Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, In and Around NYC!

Gilded Cage Central Park
Ai Weiwei’s Gilded Cage in Central Park (All Photos By Gail)

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has a new series of public art sculpture installations up in Manhattan and across the five boroughs, which is called Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Inspired by the international migration crisis and current geopolitical landscape, the ambitious project is installed in over 300 locations, including two monumental sculptures situated within in highly-trafficked Manhattan parks, along with security fences on top of, and in between, buildings (such as The Cooper Union), and several bus shelters. In addition, there are also graphic and photographic works on flags, billboards and lamppost banners. I saw a lot of these banners along Chrystie Street, which is where I also got my first glimpse of one of the fences.

Fence On Chrystie
Rooftop Fence Installation at 189 Chrystie Street

Fence On Chrystie

Ai’s metal fence is designed as a modular form, readily adaptable to the existing architecture, to span and partition the space.

Fence On Chrystie

You can still see the fences at night, because they are illuminated.

Fence On Bowery
Rooftop Fence Installation on Bowery

Don’t forget to look up!

Bus Shelter at Ave C and E 6th Street
Bus Shelter at Ave C and E 6th Street

Gilded Cage Central Park

While it’s fun to spot the fences, it’s the interactive sculptures in the parks that really bring the Instagram Moments. Gilded Cage located at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park (at 5th Avenue and 60th Street) can be entered on one side.

Gilded Cage Central Park Detail

Gilded Cage Central Park Top Detal

Gilded Cage Central Park Top Detail

This is the money shot, am I right?

Gilded Cage Central Park Detail

This turnstile is trapped between two layers of the cage and cannot be accessed from inside or outside. Think on that for a bit.

Gilded Cage Central Park Detail

Gilded Cage Central Park Detail

Gilded Cage Central Park

I haven’t see Gilded Cage at night, but it has to also be illuminated, and you can probably get an entirely different vibe from it (not to mention great photos) after dark.

Gilded Cage Central Park
Facing The Plaza Hotel

On the evening of the same day I saw Gilded Cage, Geoffrey and I were down in Tribeca at an art opening and we walked back uptown through Washington Square Park so I could get a glimpse of Arch, which, appropriately, is installed under the one of the most famous landmarks in the city.

Washington Square Arch Park to Street View With Fountain

Let’s take a closer look!

Washington Square Arch Park to Street View

Arch is also a cage-like structure with a cut-out passageway in the center, which is formed in the shadowy shape of two men holding each other. The passageway was influenced by one of Marcel Duchamp’s early artworks.

Arch Park to Street View

This is the view facing the Arch from inside the park, looking towards the park’s northern boarder on University Place.

Arch Park to Street View

And now we walk through!

Arch Street to Park View

Arch Street to Park View

Washington Square Arch Street to Park View
Looking at the Arch from Outside the Park!

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is a fun thing to see all over the city, and if you have friends or relatives visiting from outside NYC it is a cool, non-touristy thing to expose them to the art of Ai Weiwe! Enjoy!

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is on Exhibit Citywide Through February 11, 2018. Consult the Google for Locations Near You!

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Modern Art Monday Present: Arshile Gorky, The Artist and His Mother

Arshile Gorky The Artist and His Mother
Photo By Gail

Arshile Gorky (1904 – 1948) based this portrait of himself and his mother on a photograph taken in his native Armenia in 1912, when he was eight years old. Three years later, during the Ottoman Turk campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Armenians, Gorky, his mother and his younger sister all survived a death march. Tragically, his mother never recovered her health. She died in 1919 from starvation — one of the estimated one million to one and a half million victims of what is now widely referred to as the Armenian genocide.  The following year, at the age of fifteen Gorky emigrated to the United States with his sister. As Gorky established his career as an artist, he became preoccupied with the photograph. The Artist and His Mother, made over the span of ten years (1926 – 1936) does not attempt to reproduce the camera’s image precisely, but instead reduces it to broad areas of muted, softly brushed color. The mask-like faces and undefined hands of the figures at once suggest their loss of physical connection and the difficulty of accessing memories over time.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum in NYC.

