Huntington Hartford Museum, 1964 Cartoon

Art
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This Esky cartoon is pretty inscrutable today, but Mr J D King points out that the Plaid Stamps sign is an allusion to the Pop Art fad of the period. Mr Huntington Hartford was a much-married playboy and philanthropist who succeeded in running through his entire inheritance (A&P supermarkets) before he died. He pissed a few million away on an entertainment magazine, and then wasted another hundred million by building a modern-art museum on a traffic island by Columbus Circle—then a down-at-the-heels part of town. A&P were the main providers of Plaid trading stamps. Plaid was a distinctly second-tier brand, the high-end competitor being the Beinecke family's S&H Green Stamps. Just before the bottom fell […] Read More

Rauschenberg: Review of Reviews

Art
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Thing about Robert Rauschenberg is, it’s not at all clear what he really ever did, other than hang out with art-pals . . . and experiment with various mixed media . . . and mountainous junkyards of techno-gadgetry that get set up and oohed over in “installations.” I guess they call them installations because you need six Bekins men and assorted appliance guys just to install them. For my money, there’s nothing more spoiled and indulgent than a big art installation, something nobody can really buy and show off in the parlor. They are doomed to a life of roadshows, even when they have a nominal home such as the Beaubourg in Paris, […] Read More

The Polo Shirt, Rediscovered

Fashion
margot darby

For years I shunned polo shirts because the standard cotton-piqué type (Lacoste, 1970s) was always just a little bit too heavy, and the cut of the women's style was somehow too restrictive. (Something to do with the armholes, you know.) Of course you could always buy a larger size, but that was like wearing a men's: baggy, totally unbecoming. And the good ones were always so expensive. I remember how in the original novel Jaws the chief remembers how badly he wanted a Lacoste shirt, like the ones the summer people at Nantucket wore. But his mother sneered, called the Lacoste polo a "two-dollar shirt with a ten-dollar alligator," or something like […] Read More

Crime and Punishment at the Art Students League

Art

(Originally published June 29, 2014) Our very own Mr. Ian Stuart Dowdy of the Art Students League likes to tell the tale of how he was responsible for the death of an old lady he was supposed to be taking care of. Old Mrs. Voorhees-Rohr was often bedridden with a prolapsed colon and needed round-the-clock care. As no nurse or home-care-giver was available on a live-in basis (this was during the War), and the live-in maid did not wish to do this sort of work, Mrs. V-R had her attorney look for a young man or woman who could move into the spare bedroom down the hall. A day or two later […] Read More

Did Over-the-Knee Boots Cause Manchester Bombing?

Fashion
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If like many women you spent the autumns of 2015 and 2016 longing for a sleek pair of over-the-knee boots, but held off because the Stuart Weitzmans you wanted started at around $800, there may be good news in store! It now appears the thigh-boot fad is over, meaning you can probably rock a nifty pair of dominatrix specials for as little as $200. Does that still sound steep? Remember: you can always cut a thigh boot down to calf length—or even an ankle bootie! Many smart gals will be investing in over-the-knees during this summer's clearance sales, and then keeping an eye out for autumn trends! I just realized the thigh-boot fad had "jumped […] Read More

Hiding in the Woodpile: How Altimeters Are Weaponizing Irony to Spread Margarine

Commentary
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This seems to be what the kiddies are into these days. Confess I just don't get it, myself. I understand the "Proud Boys" have something to do with fighting Onanism. From The Grauniad: Experts say the ‘alt-right’ have stormed mainstream consciousness by using ‘humor’ and ambiguity as tactics to wrong-foot their opponents Earlier this month, hundreds of “alt-right” protesters occupied the rotunda at Boston Common in the name of free speech. The protest included far-right grouplets old and new – from the Oath Keepers to the Proud Boys. But there were no swastikas or shaved heads in sight. Instead, the protest imagery was dominated by ostensibly comedic images, mostly cribbed from forums and […] Read More

Picasso Painting Sells for $45

Art
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Pablo Picasso's "Seated Woman in a Blue Dress" has sold in New York for $45 million dollars, news agencies report. Says the BBC site: It is one of the great Picasso portraits of his middle years, inspired—as so often—by love and by powerful sexual desire, BBC arts correspondent Vincent Dowd reports. Judge for yourself. The real news here seems to be that it last sold six years ago for a mere $26 million, making this a very nice flip. Correction: The painting sold for $45 million, not $45.  […] Read More

Sotheby’s European Art, May 24th 2017

Art

Sotheby's New York on York Avenue holds its annual auction of miscellaneous "European art" on Wednesday May 24th. Items include works from "the most celebrated artists of the era, including William Bouguereau, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Jean-Léon Gérôme and Henri Gervex." Era appears to be 19th century. Gérôme, who did this fighting-cock piece in 1846, is thus described on the website for the Musée D'Orsay: In the "Neo-Grec" style, characterised by a taste for meticulous finish, pale colours and smooth brushwork, Gérôme portrays a couple of near-naked adolescents at the foot of a fountain. Their youthfulness contrasts with the battered profile of the Sphinx in the background. The same opposition is found between […] Read More

Restroom Galleries, Beware!

Art
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The current fad of young people taking snaps of themselves in the bathroom continues to puzzle me. Typically they use their little toy 'smartphones,' which typically have a hole at the back, through which they can shoot a dim photo. What is it about bathrooms that they find so alluring? And what happens to the snaps afterwards? Do these youngsters paste them into a scrapbook or photograph album? Make postcards? They are most unappealing. I am reminded of my old friend James Hervey Johnson, onetime city tax assessor and papaya fancier in San Diego. For most of his life he snapped a picture of himself nearly every day. Many of these he pasted […] Read More

Alex Martinis Roe

Art

I have no idea what this is, but it looks good. Walking into The Showroom, you might think you’ve made a wrong turn into a feminist group’s meeting. But look past the DIY aesthetics and give this exhibition time – you’ll be rewarded by the political resonance and relevance of Alex Martinis Roe’s work. From TimeOut London […] Read More

France in the Grip of Cold Terror

Commentary, Newsbrief
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The expected news that Emmanuel Macron would win the presidential runoff in France on Sunday accounted for many bitter tears on the part of «Le Penistes» and yet it was not wholly a surprise. For many years it has been apparent that voters in Western "democracies" are generally willing to trade the health of their peoples and nations in exchange for short-term economic stability. Whether or not the Macron regime will collapse in short order, as most French regimes have in the past century, remains to be seen. As Herbert Asquith liked to say, "Wait and see!" […] Read More

More Art Is on Its Way This Week

Art, Newsbrief
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Art lovers in NYC who have been dying to visit more galleries and see more artworks of quality ranging from excellent to meretricious, are in for a treat. For more art is on its way! The exact number of art galleries in the city ranges between 500 and 5,000, depending on whether one counts such things as museums, student exhibitions, photography displays, furniture showrooms, and pop-up art shows. Many of the best galleries, such as the late, lamented Dorian Grey in the East Village, survive for only a few seasons before moving on. Contrariwise, the Upper East Side is dotted with commercial galleries that exist for many decades, whether as vanity operations […] Read More