Philip Guston: Laughter in the Dark, New York

by Kim Steele

Untitled, 1971

In this current milieu of political upheaval and rancor, these acerbic drawings of Guston’s strike a poignant cord with the American public.  These drawings were executed in Guston’s studio in Woodstock, New York, collaborating with the writer and friend, Philip Roth who had just completed a similar critical series of essays, titled ‘Our Gang.’

Untitled, 1971

As in todays climate, with the recent election of a controversial character, Donald Trump, the US was struggling with the violence and failure of the Vietnam War, two tragic assignations, and civil unrest not seen before.  The drawings (180 in total with three remarkable paintings, one not seen before by the public) circle our 37th president, Richard M. Nixon and his cronies, specifically Henry Kissinger, John Mitchell, and Spiro Agnew.  The first represented by simply a pair of glasses, and the middle by jowls and a pipe, and the later by the pointed head. The drawings, created with a pen, follow a satirical tradition of many centuries, reminding us of Hogarth, Pope and Swift.  In fact, the English law that we follow, permits for the satirization of political figures, safe from retribution.

San Clemente, 1973, Oil on Canvas

To place the work in context, Guston had recently broken from the art establishment current trend of Abstract Expression in a seminal show, which was poorly received, at the Marlborough Gallery in 1970;  he promptly left for a sojourn in Italy to lick his wounds. In fact, the leading critic of the day, Hilton Kramer of the New York Times titled his review, “A Mandarin Pretending to Be a Stumblebum.” It was akin to renouncing God in the Church. Guston’s work had become highly personal, grotesque and colloquial in nature boarding on the absurd, a far distance from the current movements.

Untitled, 1971

Guston’s art incorporated many elements of his childhood – light bulbs, cobble nailed shoes, antique cars and hooded figures.  His difficult childhood rose to the surface, as did his struggles, with his wife, and with alcohol.  Despite the criticism from his peers, with the exception of Barnett Newman, he pressed on wondering why the world of art professing creativity–was so myopic.  He employed common elements, like golf clubs and palm trees, in a menacing manner to upstage the complicate nature of the political process.  We are all involved in the demise of civilization.

Untitled, 1971

The work is overwhelming in numbers and sensibility.  The derisive depiction of Nixon is almost too sharp and intimate to view.  This writer remembers the Watergate Hearings and the moment he stepped down (one of those moments that one remembers exactly where you were), so the context is clear.  One wonders the significance to those who were born much later.  As Philip Roth wrote, “The wonder of Nixon (and contemporary America) is that a man so transparently fraudulent, if not on the edge of mental disorder, could ever have won the confidence and approval of a people who generally require at least a little something of the ‘human touch’ in their leaders.”  Sound familiar?  Nixon was attempting to create his own myth, which is exploited in these drawings in a farcical manner, poor boy makes good.

Untitled, 1971

There are a variety of periods of Nixon’s life depicted here, from Nixon’s poor youth to college days and then to his later years, with references to events that require an historical knowledge. (China)  It is the breadth of his indictment here that carries the weight of the conviction. The locations of the drawings-beaches, bedrooms and golf courses that ground the scathing satire of Nixon and bring them home to the viewer.

Untitled, 1971

An interesting weaving of the alienation and angst that are prevalent in his work, are found in these drawings, and were almost personalized by Guston. Since the 1970 controversial exhibition was the introduction to this style, these drawings may have provided further inspiration for elements: trains, beds, empty gazes, and barren walls that he incorporated into his later paintings. It was a very dark time in American politics.  When the tapes were aired, Nixon’s vile language regarding race, Jews and his opposition were shocking. His VP, Spiro Agnew received the same vitriolic treatment with a pointed head shape, alluding to the KKK.

Untitled, 1971

The caricatures of Nixon’s facial features include a nose and cheeks resembling, and not subtly, a phallus and testicles are very damning of his political transgressions. Guston intended to publish these detailed drawings as a book, but decided against it for whatever reason, but the University of Chicago Press published seventy-three of them in 2001 finally with his daughter’s permission.  The details and arched symbols throughout the drawings are very deserving of close examination.

