You can look from the entryway of this 1967 international style home in Illinois, all the way through the wall of glass in back, out onto the fairway of the Urbana Country Club’s 18-hole golf course. Area architect John Replinger designed this three-bedroom home (which was bought in ’09 for $252K) and beautifully rehabbed by an artist and an architect. The landscaping of the yard was inspired by the work of modernist landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx and there’s a vegetable garden to one side. It looks to have 5-6 bedrooms, which is HUGE, really. To me, it could use a reflecting pool in that glass-enclosed courtyard, with a little water feature you could hear throughout the house. It’s almost enough to consider a move to Urbana, Illinois. Hmmm, it's just two hours south of Chicago... the price? A very reasonable-sounding $296,000.
The images captured in these vintage photos by Danny Lyon were shot in 1966. You might know the Brooklyn-born Lyon from his book called The Destruction of Lower Manhattan. This year the MTA is staging an exhibition from Lyon called Underground: 1966, which was inspired by some advice from his mom when he returned to the city;
“If you’re bored, just talk to someone on the subway.”
They have never been publicly exhibited and you can check them out in their entirety for the next year at the Atlantic Avenue Barclays Station. * Note to self: take more pictures of the seemingly banal. (Photos, Danny Lyon, courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York / Zürich; via Gizmodo)
An Italian retiree who had the good fortune to unwittingly purchase a stolen Paul Gauguin masterpiece has been awarded ownership of the painting. Known only as Nicolo, the man went to a railway auction and bought two paintings for about $35. The paintings had been originally owned by Mathilda Marks, daughter of Michael Marks, the founder of Marks & Spencer, and were stolen in 1970 from the apartment where her American husband lived in Regent’s Park, London. The thieves smuggled the paintings by train through France, intending to go to Italy, but panicked while waiting to cross the border. They left them on a train heading toward Turin. The railway auctioneers told Nicolo that they were worthless, but little did they know that they were in fact an 1889 Gauguin entitled “Fruit on a Table” worth $43 million and a still life with a dog, a work by Pierre Bonnard entitled “Woman with two armchairs”, now thought to be worth in excess of $750,000.
Not realizing what he had, Nicolo hung them on the wall of his kitchen in two different residences for over 40 years. It was his curious son, who had an interest in art history, that eventually made him think the paintings might be more valuable. After comparing a dedication on the Gauguin with examples of the artist’s handwriting, they realized they might have a masterpiece on their hands. The paintings were then sequestered by police, who went about trying to establish their rightful owners. They worked with Scotland Yard in London to try to discover whether anyone might have a legitimate claim to the artworks. But Marks and her husband, Terence Kennedy, had no children and no one came forward to claim them, so Nicolo was allowed to keep both works.
“I acquired the painting in good faith and that has been recognized by the authorities in Rome. “I’m already in negotiations over the sale of the Gauguin. Lots of private collectors have contacted me and I’m considering the offers along with my family.”
He plans to sell the Gauguin to take his wife on the honeymoon they could never afford: a journey between Trieste, in Italy’s northeast, and Vienna. (I think he could go around the world several times in first class)
And he said he would keep the Bonnard because it had sentimental value. He also plans to buy a farm outside Syracuse and hopes will use the rest of his newfound fortune to assure a comfortable future for his children and grandchildren. (The kids will spend it up before the grandkids get it and that Bonnard will be sold pretty soon, right?)
“Maybe I had an intuition. I just liked them. When I took them home I said to myself, ‘I don’t care who painted them, I find them beautiful.’"
Well, that’s the way art should work… except when you discover you could buy your whole village and then some with the proceeds, then art becomes a commodity like any other. The moral of the story? Buy art and the worst that happens is that you enjoy looking at it.
