Category Archives: New York City

Oh, to be in New York this week…..

….for the International Fine Print Dealers’ Association (IFPDA) Print Fair.  Lectures, conversations, exhibitions, tours and more exhibitions, all about fine art printmaking.

From a conversation with Kiki Smith to the International Mini Print Exhibition at Manhattan Graphics to the New York Public Library’s exhibition Printing Women:  Three Centuries of Female Printmakers (1570-1900) there’s a whole lot of buzz about fine art printmaking in New York City right now.

There are, of course, numerous dealers and galleries selling work.  But even if you don’t have the cash to buy a Beatriz Milhazes woodblock and screen print from Durham Press…..

Dahlia Purpura

….or a Chagall lithograph from William Weston Gallery…..

Marc Chagall

….the IFPDA is a little bit on heaven on this November earth.

Matisse’s Masterpiece

Another highlight of Henri Matisse:  The Cut-Outs at MoMA was learning about Matisse’s work in the  Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, France.

Matisse was originally hired to design the stained glass windows, but eventually went on to design the chapel (working with the architect Auguste Perret) and its contents, including the Stations of the Cross, the alter linens, the priests’ vestments and the furniture.

Chapel of the Rosary

Chapel of the Rosary         Henri Matisse

Matisse said the chapel was “….the culmination of a life of work.”  He goes on to say, “Colours and lines are forces, and the secret of creation lies in the interaction of these forces and their balance.”

I think The Art Caravan will be planning a trip to Vence.  The show at MoMA brought me to tears.  I felt surrounded by joy, passion, and love for art and life.  To see Matisse’s work in a permanent installation, The Chapel of the Rosary, must be a very affirming experience.

If a trip to France isn’t in your immediate future, how about a trip to New York?  MoMA is offering Midnight with Matisse on December 31, to celebrate Matisse’s birthday, and the new year.  (Who needs the craziness of Times Square anyway?!)

Henri Matisse:  The Cut-Outs

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York

You’ve got to love a church that has a Poet in Residence, (currently Marilyn Nelson)  and lists Judy Collins as one of their artists/musicians in residence.  Never mind that it is a beautiful space, with a lovely communion service, and an socially active community……now there is also a stunning art installation by Xu Bing on display for all to enjoy.

At least this time I was (somewhat) prepared, having checked the Cathedral of St. John the Divine website for service times. (Yes!  The Art Caravan has been on the move.)

Unlike Anne Patterson’s installation for Grace Cathedral, (see previous posting), this artwork is not site specific, and wasn’t originally intended as a cathedral installation.  Xu Bing, a contemporary Chinese artist, had been commissioned to create artwork for the World Trade Centre under construction in Beijing in 2008.

He decided that the glass atrium between the building’s two towers would be the perfect setting for two phoenixes, the male Feng and the female Huang.  The phoenix is an important symbol of unity and peace in Chinese mythology.

Xu Bing chose to construct the birds from the detritus of the construction site.  How apt for a phoenix?

Construction was delayed, in large part due to the demands of the Beijing Olympic Games, and then the financial challenges of the times.  The builders became more cautious, and censorious.  They demanded that he cover the structures–all 12 tons–in crystals, as they appeared ‘unfinished.’  When Xu Bing refused, all money and support for the project was withdrawn.

Fortunately, the art collector Barry Lam, acquired the work.  It was shown briefly in China, and at MASS MoCA last year.   The work is beautiful, and graceful. The vast nave of the cathedral is a perfect setting for these ‘birds.’

Phoenix by Xu Bing

Phoenix by Xu Bing

 

Phoenix by Xu Bing

Phoenix by Xu Bing

Phoenix by Xu Bing

Phoenix by Xu Bing