Untitled, 1971

When the Supreme Court ruled that the Watergate tapes (named after an apartment complex) be made pubic, it was only a short walk to impeachment which he side-stepped by his resignation in 1975.  Guston revisited this series then.  Now rendered as a ‘victim,’ which he brought on himself, in a satirical fashion, possibly relating to the title of the series (Poor Richard).  In the remarkable painting of Nixon, banished to the Western White house in his hometown of San Clemente, Nixon is depicted with his grotesquely afflicted leg, dragging it along the beach, with a tear weighting his jowls down.  He was truly a symbol of largess and greed, shame was his cloak, and despair his bedfellow.  Had not Gerald Ford pardoned him, he would have served jail time.

Untitled, 1971

Currently showing at Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street

Closing: 14 January 2017

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

ART BASEL Miami Beach 2016

by Kim Steele

Fernando Botero, Bullfight

Fernando Botero, Bullfight

As a neophyte, going to the largest art fair in the world now, was an eye opening experience.   It requires preparation, stamina and fortitude. I had the advantage of traveling with seasoned veterans who had visited there six times and who run a company, art-collecting.com. There are numerous venues scattered around the Miami area, ranging from converted motels (AQUA) to the ponderous Miami Beach Convention Center, which was the main hub and the most prestigious venue for the exhibitions. For most of the venues, a gallery must apply to be accepted. Reported in the New York Times to cost $65,000 for a 800 square feet booth, for the four days.  Seventy-five thousand visitors were reported to have attended.   Each venue has its own special flavor of art direction, and geographic appeal. The entire world was well represented with the exception of Africa and India. This is the special appeal of this Fair.

Jean Michel Basquiat, Scalo Merci

Jean Michel Basquiat, Scalo Merci

One had to plan their schedule carefully in order to make the most of the four days of the Fair (December 1-4th). The splashy opening night, November 30th, at the Convention Center required a VIP ticket, which I procured. Not much in the way of free drinks or eats even with the VIP pass… quite a miserly presentation throughout given the haughty level of the event–anywhere! Then to the more gritty opening party at the motel cum gallery AQUA that was raucous and adorned with young energetic art.

Traveling between venues was a challenge in the eighty plus temperatures with high humidity. There were purported shuttles, which were hard to locate and infrequent. Uber was a mess with many cancellations and confusion; taxis were very expensive while tangled up in strangulating traffic–not for the faint of heart.

There were also several very impressive private collections available to visit during this period which were a must see. Each venue required a separate ticket. For the uninitiated in the art world this was a challenge, and for those in the know, it was a matter of visually screening the thousands of booths from galleries all over the world, to hone in on the work that was personally appealing. Given this, there were many new artists to view and to respond appreciatively. The folks manning the booths were for the most part informative and friendly. A colleague reported to me that one booth (Gagosian) responded when asked [of course no labels or prices posted] who the artist was, “if you don’t know this artist then you are in the wrong place.”

Bansky, Churchill, Turf War Print

Bansky, Churchill, Turf War Print

The first day was ambitious. Given the transportation challenge, one must commit to one side of the Intercoastal Waterway or the other. Beginning up north, PULSE was a strong contender of one of the best venues. A massive tent (football field size) perched on the beach, as were SCOPE and UNTITLED further south, opened with a preview brunch with very long lines. This site focuses on mid-career artists in the contemporary field. Later that morning we headed over to a private collection opening of the de la Cruz family, located in a modern building in the Wynwood neighborhood, which is a warehouse area. This collection concentrated on unknown artists, to me, and focused on ‘process exposed’ of art making and patterned work on three large floors.

'Desire' exhibition Art Basel Miami

‘Desire’ exhibition Art Basel Miami

 

 

Nearby is the renowned and flourishing ‘Miami Design District’ with the chi-chi stores and well designed buildings, even sporting a Buckminster Fuller sculpture. Nearby in a converted furniture four story building, the emperors of the art world, Deitch/Gagosian/Picasso Collaboration, ‘Desire’ exhibition focusing on erotic desire. It was quite the display of sexy stuff complete with a photo-shoot underway of nude models.

