Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vincent is Back!

Van Gogh dazzles at Netherlands' Kroeller-Mueller

With the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam closed for renovations until April, the world's second-largest collection of the Dutch master's work is stepping into the limelight.

The Kroeller-Mueller museum in the eastern Netherlands is not as well-known but is still considered a jewel among connoisseurs. It has revamped the layout of its central rooms, giving more space and more focus to its very best works.

"Van Gogh really stands central now, both physically in the museum and in the collection as a whole," director Lisette Pelsers said in a telephone interview.

This week the museum announced "Vincent is Back," because after a time in which many of its 91 Vincent Van Gogh paintings, 180 drawings and other works have been on loan, they are set to return in style.

It has opened "Native Soil," the first of a two-part exhibition looking at the spectacular changes that Van Gogh underwent in his artistic career, which took place almost entirely in the decade from 1880 to 1890. The appropriately wintery exhibit focuses on Van Gogh's formative years in the Netherlands, with a dark palette and simple, somber subjects.

"Native Soil" culminates in what is widely regarded as Van Gogh's first great masterpiece, the 1885 "Potato Eaters." It also shows smaller works that presage the colorful brilliance to come, such as the 1885 "Head of a Woman Wearing a White Hat," which may have been part of Van Gogh's preparations for "Potato Eaters,;" and the emotive 1882 study "Sorrowful Old Man" in black chalk.

"You can really see him struggling to find his style as an artist," Pelsers said. [more...]

Friday, December 7, 2012

Maeterlinck Lives!

In Claus Guth's haunting new production of Debussy's "Pelleas et Melisande," the characters move as if in a trance between two worlds — both of them unrelentingly bleak.

The French composer's only completed opera, starring baritone Christian Gerhaher and soprano Christiane Karg in the title roles, was seen Thursday night in the seventh of eight performances by the Frankfurt Opera this fall. The final one is Saturday night.

The story, adapted by Maurice Maeterlinck from his own symbolist play, sounds straightforward when reduced to its elements: Golaud, grandson of King Arkel, meets a mysterious, much younger woman, marries her and brings her home to his family's castle. She and his half-brother, Pelleas, fall in love, and Golaud's suspicions that they are having an affair (apparently unfounded) lead him to murder his rival. Melisande dies after giving birth to Golaud's child.

But in Maeterlinck's world nothing is quite what it seems, and as the characters wander through the story, their words, feelings and motivations are often impossible to pin down. Debussy captures this atmosphere of dreamy uncertainty and shifting reality with a score whose chromaticism continually eludes the musical resolution of traditional key structure. [more...]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Picasso, Matisse, Monets stolen from Dutch museum

What's with all the art thefts lately?  Is there no security anymore in these big museums?

Seven paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso, Matisse and Claude Monet were stolen from a museum in Rotterdam in an early-hours heist, Dutch police said Tuesday.

The theft at the Kunsthal museum is one of the largest in years in the Netherlands, and is a stunning blow for the private Triton Foundation collection, which was being exhibited publicly as a group for the first time. [more...]

Monday, September 24, 2012

Van Gogh Moves

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The operation began moments after the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam closed Sunday evening. Men removed alarm tags from behind some of Vincent Van Gogh's greatest masterpieces, including "Sunflowers," ''Irises" and the famously crooked "Bedroom," and quickly pulled the paintings down from the museum's walls.

Fortunately, they were not thieves carrying out an epic heist, but curators preparing the works for transport to a temporary location across town where they will be on display for the next seven months while the museum is closed for renovations.

In all, 75 pieces — the cream of the biggest collection of Vincent Van Gogh's work — are moving to The Hermitage, an Amsterdam dependency of the Russian state museum. [more...]

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Radiant Child

I've always been a huge fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat... this is the best documentary I've ever seen on him.  It really emphasizes how prolific he was and captures the genius of his mind. Jean-Michel Basquiet: The Radiant Child - http://www.jean-michelbasquiattheradiantchild.com/

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"The Entertainer" Has Passed

The word "prolific" gets tossed around a lot, but it couldn't be more appropriate in discussing the work of the late, great Marvin Hamlisch. This is especially true in considering his many contributions to film over the past five-plus decades. [more...]

