Today's art tour with painter Ed Baynard for The Noodle Blog, was to be the uptown Manhattan galleries. Ed hand picked six shows. The Met was our first destination as the Gertrude Stein family collection was the highlight of the year, or perhaps of the decade. Ed wanted to see it first because he wanted to get uplifted with a fresh eye and mind for the Schiaparelli-Prada Conversation fashion expo. (My review of this show was posted on June 8th.)
Picasso vs. Matisse was the grand bataille. Who was the greater painter? Who had more influence in the art world today. Who was more copied? This subject was my term paper as an art student at Pratt Institute in 1961. I chose Matisse because he was HAPPY as happiness is foremost in my life view, but as painters they were equals. In the Stein family exhibit, the two greats went Mano el Mano at the Met. So many artists since have copied their breakthrough work (Sometimes they call copying INSPIRED).
The Steins befriended all the young writers and artists in 1906 Paris creating a hot Saturday salon, that Woody Allen highlighted in his Oscar-winning film Midnight in Paris. In exchange for the Steins patronage, the painters sold their finest works at prix d'amis. It was in her home that Picasso and Matisse became friends, sharing their innovations such as simplifying the subject, the palette and the stroke. These were the new terms of being modern.
The two paintings in the exhibit that blew Ed and I away was a minimalist Picasso of a thin circus man in the center of a pink and orange ground so simple and so new in its time 1906 yet we had never seen anywhere and the famous blue nude Matisse, 1907) Souvenir de Biskra), that had been seen only in books. Mrs Etta Cone from Baltimore, Md., owned it and left it to the Baltimore Museum of Arts and it did not travel. The blue nude inspired the famous Matisse quote, "That is not a nude Madame Cone that is a painting."
While living in Paris since the 1960s, 27 Rue de Fleurus was a Montparnesse drive-by for all artists on the way to the Luxenbourg Gardens. What the four walls of this high ceilinged rented apartment held inside was, over 500 of the greatest (fauve-expressionist) paintings that changed how the world viewed modern art.
Gertrude and her brothers, Leo and Michael and their four walls of art would be worth fifteen billion dollars today. (With the prices of major art rising faster with the entree of the Russians and the Chinese, in a few years the Steins modern art value could easily become a trillion.)
Venus in Manhattan on Madison Ave. was the concept of art collector and writer Adam Lindemann. This show was called A Rebords ("Against The Grain"), the study of decadence in a modern tower on 980 Madison Ave. The door opened into dark Daliesque rooms lighted only by two huge Cesar candelabras. We were impressed with matching dark mood of the art. Our favorite piece was "Violet Ice" a karma sutra inspired glass sculpture of couple having sex by Jeff Koons, the happiest piece in the show. Ed and I also liked the Glen Brown portrait. Glen is a compelling artist who looks at the transient in life in a concrete way.
We found walking home from school this beautiful boy with the Japanese backpack, a modern piece of street fashion art. It will soon be on our shores.
The fashion scene has moved indoor to the galleristas, where never-seen-before attire is a must. Navy seamed stockings and yellow shoes, with the hot pink daisy in her hair was the employee at Gogosian Gallery where the Francoise Gilot -- Pablo Picasso show took place.The Picassos showed his years of normal married life with children and at last we saw very happy Picasso paintings. Sadly for the artist, this young muse (never his wife), left him and took his beautiful children. This explains his later anger towards these children, but at last we saw his happiest time. However, his paintings were greater when he was sad.
Both Frank Stella and Mark Rothko are the Masters of the Universe. They create a sense of space and timelessness and we see and feel the universe. Who would not want to wake up with a Stella opposite their bed? Stella's copper paintings at Land M Arts on E 78th St. are being admired by a lady in Stellaesque dress, a big trend today. In fashion we copy the Stella and Mondrian paintings and call it wearing "blocks of color."
The Tom Sachs "Space Program Mars"at the New York Armory, (reflections of utopian follies) was a installation of space ships and all the whatnots of Cape Canaveral, with artist Tom Sachs and Anne Pasternak, President of Creative Time in an Space Age Tea house. Tom wearing a tie sitting cross legged in a Park Ave summer shorts suit was explaining to a visitor the meaning of this installation. He said, "Art is whatever the artist has to say. " I think Tom Sachs copied Picasso who once said the same thing... in French.
The employees at the Armory Mars show were all on skateboards and told us the show was a great place to bring young boys.
With the vibe of the Stein collection, and the Rue de Fleurus, Ed and I left the Armory and walked down Park Ave, when Ed cried out, "There's Woody Allen." There, passing us on the street accompanied by his wife, Soon Yi, was my old boyfriend. Woody Allen and I had dated in the '60s. I yelled, "Hey, Woody" twice. He did not turn around.
All photographs by ED BAYNARD
VICKY TIEL began designing clothes 40 years ago in Paris and still owns a boutique there, as well as dedicated mini-boutiques in Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. In fall 2010 she launched a line of cocktail dresses and special occasion wear sold through department stores nationwide. Her memoir, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS: What I Learned in 40 Years about Men, Women, Sex, and Fashion was published by St. Martin's Press in August 2011. Her Dresses are available on line at HSN.