Buckminster Fuller, Fly's Eye Dome, 1979 in Design District, Miami

Buckminster Fuller, Fly’s Eye Dome, 1979 in Design District, Miami, photograph by Kim Steele

 

 

 

 

Actually finding a shuttle, we traveled to the second largest venue of the Fair, ART MIAMI. This venue was the original one, which kicked off the eventual creation of the Fair.   It ‘s staged a gallery-like décor with furniture; and showcases some of the best contemporary work in the 125 international galleries represented here.   This merits almost a half-day visit. Retreating afterward to the infamous Cuban eatery Versailles for local color and lively music, the place is more an event than a restaurant. (They also have several canteens at the airport which offer wonderful empanadas for the road)

If that were not enough art for one day, we attended the opening of the MIAMI RIVER ART FAIR in the financial district, attached to the Hyatt. The City of Miami sponsors this exhibit which features Latin American artists and galleries with a lively patronage attending.  To conclude this epic day, the PEREZ MUSEUM sponsored a very fashion filled and rambunctious opening in a newly constructed building designed by architects no less than the darlings of the museum world, Pritzker Prize winning architects Herzog & de Meuron. I was not impressed by the wasted space in the design, the permanent collection was very thin, but the current exhibition of Julio de Parc was stunning with mostly kinetic art and too loud noises.   A disappointing museum.

Julio de Parc at the Perez Museum, Miami

Julio de Parc at the Perez Museum, Miami, photograph by Kim Steele

Now for the highlights of the trip. My most memorable sighting was the Margulies Collection.  Anselm Kiefer’s work, the largest collection in the world, this collection hosts six amazing pieces including his most famous installation. I was breathless looking at his work and feeling the power of his creation. His recurring themes of death, renewal, and the holocaust reverberate here in individual rooms. This alone is worth the trip! There is other outstanding work by greats including:  Richard Long, Noguchi, Philipsz, Segal, Serra, Tony Smith, and Franz West.

Anselm Kiefer, New Installation 2016

Anselm Kiefer, New Installation 2016, photograph by Kim Steele

There are other venues within walking distance, like CONTEXT, including another private collection of the ex-Studio 54 maestro Rubell Family Collection. The current exhibition ‘High Anxiety’ was engaging and dramatic. Distress seems to be the theme in the contemporary art world today. It reflects the disjunctive nature of the conditions in the world from Syria to Trump. So it is appropriate that the art world reflect this chaos that we all now feel.   Not to be missed are two other significant venues along the Miami Beach, SCOPE and UNTITLED, featuring more emerging global artists, but well worthwhile.

Yoshito Nara, Japanese

Yoshito Nara, Japanese

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marckus Lüpertz, Reflection 2014

Marckus Lüpertz, Reflection 2014

Rubell Family Collection, High Anxiety exhibition

Rubell Family Collection, High Anxiety exhibition

 

 

 

 

The ART BASEL Miami Beach Fair is well worth the effort to experience. Set in a such a lovely site and the opportunity to experience the range of work from all over the world, with surprisingly little ‘blue chip’ art work there, were pieces that ranged up to $2 million, but most of the work was under $100,000 and according to the ‘red dots,’ was selling briskly.

The people watching factor is high and entertaining with outrageous fashions and risque outfits. There were a respectable number of photographs, few in the traditional sense except for a number of well-selling shots of opulent interiors presented in large format, with the requisite glossy resin surfaces. Photography is still alive. The attendees were more from foreign countries than from the US. Many posed egotistically for their selfies in front of art, and were feverishly taking images of the work, for whatever purpose remains a mystery.

The Gun, Steve McQueen - The King of Cool, by John Dominis

The Gun, Steve McQueen – The King of Cool, by John Dominis, La Galerie de L’Instant

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Danny Lyon: A Cult Figure

by Kim Steele

There is an aspect of my encounters with young photographers that seek rebellion and adventure – it comes with the territory. Danny Lyon personifies this dynamic. I had the honor of participating in a workshop he taught in the seventies and was very moved by his conviction to the medium, and his irreverence as well.

bridgeohioriver

Lyon’s first significant retrospective in the U.S. is now on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco until April 30, 2017. Photography is a rare art form where one can teach one self, as exampled across town with the Hernandez exhibition at SF MOMA. With no formal photographic training, Lyon studied at the University of Chicago – in another field (1963), but soon thereafter published his first photographs working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was fortunate to publish extensively.

