Thursday, April 20, 2017

FLIGHTS OF FANCY: Chihuly glass opens April 22 at NY Botanical Garden

Yellow Boat, Walla Wallas, & Red Reeds

"Breathtaking works of art that dazzle with color, light, and form—by day and night"


On Saturday, March 22, a long-awaited phantasmagoria of glass and color -- spectacular works by iconic glass artist Dale Chihuly -- will open at the 
New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.
This will be Chihuly's first major garden exhibition in New York 
in more than ten years. 

"Chihuly at the NY Botanical Garden is 
a waking dream."   

     Unnamed Chihuly piece outside conservatory at New York Botanical Garden

Kinda Seussical
(that's my name for this piece, not the artist's)

The exhibition will include  films, poetry, and age-appropriate art programs for children, many of them colorful and imaginative tributes to nature. At night, the exhibition will be "infused with a magical energy as the artworks are spectacularly illuminated amid NYBG’s sweeping vistas and magnificent Conservatory."

Below, from a 2006  Dale Chihuly exhibition
at the New York Botanical Garden
Rockefeller Rose Garden Reeds, Rocket Floats, & Cobalt Fiori

Above: Persian Chandeliers, also from 2006 NYBG exhibition

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CHIHULY will be on view through Sunday, Oct 29
for more information visit


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

EXHIBITION: Visions of Art Deco and beyond at Cooper Hewitt in NYC

stunning exhibition of Art Deco style and beyond is currenty on view
at The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s at the Cooper Hewitt 
Smithsonian Design Museum, NYC.

A gondola-shaped sofa designed by Marcel Coard (c. 1925)
The textile above it is Fire by Yvonne Cllarinval (1925)
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

1925 brooch by Parisian jeweler Boucheron in diamonds, platinum, 
carved lapis, onyx, coral and jade

Art Deco, perhaps the most popular of all modern design styles (who doesn't love it?)
is characterized by its sleek, streamlined look which is at once
sensuous and futuristic.  

Jewelry, bead-encrusted evening purses and cigarette cases
were particularly desirable items to Art Deco lovers during the Roaring Twenties.
They allowed the buyer to enter the market at an acceptable
price point, and build her/his collection to include larger, pricier items 
such as furniture, lacquered screens and evening gowns.

 Lacy detail of a firescreen by Edgar Brandt, wrought iron and gilding, 1925
The dancing lady at the center is a familiar logo of Art Deco styling.
Many decorative objects in the Art Deco style mimic the shapes of skyscrapers,
which were in their heyday in the 1920s and 30s.

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Below: two photos from Energizing the Everyday: the George R. Kravis II collection,
a 2016 exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt
(both featured in a Mad for Mod posting , June 2016)

Chromium-plated Manhattan cocktail service, 1934, Norman Bel Geddes,
 The Manhattan skyline served as muse to many designers
of the 1930s, with its outline evoking the modernity of the metropolis.

 Skyway Salt and Pepper Shakers, 1939, Russel Wright
These stainless steel & bakelite beauties are labor-saving 
(no polishing required) and whimsically modern.

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If you're an Art Deco fan and you haven't yet seen any episodes of
Miss Fisher's Mysteries, run -- don't walk -- to your nearest DVD store, 
or check out the streaming service (no .com)

Australian actress Essie Davis plays Phryne Fisher -- a headstrong and lusciously 
attired detective in opulent 1920s Melbourne -- on ABC's
runaway hit. She often shows up at the scenes of grisly murders
dressed like this (see below), usually coming from a cocktail party or a hot date.

Just a few hats from Phryne's overflowing closet

The Art Deco exhibition runs through through Sunday, Aug. 20.
For more information, visit

“A multisensory blockbuster of a show…” —Associated Press


Saturday, March 25, 2017

REMEMBRANCE: Hugh Hardy, ebullient architect whose designs epitomized NY pizazz

Chandelier at NYC's Rainbow Room!
a Hugh Hardy design

The world of architecture lost a blithe spirit when Hugh Hardy, primarily known and admired for his fanciful theater designs, passed away on March 23 in Manhattan. Among his many notable creations were the Majestic Theater in downtown Brooklyn, the "gingerbread" information kiosk in Central Park, and the iconic Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center.
as well as ...

 His renovated auditorium at Radio City Music Hall.
Photo credit Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Above: Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA 
Photo by BWChicago

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 Windows on the World dining room, on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower, before that terrible day. Designed by Hardy, it was a favorite place for my family, as well as many others, to celebrate special occasions. 

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 Above: New Victory Theater, 42nd St., New York, NY
The venue was built in 1900 by Oscar Hammerstein, 
grandfather of the famous lyricist. It has been renovated and
its mission successfully reimagined numerous times.

"The New Victory is an exquisite jewel on a street of gems" – 
the NY Times 

 The Rainbow Room, Rockefeller Center, NY, NY

Gustavino's Food Emporium under the Queensboro Bridge

The luminous Claire Tow Theater sits atop the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, on which Mr. Hardy had worked in the early 1960s. He had served as mediator between Mielziner, the stage designer for the Beaumont, 
and Eero Saarinen, its architect. The theater functions as a showcase 
for works by new playwrights, directors and designers. 

I am tempted to say what it all comes down to is that for Hugh, all architecture was theater,” said Paul Goldberger, noted architecture writer and critic. ... "I don’t think any architect has better embodied the spirit of New York, not only through his work but also through everything he thought and wrote and did. Every one of us has lived more intensely in New York because of Hugh, understood the city better because of him, and loved the city more because of him.”
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Hugh Hardy, 1932 - 2017

Hardy was born in Majorca, Spain, after his eccentric father left
a lucrative job at an advertising agency in NY and
decided to move temporarily to Europe to write a novel. 
He attended Princeton University where he earned a a master of fine arts 
degree in 1956, and later served in the Army Corps of Engineers  
as a drafting instructor. 

In 1965, Hardy married free-spirited architect Tiziana Spadea. Among other things,
Spadea designed patterns for high-style ladies' coats and separates.

"They were the Nick and Nora Charles of a certain New York set, a group of people who are involved in helping to ensure a future for New York as rich in magic as its nostalgia-tinged past,” Julie Iovine wrote in 1997 in the NY Times.