I just returned from NYC, my first post- vaccination travel. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the New York Botanical Garden to see the delightful installations by the popular Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. At 92, she is experiencing international attention with exhibitions in major museums all over the world that feature colorful and highly ambitious installations employing her signature polka dots and, sometimes, mirrors that create infinity environments. Google “Kusama artist” images to see her wild aesthetic. To learn more about here, visit: https://whitney.org/exhibitions/yayoi-kusama
Kusama’s artwork was sited at several at locations throughout the gardens. The weather was nice, warm with a slight cloud coverage, which was perfect for strolling the grounds. I enjoyed the day with my friends Linda and Margery.
Kusama likes pumpkins. Here is one of her whimsical variations on one.
And here is another one.
Exotic flower sculptures were exhibited in the conservatory and in the waterlily pool.
In addition to the artwork, we enjoyed the natural wonders of the gardens and conservatory plantings.
In full bloom were peonies – many, many beautiful and unusually varieties. Here are a few.
We finished our tour by walking through a grove of wrapped trees.
This is the fence at the Botanical Garden train stop.
I also visited a retrospective of paintings by Alice Neel (1900 – 1984), People Come First, at the MET. Neel painted people without glamorizing them. Instead she used expressive color and line along with candid poses that sometimes appear a bit awkward when compared with conventional portraits. Because the figures often stare directly at the viewer, they make a psychological connection. She was a champion of social causes and her subjects are from all walks of life. As a feminist, she painted women nudes in a forthright manner, even pregnant women. I especially liked the paintings she did during the last two decades of her life. Here are a few. For more about Alice Neel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Neel
At the Museum of Art and Design I viewed a glass work by Beth Lipman consisting of a banquet table piled high and low with dazzling hand crafted glass bowls, candle sticks, plates, goblets, vases with ferns, and even table linens (broken pieces were heaped under the table.) In the dark setting, the glass looked especially fragile, like ice crystals. The work is reminiscent of 17th century Dutch still lifes that speak of materialism and over abundance.
While out and about in the city, I encountered some interesting public art. Here is a mural, also with a flower theme, located in SoHo.
This is a sculpture by Robert Cook, titled Dinoceras. It is a large cast bronze piece with sweeping lines and a rough surface that is sited against the smooth and sleek geometry of the building behind it.
And then there is subway art! At 86th and 2nd ave, the subway station displays multiple images of paintings by Chuck Close executed in mosaic tiles. Here are two of them.
This porcelain enamel piece by Josh Scharf was installed at the subway stop for Carnegie Hall.
These glass windows were at the Jazz Museum train stop.
And then I discovered a form of street art new to me: Sticker Graffiti, Sticker Tagging, Sticker Bombing, Sticker Slapping. Sticker art has been around for a number of years without my being aware of it until I walked down Prince Street in NYC where I noticed multiple surfaces covered with stickers. I learned from Wikipedia that there is a sticker culture and a sticker industry! Some stickers are just tags, but other advertise, others are statements relating to causes, and some are images. This street art exists around the world.
The multiple stickers on the mailbox in the center say, “I like you.”
My next travels will take me to Michigan. I’ll report on my trip in a couple of weeks.