Tag Archive | NYC

East Village Life: Photos of Flowers From My Neighborhood Walks

purple flowers on the high line photo by gail worley
Purple Crocus’ on the High Line (All Photos By Gail)

In the Covid Life, I’m fortunate to be able to work from home, be in good health, have enough food, cable TV, and everything needed to make the lock-down more comfortable. I really can’t complain. I can get by for a few months without going shopping, eating in my favorite restaurant, or seeing a movie in the theater. The one thing I do get a bit wistful about is not being able to fully enjoy the beauty of Spring.

In an email I received from them this morning, the Museum of Modern Art was quick to remind me that, “Five hundred tulips are blooming in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden right now, and no one is there to enjoy them.” Thanks for the reminder! Spring, the season of renewal, is happening all around us while we are being advised to stay inside. It kills me. In a normal year, I would have at the very least attended Sakura Matsuri, the Cherry Blossom Festival hosted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden — which is such a terrific way to usher in the season. Even the NYBG’s Orchid Show closed prematurely. Beauty is still out there, so I preserve it on my walks. If you’re struggling with Cabin Fever, please enjoy a little bit of spring in this week’s edition of my East Village Life.

cherry tree in tompkins square park photo by gail worley

Tompkins Square Park is the closest park to my home; being located between Avenues A and B, and between East 7th and East 9th Streets. There have been a few outstanding flowering cherry trees there this spring. Check them out!

flowering tree photo by gail worley

As much as I wish we could have trees that look like this year-round, they surely would not be appreciated if their beauty was not so ephemeral.

flowering tree detail photo by gail

Here’s a closer look at that same tree. When I checked the Instagram accounts of my neighbors on this particular afternoon, everyone was posting their own photos of . . . that same tree. It was just too perfect.

white flowering tree photo by gail

Different tree, same park.

cherry tree on 14th street photo by gail worley

These were across the street from my apartment, on 14th Street outside Stuyvesant Town. I love the side-by-side contrast of the trees against the blue sky, and then the red brick building.

cherry tree behind fence photo by gail worley

I took this photo very late in the afternoon, which is apparent by the light, or lack thereof. This tree enjoys its life inside one of the East Village’s community gardens that add so much value to this neighborhood.

white flowering tree on first avenue photo by gail worley

When I posted this photo on Instagram it got twice the usual number of likes. I think that has something to do with the visual appeal of the white flowering tree next to the white building. This is First Avenue just south of 14th Street.

cherry blossom on the high line photo by gail worley

A cool thing about Cherry Blossoms is that you don’t have to get the entire tree to capture a great photo; in fact, a small cluster of flowers, or even a single bloom, can convey so much more about the beauty of spring. This photo was taken on the High Line in early March, one week before lock-down.

cherry tree branches photo by gail worley

Also, the pink color is like a magnet, attracting me to the tree.

Post Continues, With More Photos and Stories, After The Jump! Continue reading

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

Peace Sign Fall Leaf Wreath

Peace Sign Fall Leaf Wreath
Photo By Gail

With the short span of time this year between celebrating Thanksgiving and the arrival of Christmas, it’s easy to forget that it’s still technically fall in NYC. That said, by Black Friday afternoon, fall decor was in a losing battle with Christmas decorations that started appearing on the streets and in storefronts shortly after Halloween. Crazy.

I doubt that this lovely autumn leaf wreath is made from actual leaves (it’s likely silk or some other fabric), but dang if it didn’t make me stop in my tracks and appreciate the beauty of nature when I saw it adorning the face of a Brownstone in Chelsea. And what a nice sentiment as well: Peace. Here’s the full shot below. Breathtaking.

Peace Sign Wreath Full

Spotted on 22nd Street Between 7th and 8th Avenues in Manhattan.