Hamlisch brought us so much wonderful music in his relatively short life... it still echoes in our hearts and minds each day. Here are some of my favorite movies that Marvin scored:

The Way We Were
The Sting
Take the Money and Run
Sophie's Choice
Same Time, Next Year
Seems Like Old Times

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stolen Matisse Painting Reportedly Recovered After Almost a Decade

A $3 million missing Matisse painting that had been stolen nearly 10 years ago and swapped for a fake at a Venezuelan museum has reportedly been recovered by FBI agents posing as art collectors at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach Tuesday. A man and a woman allegedly tried to sell Henri Matisse's 1925 "Odalisque in Red Pants" to undercover agents for $1.5 million... [more...]

More on Matisse... http://www.henri-matisse.net/

There is a marvelous biography called The Unknown Matisse by Hilary Spurling, a brilliant scholar. Second volume: Matisse the Master : A Life of Henri Matisse: The Conquest of Colour: 1909-1954.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Marina: Provocateur

Watching HBO's documentary, Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present, for me, was a very moving experience, to say the least.  It's like going through withdrawals or some sort of spiritual exorcism.  Understanding and yielding to the silence and mysteries within is very painful. But stepping through that Door of Pain becomes transformative.  For Marina Abramovic, it's a way of life on which she built an entire career as a performance artist from the early '70s to the present.  Her intense beauty and haunting charisma will seduce you into another world - into her world.  And yet the world in which we live becomes more than just her world; she sends a universal invitation to challenge your soul in a way it's never submitted to before.

A pioneer of performance art, Marina Abramović (born Yugoslavia, 1946) began using her own body as the subject, object, and medium of her work in the early 1970s. For the exhibition Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, The Museum of Modern Art’s first performance retrospective, Abramović performed in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium every day the Museum was open between March 14 and May 31, 2010. Visitors were encouraged to sit silently across from the artist for a duration of their choosing, becoming participants in the artwork. This comprehensive photo gallery contains a record of each participant. Please select “Show info” to see the date and duration of each visitor’s participation.” The Artist Is Present is Abramovic’s longest performance to date. [more...]

Monday, June 25, 2012

Celebrating Books in America

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Steins Collect at the Met

Not since visiting the Chester Dale Collection at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. have I been so moved by an exhibit that was so vast and just seemed to keep going on and on. As we walked through gallery after gallery of the exhibition  "The Steins Collect" on its last day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was clear that Gertrude Stein, her brothers, Leo and Michael and Michael's wife Sarah were some of the most important collectors and therefore influences on what you and I view today as some of the greatest and most original art of all time. About the Exhibition.

I've read Gertrude Stein's writings and a lot of what's been written about her and just like "Midnight in Paris," Woody Allen's recent film where Stein is portrayed by Kathy Bates, it's hard not to want to get to know more about her once you see this show.  She was a shrewd collector and knew when to sell and trade the masterpieces she was smart enough to recognize and buy - to her advantage.  It's one of the most fascinating stories in art history with so many players; and on display are included paintings, drawings, sculptures and sketches by up and coming artists that were also influenced by the painters the Steins supported.

Read The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
The Steins Collect catalogue

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Laura Nyro Inducted in 2012 R&R Hall of Fame

'My New York Mood' by Sandy Frazier (charcoal and pencil)

Laura Nyro's music is still amazingly fresh and alive today!  It's terrific that she was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Watch Sara Bareilles's tribute - singing Laura's 'Stoney End.'  I remember how entranced I was when I first heard 'New York Tendaberry'... and did this sketch of Laura when I was a teenager.  My favorite song of Laura's is 'Eli's Coming'... also love the cover by Three Dog Night.

Laura's son accepted the award and Bette Midler emceed.  More on Laura at her site...

"Laura" By Sandy Frazier (pastels)

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Barnes Collection - The Final Steal

The Barnes Foundation is no longer the greatest art collection you'll never see. Art aficionados and academics might never stop debating whether Dr. Albert C. Barnes' priceless cache of masterpieces should have been uprooted from its original home in suburban Merion and transplanted to a modernist box on the museum-studded Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

But like it or not, the Barnes' long, strange trip has reached its final destination. It officially opens to the public Saturday.

