Living / Insights

Guggenheim Exhibits Robert Motherwell Collages

An exhibit highlighting Robert Motherwell’s early collages shows the themes the artist would develop throughout his career.

September 02, 2013

the pink mirror

The Pink Mirror, 1946.

Robert Motherwell described it as “the greatest of our discoveries.” The “discovery” he and other modern artists made was collage, and Motherwell, a seminal figure in Abstract Expressionism and an eloquent spokesman for 20th-century art, was perhaps one of its most dedicated practitioners. “In the first decade of his career, from 1941 to 1951, Motherwell looked for and established his identity through collages,” comments Susan Davidson, curator of the exhibition, “Robert Motherwell, Early Collages,” nearly 60 papiers collés and related works on paper at the Guggenheim Museum starting September 27.

Collector and patron Peggy Guggenheim spurred Motherwell’s lifelong fascination with the art form. Although collage was a distinctive part of modern art in Europe, very few American artists worked in the medium. Guggenheim, who saw her gallery in part as a “research laboratory,” approached William Baziotes, Jackson Pollock, and Motherwell, young emerging artists who frequented her soirées. “Why don’t the three of you try collage?” Guggenheim challenged Motherwell.

Motherwell went to work with Pollock at his Greenwich Village studio; Pollock and Baziotes soon abandoned the form, but Motherwell discovered a passion and aptitude for the medium, and Guggenheim offered him his first solo show in 1944. “By cutting, tearing, and layering past papers, he reflected the tumult and violence of the modern world,” says Davidson, “which established him as an essential and original voice in postwar American art.”

Look at these early works, Davidson suggests, and you will see Motherwell discovering himself. In this decisive decade, Motherwell explored themes that he would develop throughout his career, among them the Spanish Civil War and the horrors of war, and Mexico.

Throughout the ’40s, Motherwell produced abstracted figural collages and pure abstract collages. By the late ’40s, the artist made what Davidson calls a radical turn. More and more often, rather than cutting, he would tear paper, and then rip pieces off the artwork—the raw edges showing a new emotional range; indeed, the artist viewed tearing as an aggressive act. With the torn paper forms and brilliant, bold paint strokes in The Poet, 1947; Elegy, 1948; and In Grey and Tan, 1948, Motherwell demonstrated a very defined vocabulary, firmly rooted in Abstract Expressionism.

“One enters the studio as one would an arena,” Motherwell wrote. “Of course everyone undergoes risks just by living,” he added, but it is the artist’s special function “to give each risk its proper style.” Motherwell went on creating collages, nearly 1,000 of them, right up until his death in 1991. “Robert Motherwell, Early Collages” is on display September 27–January 5, 2014 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Ave., 212-423-3587


By Suzanne Charlé


Weekend Getaway: St. Regis Mexico City

Treat yourself to butler service, fine linens, and first-rate cuisine from a top New York chef.

August 05, 2013

Craving something more exotic than the typical weekend jaunt to Palm Beach or the Caribbean? Consider St. Regis Mexico City, just a quick five-hour flight from New York. Here are our top five reasons to make the trip:



Bentley Unveils Plans for Luxury SUV

The highly anticipated SUV concept is expected to hit the market in 2016.

July 25, 2013

After endless speculation and rumors, Bentley recently made an official statement that their much-anticipated EXP 9 F concept SUV will go into production as the company’s fourth model line. It’s expected to hit the market in 2016.

Bentley says it will devote more than 800 million Euros toward new product development as well as its headquarters. The stately SUV will be made in Crewe and is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs in England.

“This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful, and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market,” said Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, Bentley’s chairman and chief executive, in a statement. “The support of everyone involved with the company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company.”

The EXP 9 F concept was first shown in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show with massive 23-inch alloy wheels, Bentley’s signature grille, a powerful 6-liter W12 engine coupled with an 8-speed transmission, and luxurious amenities fit for the royal family. Expect the production of the lavish SUV to be limited with pricing well beyond the most expensive SUVs—the Range Rover and Porsche Cayenne Turbo—on the market.

by Kimatni D. Rawlins,, (@ARtvKimatni)


Rescue Cats at Play in New Art Exhibit

White Columns exhibits "The Cat Show," as irresistible to cat lovers as catnip to felines.