Queen Andrea’s Believe Mural On The Houston Bowery Wall

Queen Andrea Believe Mural
All Photos By Gail

Even though it’s been up since June 4th, it was just last week that I finally had the chance to check out the latest amazingly colorful mural on display at the famous Houston Bowery Wall, which is entitled Believe,  and is the work of Andrea von Bujdoss, aka Queen Andrea. Queen Andrea is a New York City-based artist who specializes in fine art, murals, typography, and graphic design.  Believe serves as a celebration of the city’s cultural diversity and “vibrancy of urban life.”

Queen Andrea Believe Mural

For Believe, in which Queen Andrea used paints in super bright colors, the eponymous typography messaging is a focal point, along with the words Love More on the lower right corner at street level. The artist uses these encouraging messages about staying positive and believing in what inspires you the most and makes you love more!

Queen Andrea Believe Mural

Queen Andrea’s focus on typography as an artist is an evolution of her history as a female graffiti artist. She grew up near the Houston Bowery Wall in Soho, where she began painting graffiti and studying graphic design as a young teen. The mural is  part of an ongoing partnership between Goldman Global Arts and Citi.

The Houston Bowery Mural Wall is located at the intersections of East Houston Street and Bowery on the Northwest Corner.

Queen Andrea Believe Mural

Pink Thing Of The Day: Pink Trash Can With Stenciled Palm Trees

Pink Garbage Can
Photos By Gail

This tropical-themed Pink Garbage Bin, with its lovely stenciled palm tree motif, was spotted on the sidewalk out front of a Carribean-style take-out restaurant in or near SoHo NYC. My iPhone is telling me it’s on Crosby Street, but I’m not sure how many blocks it is below Houston. Also, I do not know the name of the restaurant, but next time I am in that neighborhood I’ll get my shit together and update this post!

Pink Garbage Can

David Bowie Themed Street Art, SoHo NYC

David Bowie Street Art
Photos By Gail

This abstract street art ‘portrait’ with the words “Rebel” at the top  — which is an obvious nod to David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover —  is painted at end of the trash bin corral adjacent to Alternative Apparel clothing store at 281 Lafayette Street. It’s just a short stroll down the block from Bowie’s former residence at 285 Lafayette Street, where his widow, Iman, and daughter Lexi still reside. Daniel Winchester is the artist. A friend who used be the family’s dog nanny told me that this piece actually went up a week after David died. I can’t believe I just noticed it, and how great it stills looks. David Bowie Forever.

David Bowie Street Art

Post No Bills: Okay, Maybe Some Bills

Guys Named Bill
Photos By Gail

OK, whoever thought of this real life Post No Bills Meme street art installation is a genius. I spotted this on a construction site wall (inside a temporary sidewalk detour) located on Second Avenue near 20th Street, on the west side the block, and had to take quick picture so I could commemorate all of these Bills! From upper left and clockwise they are:

Former President Bill Clinton

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates

Actor /Comedian Bill Murray

Unidentified Bill (He May Be a Sports Guy) — Update: This man has now been identified by Mark Morton as Bill Belichick, Coach for the New England Patriots!

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Comedian Bill Burr

and Actor Bill Paxton (RIP)

So clever!

Name The Bills

Carmen Herrera Estructuras Monumentales in City Hall Park

Angula Rojo
All Photos By Gail

Cuban American Geometrical Abstract painter Carmen Herrera (b. 1915, Havana) waited a very long time to get her hard-earned props from the art world. The artist’s first career retrospective, 20162017 Lines Of Sight at New York City’s Whitney Museum finally provided a showcase for her minimalist, color field paintings, alongside a selection of her geometric, monochromatic sculptures — which she simply calls Estructuras (Structures). While it’s disappointing to realize that, at 104 years of age, Carmen Herrera isn’t quite a household name, the NYC-based Public Art Fund is doing its part to expose her works to a wider audience by sponsoring Estructuras Monumentales, Herrera’s first major exhibition of outdoor sculptures, which are currently on view in City Hall Park. This park is a short walk from my office, to so I walked over on my lunch hour to check it out.

