The Morgan Library & its hidden gems

The great works of art, rare printed books, manuscripts and paintings by Italian and Netherlandish masters that adorn Mr. Morgan’s opulent library, are not exactly hidden but scroll further down to discover some really rare gems – usually hidden from view – that were on show at the lower level.  Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Caroline, 4th Duchess of Marlborough, ca. 1770


Inspired thirteen different English translations, printed in more than a hundred editions. This is the first edition in English, a legendary rarity. Why it is so rare, is hard to tell; perhaps the first copies were loved to death or the printing was curtailed by a miscalculation of the publisher. Only one other copy is recorded in an American library. The Morgan also has Heidi in French and German first editions, both in bindings with the same pictorial designs as these volumes.


To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the publication of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic story “The Little Prince”, the Morgan presents five newly discovered drawings by the author as well as intimate memorabilia from his time in New York during the 1940s. The items belonged to the American artist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972), who met Saint-Exupéry at the very moment the French author-aviator was drafting what would become one of the world’s favorite books. Cornell kept a dossier of papers and fragments that served as echoes of their encounters—everything from a marked-up cocktail napkin to an unpublished sketch of the little prince perched at the edge of a rose-covered cliff. Cornell’s Saint-Exupéry dossier was acquired by the Morgan in 2014 and is now shown in its entirety, for the first time, in the Morgan’s lower level lobby gallery.

The Morgan Library

May 20th, 2018

Peter Hujar: Speed of Life

The life and art of Peter Hujar (1934–1987) were rooted in downtown New York. Private by nature, combative in manner, well-read, and widely connected, Hujar inhabited a world of avant-garde dance, music, art, and drag performance. His mature career paralleled the public unfolding of gay life between the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

In his loft studio in the East Village, Hujar focused on those who followed their creative instincts and shunned mainstream success. He made, in his words, “uncomplicated, direct photographs of complicated and difficult subjects,” immortalizing moments, individuals, and subcultures passing at the speed of life.

Peter Hujar: Speed of Life was on view at the Morgan Library through May 20, 2018.

Cat on Cash Register, 1957
Chloe Finch, 1981
Reclining Nude on Couch, 1978
Daisy Aldan, June 18, 1955
Nude Self-Portrait, Running, 1966-67

For a 1966-67 workshop led by Richard Avedon and art director Marvin Israel, Hujar turned in an uncharacteristic series of nude, running self-portraits made with a flash unit in the studio of his employer. In a conscious echo of Avedon’s manner, the images emphasize action, vivid gesture and empty space- sensational effects calculated to hold a magazine page. Over the next couple of years, during Hujar’s brief pursuit of a career in fashion, the two photographers had frequent late-night phonecalls. Avedon wrote to him in 1979, ”if you ever have new work that you’re interested in selling, please call me as I am your collector.”

New York: Sixth Avenue (1), 1976
Candy Darling on Her Deathbed, 1973

In September 1973, transgender Warhol Superstar Candy Darling (born James Lawrence Slattery) was hospitalized for lymphoma. She asked Hujar to make a portrait of her ”as a farewell to my fans.” Out of several dozen exposures, Hujar chose to print this languorous pose. As rendered in the print, Candy’s banal, fluorescent-lit hospital room looks as elegant as the studio props in a Hollywood starlet’s portrait. Hujar later wrote that his style cues came from Candy, who was ”playing every death scene from every movie.”

The image, first seen in print in the New York Post after Candy’s death six months later, became the most widely reproduced of Hujar’s works during his lifetime.

Fran Lebowitz at Home in Morristown, New Jersey, 1974
Dana Reitz’s legs, Walking, 1979 & Sheryl Sutton, 1977
John McClellan, 1981
Stephen Varble (3), 1976
Edwin Denby (1), 1975
Rose and Edward Murphy (2), 1977

Hujar photographed his mother and her second husband, Ed ”Snookie” Murphy, on a rare occasion when they visited his loft. Obliged at age eleven to move into their one-bedroom apartment on E 32nd St., Hujar had moved out at sixteen. In adulthood, he maintained a protective distance, consistently referring to Rose Murphy by her full, unrelated-sounding name. Rose Murphy never reconciled herself to her son’s homosexuality, nor did he forgive her rejection.

When invited to a friend’s for dinner, Hujar often gave his host a recent photograph printed at a modest scale. No other print of this image is known.

The Morgan Library & Museum

May 20th, 2018

Peace is…

… a series of cultural events held by the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations. This was the 7th ”Peace is…” event, during which a tea ceremony for peace and innovation was held under the theme “Peace Is… Coexistence”.

If only we could…

United Nations Headquarters,

May 18th, 2018

It’s all about the movies

@Tut’s_Fever_Movie_Palace

Tut’s Fever is a working movie theater and art installation created by Red Grooms and Lysiane Luong, an homage to the ornate, exotic picture palaces of the 1920s. Inspired by the tomb paintings they saw during a trip to Egypt, Grooms and Luong covered the walls, floor and seats of the theater with hand-painted, Egyptian-style depictions of Hollywood royalty. Silent screen star Theda Bara works the box office, Mae West stands behind the concessions stand, and Mickey Rooney is the usher. Rudolf Valentino, Elizabeth Taylor and many others grace the walls, and each slipcovered chair in the theater features an image of Rita Hayworth. Visitors can open a sarcophagus to find a sculpture of James Dean lying in his tomb, cigarette still dangling from his mouth.

And a model-size piece of the City’s history @the Roxy

Hand for Mystic puppet, 1982
Designed and built by The Jim Henson Company
The Dark Crystal


Classic movie serials are screened in Tut’s Fever every weekday at 1:00 p.m., and weekends at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:30 p.m.

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

May 13th, 2018

Memories

From life in the Buffer Zone

A Bufferin aspirin commercial narrated by Jim Henson. Two of his children, Cheryl and John, have cameo appearances.

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

May 13th, 2018

Cyclia || Cataclysm || Imagination Unlimited

Just imagine the dizzying awesomeness of a nightclub like Cyclia…!

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Footage for Cyclia, c. 1968 . Jim Henson . Henson and his colleagues shot thousands of feet of 16mm film for an unproduced one-hour film called Cataclysm, which was to be shown from multiple projectors around the interior of Cyclia to create an immersive environment. . Cyclia was a concept for a nightclub that Henson developed, where the walls, floors and ceiling would be broken into faceted, crystal-like shapes onto which films would be projected, a sea of images choreographed to the volume and type of music played. The project was eventually abandoned but not before Henson had the change to shoot thousands of feet of film. . From The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited, which I caught in Queens back in 2018. The exhibition is traveling – current stop: Albuquerque Museum, until April 19, 2020. . . #fromthearchives #nyc #queens #astoria #museumofthemovingimage #experimentalfilm #jimhenson #cyclia #cataclysm #psychedelicart #experimentalart #futura #futuristic #visionaryart #visionary #mobilevideo #pixel2video #soundon🔊

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From the Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

May 13th, 2018