Last week, while I was visiting my pal photographer Rocky Schenck, who has a great mission-style home in Beechwood Canyon, we were admiring the view at sunset. He pointed out a beautiful property across the canyon, that we had admired before and said, “Andy Samberg bought Moorcrest!” My response was “Wha?” A few years earlier looking at the same view, he told me that house used to be Charlie Chaplin‘s and wondered what it looked like today. I researched pics online and sent him a link. As you can see here, the opulent restored residence combines several styles, from Moorish to Art Nouveau and Mission. The light-flooded atrium with a domed glass ceiling is crazy-beautiful and the pool with it’s own grotto and a stepping-stone path looks more like a movie set than anyone’s residence. The house was designed by Marie Russak Hotchener, a rare-for-the-time female architect who designed several buildings for the Theosophist community, Krotona. Moorcrest is considered one of her most famous works, and the phrase, “they don’t build ‘em like this anymore” fits perfectly. The seller, Andrew Meieran the producer/nightlife impressario, has been slowly fixing up the Downtown LA’s Clifton and he also owns The Edison. He put a LOT of work (and $$$) into restoring this mini-palace. Samberg, and girlfriend Joanna Newsom, reportedly bought the property in an off-market deal for $6.25 million, which, looking at these pics, seems like some kind of steal.
I wrote about this show when it first opened in November, but last Sunday, I was in San Francisco for a show I was in at the Bedford Gallery and went to see it. First of all, the museum itself, situated in Golden Gate Park, is architecturally unique and beautiful, in a brutalist Whitney sort of way. The café (which has a great menu) faces a serene sculpture garden... a great setting for any show.
Seeing your late friend’s big museum show is weird, exciting, impressive, sad, inspiring… a whole range of thoughts and feelings came over me. I tend to go through a show pretty quickly and then go back through the galleries two more times. You can see here, it’s a big show and I’ve only included maybe a quarter of the work. One of the things I realized while looking at this huge body of varied work was that Keith had really mastered many levels making art. He was talented, no doubt and like his idol and friend, Andy Warhol, he could really draw. He was an accomplished draftsman and he instinctively understood color and form. He had ideas he could articulate visually, and among other things he knew exactly how to present a piece so it had “wall appeal”. Not a lot of artists of our generation know how to to do that at quite the level he did. Finally, he was ambitious and wanted to be known. He stood in front of his work and knew that if HE was famous, his work would be seen. Fame is a LOT of real work and also like Andy, he came from a working class background and wasn’t afraid to actually get his hands dirty. But like a ballet dancer, he made it all looks effortless and included the viewer in the process. In shooting these pictures, I also included people looking at the work and I snapped of a young man that, at the time, I barely clocked in my peripheral vision. But looking back now, in the next to the last shot, you can see he looks an awful lot like a sweet boy named Keith that I met a long time ago. The day the show closes is the 25th anniversary of his death at age 31. If look at the last image, you’ll see a young guy who made quite an impact in just one decade –and he continues to inspire and provoke thought. Good job, Keith.
Conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan has officially retired as an artist, so this exhibit at Venus Over Manhattan isn’t new work but it’s a tantalizing way to present a show. I can’t explain any of it to you –just watch and you be the peeping Tom, Judge Judy and see what it means to you. The exhibit is up at 980 Madison Avenue in New York through January 10, 2015.
Seems like ages ago when I left NYC for Florida, but it was just December 2 when there was a press preview at the Cornell Museum in Delray Beach for Language Art, a show I’m featured in along with artists Mary Coyle, Michael Dinges, Reed Dixon, William Halliday, Kathy Halper, Robert Indiana, Meryl Pataky, Johnny Romeo, Matthew Rose and Annie Vought. Curator Melanie Johansen and the museum team couldn’t have been more welcoming and gracious to me –as was everyone I met. (Unbeknownst to me, though Melanie was biting her nails all afternoon as a large diptych of mine “The Future was Better”, was only delivered just 30 minutes before the show opened! Whew! The Future was almost the past before we got started.) Two nights later, when I was down the beach in Miami for Art Basel, the official opening happened with a martini party and hundreds of revelers pouring in the square to see the HUGE tree lit up (it’s one of the largest in the country and it’s hollow and you can go inside!) I missed all that fun, but here are some pics. Can’t reveal anything just yet but a year from now, I’ll be back in Delray for something exciting! To me, anyway.