His photographs of political dynamics are highly memorable. The early series of the Chicago Motorcycle Club produced some of Lyon’s best work. His most famous image is of the biker crossing the Ohio River, Louisville, (seen above)  is in this writer’s opinion, his most powerful image. There are tape recordings in the exhibition, videos on the wall that speak to his commitment to ‘story telling’ on a global scale.  This is instructional.

chicagoclub

In this era of reinventing Journalism into media and story telling employing various media methods, including Instagram, blogs, Twitter and YouTube, Lyon’s methodology should become a model. He knows how to tell a story. He dug into the culture of the bikers in Chicago, becoming one of them – with his own bike-a TR3, in the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, hard-riding and hard-drinking gang, to “glorify the life of the American bike rider.” (de Young Museum). Before the current era of ‘self-publishing,’ he was able to publish his own work through small, progressive publishers at an early stage of his career, publishing The Bikeriders (1968; Aperture Foundation).

randomimage

When committed to thematic subjects, Lyon excels. In the exhibit, there is a smattering of random portraits and renditions of situations he encountered that are rather mediocre, but when committed to exploring a body of work, of which he did many, he brought his formidable talent to bear. This is now more elegantly evidenced in his work in a number of his significant collections,  displayed in his The Destruction of Lower Manhattan (1969), published by Macmillan Publishers in 1969. 

In fact, in this series, Lyon includes a self-portrait in a devastated building which eventually gave rise to the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan: all sixty-six acres of destructed 19th century architecture. Lyon befriended the ‘destruction workers’ during this series. He did benefit throughout his career via some public funding. In the Lower Manhattan series, he received a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. “I wanted to inhabit [the buildings] with feelings and give their demise a meaning.”  That area has taken on a powerful new meaning since 9/11.

lowermanhattan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When committed to a project Lyon reaches deeply in his soul. Of the images of the prisoners in Texas prisons he states, “I tried with whatever power I had to make a picture of imprisonment as distressing as I knew it to be in reality.” This is his mantra. From this commitment to the art, he was invited to join the prestigious agency Magnum in 1967 (and never became a full member). A book followed: Conversations with the Dead (1971).

closingshot

 

 

 

 

“A seminal work in the modern photography canon” –Time Magazine

 

 

There was a new movement afoot in the 1960’s in journalism, labeled “New Journalism,” spearheaded by Hunter S. Thompson and Norman Mailer, both of whom did their best work in this stylistic vernacular. The gist of the approach was  inserting oneself, as the ‘reporter’ into the story narrative, as a type of protagonist, to urge on the dialogue. Lyon pursued this approach unwittingly.

Throughout his career, Lyon formed a bond with his subjects, most vividly expressed in his films. I viewed his compelling film, Willie, at the DeYoung Museum, for the second time, poignantly focusing on a young man by that name, in their mutual home state for the last thirty years, New Mexico. A second generation Mexican who lived on the fringes of society, and who eventual succumbed to the pressures of its weight. Starting as a young boy to his young manhood, Willie suffered from progressive physiological maladies, described in today’s lingo as ‘bi-polar.’

The fringe is where Lyon felt most comfortable. From the bikers, to the construction works, and most pointedly, the Texas prisoners, he could empathize and interpret their human condition.  This writer views this as a lost art form in photography.  The wave of current darlings have no interest in telling ‘your’ story…but rather telling their own. James Casebere builds little models of imaginary locations, James Welling creates situations with aluminum foil or paper, and Thomas Demand sets up strange theatrical sets.  This list could go on indefinitely, but the point is that none of them are interested in reality.  Lyon lives there.

This film and his body politic of work, displays the commitment Lyon exercised throughout his career to understand and participate, very personally, in the content of his images.

