Category Archives: Street Artists NYC

Easy Access Art

art-culture-blog-nyc-5Wall Street. The financial center of the world; a place where the counting of cold hard cash establishes it’s identity, making some people very rich and others very poor. This city we live in, the Capital City of the World, forces us to adapt to a chaotic, multi – dimensional environment, with a psychology of multiple personality disorder as status quo. That’ s some potent cocktail! I mean, who would figure that Wall Street with it’s history being in the backyard of the 9\11 nightmare, would 12 years later morph into a stunning reborn arena, where financial power, architectural panoramas, and intellectual prowess meet – and  with some really bold, innovative artwork thrown in to complete this awe inspiring picture?!The kind of photo realism in it’s true meaning, where the reality cannot really be depicted accurately on canvas, but the artist wants badly to try to convey the awesome sights she is witnessing before her. New Yorkers, and the visitors who can’t get enough of this place,  stumble upon these art come to life scenarios just by walking the streets, requiring nothing more than open eyes, and hopefully an open mind as well.

art-culture-blog-nycLike for example, those massive black steel sculptures adorning a small triangular park, a gasp away from the Federal Reserve Building on Liberty Street , fronting that quirky street known as Maiden Lane. Now it’s the Louise Nevelson Plaza. Nevelson is the penultimate success story, and the first woman artist to have a park named for her! How cool is that? This woman built her unique sculptures from steel and wood rejects of the city’s construction sites, gutters, dumps, wherever she saw a piece of wood or material that interested her, she used it to create her sculptures as she saw them, in her mind’s eye. Steel, wood, metal, whatever she could salvage, went right into a new sculpture, art living and breathing it she was on fire! Innovative, fresh, and beautiful, some painted black, others white, some silver, they are pretty amazing to see. These majestic figures, located in the plaza in downtown NYC, get your attention and hold it. Sitting on a bench, sipping your Starbucks, you feel you are in the presence of some great wonder. And you are. No question about it.

louise-nevelson-art-culture-nyc“When I look at the city, from my point of view, I see Nyc as a great sculpture”  Nevelson says in an interview years ago.

Art in Manhattan – Manhattan in Art. Same concept. Different outlook. Nevelson saw her city as her art bounty, an infinite source of inspiration, and in her Spring Street studio took the physical remnants the city had discarded and built something new. What had been torn up and down she resurrected and gave it a new life form. Art. This resurrection theme, reminds  me of another dominating structure looming over this iconic neighborhood. The Freedom  Tower! It’s so Here, There, and Everywhere, – you can’t miss it. It’s gorgeous, almost surreal, an art form in itself designed by David Childs, 1 World  Trade Center, takes center stage as the contemporary, dominant super symbol of rebirth, resurrection, and freedom for all people of this once broken neighborhood, painfully crushed by an evil force claiming responsibility. A massive rebirth, a new look, the power of Good transforming the once tragic scene, is now consolidated in this  glorious tower, that I can even see from Brooklyn, cutting through the clouds!

art-culture-blog-nycStepping off the train on William Street, puts me at the corner of Pine,  where the Chase Bank Plaza is located, but what my attention is drawn to almost hypnotically, are the huge Dubuffet sculptures, a tangled black and white maze like impression, fronting the bank as it’s welcome, clearly refusing to be overlooked, in spite of the Wall Street grandeur that encompasses it. It’s a Fatal  Attraction for sure, reminiscent of actress Glen Close’s eerie legend statement “I will NOT be ignored”, from the popular movie. Easy Access. Profoundly elegant, bold, intriguing! In NYC, we can go to a neighborhood for one thing, and will often find something else. It’s that blend of art in city and city in art, a definitive quality that is just inescapable in Nyc. With so many artists leaving the city, and a superfluous of galleries catering to the wealthy, it’s a bonus for the people, the masses,that is most of us, to be able to just walk around and have the super giants of the art world accessible, street worthy, is pretty spectacular!

art-culture-blog-nycJean Dubuffet, known for authenticity, disdaining highbrow traditional standards, ambivalent about painting as a career choice, coming from a wealthy family, he spent years going back and forth  between his easel and his family’s wine business until finally, he committed to his passion, and begin doing portraits that were “anti-psychological and anti-personal.” Finally Surrealism called him and he answered the call without reservation!

