Saturday, March 24, 2012

Something Sweet on Madison Avenue......

This shop, Laduree, is the real reason James and I walked down Madison Avenue before we left New York.
The previous day the line was far too long and we wanted to buy some macarons to take back home with us. Understand, that these pastries are flown in fresh from Paris each day!

The macarons are phenomenal. The flavors are luxurious like Cherry blossom, pistachio, salted caramel chocolate, rose water, and the colors are all so delicate and appealing. Everything in this shop is beautiful. It is impossible to resist buying a box or two.....believe me it was almost impossible to select which ones would go into the lovely box.
In the end, we did manage to make our choices and the shop keeper assembled them into a decorative box.
I have to tell you, they were divine. Unlike any "cookie" we had even eaten.

We continued up the back up Madison Ave. for some serious window shopping.

Beyond looking in windows and watching the cross walk signs, looking up is always of interest in this city. Here is an example of Art Deco architecture.
The only problem with looking up is that you are likely to bump into someone looking down at their mobile phone.

Madison Avenue at 68th Street was the early location of a gallery James was in back in the early 1980's. I was in a gallery at Madison and 72nd Street in the 1990's, so this is a neighborhood we used to visit often in the past.

Time for a coffee......maybe Dean & Deluca or E.A.T., and then more window shopping.

James was very interested in this shop, Lobel's Prime Meats. After we have passed by several time he finally went in. This was more than window shopping for someone that loves to cook.

Looking for a pair of summer shoes? The selection here is endless. These would not do well on our dirt road back in New Hampshire, but they certainly are yummy !

Time to return home. We did buy a steak at Lobe'ls Prime Meat, it was sensational. And after we ate several macaroons..... before they could expire....but of course!
Sorry to say that not a single pair of shoes was purchased by either of us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Walk Through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The morning began at Cafe Boulud with breakfast of Poached Eggs Meurette with Vermont venison sausage. There could not have been a better way to begin the day. Our New York visit was art centric with The Armory Show having been first on our list. So, with attending the Armory Show accomplished and completely enjoyed ,we had other plans ahead.
Next up, three exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that we really wanted to see. But first an interlude, some time for the outdoors. A walk through Central Park would do just fine.....

From 1858-1861,Frederick Law Olmstead ( chief Architect) along with Calvert Vaux, spent their time designing this oasis in the middle of Manhattan. We know this place as Central Park. The natural contours of the land have wide meandering paths that lead around natural rock formations,open grassy areas, under tall shade trees, past ponds and pools and specimen trees and flowers. It is so welcoming.

I spotted this mist of yellow in the distance across the pond. My first thought, Witch Hazel, but on closer look I determined it to be a Cornelian Cherry, aka. Cornus mas. This is tree that I would like to incorporate in our New Hampshire garden for this early burst of yellow. At the time the Magnolia's were not in bloom....yet. Crocus and many daffodils were in glorious spring flower.
After the record high temperatures that we have been experiencing over the past week I imagine much is in bloom right now.

A glimpse of an Eastern Redbud ( cercis canadensis) glows pink across the way over this outcropping of rock with the tall buildings of Manhattan providing a backdrop.

James and I followed the winding paths through the park making our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met is located on 5th Avenue at 82St. The original architect of the building was Calvert Vaux ( remember him, assistant in Central Pk. to Olmstead), along with Jacob Wrey Mould. The original building was of a Gothic design. Additions have covered most of this original structure. The only visible evidence of this Gothic structure can be seen at the Robert Lehman wing of the Museum.

The 5th Avenue facade was designed in 1902 by Richard Morris Hunt in the Beaux-Art style. The grand stairs rising to the front door is an iconic New York City image. It is a gathering area where the stairs serve as a resting spot for people enjoying the city while eating a hot dog or talking on cell phone. Everyone is on a cell phone.

One of the exhibits we were here to see was The Renaissnace Portrait, from Donatello to Bellini. As I snaped this picture, James and I heard a voice call out, "James, Beth". We of course, pay no attention. It is NY after all, there must be a million people named Beth and James here. Then we heard, " Aponoviches",
that caught our attention. It was our dear friend, Judith. Her hub, our friend Robert, will join us later for lunch.

The Renaissance Portrait show is spectacular. It is said that, "The Renaissance witnessed the rediscovery of the individual". This exhibition was full of masterful examples of portraiture from Italy in the 15th Century. There are no photos allowed in special exhibits. But we all loved it, we were in awe.

