Photos by G. Various Artists.
It’s art season again! Hooray!!! New York is kicking things off with the Affordable Art Fair. Typically I am not a fan of art fairs because there is so much art to digest, but this fair is different. Because the prices are low (by art standards), you can open your heart and mind a little more easily and you can fall in love without facing financial ruin. I attended the press preview on September 9, 2015 and below are 10 of my favorite pieces that I saw (in no particular order). The variety of what you will see below is just a small preview of the many types of styles and genres that you will see at the Affordable Art Fair. You can find all the details on attending the fair, which runs from September 10 – 13, 2015 at this link, which will open in a new window.
You’ll find thousands of original paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs all under one roof, ranging from $100-$10,000, with more than half priced under $5,000! There’s something for everyone and for all price ranges, so this is the perfect occasion to start or spice up your art collection. Get your tickets here!
Maurizio Savini (made out of Bubble Tape!)
The Affordable Art Fair is located at 125 West 18th Street and the hours are as follows:
Thursday, Sept. 10, 11am – 8pm
Friday, Sept. 11, 11am – 8pm
Free admission Friday: 6-8pm
Saturday, Sept. 12, 11am – 8pm
Sunday, Sept. 13, 11am – 5pm
Photos by G.
Weekend Update Desk – SNL Exhibit
It’s hard to believe that the sketch comedy TV show Saturday Night Live celebrated its 40th year on the air in 2015. A major retrospective exhibit was put together to honor this milestone, and naturally, it’s in New York. Entitled SNL – The Exhibition, if you have ever been a fan of the show, you are sure to get your money’s worth as you will be taken through the process of putting the show together, see all kinds of cool ephemera from the 40 years of the show as well as major set pieces and costumes of a lot of the most beloved characters.
A display case featuring many SNL commercial parodies including Super Bass O Matic and Colon Blow
Before I leave you to enjoy a lot of pictures from the exhibit, let me say that you will be reminded of the brilliance of the show and you will laugh out loud as you relive clips from some of the funniest moments of the shows illustrious history. The exhibit will take about an hour to go through it all and you are allowed to take non-flash photos of all of the items and you can even sit on the actual “Wayne’s World” set or the Weekend Update anchor desk (but they charge an extra fee for that one), plus there is a gift shop (which you exit through – ha!), so you can buy your loved ones SNL-themed merch if that floats your boat.
And now, live from According2g.com…. It’s Saturday Night… the exhibit!
SNL (Good for photo ops!)
Church Lady Costume
Dick in a Box costume
SNL Costumes including Barry Gibb costume, Matt Foley Motivational Speaker, Opera Man, Coneheads
Baby Spanx / Oops! I Crapped My Pants Adult Diapers
Eddie Murphy Buckwheat Costume – SNL Exhibit
G on the Wayne’s World Set. Photo by Gail.
Gilly Costume – SNL Exhibit
Celebrity Jeopardy Set
Cast Member Photos of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players
Layout of the hosts and musical guests for the 1993 season.
Click to enlarge so you can see the list of amazing musical guests that were on in the 1993 season. One of my only complaints of the exhibit was they were very light on the music guest ephemera. Aside from a Lady Gaga costume and mini TV screens that showed some performance highlights from each season (but positioned in a way you couldn’t really watch them for too long), there was almost nothing of the historical music performances that took place on the show.
The Opening Monologue Stage
The Control Room
Wayne and Garth Costumes – SNL Exhibit
Turd Furguson (Photo by Gail)
The Saturday Night Live exhibit is showing through the end of 2015 at 417 5th Avenue in Manhattan (between 37th and 38th Street). You can probably find cheaper tickets than the suggested price on the official website if you do a little googling. These pictures are just a sample of what is on display, so if you are an SNL fanatic, do not miss this exhibit!
Photo and words by G.
