It's galleries galore around town with wonderful new art shows opening almost every day.
left to right: Andy Warhol's iconic portrait Big Campbell's Soup Can; Ai Weiwei rendering of Coca Cola Vase; Andy Warhol rendering of Coca Cola bottles
FIFTY, SIXTY AND SOUP
Exploring Andy Warhol's extensive influence on contemporary art, the Metropolitan Museum has mounted "Regarding Warhol, Sixty Artists, Fifty Years." Groundbreaking paintings, sculptures and films by the artist are sorted into five themes and mounted alongside the works of other artists who reinterpreted or responded to his innovations.
Beginning with Warhol's early fascination with everyday life and images--from the Brillo box to Campbell Soup cans--the exhibit proceeds to his "packaging" of celebrities. A third section focuses on issues of sexuality and gender before two closing sections deal with his use of pre-existing sources--altered history paintings and photographs--and finally his interest in partnering with filmmakers, publishers and designers.
Another Warhol celebration this month is the fiftieth anniversary of the artist's painting all 62 flavors of Campbell's soup. In honor of the demi-centennial, the company has issued a limited edition of tomato soup cans packaged in four unusual color combinations devised by Warhol. These are on sale while they last at Target stores—for 75 cents you can add a "Warhol" to your own collection. metmuseum.org
"New River Watercolor Series 1 (#3) by John Cage" on display at the National Academy of Design
NATIONAL ACADEMY TRIPLE PLAY
Judith Shea's "Her Own Style" is a selection of portraits of women from the National Academy's collection ranging from Celia Beaux's charming 1894 "Self Portrait" to Alice Neel's harrowing "Self-Portrait, Skull" and including Shea's own life size "Artist" in cast carbon steel.
"The Sight of Silence" is an exhibit of works by avant-garde composer John Cage. Like his music, the pieces, which might appear random, are not arbitrary but based on his theory of "chance operation" incorporating a set of predetermined rules and boundaries. In keeping with his philosophy, the pieces are arranged according to throws of the dice—the first throw dictated which of the gallery rooms would show the work, the next throw which wall, finally a throw to determine whether on the room's x or y axis.
A tribute to Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" Phoebe Washburn's 16-foot high wood construction: "Nudes Housed Within Their Own Clothes and Aware of Their Individual Thirst, Descending a Staircase," dominates the National Academy's dramatic staircase lobby and will be on display through next year's anniversary of the Armory Show when the controversial original debuted. nationalacademy.org
above: "Self Portrait" by Cecilia Beaux
Initially writings were recorded on one-sided scrolls. Then, in the first century the codex was devised: pages written on both sides and bound into leaves. Before the mid-fifteenth-century invention of the printing press, those precursor books were unique works of art and one of the world's great collections belongs to Oxford University's Bodleian Library. On loan from that library and on view in the US for the first time is "Crossing Borders," selections from its precious collection of Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin manuscripts.
After Henry VIII overthrew Catholicism creating the Anglican Church scholars had renewed interest in returning to original manuscripts of Christianity. The books on display indicate the intellectual exchange among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Besides a Quran with bright blue illustrations and charming drawings of Adam and Eve in Jacob ben Asher's "The Stone of Help," a highlight is a digitized version of the priceless Kennicott Bible. The most lavishly illustrated Bible surviving from Medieval Spain, it's 922 pages and extravagant detail can be studied as visitors sweep "page-by-page" through the digital projections. TheJewishMuseum.org
above: A page from the Kennicott Bible
left to right: From "Multiverse You Are, I Am." by James Rosenquist; From "Multiverse You Are, I Am."
NEW TWIST ROSENQUIST
Created after a 2009 fire destroyed his studio in Florida, James Rosenquist's new works depict kaleidoscopic shards of metal, flickering flames, night skies punched with stars and whirling galaxy. Rosenquist (and, as it happens, I too) grew up on the perfectly flat plains of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Towering over the city's flat horizon, seven-eights of the world is made up of sky. That sense of space, present in the artist's iconic canvas "F-111" also infuses these works with slashes of galaxy and supernova. "Multi-verse You Are, I Am" is on display at Aquavella through October 13. acquavellagalleries.com
left to right: Society portrait by Paul Cesar Helleu; Photograph courtesy of Cathleen Naundorf Bernheimer Fine Art Photography
COUTURE THEN AND NOW
Charming sketches of Edwardian ladies are paired with photos of exotic supermodels in "Beauty Endures: Studies of Glamour and Intrigue," a collaboration between Trinity House Paintings and Bernheimer Fine Art Photography. A contemporary of John Singer Sargent and Marcel Proust, Paul Cesar Helleu devised portraits of elegant fashionable denizens of Parisian literary society--and eventually was commissioned to decorate the ceiling of Grand Central Station where he created the familiar blue-green night sky with zodiac signs.
Committed to large format cameras, Cathleen Naundorf uses her unlimited access to couturiers' archives to assemble gowns, locations and models, which she portrays in enchanting and provocative poses. The works are on display in Trinity House's townhouse gallery through September 29. trinityhousepaintings.com