July 17, 2013

While dogs make more appearances on the street, cats are the pet of choice for most New Yorkers. And let's face it, cat videos, photos, and gifs pretty much own the internet. So “The Cat Show,” a new exhibit at White Columns, is destined for success and a big turnout.

Curated by Rhonda Lieberman, a writer and artist, the exhibition features cat-themed artwork by more than 50 different artists and contributors, including filmmaker Gus Van Sant, Andy Warhol, Rob Pruitt, and Ryan McNamara, to name a few. There are photographs, short videos, paintings, ceramics, and even sound installation.

Of course, no cat show would be complete without the enthusiastic participation of live felines. As such, the exhibition's pièce de rèsistance is an installation piece that doubles as a real-life cat playground. Created by architects Gia Wolff and Freecell, the artsy enclosure serves as a temporary home to cats belonging to the non-profit cat rescue organization Social Tees Animal Rescue, which rescues, rehabilitates, and finds home more than 3,000 animals each year.

In this case, the happy cats have collectively become performance art as they romp merrily around the installation. And yes, you can take one home. As part of “The Cat Show’s” Cats-in-Residence Program, you can adopt a homeless pet during designated adoption hours. The next and final rounds of adoption days are July 19 and 20. 320 W. 13th St., 212-924-4212



The Art of Empty Space

Robert Irwin's famous fourth floor installation is a minimalist journey in perception.

July 10, 2013

This summer, the Whitney Museum of American Art resurrects a monumental, large-scale installation first exhibited in 1977—and not since. Created by California artist Robert Irwin—who works with what are perhaps the most natural and minimalist materials possible, light and space—the piece, "Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light," plays subtly with our perceptionsand our perceptions of those perceptions.

Back in 1977, Irwin created the site-specific installation specifically for the Whitney's fourth floor gallery space (in the Breuer building), making important use of the available natural light in the room. It's now part of the Whitney's permanent collection. The work marked a defining moment for the artist, as he discovered and showed the world that art could be not only about objects, but also about space, even empty space. 

While the Whitney is preparing to move to a new downtown location in 2015, a new, digitized edition of the original Robert Irwin catalogue that accompanied that fateful 1977 show is being reissued online, full of images and theoretical texts, as well as the usual artist biographical info. Curated by Whitney Chief Curator Donna De Salvo, "Robert Irwin: Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1977)" runs through September 1. 945 Madison Ave., 212-570-3600




Pushing the Boundaries of Ballet

In August, Chelsea’s Joyce Theater showcases ballet for the 21st century.

July 01, 2013

Dancer on stage under ink-like projection for ballet i.n.k.

Jessica Lang, who choreographs to onstage visual projections, will showcase i.n.k. at the Ballet v6.0 festival.

Rooted in rigorous technique little changed from the time Edgar Degas depicted the graceful stances of Parisian dancers, classical ballet still defines the repertoires of many major companies. George Balanchine, among the first to incorporate elements of modern dance in his work at New York’s American Ballet Theater, evolved the form. But for spiritual descendants of Balanchine’s neo-classicism, the chance to experiment in mainstream productions, unlike in modern dance, are few. Hence, the Joyce Ballet created a festival for dancers and choreographers wanting to push ballet’s boundaries and imbue it with a 21st-century modernity. “Ballet is ingrained with formality, which like Downton Abbey, can be great to watch, but doesn’t always relate to today’s world,” says Troy Schumacher, director of BalletCollective, a group performing at the Ballet v6.0 festival.

Six troupes from top companies throughout the country will be featured in the program, which runs from August 6 to 17. Choreographer Jessica Lang, says Ballet v6.0 is an opportunity to show “what ballet can be.” Lang, critically described as “a master of visual composition,” has broken new ground by choreographing to striking onstage visual projections, as she does notably in i.n.k., which will be performed at the festival. For BalletCollective choreographer Schumacher, moving the ballet needle involves referencing the latest ideas in music, design, and literature in his compositions.

