Art in NYC: World War I and the Visual Arts at The Met

Art in NYC: World War I and the Visual Arts at The Met

The horrors of war in the eyes of the witnessing artists

The Parents by Kathe Kollwitz, 1922

This rather small exhibition at The Met, Fifth Avenue museum is guaranteed to leave a strong impression on the viewers. So powerful are the dark images that one hardly brings oneself to see the rest of art splendor at the museum. The sirens of bombardments, the smelly trenches, the victims in pain tell a sad story of war and devastation as it depicted by Kathe Kollwitz, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Gino Severini and many others.

Art in NYC: World War I and the Visual Arts The Met
Plague German by Otto Dix, 1919 / not in the exhibition

The exhibition starts with the patriotic posters issued by each and every country that had participated in the military actions at the time. The mood of the posters is about the same no matter which country they belong. In loud and demanding voices they all were asking their respective compatriots to bravely participate in collective sacrifice to support the honor of the king, or emperor, or kaiser, or sultan. That heroic and brave mood changes to the cries of the wounded and the tears for the dead as the exhibition continues.

The World War I, which started with the assassination of the archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June of 1914, lasted till November, 1918 and had resulted in the death of one million combatants and seven million civilians making it one of the deadliest conflicts in history.

The exhibition opens with the cautious works from 1914-1915 such as lithographs by Natalia Goncharova, graphics by Christopher Nevinson and Gino Severini. While not exactly endorsing the war, in those initial years of the conflict many were looking at it as redemption. As more countries entered the war and more horrors started to fall on the civilians and the soldiers, the patriotic tunes turned to the screams for help.

Art in NYC: World War I and the Visual Arts The Met
Made in Germany by George Grosz – website of the MOMAPage: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php / image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20544655

The last gallery in the exhibition delivers probably the most powerful message begging to remember where the war leads. In that gallery you will find The War (Der Krieg) cycle of 50 etchings by Otto Dix released in 1924 to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the war start. Dix had volunteered for the German Army in 1914, served for 4 year and was badly wounded. Being profoundly affected by the conflict, his feelings about it changed as the nightmares of destruction continued to hound him for some time.

The same gallery also presents the drawings and prints by George Grosz. A contemporary and friend of Dix, Grosz was also serving in German army at the time of WWI but not with such clear patriotic overtones. His works satirize the high ranks of the military and depict the sorry state of the soldiers.

One of the most potent entries in the show are the lithographs by Kathe Kollwitz. Having experienced firsthand the grieve and pain of the loss of her son in WWI, Kollwitz’s depiction of women in deep mourning are a mighty plea to stop any posturing towards the war. This year as the world celebrates her 150th anniversary, Kollwitz humanistic works condemning the war and oppression can be seen at various exhibitions in London, Berlin and Cologne. An expose on Artnet.com  points out that at each of these shows “there is good, hard art to be discovered”.

As for the show at The Met, its message is particularly relevant today amid the reckless threats and provocations.

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Venue: The Met Museum on Fifth Avenue   

 

Time: July 31, 2017 – January 7, 2018

 

 

Music in NYC: Hommage à Chopin by Daniil Trifonov, piano at Carnegie Hall

Music in NYC:  Hommage à Chopin by Daniil Trifonov, piano at Carnegie Hall

Perspectives Series by Daniil Trifonov: Next Concert on February 6, 2018  

Chopin by Daniil Trifonov Carnegie Hall NYC
Daniil Trifonov; Photo credit Dario Acosta, DG / Image courtesy of Carnegie Hall

Daniil Trifonov, 26-year old Russian pianist, is giving a seven-concert Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall 2017-2018 season opening it with a solo recital on October, 28, 2017.

After winning the first prize in 2011 Tchaikovsky competition and becoming an international sensation, Trifonov gave his first Carnegie Hall recital two month later and had regularly returned to dazzle and delight New York music fans. This coming season he is dedicating much of his Perspectives concerts to the oeuvre of Chopin and the compositions inspired by Chopin’s music.

While the concerts in the fall had featured music on the themes of Chopin, the next performance with an acclaimed baritone Matthias Goerne includes scores from Berg, Schumann to Shostakovich and Wolf. Well known for his amazing technique, poetic sensitivity and a highly emotional charge, turning to Chopin seems to be an obvious decision for Trifonov.

It is not coincidental as the pianist is also working with Deutsche Grammophone on a release of a double-album scheduled for October 6, 2017. The album is titled Chopin Evocations. Many of the pieces included in the October recital are also in the new album.