As in the Lower Manhattan series, he strove to ‘give meaning’ to his subjects as if to imbue a raison d’etre into the buildings; for an otherwise apparent meaningless purpose of destruction and urban growth.  Lyon augmented his recording with detailed journals that reflected the same passion for his subjects. He was very emotionally involved it them. His early involvement in the Civil Rights movement in the South exhibited the same stuff.

Lyon was fortunate to have garnered support from important photographic curators, like Hugh Edwards at the Art Institute of Chicago, who provided two one-man shows in his early stages; and Lyon was granted two Guggenheim Fellowships.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-1-48-41-pm

 

 

texasprisonsearch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyon’s work is unheralded by the auction houses and high priced gallery walls, but in the photographic annals he will be revered.  He leaves, though not deceased, a legacy of vision, heartfelt involvement, and a piercing eye of the world around him.

tweeker

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

fullsizerender-5

Italian mosaic from Corinth, photograph by Kim Steele

The goal of The Boulevardiers is to bring art to life in the context of culture and design.  Sometimes it has been humorous, sometimes very sober.  But the guiding force has been our view of beauty and how it sustains life.  There have been many assaults on art over the years, from many fronts.  Recent conviction, for the first time in history, of a criminal act held accountable for destroying an ancient temple in Timbuktu, Mali (Palmyra is close behind), has brought light to the importance of art and beauty in our lives.  There are arguments that there are more pressing matters–food, shelter, freedom and safety, which are very valid.  

But we celebrate here the contribution of art to our civilization.  In the West, Greece is a touchstone to our artistic history.  We assembled a potpourri of images from our recent travels in Greece that simply impart beauty and vision.  Many objects are breathtakingly gorgeous and astonishing for being created thousands of years ago.  They still resonate with creativity and the spirit of humankind to transcend our mortal boundaries.

Kim Steele, Publisher

 

img_2002

Anthropomorphic bronze, photograph by Kim Steele

 

 

unnamed

Battle scarred bronze helmet, photograph by Kim Steele

We perceive, in fact, that the only matter upon which any worker, other than the artist, can congratulate himself, whether he be manual-worker, brain-worker, surgeon, judge, or politician, is that he is helping to make the world tolerable for the artist. It is only the artist who will leave anything behind him. He is the fighting-man, the man who counts; the others are merely the Army Service Corps of civilization. ~A.A. Milne

 

 


A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. ~Albert Camus

Any great work of art… revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world — the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air. ~Leonard Bernstein

 

img_1921

Bronze mini centaurs, photograph by Kim Steele

What was any art but a mold in which to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself — life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose. ~Willa Cather

Glorious gold jewelry, photograph by Kim Steele

Glorious gold jewelry, photograph by Kim Steele

The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. ~Paul Strand

fullsizerender-4

Gilt death mask, photograph by Kim Steele

Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly? Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination. ~W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919 (Chapter XIX, spoken by the character Dirk Stroeve)

Art holds fast when all else is lost. ~German Proverb

img_2066

Marble gryphon guard, photograph by Kim Steele

 

 

 

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ~Aristotle

A great artist is always before his time or behind it. ~George Moore

Art is long, and Time is fleeting. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

fullsizerender-5

Ornate ceramic animal storytelling, photograph by Kim Steele

 

 

 

 

 


No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. ~Oscar Wilde

Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale ’til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

fullsizerender-3

Massive marble head, photograph by Kim Steele

 

 

 

 

Art, as far as it is able, follows nature, as a pupil imitates his master; thus your art must be, as it were, God’s grandchild. ~Dante Alighieri, Inferno

 

 

 

 

img_1810

Gold ladies body adornment, photograph by Kim Steele

Inspiration is everywhere for me…most especially in ancient Greece, and our images capture only a fraction of the beauty we saw. I read once that history is the path, and art is the flowers which are the border…here’s to the beauty of art that is the ultimate sustenance to our eyes.

Sally Steele, Muse

Ancient carved vessel, photograph by Kim Steele

Precious alabaster carved vessel, photograph by Kim Steele

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Greek Game of Thrones — Acrocorinth Castle

September 16, 2016

Who could resist the temptation whilst in ancient Greece to visit a mysterious site, the Temple of Aphrodite, at Acrocorinth, marked only with a lone column, where legend reveals that more than 1000 sacred prostitutes associated with the temple. Acrocorinth is the acropolis (the upper or higher town) of ancient Corinth. When The Boulevardiers arrived […]

Read the full article →

Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Landscape Designer Brillante

August 14, 2016

Photograph © Leonardo Finotti.

