Tag Archive | covid life

Exhibits By Julie Blackmon and Ellen von Unwerth at Fotografiska

30 Years of Photographing Women Ellen von Unwerth By Gail Worley
Image from Ellen von Unwerth’s Devotion! 30 Years of Photographing Women (All Photos By Gail)

If you live in the tri-state area and are on Instagram or FaceBook for even a few minutes a day, there is very little chance that you have not at least heard the name Fotografiska. Viral marketing ads for the NYC branch of this museum dedicated to modern photography were plastered all over social media for months prior to its opening to the public on December 14th, 2019. The cryptic ads featured dark, purple-shadowed images of the seven-story Gothic structure (built in 1892) housing the museum, which made it seem very mysterious and alluring. Everyone wanted to know: What the Hell is Fotografiska? Some people still can’t figure it out.

I finally had a chance to visit Fotografiska on March 5th, when I was invited to attend the opening reception for an exhibit by Julie Blackmon entitled Fever Dreams. One week after my visit, Fotografiska was forced to temporarily close its doors in compliance with New York State’s shelter-in-place order in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elevator Image Fotografiska By Gail Worley
Image By Ellen von Unwerth Inside an Elevator at Fotografiska

My original plan had been to post a review of the Julie Blackmon exhibit in mid-March, to coincided with the celebration of National Women’s Month. But like so many of us on the planet, my life is completely different now than it was three or four weeks ago, so that did not happen. An up-side of being stuck in the house without the ability to visit an art gallery, or museum or cultural institution of any kind is that I get to bring you my take on Art in the Time of Covid right here on The Gig. Even though you cannot currently visit these exhibits in person, you can ‘Live Through Me’ and enjoy the photos vicariously. I hope this post will give you a sweet taste of what’s inside Fotografiska that will get you excited to check out the place once it reopens. Better late than never.

Julie Blackmon Fever Dreams Photo By Gail Worley

This was my first ‘exposure,’ so to speak, to Julie Blackmon’s work, but I immediately fell in love with her hyper-realist style. Fever Dreams is a collection of images that brim with fantasy and subtle satire, capturing a delicate balance between the darkness and charm of contemporary American life. It’s not unusual for a gallery to stage an exhibit in dim lighting, but this one is designed to be viewed almost completely in the dark, save for a bit of light bleeding in from an adjacent gallery, and dedicated spotlights focused on each work. While the lack of lighting presented a challenge in capturing decent images of the photos, it definitely set an important mood, which enhanced the viewing experience.

Dandelion Puff By Gail Worley

Adding to the surreal vibe of Fever Dreams was the wall-to-wall astroturf covering the gallery floors, which included this singular artificial Dandelion Puff. You will understand in a minute why it was helpful to feel like you were standing in someone’s backyard.

Backyard Trailer Photo By Gail Worley

The playfully artful and chaotic nature present in the photographs of Julie Blackmon (b. 1966)  are drawn from the everyday people and places that have shaped the artist’s life. These are the familiar and ordinary scenes of Blackmon’s daily routine in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri, which she describes as “the generic American town” in the middle of the United States.

Fever Dreams By Julie Blackmon Photograph By Gail Worley

Her scenes are often centered around children on their own in backyards, garages and neighborhoods where the absence of adults alludes to a looming potential for danger. Her photographs, otherwise innocuous domestic tableaux, are woven with fantasy and subtle satire that reflect a delicate balance between the darkness and charm of contemporary American life in suburbia.

Fever Dreams By Julie Blackmon Photo By Gail Worley

One my favorite photos in the collection is this scene of children watching a screening of The Sound Of Music in a backyard. To me, it has an almost post-apocalyptic feel. Blackmon carefully sets her scenes, and like film and theater directors, she is in pursuit of unscripted moments that provoke, disturb, and challenged the viewer. Some of the images reference paintings by Dutch Masters, French impressionist, and modernists such as Edward Hopper and Balthus, but they are updated with a satirical, penetrating eye and Blackmon’s belief that artful fiction can capture the truth more memorably than the truth itself.

Fever Dreams By Julie Blackmon Photo By Gail Worley

Speaking  of her work, Blackmon explains, “I suppose I could make a work where everything’s just perfect, where the sun is shining and mom is lying out in the grass and everything’s happening perfectly and the kids are happy . . . but that wouldn’t interest me — and it wouldn’t be truthful. My aim is to create a more nuanced, subtly humorous and satirical portrait of the way we live today.”

Fever Dreams By Julie Blackmon Photo By Gail Worley

Fever Dreams presents a selection of photographs from Blackmon’s Homegrown series as well as more recent works. It’s a fantastic exhibit and I hope its tenure at Fotografiska can be extended so that more people get to see it.

Story Continues, With More Photos, After the Jump! Continue reading

Home Delivery of Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s Spirit Singani 63 Benefits NYC Bar Staff!