As to why the Joyce is holding a festival in August, typically a slow month for the performing arts in Manhattan? “We think there’s an audience for dance year-round,” says Linda Shelton, the Joyce’s executive director. “Besides, a lot of foreign visitors are here in the summer, and with ballet, there’s never a language problem.” Ballet v6.0 runs August 6 through 17 at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave., 212-691-9740

by catherine sabino
Photography by TAKAO KOMARU


Luxury 'Camping' in the Adirondacks

The Point Resort is a hidden oasis of tranquility in upstate New York.

June 17, 2013

The idea of camping in the Adirondacks may bring up images of roughing it in lush forests filled with pesky mosquitoes and wandering wildlife. But consider The Point Resort, which is nestled on a peninsula overlooking quiet Saranac Lake and is nothing short of a wonderland of picturesque tranquility.

As one of the original Great Camps (which industrial giants like J.P. Morgan and Alfred Vanderbilt created as mountain oases away from the city), The Point was built by William Avery Rockefeller a century ago as his family’s private home. Today, it sits on 75 lakefront acres at Upper Saranac Lake and has become one of the nation’s most exclusive getaways. 

The Point invited Gotham for a weekend on the premises. And after two days of hiking and mountain adventure and two long nights feasting at its communal table, we’re happy to report that its historic opulence and creature comforts cannot be overstated. Rockefeller’s creation is the dictionary definition of idyllic. Only a few hours’ drive from Manhattan, the small compound of buildings feels utterly of its own time and place.  

The hours move more slowly here. With no set schedule, weekend guests are enveloped by a time capsule of pastoral mountain luxury that meets and exceeds their every need and desire. Amenities include seasonal activities, outdoor barbecues, in-house massage therapists, and epic dinners at the Great Hall. On our weekend visit, a dozen diners gathered around a communal table for marathon meals, the quality of the conversation only exceeded by course after course of fantastic food. 

All-inclusive rates, which begin at $1,500 per night, earn guests an experience that is worth its weight in stone and cut from Adirondack Park and shaped into a perfect mountain playground. 



The Best Yet: 2014 Maserati Quattroporte

The Maserati Quattroporte S and S Q4 redefine Italian luxury.

May 30, 2013

When deep beauty is encountered, what behavior would you exert to obtain it? Fortunately, Maserati has never had qualms attracting car lovers to their brand. Yet, today’s expectations from tech-savvy and opulence-seeking connoisseurs have to be met in the competitive global markets.

To explore the technologies, luxury accouterments, and Italian design philosophy of the latest Maserati Quattroporte, we flew to Italy for a day of testing at the Balocco Proving Grounds, which felt more like Stanford’s campus than a vehicle test track. The Langhe course that we challenged the Italian maestro on is 12.89 miles long with 135 tight and wide turns and miles of K-rail.

Offered in both the GTS (V8 engine) and the S (V6 engine), the Quattroporte features AWD for the first time, but only on the V6. And please do not expect a hybrid rendition of this model because the technology is not a part of the company’s vision. Maserati prefers the numbers achieved in diesel engines. With deliveries currently taking place in the U.S., base MSRP for the 523-horsepower V8 RWD Quattroporte GTS is $140,500 and $102,500 for the 404-horsepower GDI V6 AWD Quattroporte S Q4, the model we drove in Balocco.

Riding in the back is just as spacious as an Audi A8L or Jaguar XJL and dual seats can be ordered to replace the bench seat. The dashboard uses a magnesium frame and houses the 8.4” infotainment system, which is available with the up-level 15-speaker, 1280-watt Bowers and Wilkins surround sound, where crisp, concert-like rhythms are delivered spectacularly throughout the cabin. The shift paddles, gear lever frame, and LCD trim are all aluminum. Two leather types are available with the optional, higher grain leather covering more area. A rear window shade and side electric blinds, standard sunroof, and the choice of six surfaces, including a carbon fiber package, round out interior comfort offerings.