There was much trepidation as the 2016 Olympics approached; everything from security, Zika, to running water and accommodations. Several stories appeared in The New York Times about assaults, and robbery. As the date approached, the Torch Bearer was stoned and ridiculed because of all the offenses to the citizens of Brazil — the displacement of […]

Read the full article →

Advil on a silver platter…

July 31, 2016

One of the joys of life these days, and I know I am ultra-privileged, is that my life offers me the opportunity for international travel, with my learned and adventurous spouse, and, oh!, the places we go! I’m in London and Paris each year, and I’m determined to go to a Fashion Week show. The […]

Read the full article →

Josef Sudek – a passionate man: Jeu de Paume

July 10, 2016

Rarely does a photographer look so inward to create his or her images. In the many years I have viewed photography, I have not been so emotionally moved by the sentiments of a series of images depicting the inner sanctum of a visual artist. The range is extreme here in this retrospective: well hung and […]

Read the full article →

The World is my Oyster ~ artist Ahmed Alrashid

June 26, 2016

  The ‘Global Village’ is a clique. But in the world of design, be it architecture, graphic or product design – it is a global market. Jordan tennis shoes come to mind. Working from the Middle East, based in Kuwait and traveling to Dubai, Ahmed Alrashid, has struck a note that resonates throughout the world, […]

Read the full article →

Gem in the Desert, Museum of Islamic Art ~ Doha, Qatar

April 30, 2016

Approaching the cubistic building along a path of luscious palm trees, I knew there was something special inside this Museum. In my travels across the Mid-East, there was an alarming dearth of cultural artifacts. The National Museum in Kuwait City was appalling, and impossible to find, as well. The excuses for cultural artifacts were dark […]

Read the full article →

Saved by Ivana…

March 12, 2016

  From our Boulevardier & Publisher, Kim Steele: I shot a portrait once a week for Time magazine, Business section, in the 1980’s, and hit all the major players, including The Don. Trump was the most difficult, made me wait for hours, hurried me, until Ivana came in and said, “The reason you don’t like […]

Read the full article →

Biggest Scam in the Art World in a Century: Greed shows it’s teeth

March 4, 2016

  Forgery is not an offense under the law of Scotland, but here in the U.S. it has caused quite a stir. The distinguished Knoedler Gallery in Manhattan has shuttered it doors after one hundred and fifty years. Knoedler dates its origin to 1846, when French dealers Goupil & Cie opened a branch in New York, as […]

Read the full article →

Coralie Bickford-Smith — A Love Story

February 12, 2016

        The Boulevardiers have a new friend, Coralie Bickford-Smith ~ the book designer.  When you read about Coralie and her magnificent work, if you don’t know Coralie yet, you will be envious of our friendship. Don’t despair, it’s ok to fall in love, read on…!     In Coralie’s words from her […]

Read the full article →

DAVID IRELAND – San Francisco’s Most Famous Art Home

January 17, 2016

  The first time I had the honor to walk into the home at 500 Capp Street of the renowned artist in 2001, about whom I knew very little, I realized it was a special place. I was introduced by the Director of Crown Point Press, Valerie Wade, a friend of Ireland. Ireland was elderly […]

Read the full article →

Albertopoulis…the V&A…and an “extremely capacious handbag”

December 25, 2015

  Happy & Beautiful Holidays to all our Boulevardiers & Readers…thank you for another inspiring year!   The Boulevardiers recently did London, from top to bottom, Shakespeare to the Houses of Parliament, to Bond Street & Saville Row, to museums, many, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is really one of the wonders of […]

Read the full article →

MICHAEL HEIZER: The man who moves mountains

October 27, 2015

  THE MOST PROMINENT EARTH SCULPTOR IN THE WORLD, Michael Heizer has experienced a resurgence in his work, as evidenced by his recent exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York this summer, which The Boulevardiers had the pleasure of viewing. As a neophyte in art reviewing, just awarded my NEA grant as an ‘emerging critic,’ […]

