Monday, July 25, 2011

Chihuly: Through The Looking Glass

Yesterday I escaped the summer heat by visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and taking a stroll through the (crowded) exhibit of Chihuly: Through The Looking Glass. I missed the exhibit when it toured the De Young Museum of San Francisco, so was excited to get a look of the installations this summer (especially after the Howard Wright family of Seattle announced earlier this spring of a controversial 44,550-square-foot
new Chihuly Museum to be opened next to the Space Needle).

Dale Chihuly is an American glass artist that has been capturing the imagination of collectors around the world since his first works in the 1970s. Chihuly revolutionized the art of blown glass by creating his large scale sculptures and installations. The exhibit at the MFA is a collection of both new and archival works spanning the four decades of Chihuly's career. (Photo of Chiostro di Sant'Apollonia Chandelier, 2011) Walking into the exhibit halls was like walking into a world of wonderland. I could spend hours looking at the details of my two favorite pieces, the Venetian Ikebana Boat (2011) and the Persian Ceiling.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Some Like It Hot

I woke up at 6am ET this morning with the thermometer in my apartment reading at 92F degrees. Boston officials are predicting record breaking heat this afternoon and advising locals to find air-conditioned refuge. As a new transplant from the West Coast, I am thinking the 110F+ temps is a good excuse to grab a movie & ice cream at the Somerville Theater, check out some of the local museums and go shopping for an AC Unit this weekend.

A reporter at the Boston Herald, armed with an infrared gun recorded these temperatures for locations around the city earlier this week (Check out the full article here):

128 degrees — On the metal plate of a construction site on State Street.

122 degrees — On the red-hot bricks at City Hall Plaza.

101 degrees — Outside Fenway Park, near the sausage vendors.

100 degrees — On the steps of the State House.

91 degrees — In the spray at the Frog Pond.

88 degrees —Underground at the Park Street MBTA station.

87 degrees — On Boston Common, in the only shade in downtown.

71.8 degrees — In the stacks at the Boston Public Library.

68 degrees — On the Green Line, heading to Fenway.

67.8 degrees — At AMC Loews Boston Common, sneaking a peek at the flick “Zookeeper.”

55.9 degrees — At Shaw’s in the Back Bay, chilling among the eggs and breakfast food.

22 degrees — At Brookline Ice & Coal warehouse.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An Art Walk in Santa Fe, New Mexico

There are many reasons to visit Santa Fe with its museums and art galleries, amazing festivals, and fascinating history and landscape. It is easy to spend a day roaming the plaza and downtown area window shopping and taking in exhibits at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Museum of New Mexico, and the New Mexico History Museum. I could spend an entire afternoon just looking at the Native American art/wares on sale in front of the Palace of the Governors and speaking with the different tribes and artists about their artwork and culture.

During my quick visit earlier this month, many of the local galleries and artist were prepping for the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market (July 8-10) where one-hundred fifty artisans from 49 countries, chosen by a panel of U.S. folk art curators, gather at booths at Museum Hill to display and sell their creations. Although I was sad to be missing out on what Maria Mercado, the art editor of Travel + Leisure magazine, calls "the best reason to visit Santa Fe this summer" - I did pickup a few names of artists that intrigued me on my stay.

- Helen Begay (Contemporary Navajo Weaving)

- Fairchild & Co. (Fine Jewelry)

- Carolyn Lindsey (Painter)

- Sticks (Furniture)

- Kathleen Vanderbrook (Fiber Art)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Joyeux Quatorze Juillet, San Francisco!

Bonne Fête! In honor of Bastille Day, I thought I would celebrate two of my favorite things, French Culture and San Francisco, by posting my "Best of San Francisco/Bay Area" à la mode à Paris.

Best Café au lait and Beignets:
Cafe Fanny's (1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley)

Best Pâtisserie:
Patisserie Philippe (655 Townsend Street, SF)

Best Cozy French Brunch:
La Note (2377 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley)
*NOTE: You must try the lavender honey. It is divine!

Best Ham & Cheese Croissant:
Pan de Mie (335 Kearny Street, SF)

Best French Home Accessories & Decor:
French Nest (500 San Anselmo, San Anselmo)

Best Michelin Star French Restaurant:
Fleur de Lys (777 Sutter Street, SF)
*NOTE: Don't forget to leave room for the soufflé. Its perfection.

