ELEVEN Lucid Diamonds in The Rough Voluptuous Sky.

29Nov09

ELEVEN Lucid Diamonds in The Rough Voluptuous Sky.

Tell Persephone, for a good time don’t call my Iphone, silence in the cave and underground realms is woo’ing me with diamonds now. And if you are a Party or Person calling…this better be GOOD.

The cave of deep dark cold, the long night, the winter solstice is coming. For direction, desire and comfort…the voluptuous night sky. For knowing…the deep quiet inside.  For events…transforming only please.

Diamonds in the Rough from inky black coal are Stars in my Sky and here are 11 of them ranging from “under-privileged kids” to Pop Stars such as Damien Hirst and Karl Lagerfeld.  Go below, go under and go into and get into it to find treasures where most don’t look.

ONE. THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH. NEWARK, NEW JERSEY.

Picture this. I had a cold. It was an unseasonably cold night in October. I had commitments. To Kids. To Art. To an Evening out in NYC for Causes + Fundraising, I had to accept my fuzzy brain and altered perception of Body, enter the magical forest glens of Midtown Tourists and West of Eighth Avenue Hinterlands and Rock on.

And so…to Rockefeller Center, our first stop for a cocktail party to benefit the Links School in Newark, held in a verdant cave of palms against the night sky of deep dark blue and cool steel.

My partner Michelle Barge and I met up at the invite of Ellen Cohen of Lazard Freres and her beloved cause, The Link School, which serves low income urban students from Newark with exceptional and rigorous education.  The result is students who excel with an 80% college enrollment. This year resulted in an astounding 2 million dollars in scholarship funding. Kudos to the Principal, Maria Pilar Paradiso J.D., who was positively inspiring and supporter, Veronika Sonsev of Jumptap, the mobile advertising agency, with whom I shared lively conversation about the arts, education and the digital frontier.

I was born in Newark and care passionately about this city rising from the ashes of racism and poverty to be a center of the Arts and Industry.  Thank you Mayor Cory Booker (and our friend Desiree Peterkin Bell) Ashton Kutcher, Forest Whitaker and Conan O’Brien…public faces waking up America to the potential versus the hopelessness in our inner cities.  I proudly step away from my red Camaro in my Uggs and push back my feathered bangs and salute you. I am actually a proud Jersey girl. (I mean, Newark girl…ouch!…not ALL of NJ!)

TWO. “HIGHBROW” AND LOWBROW…ALWAYS THE TWAIN SHALL MEET.

The next stop that night, WAY on the other side of town, almost in the River to an unmarked warehouse loft, the site for the Pointe Suite Art Ball Studio 450 Penthouse. A place where no one in their right mind should sojourn. Whizzing cars entering the Lincoln Tunnel make it feel as though one was in New Jersey already, a frightening prospect for NY’ers. “This better be good, “ I thought.  Annika Conner, artist and social butterfly and my friend, artist Nick Papadakis were raising funds to create a book of new artists and for the trek, I wanted excitement.

The wintery and tree girl paintings at the top of this post are by Nick.  I showed his work many years ago when I ran the MUD party at Baktun in the Meatpacking when it still was an actual Meatpacking place and parties there were shining because of the contrast.  We are talking The Cooler, Baktun and Florent. It was magic.  Looming buildings, dark streets and unmarked doors when you arrived at about 12 am along with that pervasive smell of meat. At 4 am, tumbling out into 14th street to the roar of tractor trailers, white clad meat men and slivers of glimpses at the swinging cow carcasses in the coolers. Imagine us at 4 am, silhouetted figures against truck headlights, Manolo and liquor challenged, with our diagonal, cobble stoned treks home past steaming street vents with drum and bass still pumping in our blood as meat workers arrived for a day’s work. This was visceral Art without price tags, entitlement and the crowds.

If an art event is going to sparkle diamonds in NYC it better have some feel like this…no matter how highbrow the rollers.

Once inside the warehouse, I searched the crowd vainly for something to turn me on. Annika and her father’s regalia unfortunately were the highlight I enjoyed, mostly because they reminded me of artist Richard Saja’s embroidered toile (above)… without the irony though.

Here are Annick’s paintings.

I love the saturated colors.  As a contrast, here is a painting of me done by  Florian Heinke from a photo taken at APT, another old favorite place in the Meatpacking.

