Friday, June 10, 2011

Two adjacent (but very different) new shows at the Metropolitan Museum

   Although it seems to have slipped in under the radar, the collection of portraits in pastel from the 18th century is worth a visit. I had no idea that this medium was in use this early. These portraits are bright, colorful and full of life. There's even one by John Singleton Copley, who was one of the most important portraitists in early America.
   In the next gallery there's a photography show called "Night Visions," which includes works shot at night by such greats as Brassai, Bill Brandt, Diane Arbus and Weegee, a paparazzi in the 1940's whose main tools were a police radio scanner, a big old press camera, endless chutzpah and a darkroom in the trunk of his car, allowing him to develop pictures in time to sell them to the tabloids for the next day's paper. Dark is the operative word, for some of his work makes Diane Arbus' seem almost Pollyanna-ish. (See below.)
   If you come to see these on a Thursday morning, be sure to stop by at the Information Desk in the Medieval Hall, where every week I voluntarily direct people to Rembrandt,Vermeer and the rest room.

A late 18th Century French Nobleman with his head still attached.

 A  1940 New Yorker who wasn't so lucky. Weegee titled this "Human Head Cakebox Murder."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beauty and the Bronx

There's a new Azalea garden at the New York Botanical Gardens up in the Bronx -eleven acres of wildly colorful azaleas and rhododendrons. It was dazzling on a rainy day - it must be ridiculous on a sunny one. Oh, and after you visit, stop at one of the terrific traditional Italian restaurants on nearby Arthur Avenue. The bakeries are not shabby either.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Images from the Israel Day Parade

A perfect day for the biggest Israel Day Parade in the world. All kinds of folks showed up, including a group of very loud teenagers from a school in LA. Perennial attendee Congressman Anthony Weiner didn't show up - the speculation was that he thought he had been "overexposed" lately.

Marchers from Upper West Side
Marchers from MOMA

Living the high life by the High Line

I enjoyed a totally satisfying birthday lunch with a bunch of totally delightful family members at Del Posto, which is right next to the High Line. Their prix fixe lunch ($30 for three courses) is one of the city's gastronomic bargains. Great service, a beautiful space, and just enough perfect food to leave you in a state of muddled euphoria. We followed up the lunch with a stroll on the High Line, which has to be one of the most pleasant park spaces in NYC, if not the whole world.