He is the artist who defined “art brut”, what today is known as “outsider art”. The primitive, anti-intellectual viewpoint, where like Nevelson, held to his view of the world, committed to their passions, both stood their ground as they pursued their individual calling, and we can share in their visions as we walk the streets, with the Four Trees, by Dubuffet, the Shadows and Flags, by Nevelson, amidst the monied frenzy of the Wall Street state of mind!

art-culture-blog-nyc-3Keep walking, and when you hit Bowling Green, and the NY Stock Exchange, you will be met with the infamous Charging Bull! Everybody loves this cartoonish, exaggerated figure, symbolizing the optimism and prosperity that Wall Street represents. The tourists can’t get enough of this bull, the sculpture that artist DiModica snuck onto the barren streets of the financial district, in the middle of the night, making it his personal gift to Nyc. An”art brut” of his own making, DiModica, didn’t ask for permission to make his art known he just TOOK it! Now, standing bullish, grand, and gaudy, glowering at the streets, the crowds, defining the NY Stock Exchange, in it’s penultimate identity,symbolizing the economic thermometer of finance, as art welcomes One person it welcomes Everyone. All inclusive! Easy Access!

art-culture-blog-nyc-6Yes, this is a changed place this  Triangle below Canal, commonly called Tribeca, Wall Street’s best friend. Defined now by the artistry of great architects! The Freedom Tower, rebuilt into a positive, model of hope, uplifted from the ashes of an unforeseen tragedy, and now a symbol of success and beauty, creative genius, welcoming a new world, looking upwards into infinity.

Ten years ago, I stood, looking at a pit of destruction,  surrounded by thousands of sad faces. We were mourning, grieving, for the innocent lives lost, in fear of our own lives. The neighborhood was a morgue and no body wanted to be there.

Now Everyone wants to be there. It’s an experience of witnessing the power of good over evil, the genius of our art centric possibilities, the transformative spirit of rebirth and regeneration revealed in the building, the sculpture, the crowds, the energy, the Tower, the Love we have that keeps us New Yorkers going and going and going …….No Matter What!

Eye Candy

Metropolitan Museum of Art NYCIf in doubt, head for the Metropolitan Museum if you happen to be in NYC. Or as New Yorkers call it – the Met. It’s a good move if you find yourself battling the hateful artists block, or just need to escape the humdrum routine of your day job! Retreat from the city’s never ending manic pulse! Or just want to explore, educate and enjoy the art! Whatever your reasons it’s probably a good choice!

I like many others go to the Met to look at stuff. Paintings, relics, statues, pots, antiquities, jewelry, treasures from empires and dynasties of times past, cultural iconography – it’s all there.

But what do YOU see?

My eye candy won’t likely be your eye candy.

Rousseau Eye painting

Artists either Love or Hate museum hopping. Some are inspired, others don’t want to chance getting ideas while being exposed to other artists work. Those types don’t want to have their creative juices tainted by perhaps getting an idea from someone else. I am in the Love category and especially the Met. I revel in the glow of being surrounded by the geniuses of the art world each one unique in their style and attitude and as I wander  the halls,  I know I will be surprised by a chance encounter with Rousseau, Delacroix, Manet, Morisset, Kline, Hopper, Twombly, Soutine –who knows?

Cy Twombly ArtThe artist who is experiencing a drought can help fill it by venturing through the doors of the Met into the overflowing oceans of art welcoming him. Whether it’s the serious Ingres portraits, the insane scribbling of Twombly, the magical world of Rousseau, or the brothels of Lautrec, over time spent visiting these paintings they start to feel like old friends who become more fascinating and  more complex with every new visit.

Colorful Matisse painting of ladyOh yes, just One of the perks of the Nyc experience.  It’s all here for us art people. Easy to access, when we need to get out of the studio, or just relax with art that is not of our own making.

Picasso’s portrait of his friend Gertrude Stein,Pygmalion and Galatea by Gerome, anything by Matisse and of course those sunflowers Van Gogh recreated through his absinthe blurred brain – it’s all waiting at the Met for our subjective, particular, unique view.

artists-salon-parisArtist, art lover, buyer, connoisseur, tourist, or skeptic, take your pick, we are here in the Artists Paradise NYC and Brooklyn is experiencing the prom queen moment, where all eyes are on her and everyone wants to be her best friend! The artists have flocked to my corner of the world and they all want IN. It’s Barclays Center, Jay Z – hey even he ‘s into Picasso, Spike Lee’s latest rant, Flatbush, Bushwick, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, that tangible, very real buzz the artist feels and those who aren’t artists wish they were! Art gets made in solitude. But it is fed by a lot of outer  impressions and stimuli coming from the colorful, diverse stimulating environments. We transform the outside, internally and express it externally with our art. For artists the city beat gives us a lot to work with and when we do enter the solitude of the studio we are ready to rock!