I have read that Annick loves dancing, and although there was none at her party, we seem to share this.

Nick’s work is now sold at Sotheby’s.   I was nostalgic and touched to hear how he has moved from nightclub party exhibitions to the world’s stage.  I guess dancing does indeed lead to other things.

Our photographer, Kaitlyn Barlow and I wished the artists to be featured in the book were more prominent at this event, even the slide show was tucked away in a corner. Beside a hilarious drunken girl with dress and shoes falling off, who was running around sketching everyone, you had to search for the art or to feel immersed in creativity. Without an immersive experience of art, music, film, atmosphere,the whole party was not as exciting as it could be, as most charity balls tend to be. Kudos to Annick and Nick, I admire your art and efforts, but this party made me want to hustle my heels home…vaguely unsatisfied.

Sometimes, the lucidity comes in knowing when to get to the leaving.

(See further in the post for a truly stellar “Art” party, Performa’s Opening Party.)

THREE. HOW TO CIRCLE FROM HYPER NATION TO HIBER NATION.


Sanskrit language tutorial. OM begets HOME. OM begets WOMB. OM begets ROOM. A room with no view is an instant high. Home is where the heels kick off into the sculptural pile of clothes shed and skin and gratefulness spin a cocoon via a linen down comforter.

How planned it would be to cuddle first in this tufted leather over metal cocoon for the Night’s Requiem before the bed?

Blackman Cruz is the pointed collection of stellar furniture to behold Life and Drama in. Blackman Cruz stores are in LA or SF.  This Tufted Pod Chair requires $20,500. in exchange for plenty of Good Dreams.

FOUR. VISIT YOUR DARK LADY.


Remedios Varos is the artist for pod chairs.

FIVE. FIND PERSONALITY BEGINS WHERE COMPARISON ENDS.



…and then there is I Pod hair.  Dusty Springfield, The Woodabe and the artist JillZ, aka Moi;-)

The artist relates:  “After reading recently again the biography of David Geffen I tuned the Pandora to Laura Nyro radio and was transported by other pop icons of the 60’s and 70’s such as Dusty Springfield and even Carole King and became a bit obsessed by their guru-like words and untouchable, mysterious goddess status and personalities. When I saw this photo of Dusty above, it really hit me and I suddenly wondered what she was thinking and feeling in that puffy beehive during this photo shoot.  The only way I could really know was to try to assume her un-natural pose and quixotic smile so I started playing around in Photobooth.”

“The result is a series of images, stepping stones towards a vision of mash-up, old formal portraits which I have been desiring to do for a very long time but in such a way to be completely timeless, genderless and culturally undefined.”

“The root of that desire is my obsession with any transformative ritual.  The Fulani tribesmen of the Woodabe from Africa shown here with their exaggerated expressions and full-on preening line-ups like showgirls is so opposite our culture’s man-dance of solitary ego parading. I always wondered how they felt too. So I went there too and decided to become their Luv-Child.”

“Perhaps contrasted with Dusty’s cool, stiff and almost transsexual vibe, the window between these two worlds beckoned me in and the plan is to bring more people and personalities with me.  We have just begun the mining process for these diamonds.”

(You can see what gets churned up from pod-chair dreaming and cold nights between parties.)

SIX. PRACTICE DARK ARTS.

From the entrance, with its giant big blue inflatable lightbulb with evil eyes and scars signaling brilliant ideas ahead, to the intricate charted details of Martian and ghoul anatomy, Burton’s vision is our modern antidote to everything Dark and Fearful.  With one eyeball set on Western culture, following Edward Gorey’s mock Victorian and the other eyeball on Eastern culture’s best 1960’s monster and Argonaut movies and futuristic anime, the man has created a compound eye based on a childhood touchpoint of enjoying being “misfit” vs. “normal” and seeing the world from inside his head.

I desired the corpse bride’s popping eyeballs to see over the crowds oogling precious drawings of my favorites, Stain Boy, Mr. Oogie Boogie, with his independently moving bulges in his cushy body and Large Marge.  Burton’s renderings of ourselves and the people we know with their innards flailing about in a way that we realize we truly perceive them. An early film he made of himself sleeping and dreaming in his bed with upside down nerd glasses says it all.