When I first ‘discovered’ the music of Amy Winehouse in 2007, it was love at first listen. I hadn’t discovered her music in time to see her perform in the extremely intimate New York venues Joe’s Pub and Bowery Ballroom, but luckily for me, she came back around a 3rd time to play the recently (at the time) opened Highline Ballroom, which is a 15 minute walk from where I live (bonus!). My friend April made me a deal – she would get the tickets if I secured us a spot in line. Done. As luck would have it, when I turned up to the venue to get in line, Amy Winehouse had just finished sound-checking and was exiting the venue at the very moment I arrived. Amy couldn’t have been a lovelier person and she was so happy to see that I had her first album “Frank” which I asked her to autograph for me, because at the time, it was only available as an import in the US. It was a week before she’d be married, and she was healthy and very happy. It was the ultimate Amy Winehouse experience because I got to talk to her, her soon to be husband Blake Civil Fielder took our picture together, she autographed both of my CDs, and I was able to secure a front row center spot to see her perform and as she exited the stage for the last time that night, she handed me the set list! At the time, I had a pretty shitty camera, but April had a good camera, luckily, and her amazing shots of the concert can be seen here, and I highly recommend you check them out at this link which will open in a new window. The concert which was supposed to be the beginning of her rise to stardom US, turned out to be her final trip to New York. When I would tell people about my experience, they found it hard to believe, because shortly after this concert, her life became a tabloid-ridden mess. I would hear these stories and see these tabloid pictures and every time, a piece of my heart would break because the person I was reading about in the news was not this lovely lady that I had met. As soon as you’d hear that she was doing ok, she was back in the news again for something dubious and this downward spiral continued for the rest of her short life.
Amy Winehouse and Geoffrey Dicker. Photo by Blake Fielder
Filmmaker Asif Kapadia decided to make some sense out of this tragedy and he made the exquisitely beautiful, but monumentally sad documentary “Amy,” which is in theaters today. Like with the Kurt Cobain documentary “Montage of Heck,” what you thought you knew about these famous rock stars is only a sliver of what really happened and both films bring these huge talents back to life, even if only for a few hours.
“Amy” shows that from a very young age, Amy Winehouse had the gift of song and possessed one of the most unique voices to ever grace the stage. Intimate footage shows her singing her earliest gigs, auditioning for a record label and despite having a powerful voice, she was just a shy Jewish girl from the UK. Though she had a wicked sense of humor, she was very fragile and after her parents divorced early on in her life, she seemingly never recovered fully from it.
She never saw herself as a star and she didn’t even think her music was accessible to a wide audience. She was just a girl with some songs. She started to gain a following in the UK, winning some awards and it was at this point, you realize she never had a chance at survival. Her manager was a promoter, her father, whom Amy worshiped, had dollar signs in his eyes, and she met Blake Civil Fielder, a man that was poison to her life. The tempestuous relationship with Blake was a “can’t live with or without” him situation for the rest of her days.
Already known to be able to drink people under the table, Blake introduced her to heroin and crack cocaine and her life became a yo-yo of getting clean and falling off the wagon. The pair broke up and Amy channeled her pain into the songs that would make up her classic album “Back to Black.” “Amy” features fantastic studio footage of her laying down the vocal for the song along with producer Mark Ronson and after Amy delivers the song, it shows her stunned by how sad the song turned out.
“Back to Black” was recorded and the album sounded like a throwback to the girl group sound of the 1950s, but with a voice so unique and with modern lyrics about destruction and getting your heart broken that people of every generation related to it. One of her final chances at survival came before the release of this album as an intervention was staged to take her to rehab, but it was decided by the people around her that the album should go forward instead. Though she was involved with shady characters, it’s easy to point the finger knowing what we know now, and the good thing about this film is that it doesn’t point fingers. Everyone involved in her life was to blame to some extent (aside from her childhood friends) and it is abundantly clear when you watch this film.
The song that put her on the map, “Rehab,” would also be the beginning of her demise as the global hit turned her into fodder for the paparazzi to follow Amy everywhere she went. The ample footage of her being swarmed by paparazzi is disgusting and you wonder why laws haven’t been created to prevent paparazzi from being able to stalk a person at their place of residence. She reconciled with Blake, did a quick tour of the US (see opening paragraph) and they got married. The honeymoon did not last long as Amy was torn between a tempestuous relationship, non-stop partying and contractual singing obligations.
Her husband got arrested and jailed and once again, Amy’s chance of turning her life around all but vanished. She’d get clean for a brief period of time and then go back to drugs and drinking. There is heart wrenching footage of her accepting a Grammy award live via satellite in London and she pretty much freaks out that Tony Bennett, one of her idols, is the man presenting the award. Despite how messed up she was, she was so happy to be recognized for her accomplishment and it is possibly one of the final moments in her life when she was happy. She confided to a friend that without drugs and drinking, life didn’t have much meaning for her and the downward spiral began to escalate at this point.
She took 6 months off to go to a rehab facility in St. Lucia and she was met by her father, who turned up with a reality TV crew! Disgusting. There is footage of some fans wanting to take a picture with Amy and on camera, her father yells at her. Amy obliges the photo and she tells her father not to make a fool of her both on camera and in front of her fans. It’s just another example of how this fragile person had the wrong people in her inner circle.