Trifonov’s Perspectives concerts later in the season will feature collaborations with Kremerata Baltica, a cellist Gautier Capucon, and a two-piano concert with Trifonov’s mentor Sergei Babayan.

Chopin by Daniil Trifonov Carnegie Hall NYC
Carnegie Hall; photo credit Jeff Goldberg / Esto / Image courtesy of Carnegie Hall

The history of the Perspectives goes back to 1999 when Mauricio Pollini was selected to create the series “which allows musicians to program and perform a group of concerts that deeply explore their artistic interests” as described by the Carnegie Hall “Then and Now”. From that time on Leif Ove Andsnes, Mitsuko Uchida, Martha Argerich, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Jeremy Denk, Andras Schiff among others were taking Carnegie Hall Perspectives residencies. It is interesting to note that Trifonov will be the youngest artist featured on the Perspectives series.

In the previous season, with a program of Schuman, Shostakovich and Stravinsky, Trifonov had excited the audiences with his technical brilliance and passion. His début at Caramoor in Katonah, NY was a highlight of 2017 Summer Festival there.The New Yorker magazine in its review of that year performance at Carnegie Hall notes that Trifonov “creates furor”.

Perspectives series with Daniil Trifonov

Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:

February 6, 2018 – with Matthias Goerne, baritone  

March 1, 2018 – Two-pianos with Sergei Babayan

April 25, 2018 – with Kremerata Baltica

April 26, 2018 – with Kremerata Baltica and Gautier Capuchon, cello

May 4, 2018 – Solo Recital

 

Venue: Carnegie Hall, 57th Street, NY      Directions to Carnegie Hall

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Beyond NY: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescoes Up Close in Paramus, NJ

Beyond NY: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescoes Up Close in Paramus, NJ

View the pictures of Sistine Chapel frescoes at the ground level at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ

Up Close: Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo Paramus, NJ
Sistine Chapel, Vatican / photo by Patrick Landy (FSU Guy)

Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Vatican City are conveniently brought down to earth by the very modern means of digital photography. The show will go on display at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ after an exhibition in July at the Oculus of NYC World Trade Center Transportation Hub. The visitors have the ease of enlarged images to see all the details of historical paintings to follow the Creation story from the Book of Genesis at the spacious and well-lit hall housing the freestanding plinths with good labels . 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. It is also a place were the Papal Conclave of Cardinals meets to elect a new Pope. Interestingly the dimensions of the Chapel are the same as those of 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 frescoes 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. Its a rich story with the myriad of secrets as explained in a well-written book by B. Blech and R. Doliner The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican.

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 the exhibition.

Now that the viewers 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 NJ till October 15, 2017, the exhibition will travel around the US. Check all the locations and dates here.

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

Jazz in NYC: John Pizzarelli Sinatra & Jobim @ 50 at Birdland

Jazz in NYC: John Pizzarelli Sinatra & Jobim @ 50 at Birdland

Celebrating with Daniel Jobim and Jessica Molaskey half-centennial of Sinatra / Jobim recording 

Jazz in NYC John Pizzarelli Sinatra & Jobim @ 50 Birdland
John Pizzarelli; CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=966106

 

Soft melodies of jazz standards performed by a well recognized guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli in the company of an equally renowned jazz singer Jessica Molaskey and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s grandson Daniel Jobim will make for an unforgettable summer night!  The concerts are a celebration of 50 year anniversary of the recording made by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Sinatra frequented a bar in Rio where Jobim had performed regularly, and this was how the timeless collaboration came to life.

An album to honor the anniversary is already released but what can beat the power of live performance at the Birdland?

John Pizzarelli comes from a family of New Jersey swing guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli well known in his own rights and still performing with John and his wife jazz-singer and actress Jessica Molasky. John credits Bucky as his most important teacher guiding his musical and professional career.

In the newly released album Pizzarelli masterly mixes the songs on the original recording done by Sinatra and Jobim in 1967 with those that were not included on it. That original album had “transported Brazilian music into stratospheric heights where it remains to the present day” in the words of Nick Catalano from AllAboutJazz.com.

The master of romantic ballades and sensible interpretation of classical tunes, Pizzarelli’s return to Birdland is highly anticipated. The audiences know his gentle sense of humor and warmth of his music. Its no wonder that “@50” album is described in The Times  as  “sentimental rather than slavish” with the “songs that weren’t on the Sinatra album coming off best”. You will enjoy Bossa Nova classics like Girl from Ipanema and many more.

You can make reservations here.

Venue: 315 W 44 Street, NY                                             Dates: August 8-12, 2017