Steven Soderberghs Singani 63 Image By Gail Worley
Coming Soon to Your Apartment

As citizens of NYC (and the globe) struggle to find a groove of normalcy in the Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place reality, it is not just isolated walks in the park that will help to get us through with our sanity intact, but also home delivery — specifically home delivery of food and booze. Here in Manhattan, filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s branded spirit Singani 63 (also known as the national drink of Bolivia) and NYC cocktail den The Garret have teamed up to comfort you. Next time you place a Seamless order, take note that The Garrett is offering 750ml (approximately 25 ounces) “Staff Support” bottled cocktails available for Delivery throughout Manhattan. All proceeds will benefit the bar’s out-of-work staff. The Garret also offers lunch and dinner menu items.

Cocktails at The Garret
Image Source

In addition to the Singani 63 bottled cocktail, The Garret offers a ready-to-sip Old Fashioned, Negroni, Donkey Horse, Margarita and other favorites. Each of the eight available cocktails, priced at $50 per bottle, simply need to be poured over ice and are ready to serve. The featured Singani 63 “Staff Support” Bottled Cocktail is a take on the classic Vesper Rouge, containing Singani 63, Gin, and Lillet Rouge (a lightly spiced, bitter aperitif wine). Order now via Seamless! Cheers!

Discovering a Kenny Scharf Mural on the LES

Kenny Sharf Mural Photo By Gail Worley
Photos By Gail

Covid Life, it is now a thing. I’ve been working from home for two weeks already and I’ve fallen into a daily routine of taking a walk after lunch in the most isolated areas I can find, just to get exercise and prevent (delay) the onset of Cabin Fever. It cheered me immensely to discover this colorful mural by Kenny Sharf, populated with his trademark whimsical faces. Since I’ve been exploring new turf more than usual, I see his stuff all over doorways and gates. Who knows how long this has been here?

Kenny Sharf Mural Photo By Gail Worley

Spotted on Norfolk Street Between Rivington and Stanton on the LES.

Help Avoid The Spread Of Germs By Replacing Your Toothbrush With Dr. Plotka’s Mouthwatchers!

Dr. Plotka's Blue Travel Toothbrush By Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail

The ritual of Spring Cleaning can include many different tasks. While we typically associate the phrase with doing a deep-cleaning of our homes, or sorting through our closets to donate any items that no longer fit or ‘spark joy,’ spring cleaning can also mean making a point to replace often-used personal items such as pillows or toothbrushes. In a time when we are all taking extra care to wash our hands and avoid the spread of germs, you may not even realize that your toothbrush can be a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s scary, but it’s true; and if you are replacing your toothbrush only  when you visit your dentist for your twice-yearly routine cleaning, you may be putting your health at risk.

Dr Plotkas Brochure Cover By Gail

I was recently sent a new travel toothbrush from Dr. Plotka’s Mouthwatchers, an oral hygiene brand which aims to reduce the spread of germs that can come from your toothbrush. Invented by a dentist and employing an embedded silver technology, Dr. Plotka’s Mouthwatchers toothbrushes eliminate 99% of bacteria from the bristles within 6 hours after using the brush.

Mouth Watchers Toothbrush By Gail Worley

Since the model I received is a travel-style design, I had originally planned to keep the toothbrush in my office for use after I eat my lunch, but since I am now working from home (like so many of us), I started using it as my regular toothbrush last week. So far, I am thrilled with my experience using the Dr. Plotka’s brush.

Bristles Stats By Gail Worley
Click on Image to Enlarge for Detail

The above image explains how Dr. Plotka’s naturally antimicrobial bristles work, and how the fact that they’re made from polyester rather than traditional nylon allows them to last 33% longer. The brush also has dual-layered ‘flossing’ bristles, for reaching food particles that can get trapped between teeth. I especially love this feature of the Mouthwatcher brush, because I have two rear molars with a bit of space between them. Some foods (especially meat or fresh fruit) can get stuck between my teeth, so that I feel the need to floss immediately after eating. This toothbrush helps to remove that trapped food, so that I can wait until the end of the day to floss (which is something you should be doing regularly anyway).

Flossing Bristles Illustrated By Gail Worley

The above image illustrates how Dr. Plotka’s toothbrush bristles are designed to have an extended reach that regular toothbrush bristles do not offer.

3 Types of Toothbrushes

Dr. Plotka’s Mouthwatcher Brushes come in a variety of colors and styles including Travel, Adult Manual, Youth Manual, and an electric Power model with replacement heads also available. I encourage you to give these brushes a try. Not only will your teeth feel like they just had a dental cleaning, but you can rest easy knowing you and your family are using clean bristles each time you brush, lowering your chances of illness from your toothbrush.

Find out more about Dr. Plotka’s MouthWatcher Toothbrushes, and shop for them online, by visiting Mouthwatchers Dot Com. Even better, sign up for their mailing list and receive a 15% discount code on your first order!