Angula Rojo

Herrera’s Estructuras series of sculptures, informed by her architectural training, date back to the 1960s with a group of diagrammatic sketches. She envisioned large-scale monochromatic sculptures that would extend the experience of her luminous paintings into three dimensions. Until recently, these historic proposals have remained unrealized. With Estructuras Monumentales, this remarkable artist is now able to share her powerful structures with public audiences for the first time. Here are the five structures located in City Hall Park.

Angula Rojo

Herrera still paints and creates every day, but Angul Rojo (2017) is the first Estructura that she has designed in more than three decades. Its red chevron composition conveys movement and rhythm with a bold dynamism reminiscent of many of her most iconic paintings.

Pavanne

Herrera originally conceived Pavanne, (1967/2017) as a monument to her younger brother, Mariano, who was then dying of cancer. The three tightly fit, interlocking elements of this solemn work encourage quiet contemplation, while the title references the musical term for a slow processional dance with funereal overtones.

Pavanne

Amarilla Tres

Amarillo Tres, 1971/2018. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Herrera began to work with a carpenter to translate her drawings into wooden sculptural Estructuras. That resulted in the important smaller Azul ‘Tres’ (1971), on which this monumental Estructura is based. Herrera was forced to temporarily halt this endeavor when the carpenter she worked with passed away and the grant stipend that had supported the work began to dwindle.

Amarilla Tres

Estructura Verde

Estructura Verde (1966/2018) most clearly expresses the evolution from Herrera’s paintings to her Estructuras. Her breakthrough Blanco y Verde (196667) series of paintings on canvas created long, acute wedges of dark paint among white expanses. This sculpture translates and inverts that arrangement, with two bold green interlocked L-shaped forms, which encompass slivers of negative space, incorporating the sculpture’s surroundings into its dynamic composition.

Estructura Verde

Estructura Verde

Untitled Estructura (Red)

Untitled Estructura (Red), (1962/2018). Carmen Herrera’s Estructuras can be appreciated for their formal poetry, yet they can also be seen in the context of her life. In October of 1962, the confrontation between the United States and Cuba escalated to the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which Herrera and her husband Jesse Lowenthal were deeply involved in helping friends, family, and refugees escape the conflict. The overhanging cantilevered arrangement of this Estructura might abstractly allude to the tensions between Herrera’s adopted and native countries at the moment she conceived this work.

Untitled Estructura (Red)

Carmen Herrera: Estructuras Monumentales, Curated by Public Art Fund Curator Daniel S. Palmer, Will Be On View in City Hall Park (Located in Lower Manhattan) Through November 8th, 2019.

Angula Rojo

Neon Tiger

Neon Tiger
Photo By Gail

Unless I am in some kind of crazy hurry, getting temporarily lost or misdirected in NYC is always a blessing, because it allows me to stumble upon amazing finds like this fantastic Neon Tiger. I spotted this beauty, from the sidewalk, inside a casual-menswear boutique called Blue In Green, which is located on Greene Street, one block north of Canal, in SoHo. Grrr.

Pink Think of The Day: Pink Metallic Mesh Dress

Pink Metallic Mesh Dress
Photos By Gail

I saw this fabulous Pink Metallic Mesh Dress in a shop on Greene Street in SoHo when I was party-hopping during the Open Showrooms evening that closes out the two-week long NYCxDesign event.

Pink Metallic Mesh Dress Detail

Here’s a detail shot of the mesh that I managed to get, even though at this point I was already too tipsy to remember to note the name of the store I was in. Oops.

Pink Metallic Mesh Dress

The camera roll on my phone tells me that pictures of the dress were taken at 31 1/2 Greene Street, but I looked up that address and I am pretty sure it was south of that exact location. It sure is a great-looking dress. I would wear it.

Update 10/19/19: The store is called The Webster and it’s located at 29 Greene Street!