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Walking the streets of New York I began to notice a wide variation in how addresses are marked. It’s a simple way for a home owner or business to express a little style, and intrigued, I started collecting photographs…slowly. For several years now, when a number caught my eye, it was mine. It wasn’t until recently that I picked up the pace on the project in order to fill in the blanks (finally finding the elusive #18 and #76) and complete a series of addresses from One to One Hundred.
Like any project that drags on for a few years, there is always the risk that someone will beat you to the punch. My friend Erik did, long ago.
So without further delay here is the first set of ten.
While seeking a shady patch of grass for a picnic in Governors Island’s Nolan Park, I was summoned up to the porch of one of the houses by a man who was cradling a pug in his arms. I know a few people who love pugs so had a feeling that it would be OK. ”Would you like to come in and see my display of antique gowns?” he asked. Cautiously, I went inside…
…and saw this.
The man, who turned out to be Michael Levinson of Empire Historic Arts, explained that this was an art installation created by he and his partner, Rodney DeJong.
Tattered and Torn: (On the Road to Deaccession) is a display of a few of the pair’s collection of 19th Century gowns that have historic significance, but are too worn or damaged to be kept by a museum, and have therefore been cast off.
The house is a former residence for US Coast Guard officers, and the rooms are in a suspended state of decay. They are perfect for the imperfect, but still lovely gowns.
"Go ahead, open the closet" Mr. Levinson urged. A victim of my own imagination, I hesitated, so he patiently told me that a prized specimen was inside. I opened the door, the light turned on and not only was the gown wonderful, I was delighted to see an expertly painted diorama.
In all there were five wedding dresses from the mid 1800’s, as well as a few other fancy ball gowns. And they were tiny! Just like the pug, who despite wearing a very masculine studded leather collar, was named Sylvia. And she was charming.
Over the last 30 years Tribeca has become a very desirable (and expensive) place to live. But it’s not all pocket parks and multi-million dollar loft apartments.
This gritty alley endures, and is a reminder that some of the streets are still mean. It was this building that I was photographing when I literally backed into Mmuseumm.
Once the weekend comes, this Chelsea parking garage plays host to the most bizarre flea market I have ever seen.
Art lines the entry ramp.
The dreary space is comes to life with booths all staffed by characters*.
A collection of your favorite thing is sure to be here.
There are tools, both useful…
Cameras, pocket watches and microscopes…
and a “better” 4 way mousetrap.
Are you are looking for a musical instrument with a certain “patina”? It’s great to see the old round key typewriters and…
…for the fashionable typist on the go, a RED portable.
Perhaps you’d like a fur,
or a furry animal.
DON’T help yourself.
I’d like to say “Who wants to play Jumpy Tinker?” at a party.
Up-cycled school rulers.
And interesting yet utterly useless things.
*saved for another post
I’m not great at photographing people, so perhaps I’ll bring my friend, street photographer, Fabian Palencia some time.
Health food at the Drug Store. Preventative medicine at its best
"Hanging Heart (Violet/Gold)", 1994-2006
Contemporary artist Jeff Koons has garnered a great deal of criticism over his long career, but his success, by any measure, is undeniable. His work had sold for record breaking prices (and continues to do so), he employs over 100 people in his studio alone, and as a living artist, a retrospective show at The Whitney has to be a high point.
Koons’ work has been in the news so often over the years that we are all somewhat familiar with his body of work. I’ve certainly been attracted and/or repelled by much of it. There is even one of his “balloon” sculptures near our home. But The Whitney’s show exhibits his work brilliantly; the work is placed thoughtfully, and although guarded closely, allows for up-close scrutiny.
Massive scale, incredible texture and technical mastery are the hallmarks of his sculptures and they are a marvel. For example, “Play-Doh”, 1994-2014!!! resembles, with incredible accuracy, a giant rainbow pile of play-doh. Though it is made of aluminum, you can almost smell the distinctive play-doh scent.
"Balloon Dog (Yellow)", 1994-2000, made of stainless steel, seems heavy due to its scale, but it is so perfectly constructed, you believe that it is filled with air, just like the balloon that it evokes.
I probably spent twenty minutes examining “Seal Walrus (Chairs)”, 2003-2009. It was part of a series of sculptures made to look like vinyl, inflatable pool toys. Again, they are made of aluminum and the urge to touch is almost irresistible. Everything is pitch perfect, from the sheen to the seams to the puckers.
This is when I got it. Regardless of your feelings toward the man or his often controversial work - I declined to photograph the more ‘pornographic’ pieces - the technical wizardry is remarkable.
Koons has sometimes had to invent technology in order to produce the sculpture or paintings or massive prints that he (and staff of artisans) create. His vision is singular and the effect is dazzling.