Thank you to my friend Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, one of the organizers of the exhibition. My favorite memory of Raj is his glow-in-the-Dark, very Burtonesque and hilarious mad ghost dancing on the beach in a sheet at our Halloween bonfire during the Hamptons Film Festival.  Big hugs to Monique Baron, my friend just moving from Corporate to Creative, for suggesting we go to the exhibit.

The Tim Burton exhibition is at New York’s Museum of Modern Art until late April.

SEVEN. A BRILLIANT SKULL ONLY NEEDS SISYPHUS’ PAINTBRUSH.


Damien, we hardly know ye.

“No Love Lost, Blue Paintings,” the Damien Hirst painting exhibition, opened this month in London at the Wallace Collection to disparaging criticism. I actually love the paintings and it made for a Hirst womb coupled with my visit to Other Criteria, Damien Hirst’s underground gallery at the Gagosian uptown store, which opened in September in New York City, with the perfect companion, Shelley Lewis, an elegant, humorous and smart Brit with a Bohemian spirit.

A brilliant white cave with wallpaper of pills, butterflies and flowers proffered up the tidy output of the Artist for Conceptual Consumption.  Close ups of the solid multi-colored dots surrounded by field of gold glitter revealed a precision and perfection around simplicity that is as meditative as a Rothko or a mandala.

The paintings feel like a pared down schematic of the momentary void from which Hirst’s lit symbolic tools, such as his skull, flowers, thought lines, dots and shark jaws, converge for a moment.  Less solid and a childlike effort begging for the technique and critique to be dropped, I truly admire these for their rawness and almost naivite.

The Guru is painting for fun.

EIGHT. MEN IN BLACK.

Karl Lagerfeld is the one who said, “Personality begins where comparison ends.”

Compare and Contrast are THE jumping off points, for new ideas, humor, conveying a seductive advertising message and even to the stark black and white uniform Western culture adopts to award and celebrate.

Both were shining last week for the Ad Council’s annual black tie event at the Waldorf Astoria. I was struck how the sea of men in the rigor and elegance of black tie dress always levels the comparison factor for males (much like the Fulani line-up) and allows the personality of the men shine on top of a white arrow in a black field through their faces, hands, shoes and characters.

Similarly, The Ad Council uses contrast and the improbable to convey messages from the American Heart Association’s “hands can do incredible things” for Hands-only CPR to brilliant pieces on Gay rights. Where would we be without these creative minds devoting time, energy and money to creatively pushing the needle of compassion and engagement for the masses?

Huffington Post has many of this year’s commercials here.

And Kudos to Karl for re-inventing the language of black and white uniforms via Chanel and his own wardrobe as a frame for personality read from the articulation of details.  The signs and symbols sensed like animals.


NINE. PERFORMA. NOW THIS IS AN ART EVENT.

Attuned to digital experience and expectations, almost in a sexual way, public events must equally touch the primal and the disorienting to engage us.  We are now the impulsed creators of our immediate experience in front of our Ipods and computers…so to replicate this seduction face to face, nothing about our surroundings must be less than peak experience.

Imagine exploring vast spaces with freshly uprooted apple trees saying “Pick me”, a sea of glasses inviting you to “Drink me”, a table of 2000 pounds of pork ribs rained upon by honey ooze dripping from the ceiling saying “This is messy”and Jeff Koons chocolate bunnies with hammers saying “Break me off”… with all of it based on the book of Genesis?  Now you are talking an event worth braving the cold for!

Performa, the bienniel roster of performance artists from around the world opened recently in New York City with an Opening Night Dinner Benefit at X Initiative, designed by Jennifer Rubell, the daughter of art collectors and niece of Studio 54 impresario Steve Rubell.

This event raised the bar…thankfully. (still getting honey outa my dress)

TEN. SOUND IN THE DARK BEGINS THE WORLD.


Pomp and circumstance reigns at the Park Avenue Armory from its historic army days to “PA” a performance by resident Marian Rosenfeld, one of the closing events of Performa 09.

