Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Your Own Piece of Vogue

How fab are these! To celebrate Fashion's Night Out in New York on Friday 10th September, fashion mecca Barney's commissioned Brooklyn-based artist Andrew Yang to make these divine replicas of the fashion queens themselves, Ms Anna Wintour and Ms Grace Coddington.

Grace and Anna are one-of-a-kind hand-sewn, hand-painted rag doll replicas being auctioned off on charitybuzz.com, with all proceeds benefitting the New York City Aids Fund. Opening bid starts at $500 each. Better hurry. The 'Devil Wears Prada' lot will be all over these.

If silent bidding is not your thang but you still want to own a piece of Vogue, there is always the FNO tee. Yours for $25 with proceeds also going to the NYC Aids Fund.

Image: Joshua David McKenney, fashions night out.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dia: Beacon

Snuggled in the stunning Hudson Valley 60 miles north of Manhattan sits a wonderful contemporary art gallery, Dia.

Situated in the small town of Beacon overlooking the might Hudson River, this 240,000 square foot exhibition space was once a box-printing factory. With the funds and foresight of Barnes & Noble's chairman Leonard Riggio, this factory was turned into a massive art space and opened to the public in 2003.  

Because of the sheer scale of the building and the incredible natural light, the museum can house works that more conventional museums simply don't have room for. Works include 3 enormous Richard Serra sculptures, a wonderful spider by Louise Bourgeois and Andy Warhol's Shadows, 102 artworks hung side by side and low to the floor, around 3 sides of a space.

It's a fantastic place to visit for a day trip. When you have had enough of the art, you can wander around the 70 acres of river parkland or browse over a coffee in the exceptional art bookstore.

My (illegal) photos don't do the space justice, so I am going to punctuate them with official shots that give you more of a sense of the space and works.

Imi Knoebel: 24 colors - for Blinky

Andy Warhol: Shadows

Walter de Maria: The Equal Area Series

Michael Heizer: North, South, East, West

Louise Bourgeois: Maman

Richard Serra

images: (1,7,8, 10) dia beacon, (2) the daily green, (3-6, 9) mine

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Color Green

Rain, rain, go away....…It's been raining here non stop for 4 days. I'm getting bored now. It's supposed to be summer still. My Hamptons long weekend was literally a washout. But I guess the one amazing thing about all this rain is how stunningly green and vibrant it makes the already green of the Hamptons.

As an Australian, I weep for the lack of rain so much of our country desperately needs. It seems criminal that there could be so much water here while Australia is permanently in drought. But visually, the lushness and depth of green in the Hamptons after the rain is breathtaking.  Revel in my favorite color.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Recipe for a Happy Weekend

What does one do on a summer's day in New York, when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, humidity is low and the wide blue yonder beckons? Go sailing of course! And because New York is surrounded by water, it is relatively easy to get this together.

Take one lovely yacht that is not too big and grand or too teeny and squishy, but just right for 2 people.

Add one able seaman to chart your course.

Mix with the Long Island Sound that hopefully has enough wind to propel you across the currently very warm water.

After you have reveled in a couple of hours of tacking, jibing and the occasional straight course sailing where the only sound is the bow skimming the waves and the sail billowing in the wind, you might come across an archipelago of islands and decide its time for terra firm. We dropped anchor beside Great Captain's Island off the coast of Greenwich and rowed onto shore.

Ready for early evening drinks after all that work? Hoist up the anchor and motor gently into Bel Haven Club, where they generously have guest moorings for reciprocal yacht clubs.

While you're waiting for the Connecticut law student clad in Ralph Lauren to come and pick you up in the club's motor boat, marvel over the Greenwich houses that grace the shores of the Sound and then salivate over the beautiful boats that sit chained to their moorings like dogs on a lead waiting to be taken on a walk.

Once at the club, freshen up by showering in the gorgeous bathroom, resplendent with blue and white wallpaper, white wicker towel baskets and brightly colored roses.

Then head to the deck for a gin and tonic overlooking the water, before eating a hearty dinner in the bar.

For a well earned night's sleep, why not check into the heavenly Homestead Inn, a Relais & Chateau hotel that is a 3 minute cab ride from your yacht. There, you can experience all the charm of New England, without having to travel that far.

