Straight, No Chaser
Looking for a shot of pure cultural goodness this month? Read on.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Thelonious Monk with Pannonica de Koenigswarter, at the wheel of her legendary Bentley; Marc Yankus's Bush Building; Picasso's Nude in a Black Armchair.
WE LIVE IN THAT EVER-CHANGING art installation called New York, which inspires as many creative representations of itself as it has inhabitants. Amazingly, it manages to be peaceful and riotous, bleak and sensual all at the same time. Case in point: the lush, computer-bewitched photographs being shown by artist Marc Yankus at ClampArt from November 29 through January 3, 2009. His series of quiet, arresting images shows New York as a teeming and timeless place where a constant metamorphosis is occurring among the steel structures and blinking lights. He extols the virtues of the city and some of its intriguing and elegant inhabitants with muted reverence, and manipulates each piece with a sense of the romantic that’s both melancholy and rapturous. It’s a wondrous celebration of our home, one that allows the viewer’s personal infatuation with it to grow anew. Don’t miss it. ClampArt, 521–531 West 25th Street, 646-230-0020.—ANDREW STONE
When it came to Pablo Picasso, muses made his world go round. And in “Picasso’s Marie-Thérèse” at Acquavella Galleries, one of his favorite muses, Marie-Thérèse Walter, takes center stage. The collection of works— including Nude in a Black Armchair (1932), Head of a Woman (1931), and Still Life with Tulips (1932)—hasn’t been seen together since 1932, when they were shown in Paris. Culled from the likes of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim, the paintings explore the interplay between creator and inspiration, and illustrate how Walter spurred Picasso into new artistic territory. She held the artist’s attention for years, becoming the subject of many of his vibrant largescale paintings and signaling a shift in his professional and personal life: Picasso had a daughter with Walter in 1935 while he was still married to another woman. He died in 1973, and Walter hanged herself four years later; what their collaboration left behind is something to behold. Acquavella Galleries, 18 East 79th Street, 212-734-6300.—INGRID SKJONG
The Gallery at Hermès presents a must-see collection this month with “Pannonica de Koenigswarter: Jazz Musicians and Their Three Wishes.” Known as patron of jazz musicians and friend to such legends as Thelonious Monk (whose “Pannonica” appears on his 1956 album Brilliant Corners), Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Lionel Hampton, and Art Blakey, de Koenigswarter photographed a staggering number of jazz greats in and around New York City throughout her life. Hermès displays a selection of her work—a look back at an artistically rich and racially tense time, with an astounding soundtrack—through the end of November. Gallery at Hermès, 691 Madison Avenue, 212- 751-3181.—ANNE-MARIE GUARNIERI
Photographs courtesy of ClampArt, Richard Gray Gallery (YANKUS); estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society, Acquavella Galleries (PICASSO); Pannonica de Koenigswarter; courtesy of the Koenigswarter family (HERMÈS); Carter Smith (TIFFANY STYLE); Carla Van Wagoner/WireImage.com (LEIBOVITZ); Kelly Walsh/IFC (ROLLINS)