After 3 days at Art Basel with my pal Susan Kilkenny, I flew to San Francisco on December 7th for the opening for The Jealous Curator: From Blog To Book To Gallery at the Bedford Gallery. It’s actually outside San Francisco in Walnut Creek at the Lesher Center for the Arts. The author, Danielle Krysa wrote a book Creative Block: Advice and Projects From 50 Successful Artists, which I am still amazed to be included in and this was the basis for the exhibit with 20 of the 50 artists in the book represented. Btw, the Huffington Post just named Creative Block one of the Best Art Books of 2014! And the great site Brain Pickings also picked Creative Block as one of their faves of ’14. Not bad, huh? See the book come to life was great for everyone, especially Danielle who wrote the blog and the book on these folks without ever seeing 90% of the work in person, so this show was a surprise. Danielle signed books and being the schmuck I am, I forced people to let me sign their books too, not realizing that six of the other artists were also there. Curator Carrie Lederer and her team were also incredibly accommodating and nice to deal with, the whole experience was really a cake walk. There was a great DIY area where visitors can color three of my project PBN pages and also a chalkboard in addition to the 4 paintings and one mirror piece I had on display. After the opening, Danielle, the artists, Lisa Congdon, Lisa Golightly, Stephanie Vovas and others all went across the street and had martinis and chatted. What a fun smart group –just like the author herself, who btw, just got her third book deal, which is a sort of follow-up to CB. The next day, Danielle and I returned to give a talk… no, I didn’t force myself on the crowd, this time I was ASKED.
I swear I don’t have penises on the brain 24/7 but in line with my earlier post and Tom Ford’s “Penis pendant Necklace”, there’s this post from George Takei on Facebook. I’m not sure which city had something other than Candles and Holiday ornaments on the brain… and I think the stars were added by an overzealous fan, but they are nevertheless, um, FESTIVE! Cheers!?
Freud theorized that people often have the most hateful and negative attitudes towards things they secretly crave, but feel that they shouldn’t have. Well, you know he’s right –and men who are the most opposed to male homosexuality have particularly strong homosexual urges for other men. Get this. A recent study asked heterosexual men how comfortable and anxious they are around gay men. Based on these scores, they then divided these men into two groups: men that are homophobic, and men who are not. These men were then shown three videos; one with straight sex, one with lesbian sex and one with gay male sex. While they were, a device attached to each participant’s penis that triggered sexual arousal (but not other types of arousal like nervousness, or fear.) When viewing lesbian sex and straight sex, both the homophobic and the non-homophobic men showed increased penis circumference. For gay male sex though, only the homophobic men showed heightened penis arousal. Those heterosexual men with the most anti-gay attitudes had reported NOT being sexually aroused by gay male sex videos. But, their penises said otherwise. As Billy Shakespeare said, “The lady doth protest too much.” Yaass, gurl!
…and just in time for gift-giving season Tom Ford brings us the necklace to make your Uncle Joe REALLY nervous at Christmas get togethers. (Also perfect for the retiring porn star!) It’s called “penis pendant necklace,” so there’s no doubt about what it is, Catholics, and it’s offered in silver and gold, in three sizes: small, medium, and large. All are $790, which is democratic –and expensive. It had better be LARGE GOLD, if you’re trying to flatter or impress the giftee. Insert dick joke here. (via Psychology Today)
Sir Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies got his day in the sun as he was presented the 2,538th star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. I’m in LA now staying around the corner from the World of Wonder headquarters which is on Hollywood Boulevard. (I have my own little one bedroom apartment for a week with a living and dining room, patio, kitchen, bedroom, laundry area and a pool and jacuzzi just outside!) I was walking last night down Hollywood Blvd. looking at wigs and such (tomorrow night is the Drag Race party and I’m going!) Anyway, several things occurred to me. These ceremonies NEVER take place where the actual star is, for one, because there’s never enough room, they have to shut down the street and also, some (most) of the locations are less than glam. The pics above and below of Jackson, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood and Lee Pace were probably taken at a ceremony elsewhere. Lord (of the Rings) knows where the actual star will be? – likely in front of something fairly seedy.
I’m not sure where Bill Cosby‘s star is, but it hardly matters. Someone wrote “RAPIST” on it three times, which I’m sure has been cleaned off by now. Whether it’s true or not (how could all 19 women be lying?) he sadly wouldn’t be the first to headline that shameful category on this walk. Oh, Hollywood fame. One day you’re in, the next day you’re out. Sorry, Heidi.