Amazing Spider-Man

The ultimate mid-August afternoon fun!

The Wings of the Vulture! Cover, May 1972. Penciled by Gil Kane || Inked by John Romita
Happy Birthday, Part Three p.p, 28-29, December 2003. Penciled by John Romita Jr. || Inked by Scott Hanna
Wolfhunt! Page 1, October 1973. Penciled by Ross Andru || Inked by John Romita
The Birth of a Super-Hero! Page 1, November 1966. Art by John Romita
The Vulture’s Prey Page 1, September 1968. Penciled by John Romita || Inked by Mickey Demeo

The Final Chapter Page 3. Art by Steve Ditko
The Final Chapter Page 4. Art by Steve Ditko
The Final Chapter – Art by Steve Ditko

Sunday Strip, January 21, 1979. Art by John Romita

The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man. Sketch pages, January 1984
The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man, Page 1. Penciled by Ron Frenz || Inked by Terry Austin
The Night of the Prowler Page 16, November 1969. Penciled by Jon Buscema || Inked by Jim Mooney
And Death Shall Come Page 10, November 1970. Penciled by Gil Kane || Inked by John Romita
And Death Shall Come Page 10, November 1970. Penciled by Gil Kane || Inked by John Romita
To Smash a Spider Page 17, December 1970. Penciled by Gil Kane || Inked by John Romita
In the Grip of the Goblin, Unpublished cover, June 1917. Penciled by Gil Kane || Inked by Frank Giacoia

 

August 15, 2017 @ The Society of Illustrators

The first ever exhibition of original Spider-Man with artwork mainly by John Romita but also my two favourites, Steve Ditko and Gil Kane; including Todd McFarlane, John Buscema, Ross Andru, Gil Kane, Ron Frenz, Keith Pollard, John Romita Jr. and others.

The exhibit runs through August 26th, 2017.

You’re welcome!

The largest cathedral in the world is, of course, in New York. And it’s still growing

Adjacent to the creepiest, most unsettling children’s sculpture garden in the city sits the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; the whole 121.000 sq ft (11.240+ sq m) of it.

Originally envisioned in a Romanesque-Byzantine style it was later changed to a Gothic Revival design with massive granite arches that support the building – which has no steel or iron skeleton – and a dome so high it could fit the Statue of Liberty underneath, made of Guastavino tile and intended as a temporary covering. The dome was supposed to be removed when the transepts were built, but so far only half of the north transept is constructed. For this 120-year-old gigantic church is, as yet, unfinished. 

St. John the Divine is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and, as such, the largest cathedral in the world. By some accounts, it is also the world’s third largest church – or is it the fifth?

But, size and grandeur aside, the cathedral is an active house of worship, a concert hall with excellent acoustics and an exhibition space, year-round.

On the day we visited, it was hosting ”The Christa Project: Manifesting Divine Bodies” with works by contemporary artists ”exploring the language, symbolism, art, and ritual associated with the historic concept of the Christ image and the divine as manifested in every person—across all genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and abilities.

Edwina Sandys’ ”Christa”, the project’s centerpiece, was first displayed during the Holy Week of 1984, inevitably attracting mixed reactions: positive in general, there were also those who condemned it as a ‘blasphemy” for changing the symbol of Christ and ”sexualizing” it (by depicting it as a female figure). It seems this time the statue was welcomed unanimously, since it remained on display for several months.

Seeing Christa displayed prominently in this glorious setting it occurred to me that, had this been in an Orthodox church – let alone a cathedral – in my home country (Greece), there would have been riots, threats of excommunication – the full stereotypical drama!

The Poets’ Corner was created in 1984 in honour of American writers and literature. Located in the cathedral’s Arts Bay, it is modeled after a similar alcove for writers at Westminster Abbey in London.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue, 112th Street

January 21st, 2017

 

Crossword on a felt board

Rivane Neuenschwander (1967)

Watchword, 2012

For this work the artist, who was born in Belo Horizonte but lives and works in London,  has embroidered words borrowed from the language of protest – take, back, justice, trade, war, corrupt, revolution, system, democracy, over – onto fabric tags similar to those used for clothing labels. Visitors were encouraged to take a tag, either to sew onto their clothes or to pin to the board. In both cases the migrating and accumulating words formed a poetic, global map of resistance.

I pinned ”Public” on top of ”Justice” on the board – my contribution to the resistance.

The Jewish Museum

January 8th, 2017

The French touch

Recently, the Jewish Museum presented the first U.S. exhibition on the work of French designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883–1950). On show were mainly furniture and lighting fixtures, as well as designs for Maison de Verre, the glass house completed in Paris in 1932, in collaboration with Dutch architect Bernard Bijvoet (1889-1979) and craftsman metalworker Louis Dalbet.

Chareau’s designs were complemented by pieces from his personal art collection, since both he and his wife Dollie were active collectors.

But I only had eyes for these sleek, stylish pieces of furniture and fixtures created in the 1920s, yet so modern they could have come right out of a Manhattan penthouse overlooking Central Park.