Toulouse Lautrec Moulin RougeArtists don’t choose to be – they just ARE. The dirty dangerous 1970’s and 80’s gave the icons of that time what they needed to create and share with the world. Today, in our cleaner neater technologically wired world, art will continue to be made millennium style. What’s so great is that it lasts forever!  The work of artists past, present, and future pulls us in with its power and if we are lucky we get to make our own art and thus make our lives more real through the creative process, that possesses and forces us to give birth to the work waiting within.

Ways-of-Seeing-bergerJohn Berger discusses his philosophy of seeing in his well known art theory book,” The Way of Seeing, how, what, and why we see WHAT we see. Certainly applicable to the many varied ways people look at a painting … The way we look at everything!

The Met is one of those places that holds the art cycles of time in stately repose waiting for us to show up, explore, visit some old friends, and See what we See!

 

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Take a look at some of my original pop art on canvas,  pop art on paper and my Pop Art Etsy shop!

 

Pop Art at the Top of Nyc

pop-art-nyc-1Every time I turned on my radio in 1970 I heard The Supremes, Motown’s Darlings, With Jean Terrell, Mary Wilson, and Cindy Birdsong blasting the top bit of the day which was about climbing a ladder to the roof. Diana wasn’t around for this tune.

It was a catchy tune and the words were appropriate to the roof hopping & hanging days of the 70’s and the 80’s when roof chillin’ was the alternate reality to day tripping on the rat infested garbage infused graffiti covered crime ridden crack  cocaine smothered streets of the times. Those “good old days”  where artists were underground like Burroughs, Mapplethorpe, Basquiet, Haring, gender bending Factory Recruits, and above ground – the Warhol’s, the Patti Smith, the Blondie, the Lou Reed, drinking and drugging at Max’s or freaking out at the Factory, or acid tripping in the Village eventually everybody ended up on the Roof!

pop-art-nyc-supremesRoofs were the perfect escape and fun stuff happened there in the clouds way above the fray and chaos of Manhattan madness!

And YES we did want to go up! why not? Romance, rendezvous-vous, a plethora of secret assignations would take place in that secret sky world.
And TODAY we still want to GO UP! Oh Yea!

In Manhattan, Brooklyn, and let’s get real if you aren’t already, IS there any OTHER place that matters? Everybody  wants a rooftop experience. I do. you do. and yes. they do too. So in order to be the hippest hottest swag smothered bar You had better put it on a Roof! New Yorkers want to sit in the stars sipping their gold plated cocktails ! We want that View, that looking down and over the Big Apple Metropolis while indulging our hedonistic impulses and putting the weekly grind behind.

The Whythe Hotel rooftop, is HOT! It burns with the fire of hipsters, recruits, cool young IT lookalikes, models, freaks, Girls wannabes, and anything in between! Are you in bearded man mode, fedora must have, skinny as a leftover chicken bone, tattooed like you are the map of the world, bald, ombré? Then find your roof ASAP . The Roof is where it’s at . Williamsburg Cool,  it is the place to be if you want to be anything or anyone but a Suburbia Revolutionary Road prototype , or Mad Men stereotype or even Cheever drunken disappointment on the Down low.

wythe-rooftop-barNo Thanks. I’ ll take the roof and whether or not it’s at the Whythe, the infamous Gansevoort, the Dream in Times Square, The Delancey,or Jimmy at the James it beats the mundane, the banalesque rap we get anywhere else roaming on the streets with the mob.

On the roof you drink, you hookup, you dream, you plot, you stare and sweat with other fellow roommates all having a moment of rooftop bliss a moment away from the stars. This is where us art types get inspired and fed .

Waitressing in the Hot Pants days of the early 1970’s on one of the highest roofs in Manhattans upper east side I got a taste of the Roof as I served drinks and delicacies to the rich and privileged. I was literally on the top of Nyc suspended on a glorious pinnacle of  creative inspiration walking the proverbial tightrope between artistic passions and mundane servitude.

The Rooftop Terrace Club was a perfect vehicle for jet starting myself as an artist into the unknown stratosphere before me. As I served the lucky habitants of their pristine privileged world, their cocktails only a concrete barrier preventing  a suicide plunge into the East River, a telescopic view into the glamour of the esteemed River House next door, where the Gloria Vanderbilts and Plimptons and Kissingers reigned their, I inhaled the wealth of rampant materialism surrounding me which would later all be thrown into cultivating my style of painting – a kaleidoscope of urban life.