"We are beginning a chapter of history at the Barnes where the 'plain people' that Dr. Barnes so often talked about will at long last feel these masterpieces are as readily available for their enjoyment and study as anyone in this room," said Judge Jacqueline Allen, the foundation's secretary, at a preview of the collection this week.
The Barnes expects 250,000 visitors to see the collection during its first year in Philadelphia, roughly four times more than in its hallowed former home that required months-in-advance reservations. Visitors also will see it better, with discreet lighting to reduce the glare that was a perennial problem in Merion. [more...]

See the documentary, "The Art of the Steal," on the great Barnes collection - known as "the greatest theft of art since the Second World War."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Warhol 'Elvis' Sold for $37M at NYC Auction

Andy Warhol's "Double Elvis" sold for $37 million and works by Roy Lichtenstein and Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei broke their own records at Sotheby's contemporary art sale on Wednesday.

The sale came on the heels of art auction history. Last week, the auction house sold Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for $119.9 million, making it the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

"The reason for these record-breaking sales is, quite simply, the quality of material on show," said Michael Frahm, a contemporary art adviser at the London-based Frahm Ltd. "The key is quality."

Warhol's "Double Elvis (Ferus Type)," a silver silkscreen image of Elvis Presley depicted as a cowboy, fetched $37,042,500. It had been expected to sell for $30 million to $50 million. The auction house said it was the first "Double Elvis" to appear on the market since 1995. Warhol produced a series of 22 images of Elvis. Nine are in museum collections.

The rock and roll heartthrob is shown armed and shooting from the hip, a shadowy Elvis figure faintly visible in the background. It was offered for sale by a private American collector, who acquired it in 1977. [more...]

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Beastie Boys Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch

Punk Rocker, Rapper, Filmmaker, Activist, Family Man Beastie Boys Adam Yauch has passed on - all too soon - to the great beyond.  These guys represented a chapter of music that was a lot of fun even if you hate rap - one of the most successful and longest lived hip-hop rap groups ever! 

Founding Beastie Boys member Adam "MCA" Yauch died Friday, May 4, 2012 according to published reports. The cause of death has not yet been revealed, but the musician and activist announced in 2009 that he was battling cancer. He was 47. Yauch was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 5, 1964, and was an only child. As a teenager, Yauch taught himself how to play the bass guitar. By 1978, at the age of 14, Yauch started a hard-core punk band called the Young Aborigines with three friends, including Michael "Mike D" Diamond. They played their first show on August 5, 1981, Yauch's 17th birthday. Go here for more...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Munch's 'The Scream' Going for $80M at NYC Auction

Talk about being famous for being famous!  One of the art world's most recognizable images - Edvard Munch's "The Scream" - could sell for $80 million or more when it is auctioned at Sotheby's on Wednesday. The 1895 painting of a man holding his head and screaming under a streaked, blood-red sky has become a modern symbol for human anxiety, popularized in movies and plastered on everything from mugs to Halloween masks to T-shirts. It is one of four versions created by the Norwegian expressionist painter. Three are in Norwegian museums; the one at Sotheby's is the only one left in private hands. It is being sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and patron of the artist. [more...]

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Paul Cézanne's Joueur de cartes Found

A rare watercolor study by the modern master Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) last seen in public in 1953 has re-emerged from a private collection in Texas after nearly 60 years and will be featured as the lead highlight of Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on May 1 in New York. The full-size work on paper is one of the artist's preparatory studies for Les joueurs de cartes (Card Players), the seminal five-painting series that Cézanne completed between 1890 and 1896. Previously known only from a black and white photograph, the study was rediscovered earlier this year in the collection of the late Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald, a prominent collector and internationally renowned medical expert who spent his career in Dallas, Texas, after emigrating to the United States in the mid-1930s. Meticulously preserved, with fresh and unfaded hues of blue and ochre, this tantalizing view into the painting process of one of modern art's great masters is estimated to achieve US$15-20 million. [more...]