My Favorite
French Restaurant:
Chez Panisse (1517 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley)
*NOTE: Ask for a tour of the kitchen to fully gain an appreciation for the local food movement and Alice Waters' vision.

Best "VIP" Bastille Day Celebration in SF:
French Tuesdays

My Favorite French Travel Blog:
My Little Paris:
What's new and happening in Paris

Best French Art Exhibit of the Past Year:"Impressionist Paris: City of Lights" @ The Legion of Honor - Visitors to the exhibition were transported to Impressionist Paris as represented in over 180 prints, drawings, photographs and paintings from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and several distinguished private collections. This exhibit explored various aspects of life in and around the city in which the masters of impressionist art came of age.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Dubreuil, Eléphantaisie, 1908)

I am sure I can think of some more fun categories, but the list is making me hungry and a bit homesick for San Francisco. So I am off to celebrate by trying to find a ham & cheese croissant in Boston. Enjoy! And... Vive la France!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kicking It Old School in NYC

The New York Magazine published a great article today for analog enthusiasts everywhere titled, The Analog Underground by Ashlea Halpern. (PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Peterman/Courtesy of the Brooklyn Art Library)

From typewriter repairmen to book binding and film photography boutiques, the article provides a list of the who's who of the underground analog community in NYC.
As I black-and-white 35mm film photographer, I am happy to see that I am not alone in my love for the arts of analog. I already made a "must-see" list of shops and festivals to see on my next visit to the big apple including the Zine and Self-Published Photo Book Fair, The Center for Alternative Photography, the Poets House (which is outfitted with vintage typewrites for children to write poetry), the sketchbook wall at the Brooklyn Art Library and a pop-up bookbinders gallery truck that roams the streets called Show and Tell.

For those of you who like to rock it old school, but are still are a techie geek @ heart, here are three great gadget crossovers on the market:
- USB Typewriters: Lovers of the look, feel, and quality of old fashioned manual typewriters can now use them as keyboards for any USB-capable computer, such as a PC, Mac, or even an iPad!

- Faux Mixtapes: This fake mistape unfolds to reveal a handwritten track list and 1GB USB drive.
- Retro Ninetendo USB Game Controller: Combines nostalgia for Super Mario Brothers while giving in to your addiction to Angry Birds.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Walking in "O'Keeffe Country"

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not." - Georgia O'Keeffe

On my recent travels in the northern New Mexico desert, I unexpectedly stumbled into what has become known as "O'Keeffe Country." Taking a pit stop in Albiquiu, New Mexico admist the beauty of Hwy 84 towards Santa Fe, my parents and I accidentally found ourselves at Ghost Ranch, where Georgia O'Keeffe discovered her inspiration, and later called her home, from 1929 to her death in 1986. (IMAGE CREDIT: Georgia O'Keeffe, Evening Star No.VI, 1917)

As I watched the smoke from the Arizona forest fires dance in the rising desert sun and reflect through the primitive landscapes of Kitchen Mesa and Chimney Rock, I can see how O'Keeffe fell in love with the surrounding imagery and found peace from the harried pace of modern life.

Inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe's home and her "country," my parents and I later visited the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. Although I was initially disappointed by the small amount of her paintings on display, on later reflection I realized the subtle and simplistic displays of the exhibitions are a testimony to the great artist. I was fascinated by the biographical movie and current exhibit, "Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph." The exhibit surveys the relationship of painting and photography in 20th-Century American Modern Art. (IMAGE CREDIT: Leopoldina Photography, Shadows of Ghost Valley, 2011)

As a photographer myself, I was surprised to learn how O'Keeffe (and other contemporary American artists) was so closely connected and influenced by photography. I also didn't realize the significance her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and his movement to consider photography as its own fine art form, affected her art and world views. O'Keeffe was photographed and friends with many of my photog heroes including Todd Webb and Ansel Adams, and yet her struggle with her public image and how it affected the public perception of her art is still a subject of debate amongst art historians today. (IMAGE CREDIT: Todd Webb, Photographing the Chama Valley, New Mexico, 1961)

Overall, I walked away from "O'Keeffe Country" both inspired and curious to learn more about both the artist and the surrounding landscape.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Three "Must-See" Summer Art Exhibits in NYC