Nyc gives us a taste of so much from the crumbs to the cornucopia of life for sure and we find it all over. But what we want really is to occasionally get out of the gutter and Climb up the Ladder to the Roof and see like The Supremes called it  just  how life can be Better!

pop-artist-williamsburg-brooklynIt’s Brooklyn, it’s Manhattan, it’s Queens, it’s Coney, it’s Bronx, where painters, musicians, poets, writers, painters, the Beats, the Hippies, The Rockers, The Punk, meet, mingle create, from corner to corner, the garbage strewn gutter, the filthy subway, the stench, the human cesspool, rats to reggae, royalty to rags, mind numbing noise, eerie silence, it’s all here in our faces and that’s why sometimes we need to climb UP and get close to the sky the stars, the lights of manhattan below watching us! Keeping us going on our Art fueled journey, where space holds no limits and the Roof is our launching pad in our unique City of the World.

Check out my collection of original canvas pop art or my pop art posters on my Etsy store!

Light up your home with the Art of Joy!

Brooklyn Fedora Frenzy

hipster-fail-brooklyn-1While cruising Brooklyn galleries last weekend looking for information and inspiration, I notice now that spring has sprung the Fedora fetish has come to life with a frenzy! It’s everywhere and anywhere, that little straw hat with the black band perched slightly sideways on heads roaming the streets of Nyc , and particularly dominantly Brooklyn. It’s positioned on hat heads, meaning the head that’s genetically made for a hat, and unfortunately on non hat heads as well. That’s unfortunate. But it does give the hipster look to the non hipster who craves that appeal. Easy. Just put a fedora on and boom! You are a hipster, except now it’s become tired. Used to be the artsy types sporting a fedora with the cocky self assured confidence of the innovator style setter. But that was 2 years ago and now it’s still hanging on with a vengeance but lacking the nouveau allure it had in its infancy.

hipster-fail-brooklyn-2Some lucky people can work the fedora with swag but the ones who fail give the fedora a bad name . So why do it? In the art Soho days of the 70’s when art was dirty and kind of the way it is supposed to be, nobody would have been caught dead wearing a fedora. Waaaay too affected pretentious and downright silly. But in the Soho of past days, guys wore a lot of hair and girls did too. Remember the Broadway show HAIR? To hide your flowing locks with a straw hat would have been shameful and counter productive! Hair was to be seen in all of its glory – as the artists covered the battered lofts of downtown with their newest inspiration and the subways and walls of Manhattan with the graffiti tags that made them street worthy artists like Basquiet, Haring and Warhol.

Warhol, Mr. Pop himself, never wore a hat. Hair identified him along with the Campbell’s soup can and his ubiquitous dollar signs. Lou Reed in a fedora? I don’t Think so!

sarah-bernhardtBut today it’s all about about a Fedora! That snappy down in the front and up in the back look that defines the hat is ambiguous at first glance but historically Sarah Bernhardt played Princess Fedora in a play written for her by Sardou  in 1889. Being a cross dresser Bernhardt sported the fedora with style and finesse. Great! Michael Jackson often wore one while performing,  and it’s also been as a favorite for gangsters in cinema and otherwise. But today it’s become commonplace by its complete lack of individuality and indiscretion by those who choose to wear one. Like anything too much becomes boring ,overplay, overkill, which causes stagnancy and then proceeds to die a slow death. The attention span of the typical person is brief. Who knows whether or not Warhol would be the icon he is today if he had not suffered an early death and assassination attempt in his prime? I cannot imagine pop art masters Rosenquist, Wesselmann, and Rauschenberg strolling the streets with a fedora on their heads. These were men making crazy innovative art!  The fedora just wouldn’t cut it.

Max-Kansas-City-NYCHipsters have a fashion look that’s obvious. Too obvious. Trouble is that it’s all the same. The artists are copycats, paper doll cut outs where one can be exchanged for another. Patti Smith was one of a kind as were Blondie, Iggy, Basquiat, and the rest of the crew who hung at Max’ Kansas City back in the day. There were no mass reproductions and their art reflected that fact.

That’s how art develops – in a wildness where people choose their OWN look without the need to regurgitate a fad lacking individuality or unique choice.

So can we give the fedora a rest? Let it go.

Just. Let. It. Go.

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