In the morning, indulge in a huge breakfast in bed before sailing idly back across the Sound to the grit and grime of the city. I hope you feel renewed!

images: mine except for (1) visual photos, (3) media bucket, (18) elegant small hotels

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Annoys New Yorkers

A survey came out this week on what annoys New Yorkers the most. According to that stellar city tabloid the New York Post, slow moving tourists and subway door blockers came out on top. Couldn't agree more! Here are their results with my comments:

The most annoying things in New York according to New Yorkers:
  1. People who block subway doors. Too right. It was bad enough before the MTA declared a multi billion dollar deficit. Now, with even less trains, what is it with people who hover at the doors rather than moving all the way inside to let the other thousand people behind them in?
  2. Slow walking tourists. My # 1 peeve. Don't they realize that New Yorkers have somewhere to go and we have to get there now? We don't have time to trip over ugly overpacked nylon wheelie bags or side step map readers who have incomprehensibly stopped in the middle of the pavement!
  3. Cab drivers on cell phones. Mmm, this is a borderline one for me. I rather like to hear all the different languages these cabbie speak, even if they don't listen to the address you give them or stop when you ask them to. It makes you feel like you really are living in the Tower of Babel.
  4. Drivers who block the box. I don't even understand what this means. Sounds like one of the languages the aforementioned cabbies speak.
  5. Panhandlers. Disagree with this one. At least in this city they are extremely polite. They even ask God to bless you when you step right over them and keep on walking. 
  6. Hipsters. I say if you don't like them, move back to Kansas
  7. Bike delivery guy.  Annoying only because they seem incapable of understanding the road rules and ride the wrong way down a one way street. This has caused many a near fatal encounter with a New Yorker who only looks in the direction from which the traffic is supposed to be coming (as per #1: we don't have time to look both ways)
  8. Film shoots that take over the street. I love these. On any given day, you can inadvertently find yourself as an extra in Law and Order or CSI: New York.
  9. Street Fairs. Totally on board with this one. Every single weekend there is a street blocked off - usually in my 'hood - with the same tie-dyed, polyester sarong and fake-scented strawberry soap for sale
  10. Tip jars everywhere. Hello. What's with giving a dollar to the barman for taking your drink order at the bar?
As a follow up to this survey, Gawker did a quick translation of the above results for those who don't live in NYC:

The most annoying things in New York according to New Yorkers:
  1. New Yorkers
  2. Non-New Yorkers
  3. Cab drivers
  4. Drivers
  5. Poor people
  6. Young people
  7. Healthy people
  8. People from LA
  9. Happy people
  10. People who are trying to make ends meet.
But as one Bronx resident so succinctly put it, " The things that annoy you about New York are usually the things that define New York."

Image: angel chevrestt

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pollock/ Krasner House

When you get sick of the shopping in Main St East Hampton or the weekend hordes on the beach, go and visit the former home and studio of artists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner.

Situated in a relatively undeveloped area next to East Hampton called Springs, the Pollock Krasner House and Study Centre is now run by Stony Brook University and open to the public to admire and explore. Both the house and studio have been left exactly as they were when Pollock died in 1956. Krasner continued to live and work there until her death in 1984, when she then deeded the property to the Stony Brook Foundation.

In 1946, Pollock married fellow artist Lee Krasner and with the help of a $2000 loan from Peggy Guggenheim, they bought a little plot of land with a modest house and a barn overlooking Accabonac Creek.

At first they both worked in the house which in those days, looked like this.

Over time they did renovations, and after a particularly successful solo exhibition of Pollock's at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, they were able to add a porch, shingles, heating and plumbing. Today the house looks like this.

Pollock ended up moving the barn from behind the house to beside it and renovated it as his studio.

It is there that he created his masterpieces, including this one which is now hanging in the National Gallery of Canberra.

The most remarkable thing about the studio is the floor. When Stony Brook took over the property, they realized a false floor had been put down to "winterize" the space. Upon pulling this up, they found the original floorboards completely intact, covered in dripped paint from Pollock's later paintings including the orange paint used in Blue Poles above!

There is something quite wondrous about standing in the middle of a room where you know a great artist drank and smoked and painted and created. Even his paints, brushes and an old pair of shoes are still there. If you haven't seen the film "Pollock" from 2000 with Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden, you must. It is all filmed on the grounds of this exceptional gift to the public.

images: (1&10) the selvedge yard, (2) mine, (3) stony brook, (4-6) mine, (7) national gallery canberra, (8) new york times, (9) gordon m grant,