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sandy's Book & CD Multimedia Platforms

You can order The Mystic Artist as a Nook book or on Kindle on Amazon.com.  And Resurrection is available on iTunes at the link below.
The Mystic Artist is an e-book available here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Never-before-seen photos from 100 years ago: NYC

New York City's Department of Records announced the release of a collection of more than 2.2 million images going back to the mid-1800s, the 870,000 photographs from the Municipal Archives featuring all kinds of photographs never seen before.  Thanks to the Internet, we can experience a spectacular, nostalgic look at New York City through the lenses of its various photographers, city workers, and others who documented life in New York at a time when photography was a very young medium. Four years in the making, the digitizing of photos taken mostly by anonymous municipal workers are now available here. The collection also features more than 800,000 color photographs taken with 35mm cameras of every city building in the mid-1980s.  Included are crime photos, Depression Era images and pictorials of daily life most of us have only seen depicted in movies.  This is reality. [more...]

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rock & Roll Heaven's New Angels

Yesterday we lost Dick Clark... today Levon Helm ... we can only pray that Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees survives pneumonia.  God speed to Robin!

With songs like "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," ''The Weight" and "Up on Cripple Creek," The Band fused rock, blues, folk and gospel to create a sound that seemed as authentically American as a Mathew Brady photograph or a Mark Twain short story. In truth, the group had only one American -- Levon Helm. [more...]

Did you know that The hero of Elton John's song "Levon" (co-written with Bernie Taupin) was named after Levon Helm? John much later named his son (born on December 25, 2010) "Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Missing Cezanne Masterpiece Found

Police in Serbia believe they have recovered an Impressionist masterpiece by Paul Cezanne worth at least $109 million that was stolen at gunpoint in one of the world's biggest art heists four years ago, a police official said on Thursday. "We believe the painting is Cezanne's Boy in a Red Waistcoat and three suspects were detained in connection with that," the official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. "Experts in Serbia and abroad are trying to ascertain whether the painting is an original. This painting is worth tens of millions of euros," the official added. [more...]

More on the great master...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Brooklyn Home Where Truman Capote Wrote His "Breakfast" Sold

The Brooklyn Heights home where Truman Capote wrote his novella Breakfast at Tiffany's sold for about $12 million, an amount that constitutes what the Daily News calls the "highest price for a single-family home in borough history." Holly Golightly must be impressed. That said, that $12 million was a steal compared to the original asking price of $18 million. The last time we at Runnin' Scared checked up on the property it was down to $14,995,000.  [more...]

More on Truman Capote:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Picasso's "Guernica" Like We've Never Seen Before

Pablo Picasso's "Guernica," one of the world's most iconic paintings, is getting a full health check as it marks its 75th anniversary. A giant robotic machine is taking tens of thousands of microscopic shots of the black-and-white anti-war masterpiece to allow experts to penetrate the work like never before and see its real condition after a hectic life traveling the globe. [more...]

Excellent biography and DVDs on Picasso:
The Mystery of Picasso (DVD)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lovin' That Bourdain!

I've been thoroughly enjoying watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations as well as his new program, The Layover.  Unlike some of the other programs on The Travel Channel and cable in general, Bourdain's is about quality AND quantity.  He embraces life... like his jingle goes, "I write, I travel, I eat, and I'm hungry for more."

He's a talented connoisseur of great cuisine worldwide AND an excellent writer.  He hates cliches, has a wry sense of humor and makes everything about life FUN.  It all began with an article in The New Yorker... and then his first book, Kitchen Confidential: "New York Chef Tony Bourdain gives away secrets of the trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir/expose. 'Kitchen Confidential' reveals what Bourdain calls 'twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine.'"

My favorite episode EVER was Cleveland - where he met and ate with the great Harvey Pekar from American Splendor.  When Pekar died last year, Bourdain posted a truly touching tribute to him.

This is one of the rare shows on TV that show you how to discover new and exciting things about life on this planet all the while being entertained and inspired to really go out there and live your life to its fullest.  It's unpredictable, hilarious and deliciously delectable to the last bite!