This morning starts my fourth (and final) day away from work… And I’m celebrating the calmness and fullness of elation swelling inside. Whether it’s the taste of comté cheese for breakfast (yes, that was my breakfast!) or the call of the seagulls outside the living room windows (yes, the seagulls are almost always swirling through the air, reminding me how close the ocean is), I feel a fullness of something rich that so often gets lost in the crush of deadlines and interminable email. I know that’s why I can sit and write another post—something that’s felt impossible for most of December even though I’ve been having the most fabulous of adventures whenever setting aside the computer.
I think the only reason I ever resent my otherwise fabulous editing and designing work is that it takes time away from ART. Few cities boast such a constant display of world-renowned artists that’s so rich and varied it’s impossible to scratch the surface of all that’s available to see. When my art historian friend who specializes in German modern art visited the city, she asked (seeing me so happy) if I thought I would stay here. Despite this being such a hard question to answer—and a question I now get all the time, from every direction—I immediately replied that if I stay in the US, it will have to be in New York. Only here is there the depth and breadth of international-level art that can nourish me. I would someday like to live part-time in a small beach town steps away from the Atlantic Ocean, and I would also like someday to live a part-time expat life in Europe. But for the core of living, it would be here.
That certainty washed over me as I indulged in a few exhibits these past weeks. For instance, I snatched a few minutes in the Chelsea galleries before meeting someone at the piers for a wine-tasting cruise. It was just enough time to catch half-a-dozen shows, ending with the heart-palpitating experience of standing in a room with Jean Tinguely sculptures. Tinguely is one of my favorite French sculptors—partly because he was the husband of Niki de Saint Phalle (yes, my cat was named after her) and partly because his kinetic “metamechanic” sculptures are deeply intwined in my perception of Paris. His (and Niki’s) are the sculptures in that utterly happy fountain of Igor Stravinsky Place, directly south of the Pompidou Center. His plot in Montparnasse Cemetery is topped by one of his incredible birds. While several European cities have his sculptures in museums, really his works are the moving wonders you discover outside when stumbling into a park or square. Indeed, I’ve never entered a small enclosed space to find a dozen pieces standing at attention—until this moment in Chelsea. From the base of most wove thick electrical cords to large red buttons sitting on the floor. The upshot: step on this button and let the wonder begin. And so I stepped. And stepped. And stepped. And slowly people began to do the same, and soon the gallery was filled with whirling, feathers flapping, and lights blinking.
I never wanted to leave. Yet I had to run to a date and the show closed that afternoon. Otherwise I would send you all to that white-walled room and encourage manic button pressing.
A second stirring gallery show was the Baselitz’s pen and ink work displayed at the unparalleled Gagosian. I went with the Glamazon one weekday afternoon, stopping in also to see the gripping later works of Francis Bacon. Baselitz is one of the great contemporary German artists. I’m used to seeing him only in Europe, at least in any extensive treatment—but here the Gagosian was displaying some of the most intimate, emotive, even sometimes hopeful works I’ve ever seen by his hands. The show also came at a time when my own interests in calligraphy, pens, and ink have re-blossomed (pen and ink was once my medium of choice and led directly to my first design job at the age of 19), so I moved through the gallery absorbed in the shifting width of brush strokes and the contrast between soft washes and sharp lines.
Of course all this adventuring in art has afforded opportunities to indulge in the aesthetics of garbing the body. When heading to the Gagosian with the Glamazon, I wanted to connect with the lines of ink, so I tossed on this gorgeous Kenzo coat discovered in a consignment shop on Madison. It was a warm day (as much of December has oddly been), so I wore a recently acquired Hermès silver necklace against bare skin—itself a feast of lines. Here, my dears, is the shorter Etcetera necklace, the match to my much-worn bracelet. For a final silver piece of a very silver-focused 2015 year, it’s been a spectacular addition to an already beloved collection.
Thank you for letting me share my elation over art with you. It’s a special treat.
What has brought elation into your life?