One show seen, now a break for coffee in the cafe of The American Wing. On our way we walked through several galleries knowing full well we were just passing by masterpiece after masterpiece. Sometimes you have to put blinders on and choose what you are there to see. But then..........we were altarpiece caught our attention. We stopped, this work demanded our attention. It was
Raphael's Altarpiece, Madonna and Child Enthroned, ( 1504). This alterpiece was originally painted by Raphael for a convent in a church in Perugia, Italy. The artist Pietro Perugino was Raphael's teacher/master. Perugino's influence is evident in this Raphael painting. The figures are all fully clothed and it is said that this was done at the request of the nun's.
Rather sorry it is not still where it was painted, but on this day, very happy to have it here at it's home at the Met. This gallery alone is full of European art treasures, Caravaggio's, Bronzino's, etc.
We continued on.....

The Atrium of The American Wing

On to the cafe for a coffee and a view at the Atrium of The American Wing. Central to this Atrium is a sculpture of Diana, by the American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens. On a wall is a marvelously intricate and colorful garden mosaic by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Entering this naturally lit sculpture garden courtyard is uplifting. Once again , spectacular artwork, this time all American.
After coffee,it was on to another exhibit of great interest, Duncan Phyfe, Master Cabinetmaker in New York. This is an impressive collection of works by this American master of furniture making, Duncan Phyfe, an extraordinary exhibit.

Augustus Saint Gaudens

At noon we met Robert for lunch at a Museum cafe, after a leisurely meal we pulled ourselves out of our chairs and moved on to the last exhibit on our list, The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde.
Gertrude Stein Along with her brothers Leo and Michael were significant collectors and art patrons of the Avant-Garde in Paris early in the 20the Century. Upon entering this exhibit there is a digital installation that recreates the Steins art filled Paris apartments in different years. Here there is a glimpse of the artwork that is in the exhibition galleries. this is a large show and I must say by the fourth room we were beginning to give out. We will have to return to this show once again , there are some great works here.

Our head were filled with art and our feet tired we returned to The Surrey hotel for a brief rest. At 7:00 a drink at Bar Pleiades, James enjoyed a cold Martini and I selected to have their specialty, an Old Fashioned. Later that evening we met Judith and Robert
for dinner at Centolire. Buon appetito!

Rest up........Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


We are in New York for The Armory Show. Jumping out of a cab we make our way into Pier 92 where there is badge waiting for James. This "Artist Badge" gets him and a guest, me, into the preview of this year's Armory Show at Piers 92 & 94.

James Aponovich's, Siena, Still Life with Agapanthus, can be seen
at the Hirschl and Adler Modern booth.For James, this is his first time to have work included in The Armory Show. It is definitely on the "A" List of artists, art dealers and serious collectors.
The Armory Show is world art on a New York stage. Due to the huge number of galleries represented this show is at two piers, Pier 92 & Pier 94, the Cunard Ocean Liner Piers.
These are enormous spaces.

The marble sculpture is by Elizabeth Turk who's work is here at the Amory Show and currently has a solo show at Hirschl & Adler Modern. She was a recent recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Award.
She is carving marble to the thinness of a ruler.....incredible!

A neon question, What does this mean?,is being asked by artist Joseph Kosuth.
Words are big in the art world.

Before our feet give out and our heads are too full, we exit Pier 92 "Modern" for a now, and head to Pier 94 for a look at what is out there for "Contemporary Art".

Pier 94 is labeled Contemporary and at the hub of this gigantic exhibition space is a champagne bar with the pink neon sign Scandinavian Pain, hung overhead. We heard later that this piece of artwork was by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson had been just purchased by a collector at the show. By the way, there is a Nordic theme to this years show.

You might notice that the fashion statement centers on black, punctuated by orange.
Great shoes everywhere.
James kept looking down at his Sperry Docksiders......time to go shoe shopping!!!!!

Video and Digital images had a significant presence in the gallery booths, the content and scale of these pieces works were of interest.
Anything goes.

Marina Abramovic's, Bed For Human Use,
a performance piece that was somewhat eerie due to the fact that this is a live performer.It takes sometime to realize that this person is breathing. Pure stillness in this hall of activity.

A good example of the anything goes principle.
The galleries here have come not just from NY, or California, but how about, Seoul,Beijing,
London, San Paulo, Barcelona, Lisbon, Bologna, etc, etc......
Very global .

After several hours we exit, our heads filled with art.
Sore feet.
Time for night life in New York.