The Bronx was not known for the arts for several decades. However, this has been changing in the past years, and since several years the wonderful Bronx Museum of the Arts on the Grand Concourse has been the symbol of this renaissance.
On March 26, the Museum hosted an event to launch a new website, Bronx200, which showcases 200 Bronx-based artists. The Bronx is experiencing a revival, with both native Bronx artists and those who have been moving in and establishing studios. John “Crash” Matos, who founded the Wall Works New York gallery in Mott Haven, was the guest speaker at the event.
The Museum building is very contemporary and easy to navigate, a great place to visit at any time.
Belly dancing, oriental dancing… this doesn’t quite fit into the art and design categories I usually cover in this blog. But it is culture… certainly an important part of Middle Eastern culture, even if dancers nowadays in New York hail from all over. Here are some photos taken of Elizabeth Fernandez’ performance at Byblos Restaurant in Manhattan.
The Asia Society hosted a holiday party last week, that included a curated tour of the exhibition: “Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot,” on display through January 4, 2015.
It was fascinating to discover this artist, who unfortunately passed away in 2006. He was ahead of his time, and reminded me of what Jules Verne was in the last century, when his novels depicted interstellar travel and so much more.
In his art, Naim June Paic foresaw the Internet and our current technological advances.
Last year, I wrote about the Musée Maison in Harlem, NY and its founder, Luis Da Cruz.
This year, he hosted a new exhibition, “Art Fusion,” along with two other artists: Geneviève Maquinay (Columbian-Belgian) and Christine Galvez (French).
Geneviève Maquinay created an installation for this exhibit, covering the dining room table with an extraordinary array of objects. Christine Galvez makes lighting fixtures out of mundane objects, transforming them into beautiful artistic creations. She names her work “Metalight.”
In one of the interior photos, there is a ceiling decor item: it is made from discarded mattresses, thus giving a new life to these objects that we spend one third of our lives on. Usually, we put them out on the street with the trash once their life with us is over. As always, the “House Museum” was warm and welcoming, and the crowd (including a majority of French speakers) was so dense after a couple of hours that one could barely move!
The opening was on a very rainy evening, in Tribeca, near the Holland Tunnel. Sadly enough, the artists themselves were not in attendance–possibly creating new art in Beirut.
Ayman Baalbaki attended the same institution of higher learning as I did, the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA – Institut National des Beaux Arts, Lebanese University); but many years later, and in the fine arts section (I was in architecture). He was born the year the civil war started, so for the first fifteen years of his life war was what he knew, as well as at least some of the other artists: Mohamed-Said Baalbaki, Oussama Baalbaki, Tagreed Darghouth, Omar Fakhoury, and Nadia Safieddine. The aftermath of the war and related issues appear to have informed all the pieces in the exhibition.
The Lebanese flag was prominent in several paintings; it is a very distinctive flag, with the Cedar of Lebanon between two red horizontal bands. It has emotional resonance not only with Lebanese, but also with many in the diaspora. However, as it is depicted in Cedar 3, by Ayman Baalbaki (shown above), it is rather disquieting: the flag wraps a missile, surrounded by flowers. Not being able to speak with the artist, I don’t know what he meant – is it hopeful or pessimistic for the future? Burj el-Murr shows the building that was to be Beirut’s very own skyscraper: its construction started before the Lebanese civil war (1975-1992), and the building was never finished.