance encounters" - it's going to be wonderful!
In conjunction with the One-Way Ticket exhibition, Terrance McKnight, a host on New York City classical music station WQXR, curates an evening of music and performance with artists including Jim Davis, Kevin Maynor, Karen Chilton, Bill T. Jones, Alicia Hall Moran, Jason Moran, Damien Sneed, Bill Sims Jr., Ricky Gordon, Bob Stewart, and others
You rarely get a chance to see so many performers from different fields coming together like this:
http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/events/23639
FRIDAY, MAY 1: The other is the debut of the poets and poetry specially commissioned by MoMA to celebrate Jacob Lawrence's artwork and legacy. The opportunity to see Rita Dove live in person is alone worth the trip but all ten poets will read from their work:
http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/events/23538

Gay Life 50 Years Ago in California

Anthony Friedkin's photographic "Gay Essay." These images of queer life in San Francisco and LA were made in the late '60s and early '70s, when homosexuality was illegal in California.