Monday, April 23, 2012

Opening the Studio

Bienvenue à mon atelier .....

This weekend was my open studio where I am exhibiting my paintings, collages, drawings, jewelry, dolls and hats. For the past week, I have been unwrapping things and now almost the entire apartment is filled with my work. I make many different things and I have always had this multi-faceted approach.
"Her fine muscles are also very well coordinated. She handles the scissors, paint brush and crayons with skill. Carol has quite a bit of talent in art work. She does remarkable work for a five-year old. Her attention span is short. She flits from on activity to another, and she therefore requires a variety of materials to keep her interested." Carol's first report card in kindergartenPatricia Nicholson, teacher, Sea Cliff School
Did you read what Miss Nicholson said? I flitted. I am still flitting. It keeps me from getting bored.

The wall above turned out to be an art work by itself. I used fabric samples given to me by my friend, Dyan Titchnell, whose blog Here and Next you can see here. I started at the top left corner with a picture from Vogue of Jean Shrimpton, (the Shrimp) the great 70s era model.  And you can also see my puppets of Michelle Obama that I made for my You Tube video, Michelle Obama's Ten Commandment's of Style. 

On Friday I wore a black skirt with my Tucker blouse and new Fabrice necklace. I discovered Fabrice jewelry on my last visit to Paris as my step-daughter, Dianna, and I were strolling down Rue Bonaparte. We came upon the Fabrice shop with its fanciful concoctions in resin, and I purchased a brooch. The Fabrice representative, Anne Dupré, was in residence last week at Bergdorf Goodman, and I ventured to 59th Street, hoping to speak a bit of French with her and see her wares, fresh from Paris. But Anne has dual citizenship, English and French, and she preferred to parler anglais.
I suppose the trouble with going to these kinds of events,
 such as the Fabrice trunk show at Bergdorf's,
is that you are apt to actually buy a piece. Which I did.
My Fabrice brooch, purchased in Paris, and my Fabrice necklace from Bergdorf Goodman. I felt like Diamond Lil when the saleslady wrapped my necklace in this elegant box.

On Saturday I wore my Tucker blouse with a red silk skirt. I bet you didn't know that Barack and I have a thing going. Ah, poor, naive Michelle, ma belle.

Let me introduce you to some people
 who have visited my studio.
This is Debra Rapoport, a creative compatriot. She makes hats, bracelets and dolls. I kept looking at the "scarves" that she has around her neck. Finally I said, "What the heck are those made out of?" They are made from World War II weather balloons. One of Debra's sayings "Wake up to dress up." Her bag is an old binocular case.
You're looking at Rosemarie Stein, my upstairs neighbor. Rosemarie worked in the fashion industry and was a right-hand assistant to Stephen Burrows, the fashion designer who used color blocking before color blocking was a glimmer in today's designers eyes. Rosemarie has an armoire-full of his creations, including this stunning outfit. She also collects Elsa Peretti jewelry (her bracelet and earring are examples.)
Meet Ginger Hendler, who I met while shopping at Tinsel Trading, a store full of ribbons, artificial flowers and other fanciful wonders. Ginger became a Facebook friend, and now an actual friend. She is an artist who lives on Long Island near the village of Sea Cliff, where I grew up.
My gym friend and former neighbor (Ellen has moved on up to the Upper East Side), Ellen Wertheim. It was always so much fun to chat on the ellipticals, Ellen. But we're staying in touch!
Alison Hunt stopped by. She is a singer/songwriter and also manages the front desk at the Vidal Sassoon salon on 18th Street in New York City. P.S. She had the best hair of any visitor.
This is my Coco Corner (Chanel that is). I recently bought a truck-load of tulle at B & J fabrics, and pulled it out to create a girly theme for my exhibit. The painting in the back is called "Coco's Garage."
Sweet Peas from the Union Square Market on the snack table.

 My niece, Sarah Wedge, is my go-to hat model.
Sarah models the Yellow Collage Hat and the Goldie necklace.
Sarah models the Gaga for Gingham Collage Hat. She is an illustrator and also does print and pattern designs for top fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta. Take a look at Sarah's work here.
Sarah models the Orange/Green Collage Hat and the Robin's Egg necklace.
 Tulips from the Union Square Greenmarket. 
On the table, Life Dressing, Joana Avillez's book 
 on the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, Valerie and Jean. 
My bead necklaces and oyster shells that I painted a metallic gold. 
Richard loves oysters, so every time he has them at a restaurant, I bring home the shells.
Debra models the Orange/Green Collage Hat. She made her bracelet out of a toilet paper roll.
Ari Seth Cohen, creator of the blog, Advanced Style and Eric Lee. Ari's book, Advanced Style, publishes on May 22. Richard and I are honored to be included in the book. You can order it here.

A work from my Lower East Side collage series. This one is called "Some Kanga Love." This is a real scene on New York's Lower East Side. You can't make this stuff up. Did you ever read Lush Life by Richard Price? He really captured what goes on down here.
I was delightfully surprised to welcome Diane Green (on left) and two of her students, Renee and Roberta. Diane is a painter who taught with Richard at Tyler School of Art. Now she teaches privately in New York City. 