Read the full article →

When in Milan … Expo 2015

September 19, 2015

The Boulevardiers have been to EXPO 2015. We were impressed, surprised, entertained, humbled, underwhelmed, treated to a world-class press tour of the Switzerland pavillion, in awe of the Korea pavilion, left with big thoughts, and big questions. Sustainability, the ifs ands and buts are resoundingly evident at EXPO 2015, more here. Does this drive all […]

Read the full article →

Flaming June, and other Pre-Raphaelites

July 19, 2015

“PAINT the leaves as they grow! If you can paint one leaf, you can paint the world.” John Ruskin The Guardian, Friday, May 1, 2015: A remarkable study for Flaming June, one of the best known of all Pre-Raphaelite paintings, has been discovered hanging discreetly behind a bedroom door in an English country mansion. I […]

Read the full article →

John Heartfield…Abandoned in a field by his parents as a child…

May 29, 2015

  “I lost my parents in 1899 and thereafter lived as an orphan with different families.”   John Heartfield managed to rise to a distinguished career as a graphic designer after a very challenging childhood, founding a publishing house, Malik-Verlag in 1917, with the renowned artist George Grosz, one of this publisher’s favorite artists.  Both […]

Read the full article →

Emancipation & Esteem

May 27, 2015

65th Annual SF Juneteenth Celebration Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation “The Journey Continues” Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in June 1865, and more […]

Read the full article →

Save the date: May 9th, 2015 ~ Fondazione Prada

May 8, 2015

On May 9th Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco 3, Milano, will be open to the public from 10 am to 9pm.     Once a former distillery, in the industrial south section of Milan–8,900 square meters, it is now the home of the biggest, and arguably, this city’s most exciting contemporary art space. The new location […]

Read the full article →

In the Studio: Photographs

April 11, 2015

  An ambitious exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue, curated by Peter Galassi, rustles up many issues. As Roberta Smith quoted in the New York Times: “…trophy-curators. Clout is definitely on display here, contributing to that heady combination of overt excellence and subtle vulgarity that may be something of a Gagosian specialty.” The […]

Read the full article →

“I would rather sleep in a bathroom than in another hotel.” Billy Wilder

March 8, 2015

    Just In Case The Raphael is Booked                                                      …by Jerry Bowles                                                                         There is nothing quite as deliciously self-indulgent or decadent as a great hotel. Hemingway wasn’t whistling Dixie when he said “Whenever I dream of afterlife in Heaven, the action always takes place at the Paris Ritz.” Papa loved the […]