1) "Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’amour fou," at the Gagosian Gallery
“Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’amour fou” brings together the paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints inspired by Picasso’s greatest muse, as well as photographs from Marie-Thérèse's family archives. On view at the Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st Street, New York, through July 15, 2011, the work included in this exhibit spans the years 1927 to 1940. More than any other woman, Marie-Thérèse, with her statuesque body and strong, pure profile, fueled Picasso’s imagination with a luminous dream of youth and she became the catalyst for some of his most exceptional work, from groundbreaking paintings to an inspired return to sculpture in the 1930s, according her an almost mythic stature and immortality as an art historical subject. This exhibit is unusual for a private gallery and gives you the unique perspective of experiencing a love story through the eyes of one of the 20th century's greatest artists. For more information, check out the interesting article "Picasso's Erotic Code," by curator John Richardson in May's Vanity Fair.

2) "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," at the Metropolitan Museum of A
The Met's Alexander McQueen show "Savage Beauty," has already made it's way into the museum's record books, with Bloomberg reporting that it has attracted over 350K+ people since opening in May, outpacing the extremely popular 2005 exhibition of van Gogh's drawings. Organized by The Costume Institute, it celebrates the late Alexander McQueen’s contributions to fashion—he challenged and expanded the understanding of fashion beyond utility to a conceptual expression of culture, politics, and identity. The sho
w features approximately 100 ensembles and 70 accessories from McQueen’s 19-year career. On view through August 7, it is the must see exhibit of the summer, if not the year. Listen to curator Andrew Bolton discussing the exhibit here. ADDENDUM: There is a great review of the exhibit on the blog "Two Nerdy History Girls."

3) "Picasso Guitars: 1912-1914," at the MoMA

"Dear Braque, I am using our latest papery and powdery procedures. I am in the process of imagining a guitar and I am using a bit of dust against our horrible canvas..." - Letter from Picasso to Georges Braque (Oct 9, 1912).

Taking a deep dive into a short two year period of
Picasso's long career, the "Picasso Guitars: 1912-1914" exhibition at the MoMA gives you a detailed look into a period of intense experimentation in sculpture and multi-media cubism for the artist that revolutionized the art world and has later been defined by art historians as the development of "synthetic cubism." The exhibition takes you back in time and submerses you in Picasso's studio and processes at the time. A great overview of the exhibit can be found in the Feb 10th Newsweek article "Pablo Picasso: Guitar Hero," by Blake Gopnik.

EXTRA CREDIT: The High Line Section Two Opening

The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan's largest industrial district. The last train ran on the High Line since 1980 and was left untouched until 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line, in partnership with the City of New York, were able to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park. The first section, from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, opened June 9, 2009 to much success. If you haven't had the opportunity to voyage down to Chelsea to enjoy this park, I highly recommend it. The second section, from West 20th Street to West 30th Street, opened earlier this month doubling the length of the park. The High Line website lists the year-long events that include children's play groups, dance lessons and even film screenings, in this unique park in the sky.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DIY Room Redecorating

Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is..." - Charles Schultz

I recently moved into a new apartment in the Boston area. I went from a large bright Northern Californian studio in-law style apartment with a walk in closet to a small New England bedroom in a three-bedroom apartment. So the challenge was how to maximum the storage space and make a small space into a cozy cave where I could study & relax. (Photo above: finished bedroom and photo left of the "book nook" before repainting.)

One selling point was that the room alre
ady had an accented wall in a deep emerald blue that I adore. Luckily, my roommate saved the paint she used so I was able to repaint the rest of the room a creamy white color and keep the accented wall. My existing furniture was a dark espresso brown collar, so I used the dark wood and wood floors as accents hoping for a more traditional new england summer beach house feel. After several days of repainting and a combination of my Ikea and Crate & Barrel Furniture, I think I was able to pull together a cozy look to the space. (Photo right of newly repainted and curtained bedroom.) I pulled on the blue and cream colors in the curtains, quilt and other accessories in the room. I used an old wooden chest (that I still need to paint to match the creamy white wall colors) as storage for my shoes and turned it into a bench with a couple of fun outdoor recliner seat covers from Thro. I hung a long shelf and hooks for my many purses & book bags to complete the look. Finally, I converted the small nook next my closet into a study/book nook with a leaning bookshelf/desk from the Sloane collection at Crate & Barrel. It's still a work-in-progress, but I am happy with the current look and am inspired to make some custom art work to post on the remaining white walls. Stay-tuned!