I always find it clever when auto manufacturers are able to manifest lavish, full-size sedans in every sense, yet instill the performance and character of sport cars. Q4, for example, offers the Quattroporte S greater high-speed confidence and safety for inclement weather. First, the car has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution with both engines; uses a double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear; and Skyhook has been significantly improved. Skyhook is Maserati’s sophisticated damping system, which manages all vehicle dynamic parameters. To the left of the gear selector are five options for your specified style of driving.

Whichever angle you examine it from, Quattroporte is ready for the big leagues and certainly will not disappoint.

By Kimatni D. Rawlins,, (@ARtvKimatni)


New Book: 'Foreign Policy Begins at Home'

Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass urges America to "put its house in order."

May 20, 2013


Foreign policy beings at home, says Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass in his passionate new book, which he'll discuss with media mogul Arianna Huffington during a talk next month at the 92nd Street Y

In Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order, Haass, who was previously director of policy planning for the Department of State under George W. Bush, describes his vision for restoring power and influence to America. Explaining that many of America's foundations of power are coming to an end, Haass argues that the consequences of this shift go far beyond domestic issues like infrastructure, employment, education, immigration, and debt, but rather, affect the country's ability "to project power and exert influence overseas, to compete in the global marketplace, to generate the resources needed to promote the full range of U.S. interests abroad, and to set a compelling example that will influence the thinking and behavior of others."

The book argues that America is in fact underperforming at home and overreaching abroad, an imbalance with dire consequences. "To mount an effective foreign policy the United States must first put its house in order," writes Haass. "The United States must also put its house in order if it is to avoid placing itself in a position of high vulnerability to forces or actions beyond its control."

Without a partisan agenda, Haass posits that instead of intervening in wars and humanitarian efforts intended to affect other countries, the U.S. should focus on "maintaining the balance of power in Asia, advancing North American economic integration and energy self-sufficiency, and promoting collective responses to global challenges." Restraint and discipline at home, he points out, are among the keys to putting America's house in order, thereby allowing the country to continue to fulfill its global leadership role.

Get more insight on Haass' new book at "Foreign Policy Begins at Home: Richard Haass with Arianna Huffington" at the Lexington Avenue at 92nd St. Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall on June 5 at 8 p.m.. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased here.




New Private Club Plans Your Cultural Year

CultureHorde offers member-exclusive concerts, art events, dinners, and more.

May 08, 2013

Sixto Rodriguez performs at a CultureHorde event

New York nights out are plagued, it seems, by an overabundance of choice—how’s a person to decide which concert to see, talk to attend, or restaurant to dine at? CultureHorde, a new organization that curates once-monthly “bespoke events” for a small membership (dues is $199 per year), will streamline your social pursuits with exclusive, members-only events put together by a discerning group of tastemakers in fields including fine arts, music, cuisine, and more. 

For the company’s kickoff party, a select group gathered at the Cutting Room in Murray Hill to catch a glimpse of the reclusive Sixto Rodriguez, a musical mystery drawn from another age. A working-class child of 1950s Detroit, Rodriguez cut two albums of folk tunes in the mold of Van Morrison/Bob Dylan in the early '70s, before disappearing from the public eye for nearly 40 years. 

His incredible story was recently brought to light in the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, wherein a filmmaker seeks to find the mythical man whose fame had risen to great heights in South Africa despite concerns he had died. Seeing the documentary was motivation enough for CultureHorde founder Pamela Mirels—an entrepreneur with South African roots who endeavored to bring the man to the stage, coming across a business plan in the process. 

“I felt like we had to bring him to New York to do a really personal, intimate concert with him,” she says. “Once I could book him, it occurred to me that I could start a whole club of special experiences for people who are looking for that kind of intimacy in their cultural year.”

In addition to producing their curated events, CultureHorde has partnered with the Metropolitan Opera, Sotheby’s, and other cultural centers throughout the city, promising a diverse events programme for the remaining calendar year. Next up are an intimate roundtable discussion with Alan Dershowitz on May 8, and an introduction to auction culture at Sotheby’s on June 5.

“In this city there’s an epidemic of quantity over quality,” Mirels rightly suggests. Her venture promises “a little bit of music, a little bit of art, opera, politics,” she says. “If you want a really well-rounded cultural year, then this is the place for you.”



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