The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas Arrive
I was thrilled to see Valerie and Jean, the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas arrive chez moi, fresh from a buying frenzy at the Metropolitan Vintage Show. Valerie and Jean have a blog in which they chronicle the comings and goings of the fashion world with verve and wit. Please do take a look at their blog here. But I could not describe them better than Joana Avillez does in her book, Life Dressing
"The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas are two real-life women who live to dress and dress to live. And age has nothing to do with it. The IFs do not subscribe to their generation's recommended dress-code. Gameless gunny-sacks, tan orthopedic footwear: please step aside!"
Valerie and Jean took to my hats like ducks to water. We had quite a time vamping and voguing. 

 Valerie is a walking work of art.
Valerie and I pose ensemble.

Jean models one of my hats with a portrait of a lady from
 a 1930s French fashion magazine.
Her vintage glasses are from Fabulous Fanny's in the
 East Village, New York City.

Jean wears Trippen shoes. No, she does not trip in 'em.

Jean models the White-Streak Collage Hat.

Sunday's outfit. Blouse by French designer, Agnès B.
 I wore it when I met her at the Alliance Française.

 I worship on the Altar of Fashion. 
Labels from clothes and hats,
 handmade 1920s place cards, drawings and tulle!

A series of collages using photos from the coal region of Pennsylvania.

A painting/collage called "Mrs. Alfred West" and my Sweden necklace.

Each visitor to the studio received one of my catalogs from my
 1984 exhibit at the Jeffrey Fuller Gallery in Philadelphia.

Our last visitors, Cynthia Lamb and J.P. Bowersock. Cynthia and J.P. live in Seward Park, but they are moving to Sunset Park, Brooklyn in search of more funk than Manhattan can offer.

I have extended the exhibit through May.
If you would like to pay a visit, please send me an email for
an appointment.

À bientôt!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

À la belle étoile

In French class last week, we were discussing different ways to say "outside," as in to go outside. Florence, our teacher, mentioned that one could say à la belle étoile, literally, to the beautiful star. Sound poetic enough? It reminded me of a collage I had done, so today I took the collage à la belle étoile and photographed it in our beautiful Seward Park cherry tree.
I have a collection of vintage handkerchiefs, and I used one
for the dark blue background and one for the rose cocktail dress. 

A Woman of the 20's
Florine Stettheimer
The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde, a show of art work collected by  Gertrude and Leo Stein, is now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  My favorite objects in the  exhibit are these tiny dolls by Florine Stettheimer dressed in the costumes she designed for the 1934 opera, Four Saints in Three Acts by Virgil Thomson with a libretto by Gertrude Stein. Miss Stettheimer's maquette for the stage design is also on view.

Here are four of Miss Stettheimer's dolls from the collection of Columbia University.
A scene from the production of Four Saints in Three Acts

If one travels north in Manhattan to 104th Street and 5th Avenue, one may visit the Museum of the City of New York and see a marvelous doll house by Florine and her sisters which is modelled after their own townhouse. Florine was born in 1871 and died in 1944. During her lifetime, she painted and wrote, but eschewed publicity. After her death, the Museum of Modern Art gave her a retrospective show.
Florine Stettheimer

Bergdorf Goodman has a little book department on the 8th floor run by Jane Stubbs which specializes in books on art, design and fashion. That's where I found this 1946 catalog for an exhibit of Miss Stettheimer's work.
The painting on the left is called "Heat," and was done in 1919. It depicts the artist and her sisters and their mother and commemorates the latter's birthday. The lethargy is palatable.

Florine and her sisters, Ettie and Carrie led a privileged life having been nicely provided for by their family's wealth. In addition to their New York townhouse, they had a country place as well.
"She and her two sisters, Miss Carrie and Miss Ettie, presided over a salon that had considerable to do with shaping the intellectual and artistic impulses of the period just past, although at the dinners and receptions which followed in quick succession in their house and in which hardy ideas were put into words which echoed sooner or later in other parts of the city, she seemed often a furtive guest rather than one of the genii loci which she undoubtedly was, for her demure presence invariably counted." Henry McBride
Family Portrait No. 2 1933. Left to right: the artist, her sister Ettie, her mother, and her sister Carrie.

Florine peopled her paintings with her family and famous artists and writers of the day.
"She did not have to go far in search of subject matter. She looked upon her sisters, her mother and herself as phenomena of surpassing interest (which they indeed were)." Henry McBride
Lake Placid, 1919. The artist's mother viewing the aquatic scene from the balcony; and the artist herself descending the steps. Right: the Marquis de Buenavista standing on a raft; Marie Sterner lying down and the artist's sisters Ettie and Carrie seated, the latter with a sunshade; and Elie Nadelman, half in the water. Left, Maurice Sterne paddling a canoe in which reclines Elizabeth Duncan. Right, swimming toward the raft: Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the artist's sister Ettie. In the launch: Professor E.R.A. Seligmann; and on the surfboard, his daughter, Hazel.
"The artist had not progressed far in this sequence of portraits and party-pictures when it became apparent that she had shaken off the conventional premier-coup of the pseudo-Sargents and had evolved a manner that was to do her for the rest of her painting days. It is not a manner that may be hit off in a word. It might be thought to disdain manner in that it is wilful, unconcerned with precedent and as unpredictable as the flight of a butterfly in a garden of flowers." Henry McBride
There are four beautiful Florine Stettheimer paintings in the collection of the Metropolitan,
 and I photographed them on my last visit.
 Cathedrals of Art, 1942
Cathedrals of 5th Avenue, 1931
 Cathedrals of Broadway, 1929
Cathedrals of Wall Street, 1939
Two of my collages. Is it any wonder that I love Miss Stettheimer's work?

If I had two daughters who were mine,
I'd name them Delphinium and Columbine.
À Bientôt until next time.