There are not many philanthropists like Eli Broad, who died on April 30th, 2021 at the age 87. In his lifetime, Broad and his wife Edith amassed a personal collection of over 2,000 works of contemporary art, which they then donated to the city of Los Angeles (and the world), building a namesake museum to house them all for your enjoyment. Who does that? Amazing. You can read more about Eli Broad’s life of service in his obituary from the NY Times at This Link. Read all about my super fun visit to The Broad Museum shortly after it opened in 2015, and see some choice pieces of the collection, at This Link. RIP.
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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.
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!
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.
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.
Different tree, same park.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also, the pink color is like a magnet, attracting me to the tree.
During our most recent Art Safari to the vast and spectacular Met, we were thrilled by Fatal Attraction, an exhibit of photography from the New York–based artist Piotr Uklański (born Poland, 1968). This exhibition, the first to survey Uklański’s photography, locates his work with the camera at the center of his artistic practice. Reveling in moribund or marginal artistic languages from a position at once ironic and sincere, the artist simultaneously subverts and pays homage to defunct modes of expression.
Uklański’s underappreciated yet historically significant series The Joy of Photography (1997–2007) explores clichés of popular photography using the kitschy subjects and hackneyed effects of Eastman Kodak’s how-to manual for the serious amateur.
Swans, Intentionally Blurry
Whereas artists of the 1980s, such as Richard Prince, appropriated such images by rephotographing them to reveal their constructed nature, Uklańskiremade them, in a manner akin to slightly irreverent cover versions of songs that bring out hidden or repressed aspects of his source material.
In this way, the artist both acknowledges appropriation’s endgame — that there are no new pictures under the sun — while creating a space for the creation of new works.
As an example, here is a blurb from the exhibit that accompanies this photograph of a Waterfall.
“As a photographic subject, the waterfall is so ubiquitous that it is invisible – a natural form that has been subsumed into an image via millions of snapshot mementos, postcards, and artistic renderings. Instead of looking for the impossible – a “new” picture of a waterfall – Uklanski presents the viewer with a dutifully exact representation of the camera’s capabilities as prescribed by Eastman Kodak – until the 1980s, as powerful a shaper of how Americans saw the world as Disney or any presidency. In conflating the roles of the amateur, professional and fine artist, Uklanski was also commenting, ironically – from a European perspective – on how Americans can turn even leisure activities into forms of work and self-improvement.”
Tulips, Intentionally Blurry
Fatal Attraction: Photographs by Piotr Uklański, will be on Exhibit Through August 16th, 2015 in Gallery 851, 2nd Floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Located at 1000 Fifth Ave at 81st Street, New York, NY.
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