Video Clip of The Week: Dhani Harrison, “All About Waiting”

To many of us, Sunday morning means listening to the syndicated radio program, Breakfast with the Beatles, so it is appropriate to use this space to debut a new video by Dhani Harrison — the son of my favorite Beatle, George Harrison — whose song “All About Waiting” soundtracks an engaging, animated Sci-Fi mystery.

This fantstic-looking music video depicts a futuristic world, overly developed with machinery and computers, echoing Harrison’s contemplative lyrics “revolution, evolution, patience, revolution, evolution, wasted,” in a setting filled with scenes of both natural and human-influenced disasters impacting the landscape. The protagonist of the video, a DNA scientist, reaches an apparent point of opposition to her colleagues upon the realization that her efforts may be causing more harm than good, and then pursues an ill-fated attempt to bring her discovery to light with her colleagues and team leaders.

You’ll have to watch the video — which was directed and animated by Adam Osgood, with additional illustrations from A. D’Amico and hand-drawn animation by Sarah Schmidt — to find out what happens next!

“All About Waiting” can be found on Harrison’s latest album, In Parallel, which is out now! Enjoy!

Dhani Harrison

Pink Thing of The Day: Dale Chihuly’s Rose Crystal Tower in Union Square

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime Uptown View
All Photos By Gail

I first noticed the Rose Crystal Tower, a new public art installation from globally famous glass artist Dale Chihuly, as I rode past it while I was on the 14th Street bus. The eye-catching pink sculpture was unveiled on October 6th, 2017 and will stay up for one full year, as part of the NYC Parks’ program Art in the Parks (which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year). Art in the Parks is responsible for many notable works of art in public green spaces around the city, including the OY/YO installation in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime Park View

While it maintains a semi-translucent quality, the Rose Crystal Tower is not actually made of glass, but rather  is composed of Polyvitro crystals and steel. According to an announcement from the Parks Department, Polyvitro is “the artist’s term for a plastic material which he casts into individual chunks which resemble glass, but are lighter and more resilient.” There is a similar sculpture at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum in Seattle, and you can see a bit of that piece in this photo, which I took when I was there several years ago.

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime Park View

I have walked by the Rose Crystal Tower a few times and have taken photos of it from many different angles and in different lighting. It is always gorgeous.

Rose Crystal Tower Daytime Park View

Check out the difference in the way the individual crystal groupings look in the daytime, as compared with how it looks at night, in the shots above and below.

Rose Crystal Tower at Night Detail 2
Detail of the Sculpture at Night

Here are more nighttime shots, where you can really apreciate the interior illumination.

Rose Crystal Tower at Night

Rose Crystal Tower at Night

Chihuly’s Rose Crystal Tower is located on the east side of Union Square Park, on the traffic triangle at 15th Street and Park Avenue South. The work will be on display through October 2018, so you have lots of time to see it.

Rose Crystal Tower at Night

Eye On Design: Karl Lagerfeld’s Blue and Black Sequined Grosgrain Jacket

Blue and Black Sequined Grosgrain Jacket
All Photos By Gail

The spring 1991 collection by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel was clearly inspired by surfing wet-suits. The Blue and Black Sequined Grosgrain Jacket was one of several brightly-colored versions covered in shimmering sequins that glistened like wet neoprene, and the lines of black, grosgrain trim are similar to the seams of a wet-suit. Lagerfeld called this jacket “the city surfer” look and noted that it was “perfect for diving into the nightlife from Paris to Rome to London to New York.”

Blue and Black Sequined Grosgrain Jacket

Photographed as part of the Exhibit Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme which Runs Through at January 6, 2018 the Museum at FIT In Manhattan.