This is when the movie becomes really depressing as her life is just a series of getting clean, falling off the wagon, getting chased by the paparazzi and being a mess in public appearances. Perhaps to spare us all of the gory details, footage of her smoking crack, that at the time leaked onto the internet, with the lead singer of Baby Shambles was not shown, nor was her seemingly random desire to get breast implants. Even the footage of her final full length concert in Serbia didn’t show the full extent of how bad off she was as they focused on her being too messed up to sing, but if you search the internet, you can see how sad it was when she actually did sing at that show. What does make it into the film; however, is the audio of a conversation she has where she says that if she could give her voice back in exchange for not being hassled when she goes out in public, she would. Too sad for words.
In her final studio appearance, she sang at Abbey Road Studios with her idol, Tony Bennett, as he was recording a duets album. You see how nervous she was and after not being pleased with her vocal take, she apologizes to Tony Bennett for wasting his time. Bennett, ever the gentleman, is not mad and in fact he encourages Amy and tells her that they will get the perfect take and not to worry about it. You wish his presence in her life would have shown up sooner, but alas, it was not meant to be.
After calls to her childhood friends, in which they described hearing the voice on the phone of the Amy they knew and loved, where she really sounded serious about turning her life around, a typical day in the life of Amy Winehouse where she drank from morning to night found her with 4 times the legal limit of alcohol in her system and it caused her heart to stop and she died in her sleep at the age of 27.
You will be angered by the tragedy of what could have been if only she’d gotten clean. You will be angered by all the poisonous people in her inner circle. You will be angered when you see what the vicious paparazzi can do to a fragile person. On the other side of the coin, you will be thankful that although the world will never have any more new music from Amy Winehouse, we have the masterpiece “Back to Black,” and the memory of one of the best voices of all time, preserved in this beautiful portrait of a beautifully tragic girl. Rest in peace, Amy.
Photos by G. Various Artists.
Bjork wears Marjan Pejoski’s Swan Dress (2001)
As a big fan of singer/artist Bjork, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Museum of Modern Art would host a “mid-career retrospective” on the Icelandic goddess in 2015. I will report on the exhibit in a moment because by now, if you’ve seen any press on this exhibit, it has been overwhelmingly negative. I have to agree, but only because Bjork is such a unique and amazing artist, the exhibit does not do her career much justice, especially to those who use this exhibit to get an education in all things Bjork. I enjoyed myself, but for a retrospective, so many great possibilities for a wonderful exhibit fell through the cracks.
Partial gallery view of Bjork’s singles covers.
The show opened to the public on March 8, 2015, so naturally Gail of Worleygig and I checked the show out on the first day. I cannot say this is how your experience will go, but we got to the museum around 11 o’clock am and our timed ticket to view the exhibit was for 12:45, but you may want to prepare for a longer line, just in case. The exhibit consists of 3 parts: 1. A screening room with a video for the song “Black Lake,” which has been specially commissioned for this exhibit. The video is about 10 minutes long and is about Bjork’s breakup with artist Matthew Barney (whose collaborations with Bjork are ignored in the exhibit). Second (and this is what you need timed tickets for) is “Songlines,” a quasi-immersive experience into each of Bjork’s solo albums, featuring handwritten lyrics, costumes and miscellaneous ephemera from her solo work. Last, a screening room features all of Bjork’s music videos (though her last album “Biophilia”).
Bjork – All Is Full of Love
I guess this is as good as any place to start talking about what the exhibit lacks. Bjork’s early career is completely ignored – from her childhood singing (she released her first album in 1977, in case you didn’t know) to her beginnings in various Icelandic punk bands (and one of them was called Tippi Tikarrass which translates to “Cork the Bitch’s Ass.” The public at large should be educated in this!) Also ignored, the band that put Bjork on the world map in the late 1980s – The Sugarcubes. Instead, you start with Bjork’s solo album “Debut” (1993). You walk through a hallway that features running loops of each of Bjork’s tours – packaged in a room that is not conducive to spending lots of time and makes the non-diehard gloss over the amazing performance artist that Bjork is in concert. You are given a headset and you get to hear a story that has nothing to do with the recording of the music and instead tells you the journey of a girl, whose story may or may not be true, but again taking the focus away from all the rules Bjork was breaking as she embarked on her solo career – working with cutting edge producers, making artistic videos, making singles that had extremely diverse (even if sometimes annoying) remixes, her usage of interesting artwork for her releases and most of all, her carving out a place in the music landscape with her unique lyrics and quirky personality, never selling out by going mainstream and always remaining a true avant-garde artist.