Read the full article →

William Randolph Hearst ~ Boulevardier of the Year

January 18, 2015

~~~~~~     WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it. ~WRH   One of the most telling descriptions, for better or worse, is the fact that his Senator father, George Hearst, willed his entire fortune upon his death in 1895 to his wife, Phoebe, stating that his […]

Read the full article →

How to be Successful in the Arts 101… Shear Madness

December 31, 2014

    “I’ll never forget my first words in the theatre. Peanuts. Popcorn.” Henny Youngman     What happens when 2 actors from upstate New York decide to pursue their dreams, buy the rights to a murder-mystery written in German, by Swiss playwright Paul Portner for $50,000, turn it into a comedy, and spend another […]

Read the full article →

Boulevardiering — the verb

December 12, 2014

  The Boulevardiers are proud of and bemused by the mileage and velocity we are encouraging via our use of the term Boulevardiering (our Twitter name). We are Boulevardiers, indeed Chesterfieldian, flâneurs, fops, walking-stick nuts, so are most of our friends, and garnering that curiosity and energy is the reason we started this publication over […]

Read the full article →

Arnold Newman – Master Class in Portraiture

November 25, 2014

Photography of Photographers   Portraiture is about revelations.  Either for the subject or the artist.  So often in painting, El Greco, or Singer Sargent – exemplified by his most famous portrait, Madam X, the subject is somewhat incidental, especially out of the cultural context of the era.  But in photography, the subject is paramount.  Some […]

Read the full article →

The Era of AREA ~ New York’s most revered club

October 31, 2014

In 1983 a nightclub opened in Manhattan unlike any before it. Minimally named “AREA,” the club would set a new precedent not only in the nightlife world, but also in the art world. More precisely, during its relatively short reign from 1983-1987, AREA represented a heady commingling of these two worlds. While its chronological precedent […]

Read the full article →

“Nothing should be noticed.”

October 12, 2014

“I don’t know what I’ve done that has made people so interested in me, more than anyone else.” Imagine being Bunny Mellon. From Listerine heiress, to Paul Mellon’s wife, to designer of the White House Rose Garden, to age 103 and upon her death 1000+ items from her collection donated to the National Gallery of […]

Read the full article →

Elwood Smith – Today’s Dagwood

September 28, 2014

    Elwood H. Smith is an illustrator who speaks a language that appeals to various strata of readers.  I can remember my father laughing out loud at the comics. I have read The New York Times for thirty-five years, and they deign to include the ‘comics’ for it’s low brow aesthetic.  That is fine […]

Read the full article →

Italy: Non abbastanza monete nella fontana…

September 11, 2014

  Non abbastanza monete nella fontana…not enough coins in the fountain! Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, currently 75. In a country which bleeds culture, history is an irreplaceable natural resource. We have seen first-hand that Italy is crumbling. To the rescue come some legendary names in fashion […]

Read the full article →

Portrait of a Photographer as a Young Man

August 26, 2014

  ANSEL ADAMS FORMATIVE YEARS     Born at the turn of the century, Adams grew up in the hinterlands of dunes and beaches of the City of San Francisco.  Descending from Maine stock, originally from Northern Ireland, the Adams Family created a niche in the physical and social scene of San Francisco.  Ansel could […]

Read the full article →

Comic CONsciousness

August 10, 2014

“The great thing about the comics industry is that it’s driven by passion …it isn’t driven by money.” Royden Lepp, graphic novelist, The New York Times, 7/28/14 The New York Times: Armed Animals Don’t Invent Themselves ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Character Creators Fight for Cash and Credit “Like millions of moviegoers over the weekend, Bill […]

Read the full article →

Good Days and Bad Hair Days

July 29, 2014

  I never knew that April 30th is National Hairstyle Appreciation Day … but that’s another day and a different story. I’ve been thinking about hair, and styles, and reminiscing. The options are numerous, and hysterical, and just plain ridiculous. Some are so bad, they’ve morphed to good, great or even legendary (in their own […]

Read the full article →

CASANOVA: (Catalan or Latin, casa ‘house’ + nova ‘new’) Lover; a man who is a promiscuous and unscrupulous lover

July 12, 2014

    Giacomo Girolamo Casanova: Synonymous with lovemaking charm and persuasion, even since Casanova’s death in 1798, his name evokes and defines the same person to this day. In today’s vernacular, “Womanizing.” Despite his impoverished condition and position at his death in Bohemia, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova’s memoir fetched a stunning figure in 2010 by the Bibliotheque […]

Read the full article →

Fair Cecily, and other fair-weather friends

June 29, 2014

  All I want is the best of everything and there’s very little of that left. Never in the history of fashion has so little material been raised so high to reveal so much that needs to be covered so badly. What is elegance? Soap and water! …quotes by Cecil Beaton   I have an […]

Read the full article →

An Ephemeral Awareness — Death and the Coming of War

June 21, 2014

When we arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, in January, 1966, one of the most unusual thing that we saw were tanks in the streets and soldiers behind sand bags around government buildings.  In the following days we learned that some government officials, senior military leaders and the Sultan of Sokoto had been killed during a coup […]

Read the full article →

Machu Picchu — “The First Tourist”

June 9, 2014

      “The Explorer” by Rudyard Kipling, “Something lost behind the Ranges.  Lost and waiting for you. Go!” The Boulevardiers have been to the mountain, and climbed it. Machu Picchu, the Old Peak…and Huayna Picchu, the New Peak, to be exact. Sources noted below have reviewed its “discovery”. There is no clear and definitive […]

Read the full article →