Gotham Park

Last day to catch “The Self-Portrait, from Schiele to Beckmann” at the Neue Galerie, a great exhibition of works from Austria and Germany made between 1900 and 1945, photography – as always – not permitted, stole some pics from the staircase, at least we can always go back to their website to remember. Walking back home through Central Park was just as great, it always is.

June 23rd, 2019


You just have to wonder: which part in this painting is responsible for the lions’ bewildered expressions? Is it the shock of the nude? The shrill tone of the flute? Am I, the spectator, that scary?

The Dream, 1910 || Henri Rousseau || Oil on canvas

“Entirely self-taught, Henri Rousseau worked a day job as a customs inspector until, around 1885, he retired on a tiny pension to pursue a career as an artist. Without leaving his native France, he made numerous paintings of fantastical jungle landscapes, like the one that fills The Dream.

Living in Paris, he had ready access to images of faraway people and places through popular literature, world expositions, museums, and the Paris Zoo. His visits to the city’s natural history museum and to Jardin des plantes (a combined zoo and botanical garden) inspired the lush jungle, wild animals, and mysterious horn player featured in The Dream. “When I am in these hothouses and see the strange plants from exotic lands, it seems to me that I am entering a dream,” he once said.

The nude woman reclining on a sofa seems to have been lifted from a Paris living room and grafted into this moonlit jungle scene. Her incongruous presence heightens its dreamlike quality and suggests that perhaps the jungle is a projection of her mind, much as it is a projection of Rousseau’s imagination.” [source: MoMA]

June 16th, 2019

Square Space

Jennifer Bartlett
Rhapsody, 1975-76

When Rhapsody was first shown, in 1976, it occupied the entirety of the art dealer Paula Cooper’s Manhattan gallery space. Consisting of 987 one-foot-square steel panels covering an expanse of more than 150 feet, the work has an overall monumentality, but its small panels invite intimate interaction. Together they represent Bartlett’s attempt to create a painting “that had everything in it,” she has said.

Each of Rhapsody’s steel panels was baked with white enamel, silkscreened, and then painted. Its range of imagery—from photographic images to abstract shapes—presents a variety that undermines any sense of stylistic unity. “It was supposed to be like a conversation,” the artist has explained, “in which people digress from one thing and maybe come back to the subject, then do the same with the next thing.” Looking at Rhapsody is like listening in on this conversation. A viewer can step back and see the ebbs and flows, or come in close and engage deeply with a single topic, sentence, or line. [Source: MoMA]

June 16th, 2019

Landing at South Street Seaport

Things you were likely to see:

A very old, very angry-looking printing press at the Bowne & Co., Printing Office, which was established by Robert Bowne in 1775 and is New York’s oldest operating business under the same name. Incredibly, the press is still operational, printing wedding invitations and the like.

Great burritos with great views, just across from the Wavertree.

Curious stuff in an upscale shop, now permanently closed.

Crossing town to catch the subway, a city within a city WTC mural, by Hydeon.

A $4 billion giant fish skeleton aka Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus. If they charged a cent for every photo or social media post, they would break even before long.

Walking from South Street Seaport to Oculus

June 15th, 2019


Wavertree was built in Southampton, England in 1885

In 1910, on a second attempt to round Cape Horn in extremely violent conditions, Wavertree was dismasted. The mainmast broke above the deck, carrying with it the bulk of the upper fore and mizzen rigging. Tons and tons of iron, steel, cable, and canvas came crashing to the deck, crushing the compass platform destroying deck machinery, and rendering the ship unable to sail. Remarkably, no one was killed or even badly injured. But it was the end of her career as a sailing ship.

Interestingly, this tragedy is what allowed Wavertree’s survival to today. Instead of being sailed aggressively by her owners and ending up as a hulk on a reef, broken up for scrap, or being lost at sea, she was converted, first to a floating warehouse and then to a sand barge. When she was no longer useful to her owners in those capacities and was doomed to become scrap, she was discovered and bought for the Seaport Museum. In 1970 she was towed into New York Harbor and has been cared for by the museum’s staff and volunteers ever since.

South Street Seaport Museum

June 15th, 2019

Life at Sea

SS La Provence, 1905 || Charles Verne (active ca. 1890-1910) || paper, ink

Family life at sea: it was not uncommon for the ship’s Master to bring his family aboard. With many voyages lasting months or years, the only way to keep the family together was to bring them on the journey. The captain’s family lived aft, in the cabins off the saloon, and dined with the captain. Children were occasionally born at sea and, in these cases, often spent their formative years away from land.

While captains’ wives typically had on official duties, there are a number of examples of women aboard ships learning navigation, and in one case even taking command of the ship when the captain fell ill.

The ship’s wheel is located here so as to be mechanically close to the rudder, which is directly underneath the gear box. The gear box contains the worm gear and mechanisms that connect the wheel to the rudder. This wheel, which is original to Wavertree, is unusual for its odd number of spokes.

The poop deck, also called the quarterdeck, is the raised deck in the stern of the ship. The term ”poop deck” has its roots in the French word for the stern, la poupe – and not in what you thought (I did too)…

Touring the 1885 tall ship Wavertree, flagship of the Seaport Museum fleet.

South Street Seaport Museum

June 15th, 2019