Bjork – Venus as a Boy Lyrics
Typically each room focuses on one of her solo albums (aside from the remix album “Telegram,” the soundtrack to her collaboration with Matthew Barney “Drawing Restraint 9” her own “Selmasongs” record, which is the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed film she starred in called “Dancer in the Dark” and even the “Army of Me” cover album, where 20 versions of that song which were submitted by fans and the moneys from the project went to 2004 Tsunami victim relief). The exhibit does not benefit from having the music videos separated from the props on display from each album because as you see the evolution of her videos, you will also hear the evolution of her music. For the die-hards, we already know this, but to someone discovering the world of Bjork for the first time, they have to dig really deep to get some answers, and Bjork’s music can be extremely challenging at times. Besides, seeing clips of appropriate videos would at least give the uninitiated a bigger clue into what Bjork is all about, as they are not likely to sit down for 2 hours to watch Bjork’s videos in a separate part of the museum.
Bjork by Alexander McQueen
Some of the most iconic outfits Bjork has worn are on display from a dress made by Alexander McQueen to the infamous Swan Dress, and in fact, the mannequins look eerily like Bjork. There’s nothing in the exhibit to tell you how she ended up working with these people or how the costumes fit into the theme from the album. Also absent are sales figures, track lists, several officially released coffee table books about Bjork’s work, awards and any sort of mention of her collaborations with the likes of Thom Yorke of Radiohead or writing the title track for Madonna’s album “Bedtime Stories.” Even the groundbreaking interactive “Biophilia” app, which was acquired by MoMA, doesn’t even make an appearance! Whoever curated this exhibit did a huge disservice to Bjork’s career.
Bjork – Biophilia Era
The items on display are certainly cool and interesting, and if you are a die-hard, seeing so many infamous Bjork-items are a treat, so I enjoyed the exhibit, as did Gail, a lover of art and not a huge fan of Bjork’s music. However, there have been many exhibits where I was unfamiliar with the artist on display as I walked into the show and when I left, I felt I had a much better understanding of their work. With this Bjork show, it is definitely not the case.
Bjork – Volta Era
I think you can appreciate this exhibit no matter what your level of Bjork fandom, but if you don’t take the time to dig deep with her work, which many viewers will not, the true artistry of Bjork’s career will not be seen or heard, and that is a tragedy. Let us know what you think if you go in the comments section.
“Bjork” at MoMa runs through June 7, 2015.
Bjork – Volta Era
Bjork – Joga Costume
Bjork – Hyperballad Shoes
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Photos by G. Art by Jeff Koons.
Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons
If you are a fan of Jeff Koons (and perhaps even if you are not a fan), you should really head over to the Whitney Museum in New York to check out their retrospective on the man who is one of the world’s most famous and also richest artists.
The comprehensive exhibit covers Koons’ earliest work up through present day with his Gazing Ball series.
Made In Heaven
The infamous X-rated “Made In Heaven” series, where Jeff Koons became a temporary porn star with his then wife Ciccolina, are also on display, and you get to see another side of Koons (pun intended), an artist who was not afraid to get naked for his art.
The exhibit is organized by the various stages of Koons’ career and when you see the diversity and vast body of work, I think it might even change the opinion of the haters. Well, if you’re not a fan and you see the exhibit, tell us what you thought in the comments section.
As a person who likes to take my own photos for usage on this blog, I was thrilled that the Whitney loosened their no photos policy for this show, the last exhibit at their uptown Manhattan location before it moves down to Chelsea in 2015.
This show will be traveling to Paris in 2014 and Spain in 2015 and I hope there will be some sort of documentary on how this priceless art is transported and hung. Though it may not be obvious from the photos, in real life, many of these works are absolutely gigantic.
Personally, I love Jeff Koons’ work and to see so many familiar artworks as well as so many I’ve never gotten to see in person was really an incredible experience for me.
And now, enjoy a few more pictures (which are only a tiny fraction of the over 150 works on display at the Whitney).
The New series
Luxury and Degradation
After the jump, see a few images that are not safe for closed minded people (NSFCMP).
If you choose not to go on, know that the Koons Retrospective is on display through October 19, 2014 at the Whitney Musuem, located at 945 Madison Avenue and 75th Street. Don’t miss it!
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