Monday, May 16, 2022

Friends & Art

I hope you're having a nice weekend. I was in Baltimore visiting friends and looking at art. Friday I went to the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA); yesterday I dropped by The Walters Art Museum in the company of my lovely friend Hillary and her delightful hubby. (Check out Hillary's superb Makeup Museum website.) Today I popped into Washington, D.C. to brunch with an old friend, Tanvi, whom I met blogging a century ago.

A highlight of the trip was a historic special exhibition of work by Joan Mitchell at BMA. The show presents over seventy of her paintings, showing the full range of her oeuvre (1950-1992).

Joan was a member of the Second Generation of Abstract Expressionists who came to prominence in the 1950s. Joan, like contemporary Grace Hartigan, started her career being promoted by John Bernard Myers at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in NYC. I met John once at a party in his house that Grace brought us to. 

I just finished re-reading John's 1983 memoir, "Tracking The Marvelous," which describes the heroic struggles of artists of that era to create new, innovative art -- and later how fame and money ruined everything. Today Joan Mitchell's paintings sell for $20 Million dollars, a price inconceivable to the artists living back then in cold-water flats on decrepit Tenth Avenue.

Almost from the start Joan found her home in abstract art; once there she never left it. Her paintings explore experiences, not appearances, and can initially be challenging. My goal this weekend was to travel and immerse myself in the work, like an ocean, and feel its impact. A month ago I visited MOMA in NYC and was startled at how powerful Jackson Pollack's painting is when approached in person. The same with Joan's work. Reproductions don't do these majestic pieces justice. They're large, potent objects brimming with life and meaning. They touch you in multiple ways beneath rationality. 

Artists of this period were recoiling from chaos and carnage of the Second World War. They looked for alternatives to human rationalism which had shown its limits. In today's increasingly anarchic world we need to continue that search in all directions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Monday, May 2, 2022

Hobnobbing With Genius

Last year I acquired amazing art from the most famous glass-blower in the world, Lino Tagliapietra. I'd seen Lino's work at the Corning Museum of Glass and was blown away by its beauty and his innovative techniques.

Lino's visiting New York this week for a public reception at the Heller Gallery. Of course I agreed to attend -- and today I was invited to a private dinner with Lino after the reception.

What do you say when hobnobbing with an artistic genius?

Friday, April 29, 2022

The Right Attitude

I learned in childhood that competition can sap all the joy out of sport. It's a lesson to be heeded at all stages of life. 

I enjoyed playing baseball in pick-up games around our neighborhood but dreaded playing it in Little League where adults yelled at small boys for ordinary play. I remember standing on the field hoping the ball wasn't hit to me for fear of making an error and becoming a target of abuse from adult coaches. 

There's intrinsic fun in all physical activity but you can ruin a good time by focusing on "winning." True winning is enjoying yourself. If you're not a paid professional (as none of us are) fun should the goal, not beating others in matches that don't matter. That's my attitude in billiards, motorcycle-riding and other activities.

I also use this insight as a spectator. Competition is okay to keep score of how your team is doing but shouldn't obscure the magic of their play. This year I went to ten hockey games. My team (NJ Devils) is one of the very worst in the NHL. Overall they lost more than two out of every three games they played -- yet I loved the excitement of attending. I saw young players developing promising careers, an old player savoring his remaining time on the ice, crowds roaring with delight at spirited play and a community wearing colorful jerseys to share their pride. Those games were highlights of my year and unaffected by whether the team won or lost. (In fact, they won seven of the ten games.)

We can choose how we live and think. Much modern culture, especially around sports, is wrong-headed and leads to unhealthy experience. Adopt the right attitude and sports can enhance your life.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

New Jersey

On the way home from a Devils game yesterday I took shots of a Jersey girl in Jersey.

Friday, April 22, 2022


I always carry a camera with me. Usually two (one film, one digital). 

This is why...