Take your pick:

La Religieuse (the nun) floor lamp, ca. 1923. Mahogany and alabaster with metalwork by Louis Dalbet.
Sofa, 1923. Rosewood with fabric upholstery.
Telephone table, ca. 1924. Walnut and patinated iron. La Petite Religieuse (the little nun), table lamp ca. 1924. Walnut, alabaster and patinated iron, metalwork by Louis Dalbet.
La Religieuse (the nun) floor lamp, ca. 1923. Mahogany and alabaster with metalwork by Louis Dalbet.
Coat and hat rack designed for La Maison de Verre ca. 1931. – Metalwork by Louis Dalbet. Stool, ca. 1923. Mahogany and mahogany-veneered wood. – Bookcase with swivelling table, ca. 1930. Walnut and black patinated iron. – Ceiling lamp, ca. 1923. Patinated brass and alabaster.
From ”The grand salon de la Maison de Verre”. Corbeille (basket) sofa, 1923. Wood and velours, with tapestry upholstery by Jean Lurçat. – Telephone fan table, ca. 1924. Wood. – High backed chauffeuse (fireside armchair), ca. 1925.

Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design exhibition ran between November 2016 – March 2017. You can read and browse through more photos on The Jewish Museum website.

January 8th, 2017

The elephant in the room

Simon Starling: At Twilight (After W. B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation), is a multimedia project in which the artist explores the influence of Noh on Western Modernism. It was displayed in the Japan Society’s galleries starting with a dimly lit room where a modern interpretation of At the Hawk’s Well, W.B. Yeats’ one-act dance play was showing alongside masks created by Noh Mask maker, Yasuo Miichi. The play was inspired by Yeats’ close collaborator and friend, the poet Ezra Pound who at the time, was translating Japanese Noh plays.

The installation continued in the ”mirror room”, a place Noh performers would traditionally use to change into their characters and, finally, concluded with an exhibit of photographs, prints, masks and other archival material – all related to Mr Starling’s project.

Bronze portrait of the dancer Michio Ito, who performed as the Hawk in the original 1916 staging of ”At the Hawk’s Well”, conceived as a Noh mask and created in the mid-1920s, around the time when Ito was collaborating with New York-based choreographer Martha Graham. Isamu Noguchi, 1904-1988.
W.B. Yeats, 1913 by Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966). Digital print.
The hawk costume seen in the film.
The elephant in the room.
The Bamboo Gallery was converted into a mirror room (kagami-no-ma), traditionally used by Noh performers to change into their characters. Costumes reproduced based on archival materials from Yeat’s original play were displayed here.
Rock Drill, 1913-14. Bronze by Jacob Epstein. One of the Modernist works that inspired the creation of the Noh masks…
… and the creator, Jacob Epbstein. Photogravure by Alvin Langdon Coburn, in 1914.
Kumasaka in the Misty Moonlight, undated. Polychrome woodblock print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892).
Noh Mask, Edo period (1603-1868) by an unknown artist.
H.H. Asquith, 1914. Photogravure by Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966). H.H. Asquith was Prime Minister of England between 1908 and 1916. Known for his indecisive leadership during the initial stages of WWI, he was a regular guest at the home of Lord and Lady Cunard and was among the intimate audience gathered at the premiere of ”At the Hawk’s Well”. Prior to this, Asquith met the Japanese dancer Michio Ito, who played the Hawk.

Ito later recalled: At supper, Lady Cunard, a refined, white-haired gentleman and I, all sat at a table together. The old man tried to carry on a conversation with me. However, it was in English, so I didn’t follow very well… I began to get frustrated, and interjected in halting English: ”If you allow me to speak in German I can answer a little more intelligently.” Hearing this, the old man let out a hearty laugh: ”I am an Englishman and can’t speak Japanese. You are Japanese and can’t speak English. If German mediates between us, then by all means let’s speak in German…” The person I had spoken to in German – the language of his enemy – had been the Prime Minister of England.”

Noh mask by an unknown artist. Edo period (1603-1868).
Nancy Cunard, 1916. Digital print by an unknown photographer.
Eeyore. Ten years after the first performance of ”At the Hawk’s Well”, the trees of Ashdown Forest that surrounded W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound’s wartime retreat, Stone Cottage, were immortalized in Ernest Shepard’s illustrations for A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh books. Milne based Pooh’s One Hundred Acre Wood on Ashdown Forest, where he lived and where, at the time Yeats and Pound were there, he was writing wartime propaganda articles for the MI7b. Eeyore is the pessimistic, old grey donkey from the story.

Pessimistic, downward facing Eeyore concludes the three-part series about Simon Starling’s project shown at the Japan Society. For more inspirational views connecting the pieces, please click here and here.

January 6th, 2017

“Whenever people see birds flying through the sky, it is said that they get the urge to go on a journey”

”At the Hawk’s Well”, W.B. Yeats’ dance play premiered in 1916 with Michio Ito at the role of the hawk. In its 2016 re-incarnation, the dance was co-choreographed by Javier de Frutos.
Noh no Tenkai (The Evolution of Noh), 1954. By Jiro Nan’e (1902-1952).