In Memorium: Ten Photos of Daisy Berkowitz Wearing a Kilt

Scott and Skeleton Ts
Scott Putesky (aka Daisy Berkowitz): April 28, 1968 – October 22, 2017 (All Photos By Gail)

I believe that it is possible to live an entire lifetime in one day. I met Scott Putesky (sometimes better known as Daisy Berkowitz, founding member and original guitarist for the band called Marilyn Manson) in 2015 at mutual friend Mark Kostabi’s semi-annual Jazz Art Brunch. Mark, an accomplished musician himself, knows a ton of other musicians, and people always get up and jam with the band. At one point Scott played keyboards and sang a couple of cover songs. After he finished his set, I introduced myself, since I had written extensively about his band back in the day and I knew we had a few other mutual friends. Scott turned out to be very down-to-earth guy, and a terrific conversationalist, so we drank and laughed, talked about art and exchanged cards for a possible future meet up.

Mark Scott Gail Frieze 2015
Mark Kostabi with Scott and Me at Frieze 2015

I already new from hearing it in the media that Scott had been diagnosed stage 4 colon cancer, and in one of our first conversations he told me how he was undergoing chemotherapy sessions every other week to keep it in check. He wasn’t shy about discussing his treatment because he wanted people to understand that he was fighting as hard as he could, and that he was also determined to live his life to the fullest. At this point, his prognosis did not include the probability of a cure and recovery. He was just trying to buy as much time as possible.

Scott FB Profile Pic
Scott did not want to pose with this relief sculpture of two sunflowers, but I made him do it. He loved the resulting photo so much he used it as his FaceBook Profile Photo for nearly a year.

Scott was not only a musician, he was also a fine artist who had a voracious curiosity about art history. The annual Frieze Art Fair (which takes place on New York’s Randall’s Island) was coming up and Scott had never been, so we made plans to attend together. I thought it was hilarious when he asked me what he should wear. “You’re a Rock Star,” I reminded him. “You don’t  need me to tell you how to dress.” Scott showed up to the dock wearing a bespoke kilt made from Clan Scott Tartan along with the complete traditional accessories. It should not surprise anyone that once we arrived at Frieze, everyone asked “the guy wearing the kilt” to pose for photos. I took a few myself and will now share them with you, because I think they show a fun-loving side of Scott, and he would appreciate being remembered in this way.

Scott and Red McCracken

One of the works that Scott most wanted to see at Frieze is this Red Plank by minimalist pioneer John McCracken.

Scott With John McCracken
Scott With John McCracken Sculpture Vibes

Scott and Mood Machine
Scott Considers a Sculpture Called the Mood Machine

Mirror Selfie
No Art Fair Experience is Complete Without at Least One Commemorative Mirror Selfie

Scott and Gail Dots Background
Photo By Mark Kostabi

Scott Vampire

Sadly, I have neither any knowledge of the title of this work, nor the artist’s name.

Scott and Linder

This work is entitled It’s the Buzz, Cock by artist Linder Sterling. The image was famously used as the sleeve artwork for the Buzzcocks1977 45 RPM single release, Orgasm Addict.

Scott Serious

This piece is by an artist whose work I know, and whose name I should remember, but I just can’t recall it right now. Scott’s expression is hilarious to me.

Scott and I wore ourselves out at Frieze and took the ferry back into Manhattan around 5:00 pm to attend another hyped-up-the-ass exhibit opening, which turned out to be a bust. Not to be deterred from continuing our Art Safari into the night, we moved on to another exhibit just up the block, and then took the party to a place that was once the home of Manhattan’s longest bar for snacks and drinks, and more conversation. Later, we walked in a light rain from Houston to Union Square, stopping in at the occasional curiosity shop like this place (where Scott purchased a large bag of assorted Gummy Candies) before I finally dropped him off at the subway on 14th Street and then continued on to my home.

We had an entire lifetime in one day.

Even above all of the times I saw him onstage with Marilyn Manson, my favorite memories of Scott are of the day we spent at Frieze and then prowling downtown Manhattan like two friends who just loved art and NYC. Now, you have those memories as well. RIP Scott. You are very much missed.