Art in NYC: Photography by Michel Houellebecq at VENUS Over Manhattan Gallery

Art in NYC: Photography by Michel Houellebecq at VENUS Over Manhattan Gallery

French Bashing: First New York exhibition of photographs, photomontages and more by French writer Michel Houellebecq

Michel Houellebecq
France #014, 2016; courtesy VENUS New York

Michel Houellebecq is undoubtedly the most talked about french writer. However his artistic oeuvre is not limited to a written word. He is also well known for his photography and film making. The exhibition of the photographs and photomontages at VENUS Manhattan gallery is the first such show for Houellebecq in the US.

The installation at VENUS under a title “French Bashing” is heavily influenced by the writer’s world view depicted in his novels. For VENUS the works were selected from the last year expose “Rester Vivant” at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Le Figaro review notes that “French Bashing” makes it a logical follow-up to “Rester Vivant”.

Art in NYC: Photography by Michel Houellebecq at VENUS Over Manhattan Galle
Michel Houellebecq
France #035, 2016; courtesy VENUS New York

The exhibition has 2 very distinct parts united by author’s sense of inescapable decline of european way of life and a drift towards banality and mass-commercialization. The expensive urban developments viewed via a prism of neglect and decay make moody and depressive impression. The most characteristic work is a picture of the EUROPE sign near Calais. The letters made in concrete have crumbled from the accelerated speed of changes. This could be the suggested theme for the first part of the exhibition. To compete an eerie impression it is installed in a dark-walled room with a soundtrack composed for the show in collaboration with Raphael Sohier.

The second room is too bright and too loud with kitschy images of the standard tourist attractions made for the unattached crowds. The lighting and the soundtrack are all coordinated to bring in a typical glitz of mass-entertainment.

Art in NYC: Photography by Michel Houellebecq at VENUS Over Manhattan Gallery
Michel Houellebecq
Espagne #008, 2016; courtesy VENUS New York

Overall the exhibition is very much in line with Houellebecq’s novels. In fact the author is known to look at his photographs when constructing the characters for his books. In an interview with L.Collins for The New Yorker, Houellebecq explains that he doesn’t “take pictures of human beings” preferring “literature for describing a human being”. And he doesn’t “do much description of the landscape” in his books, because he “finds that a photo is better.”

Now the public has a chance to see what the writer sees when working on his novels and make a better connection to his work.

 

 

Venue: 980 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10075                             Dates: June 2 – August 4, 2017

Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescos at the Oculus, World Trade Center, NYC

Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescos at the Oculus, World Trade Center, NYC

View the Sistine Chapel ceiling pictures at the ground level at the World Trade Center’s Oculus

 

Up Close: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel at the Oculus, World Trade Center, NYC
Sistine Chapel, Vatican / photo by Patrick Landy (FSU Guy)

Michelangelo’s frescos on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Vatican City are conveniently brought down to earth by the very modern means of digital photography and are displayed in the Oculus of NYC World Trade Center Transportation Hub.  The visitors have the convenience of enlarged images to see all the details of historical paintings, the spacious and well-lit hall housing the freestanding plinths with good labels to follow the Creation story from the Book of Genesis and the modern architectural design of the Hub by a Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava all in one place. No hurrying up by the guards and neck craning necessary.

Sistine Chapel in Vatican was built in 1477-1480 by Pope Sixtus IV for whom the chapel is named. The Chapel is used for special ceremonies of the close circle of the Pope and is a place were the Papal Conclave of Cardinals meets to elect a new Pope. Interestingly the dimensions of the Chapel are the same as the Temple of Solomon as described in the Old Testament, the Book of Ezekiel, the first temple built by the Hebrews in 832 BCE under King Solomon, and destructed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE.

Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Chapel from 1508 to 1512 on a commission by Pope Julius II. Because at the time Michelangelo was preoccupied with sculptures and was reluctant to commit to such an enormous undertaking, Pope Julius granted him full freedom in selecting the scenes and figures to paint thus convincing him to take on the project. The resulting frescos are considered to be the triumph of the artistic expression in Western civilization.  The ceiling is populated with more than 300 figures starting from the Christ ancestors including Adam and Eve, the scenes from the Garden of Eden and the Great Flood all the way to Christ followers, prophets and sibyls.

Michelangelo’s mastery brings us the “faces of our time: anxiety masked by domesticity, women at work at household duties, men staring out blankly at an opaque fate” in the words of A.Gopnik in The New Yorker review of this exhibition at the Oculus.  Now that we can comfortably see those faces and their expressions, the connection to the history and its meaning can be better understood and appreciated.

After staying in NYC for one month, the exhibition will travel around the US. Check all the locations and dates here.

Read about the exhibition at TimeOut via Notizie Dal Web blog:

Up Close: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel at the Oculus, World Trade Center, NYC

It’s hard to say which feat was more grueling: Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel in the early 16th century or the lengthy construction of the Oculus at t Sorgente: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel has been recreated at the Oculus

via Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel has been recreated at the Oculus — Notizie Dal Web

To book your tickets click here.

Venue: World Trade Center Transportation Hub, NYC          Dates: June 23 – July 23, 2017

Venue: Westfield Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ       Dates: September 1 – October 15, 2017

Beyond NY: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Beyond NY: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Summer Jazz Academy by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Beyond NY: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis, JLCO artistic director; image source: jazz.org

Internationally acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) with its artistic director Wynton Marsalis will appear in a special performance as part of its Summer Jazz Academy at Bard College. With education being at a core of the Jazz at Lincoln Center philosophy, the Academy program at Bard is marking its second year and is bringing the best high school jazz musicians for 2 week residential intensive in performance practice, aesthetics, culture and history of jazz among other subjects.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and its 15 world-class musicians is billed as the most versatile ensemble with vast musical repertoire starting from rare historical compositions all the way to american jazz staples. The orchestra is known to tour extensively collaborating with the top artists in such diverse genres as dance, folk, classical musicians and various guest soloists.

Beyond NY: Fischer Center at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Fischer Center; Photo: Peter Aaron ’68/Esto

The performance at Bard College is taking place at the time of Bard SummerScape with most events held at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Art located on a picturesque campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Bard College is well-known for its rigorous art education program and the best in class roster of summer performances in upstate NY. Only two hours away from hustle and bustle of New York City, the campus is sufficiently insulated for full concentration and study, yet affords a convenience of being accessible via train connection to the city.

The Richard B. Fisher Center is an architectural jewel in itself being designed by Frank Gehry and hosting a multitude of adventurous programs at the world-class facilities.

Book the tickets  here.

Venue: Olin Hall, Olin Humanities Building, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY       Date: July 29, 2017 

Places to eat around Bard College.