This month has been filled with an array of different and interesting sights.
The beginning of October we took a trip to New York City to explore everything this wonderful place has to give. Its art, culture and global image are truly unique. As is the norm when visiting such a place did sneak a visit or two to some tried and tested classic landmarks. As I write New York is threatened with the worst hurricane in living memory-I wish them all good luck!
One particular landmark going through renovation is the Christopher Columbus Statue in Columbus Circle. While the statue is being cleaned and prepped it has been cocooned in an art instillation by Tatsu Nishi called ‘Discovering Columbus’, aside from the statue there is a jovial wallpaper displaying cheerful drawings of American Icons through out the centuries.
While of-course it’s fantastic to see the classic images of New York such as Columbus and the Empire State Building there are plenty more sights to be discovered: such as the Julian Schnabel building. A storybook tower of faded pink and Venetian architectural elements it stands boldly on the skyline and has by no small means divided opinions of the New York locals.
And talking of locals we ran into a few fun and friendly characters.
We also happened across a more well known face. Performing “Electrified”, his latest feat of elemental survival was David Blaine, who has taken to standing atop a tower surrounded by a storm of Tesla Coils and electricity.
Round every corner is something exciting and unusual. Urban beauty comes in the form of graffiti, wall stickers, inventive adverts, Highline art and even a construction site hoarding printed with a distinctive Yayoi Kusama image. Yayoi has been collaborating with Louis Vuitton to make some of the artiest bags of the season.
In regards to more formal art, especially in the Chelsea district, we visited the Leonardo Drew exhibition. Which, with its encapsulating sculptures of burnt wood and other natural found materials, was fascinating.
Also in Chelsea you can find the more refined, and now almost antiquated, Art deco that bejewels the city from top to bottom. This airstream styled Diner serves as a reminder of the city’s history of artistically inspired innovators.
Another great New York location for art is Soho, where other exhibitions and galleries were in full swing. Our friend Rob Ryan had a very successful show of his paper cuts and prints at TAG and Dev Harlan’s ‘Untitled (Eon Surf)’ lit up the Chris Henry Gallery.
Meanwhile the shops in Tribeca, where we were based, displayed an American favourite to remind us of how quickly this year seems to have passed.
Another reminder of other past times of this great country can be found within the walls of the National Museum of the American Indian (Click here to visit their Website). Showing a different aspect of American history, the gallery displays some stunning and intricate pieces of American Indian art, design and clothing.
Back in London the artistic landscape was really heating up, during Frieze week upon we managed to view a great number of different artists’ works and get a real feel for how much variety is present at the moment.
One striking piece was ‘Our Parents’ (2008) by Zhang Huan, with the White Cube Gallery. This huge painting from an old photo is made in black white and grey ash.
There was also some fantastic work presented by the other partaking galleries. At All Visual Arts (AVA) in the crypt of a Marylebone church, we saw sinister taxidermy work by Polly Morgan and Kate MccGwire.
And of-course there were a few interesting and unusual pieces dotted around London. We met Sue Webster and Tim Noble and gallery owner Joe La Placa, at this AVA show of technically brilliant ceramics by Bertozi and Casoni.
With Frieze week going on there was another exciting prospect in London. The Royal Academy’s best-known artists were hosting an auction, ‘RA Now’, of their work in support of the new development in Burlington Gardens.
Some very well known artists were showing new work including Noble & Webster at Blaine Southern, with their classic shadow pieces.
Grayson Perry’s ever beautiful and intrinsic pottery;
and David Remfry’s stunning watercolours of tattooed life models at The Tramshed
The Victoria Miro Gallery had a hauntingly beautiful installation piece by Elmgreen and Dragset called ‘Harvest’. A utopian rurall setting is recreated with a young boy perched on a ledge, but on one wall lurks a white vulture, as an unsettling Momento Mori.
We needed a bit of Glamour after all that cerebral art, and what could be better than the opening party for Hollywood Costume at the Victoria & Albert Museum (Click here to visit their website). Sponsored by diamond suppliers to the stars, Harry Winston, the show is stunning both in its curation and display, with each costume having moving images of the faces of actors who originally wore it projected above the body. This gives each outfit a fascinating verisimilitude and life. The most iconinc pieces include the green velvet dress made from curtains in Gone with the Wind and the red shoes from the wizard of Oz.
Even the shop has some un-missable Hollywood film inspired pieces. I am tempted to get a [replica] “Oscar” to go with my [real] Fashion Award!
The last, but certainly not the least, point upon which to touch this month was the memorial service for Vidal Sassoon at St. Paul’s. This was a lovely, and unusual ceremony in memory of a man who was the most innovative fashion hair-stylist, and a true philanthropist. He fought against racial hatred his entire life. People attending the interfaith ceremony, ranged from the world of fashion, styling and the arts and media. They all came together to celebrate his life. The ceremony was presided over by Rabbi Julia Neuberger while a fantastic soprano sung both Christian hymns and songs in Aramaic. Vidal’s son Elan, made a moving speech. Vidal, you will be remembered and missed.