Simon Starling: At Twilight
(After W.B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation)

A multimedia installation by Simon Starling to mark the centennial of W.B. Yeats’ staging of the Noh-inspired dance play ”At the Hawk’s Well”, in 1916. The project aimed to illustrate the influence of Noh on Western Modernism by pairing newly created masks, costumes and a video (from which the above stills) with Modernist works and archival material connected to Yeats and his circle.

It was on show at the Japan Society until mid January 2017.

*Title from Kino no Tabi – the Beautiful World anime series (2003)

January 6th, 2017

A moment of national pride

An exhibition of a series of photographs by the official photographer of the 1896 Olympic Games, Albert Meyer. Traveling in U.S. cities, it arrived in New York where it was hosted at the U.N. Headquarters and the N.Y. Greek Consulate.

A rare opportunity to get a glimpse into events and athletes of the first Modern Olympics.

Beautifully arranged at the sun-drenched exhibition space, in front of the magnificent Peace mural by Candido Portinari.

Athens 1896: The First Modern Olympic Games
The Olympic Games of 1896 constitute a breakthrough in the history of sports events. The revival of the ancient tradition transformed international sports meetings into the global events we know today.
One of the famous photographers of that period was the well-travelled and American educated German, Albert Meyer (Dresden 1857-1924). Meyer traveled to Athens for the Games and became the official photographer of the German Team.
The 25 rather Spartan photographs of his album capture the chronicles of the Games, documenting both athletic rituals and the athletic labors of the participants.
The photographic studio and archive of Albert Meyer was destroyed in 1945, when allied bombings flattened Dresden, turning the original photographs into rare and priceless artifacts.
Among the members of the organizing committee who received one of the rare leather albums was its Secretary George Streit, banker and minister of the Greek government of the period. Marinos Yeroulanos, his grandson and President of the Board of Trustees of the Benaki Museum, donated the album to the Historical Archives of Museum were it is safeguarded today as a unique token to both History and Art. [extract from the exhibition leaflet]
December 9th, 2016

Natural History Course

Walking through the immensity of the Museum of Natural History, in Upper West Side. Every room another wonder of our Cosmos.

Megaloceros

Megaloceros (Greek: μεγάλος – megalos + κέρας – keras, meaning “Great Horn”) may be the largest deer ever to have lived. It belongs to the group called artiodactyls (Greek: άρτιος – ártios + δάκτυλος – dáktylos, meaning ‘even finger/toe’) – hoofed mammals that usually have an even number of toes. Generally, only male artiodactyls have antlers. In living deer, they are used during the mating season for wrestling with other males and attracting females. Then, they are shed. This means that Megaloceros regrew its enormous antlers every year!

Stenomylus hitchcocki

Stenomylus (Greek στενός – stenos “narrow” and μύλος – milos [latin: mola] “molar” meaning ”narrow tooth”. This group of camel skeletons was buried in dune sand in western Nebraska 22 million years ago. These individuals are only some of the numerous completely preserved camel skeletons that were found together at a site in Agate Springs National Monument. Stenomylus lived in a region where dune fields extended widely. It was relatively primitive in its body skeleton, but had the more advanced feature of very high-crowned teeth – presumably to cope with sand-laden food, which rapidly wears down the teeth. 

If I understood correctly, ”hitchcocki” was added in honour of Dr. Edward Hitchcock, a geologist and President of Amherst College, whose Ichnology Collection of dinosaur footprints and tracks is invaluable (read more about it here).

 

Mammuthus

Mammoths were widespread during the Ice Ages. Some had woolly fur to keep them warm. This is a ”non-woolly” mammoth that lived in southern parts of the United States, which were not covered by glaciers. Like living elephants, Mammoths had trunks. We can’t see it on this skeleton, because soft parts are rarely preserved as fossils. But we can see where the trunk was attached, at the large single opening high on the front of the skull. The Greek myth of one-eyed giants, the Cyclops, may have arisen when ancient people found fossil provoscidean skulls and mistook this nostril opening for an eye socket. Most mammoths died out by 11.000 years ago but a few somewhat dwarfed forms persisted until about 3.000 years ago on remote arctic islands.

Titanosauria
(click on photo for a panoramic view and caption)

This stuffed beauty
(although I instinctively dislike stuffed animals)

Creatures of the sea hanging in mid-air
And those that came from the cold

American Museum of Natural History

November 13th, 2016

Canstruction

Part of an annual exhibition of structures made by unopened food cans which are later donated to local hunger relief organisations. This was at the Winter Garden, public space of the massive Brookfield Place in Battery Park, but later I learned that exhibitions, events and even design competitions are also held in other U.S. cities and internationally. And visitors can also take part by bringing their own cans for donation.

My favourite was the Guggenheim in front of a wall made out of Greek olive oil tins, but I don’t think it won the competition.

November 7th, 2016