Long-haul New Yorker’s (and East Villagers like me, especially) constantly bemoan the fact that Manhattan is becoming increasingly gentrified. The innumerable local-business closures caused by the pandemic have only exacerbated the loss of historical identity in an area that was once arguably the coolest neighborhood in NYC. When the legendary Rock & Roll boutique Trash & Vaudeville was forced to relocate from St. Mark’s Place after four decades in the same location, it really felt like nothing is sacred. It is a small conciliation then that a new contemporary art gallery, Public Access, opened this past September in the downstairs storefront formerly occupied by Trash. I recently had the chance to check out the gallery’s current exhibit, a solo show of paintings by artist Marika Thunder entitled Dress Up My Lindsay. The series has an interesting autobiographical backstory for the painter.
Known for his meticulous dress and unusual goatee, French art critic Félix Fénéon gained a reputation as a dandy among his peers. In this painting, whose full title is Opus 217. Against the Enamel of a background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones and Tinits, Portrait of M Félix Fénéon in 1890, Paul Signac set the critic’s static profile against a swirling background– a kaleidoscopic reference to optical theorist Charles Henry’s recently published color wheel. The wordy title is a spoof on the exceedingly long titles that Henry and his fellow scientists gave to their studies. Though Fénéon professed to dislike it, he kept the portrait for the rest of his life.
NYC-based Street Artist Denis Ouch has been busy lately painting images of Superheros in Face Masks all over the city. His most ambitious contribution to the series so far seems to be this monumental mural depicting masked-up versions of Superman, Batman, Thor (who technically is a God, not a Superhero), and Wonder Woman, accompanied by the urgent plea “Save Us Justice League” in white (and Ouch’s tag in pink).
The mural expands across two facades of the building at the corner of 8th Avenue and Greenwich Avenue (by the Mobil Station), in Chelsea.
NYC could use some saving, now more than ever I suspect.
This elaborate automaton is a reproduction of the original Chess Player (The Turk) built by Hungarian author and inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen. Touted as an android that could defeat chess masters, von Kempelen’s famed illusion debuted at the court of Empress Maria Theresa during wedding celebrations for her daughter in 1769. Over the course of the eighteenth century, the Chess Player (known in its time as The Turk for its robes and turban) won games against Catherine the Great and Benjamin Franklin. When Napoleon Bonaparte tried to cheat, The Turk wiped all the pieces from the chessboard. In reality, a chess master would hide inside the lefthand cupboard.
The mysterious machine sparked discussions of the possibilities and limits of artificial intelligence, and it inspired development of the power loom, the telephone, and the computer. The original and its secrets were destroyed in a fire in 1854. This reproduction is by American magician, John Gaughan.
Photographed as part of the exhibit Making Marvels at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Above Graphic and Most Photos By Kat Bentley, Except Where Noted
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has possibly the broadest collection of art in the world; spanning more than 5000 years of objects from across the globe — from the first cities of the ancient world to works being created today. In my 30 years of living in NYC, I’ve visited the museum maybe a hundred times, and I’ve barely even begun to explore its hundreds of galleries. While a dozen new exhibits open at The Met each season, offering no shortage of incentive to plan a visit, what can be really exciting is to discover the hidden works in the museum’s collection that you might otherwise walk right by and never notice. That’s one reason why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend a press preview of a new Met tour called Unhung Heroes of the Metropolitan, offered by the popular Shady Ladies Tours. As you might infer by the cheeky name, Unhung Heroes explores male members in paintings and sculptures across the museum, and it is all kinds of crazy fun!
You May Hear the Story Behind This Penis-Shaped Oil Vessel (Photo By Gail)
Expertly guided by Professor Andrew Lear, the founder of Shady Ladies Tours, the Unhung Heroes tour explores the naughty side of classic artworks, and considers burning questions such as:
Are the members in these artworks true to life size?
Were men really smaller back then?
Why are many of the statues’ missing body parts?
Is there hidden phallic symbolism in your favorite painting?