While waiting to be let into the Armory’s drill hall where the performance was to be, I and others explored the dark rooms filled with taxidermy, including owls, a bobcat, a moose and others, among intricate black wrought iron chandeliers and military portraits.  The rooms are begging for a fashion shoot (especially given the Armory’s rep as hosting the “Silk Stocking Regiment”)  The heavy, ornate rooms were surprisingly designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany along with Stanford White (whose story of young mistresses and murder is intriguing New York history.)  The rooms are intricate example of the American aesthetic movement’s use of exotic materials in lush combinations, a cult of beauty and sensuousness that is considered to have been pronounced dead upon the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895.

The Veteran’s room’s chocolate brown wood carved ceiling with silver inlaid arabesques made me gasp. In the library, the silver work on urns, commemorative plates and ephemera mixed ornate animal forms and horns with heraldry is salivating and desires an indie model’s hand on them. Gold stenciled, Indian block-print inspired flowers on blue wallpaper and ceiling made me think of Hirst’s flower wallpaper, can you imagine that being commissioned today for an army headquarters?

The incongruity continued as we poured into the cavernous dark of the drill hall punctuated only with a few spots of light on PA speakers or a cellist and the monstrous scaffold ceiling. Machinery and recording bits lay all around. Following first a female voice’s personal love cooing coming out of the big PA speakers turning around and around in a vast searchlight way made me feel Nazi-Germanish. Tick tock tick tock, the crowd became attuned to the utterances of The Machine. Another spot is lit where a cello player plays with electronic feedback and the crowd drifts there.  Lights or sudden switches took people to one tableau or another or just sitting in the middle of nowhere to soak it all in.  Once the soundscape became more and more of the same thing, it made me wonder about the tone of pure love emanating from within and without, like the sound of OM or the universe existing whether we tune in or not…and how we are subject to sound’s pull and push.

The crowd’s long applause at the end was most thrilling, due to it’s shared staccato and crowdsourced birth.  Another surprising and life-shifting night in New York City.

The following image, Bejing’s National Stadium by architects Herzog and de Mueron, just came into my life because of a potential client’s new space in their upcoming project in Miami.  It is the perfect modern aesthetic fusing sensuousness and contemplation and strangely conveys the same feeling of being in Marina Rosenfeld’s drill room pulsating with light and sound.

ELEVEN. STARCHILD…This better be GOOD.

I’ve been doing yoga since I was 16, a teenage starchild, flipping into headstands against my bedroom door where hung this Lisbon nightclub poster with groovy Hebrew writing advertising a nightclub called “Tiffany’s.”  Today, while doing a headstand, (which is great for spilling out the stars in your head), I saw the poster on my wall where it now hangs today and thought about the images we have as lodestars in our lives.

This enigmatic black-pod-hatted man will always intrigue me on to keep believing in that black field of all possibility so I remember to cultivate the stars in myself and others to pop the moment.

Here are Jamiroquai’s lyrics to Starchild, an old song, but one that feels right for the time and coming cold. It is kind of Christian mythical but a good reminder that we all are actually the Starchild and we are capable of fully inhabiting and making good the black wholes filled with stars that we are…

I’ve never seen the sky so angry

Starchild

You’ve got to do something about these

Mind crimes

The shuffling feet and sad expressions

They don’t go, they don’t go

I thought you came down from heaven

To save souls

These angry men are into making

Bad seeds

The only thing we had they’re taking

Now love needs

Needs a little, needs a little

Five thousand million people

To spread joy, spread a little joy

I thought you came down from heaven to save us

I thought you came but you just don’t take us

Chorus:

Somewhere in the world tonight

There’s a fire blazing bright

Keeping warm the superman

Sent to us to save the land

Somewhere in the world today

A hungry one will kneel to pray

Wishing all the while to see

Starchild

I’ve seen the preachers on the TV

In white suits

With precious stones they’re studded into

Their boots

Can you take the money, can you take their money?

I don’t know who to believe

Is it them or you?

I thought you came down from heaven to save us

I thought you came but you just don’t take us

[Chorus]

Starchild

Got to see him now

When you gonna come, when you gonna come

You’ve got to save us from what we’ve begun

From what we’ve begun

So long coming down

Starchild

Chorus

Somewhere in the world tonight

In the world tonight

Somewhere in the world tonight

In the world tonight

You know that somewhere in the world tonight

There’s a superman

There’s a superman and he’s coming down to see you, baby

There’s a superman coming

There’s a superman coming

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