For museum-goers who’ve lost sleep over these and other questions, this tour will school you beyond your wildest dreams. As a leading scholar on the history of sexuality, Andrew Lear is one of the foremost authorities on the erotic in Greek and Roman art. Beyond his historical knowledge, Professor Lear is completely hilarious and has tons of amazing stories that will keep you fully engaged, laughing and entertained over the 90-minute walking tour. Here are a few of the artworks you might see on the Unhung Heroes Tour!
Photo by Gail
One of the first things Professor Lear will introduce you to are the aesthetic ideals of Greek culture and how they have affected the history of art without clothes. In these ancient times, penis size as depicted in artworks was a reflection of a man’s social status. If a man was of high status, he will generally be depicted with a smaller penis, as a sign of refinement and class.
Photo by Gail
For example, this wine vessel depicts a scene of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine, and one of his man-servants. You can see that Dionysus‘ junk is completely covered up, while his servant, though naked, has a very modest penis.
By contrast, this adjacent, carved figure of a reclining, overweight and quite unattractive man has his stuff all out on display, which was considered vulgar and low class.
Photo By Gail
Dr. Lear really knows where to find all the fun examples of large members being associated with beasts as opposed to fine gentlemen. The above pottery shard shows a drunken Satyr (half goat and half man) with an obvious boner who is so wasted he doesn’t even notice that a donkey is walking over him. The word printed above him is his name, which translates to “Not Beautiful.” I love that story.
Here are three Satyrs masturbating. There is no way you would ever find this artwork if it was not pointed out to you. You’re welcome.
Other sexy facts about the ancient Greeks that you might enjoy knowing:
Greek men worked out constantly and they did so completely in the nude. The word Gymnasium literally means “Naked Place.”
While homoerotic practices are sometimes euphemistically referred to as ‘Greek Love,’ Professor Lear pointed out that the Greeks did not approve of anal sex, while the Romans did!
Brooklyn-based artist John Mosler’s first large-scale outdoor sculpture, Decusatio – meaning Intersection in Latin – is now installed on the terrace at Norwood, the historic townhouse and private members club at 241 West 14th Street. The figurative work was informed by its 14th Street location which, for many, has come to serve as a delineation point between uptown and downtown.
Placed on the balcony, Decusatio is hard to miss; rising over eight feet tall, and painted in a vibrant yellow hue. The work offers a conceptual framework that is intended to respect and enhance the Club and its history, while simultaneously connecting to the location, activity and history in the surrounding area.
Decusatio’s placement required innovative technical and engineering applications by the artist to ensure it was light enough to be easily placed on a metal balcony, while also durable enough to withstand the outdoor elements. Mosler offers, “The figurative over tone and the bright yellow color is intended to capture the intersection of humanity and the vibrant human interaction in the surrounding physical environment.”
Martin Kesselman, color influencer and owner of INCOLOUR, worked with Mosler on finding the right hue. “Yellow tends to be perceived in many different ways, more so than other colors,” he explains. “We wanted to stay clear of a frosty cast, one that may veer green. Natural exterior light can play some trickery, so we had to walk that warm and cool fine line.”
The Andrew Norwood House is an elegant urban residence designed in a transitional style which combines Greek revival and italianate features. A remarkably preserved slice of early Victorian architecture and lifestyle – both inside and out; the House is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.In 2007 Alan Linn opened Norwood Club, a bustling five-story club with more than 1,100 members ranging from 21 to 80 years old. Its ranks include architects, artists, fashion designers, musicians, media moguls, and art collectors.
By the early 1940s, the largely self-taught, Armenian-born Arshile Gorky had formed close friendships with several members of the Surrealist group in New York, including Roberto Matta, who encouraged him to develop his own personal abstract language through experimentation with automatism and biomorphic forms. Gorky turned to the subject matter of fertility and nature; at the same time, he frequently visited the Connecticut and Virginia countrysides, which reminded him of his homeland.
Combining these ideas around 1944, the artist began to work on the theme of The Plough and The Song (1946). Though the organic forms and sinuous, curving lines here seem spontaneous, Gorky planned the composition very carefully, systematically developing the imagery of this canvas in at least three drawings and three oil paintings.