Category Archives: Visual

Storm King Art Center


This place is amazing:

Storm King Art Center is a museum that celebrates the relationship between sculpture and nature. Five hundred acres of landscaped lawns, fields and woodlands provide the site for postwar sculptures by internationally renowned artists. At Storm King, the exhibition space is defined by sky and land. Unencumbered by walls, the subtly created flow of space is punctuated by modern sculpture. The grounds are surrounded by the undulating profiles of the Hudson Highlands, a dramatic panorama integral to the viewing experience. The sculptures are affected by changes in light and weather, so no two visits are the same.

I have wanted to go for a while now but it is a bit of a drive from the city. It was so hot! Spring and Fall may be a better time to visit.

Here are some pics:


[Pyramidian by Mark di Suvero]


[Gui and Knobs by Alexander Calder]


[Black Flag by Calder]


[The Arch by Calder]


[City on the High Mountain by Louise Nevelson]

G8: 2009


Just a few pics from G8 2009:




Regarding the pic above, Noga (The Contentious Centrist) notes:

Poor Obama, who did not have the presence of mind to look away immediately. No one minds Sarkozy’s appreciative grin, but Obama’s fleeting admiration was made much of. After all, this sort of thing is expected from a French guy. But woe to the American President should he get caught ogling.

I Actually find his weakness for the female attractions quite endearing.

[read it all here (funny)]

Artist Injured at 5 Pointz



[Photo by Jim Kiernan]

When you take the 7 train from Manhattan into Queens you can’t help but see the graf on the roof of a warehouse known as 5 Pointz. Passing by on the train, I never realized the interior of the buildings house a variety of art studios until reading of a jewelry designer, Nicole Gagne, who was injured while descending an exterior stair case.

NY Daily News reports initial investigations have shown the stair was in need of renovation and the warehouse has numerous building violations. Some have speculated that the studios and mural space may soon be history. I hope not. I wish Ms. Gagne a speedy recovery and hope she is able to return to her work soon.

Here are two pics of graf that my homees did at 5 Pointz when they were in town [photos by SYRA-1].





Heavy Winds



This happened Friday afternoon. The wind was blowing dangerously fast all day. Weather reports for Manhattan said “watch out for flying construction debris.” I expected to see a few limbs broken off the trees when I took my dog for a walk in the park. I did not expect to see a tree ripped in half at the trunk. I have never seen anything like this before. I tried to get a better angle but the sun is right behind the tree so this was the only way to avoid the glare.


Rincon Pics


Here are a few pics of Rincon, PR.


This is the beach where we spent most of our time. It is located right next to the old marina (now defunct). We also went to “Steps” beach which is about 15 minutes away. Rincon is located on the western end of the island with the Atlantic Ocean on one side of town and the Caribbean Sea on the other. This beach is on the Caribbean side.


Here is a pic of the inn.


Paco, the local gato.


Since a few people have asked me about local cuisine (offline), I wanted to mention the Harbor Restaurant and Rincon Tropical. Both serve no-frills seafood in a causal environment. The Harbor is closer to the beach. They were out of lobster at Rincon Tropical so I had the prawns. Had the lobster at the Harbor. It was swimming in butter and garlic at both places. Sides range from the generic (french fries) to more local fare like rice and pigeon peas, tostones (thick fried plantains) or mashed plantains.

We also ate at some even lower-key spots. On the weekends at the beach pictued above, a couple operate a small shack that sells chicken kabobs (pinchos) and rice and pigeon peas. I picked up three pinchos for $4.50 and the rice and peas for my semi-veggie wife ($2). With the addition of a small salad, it made a nice lunch. The Club Nautico located at the same beach has a bar that reminds me of coastal Mexican cantinas. They have a very small restaurant in the back. I was skeptical but when I saw the food another couple ordered it looked pretty good. I had two chicken tacos and she had the quesadilla. After a day at the beach it was damn good. The salsa was spicy, all the vegetables tasted fresh. It was also very inexpensive. We both left full for six bucks. No pics this time.

Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933



[Portrait of Jimmy Durante, 1926. Photo courtesy of the Calder Foundation]

My wife and I went to see “Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933” at the Whitney Museum. I have been fascinated with Calder’s work for many years and have seen his mobiles and stabiles in a variety of museums. His circus (part of the Whitney’s permanent collection) is always a joy to see but the most intriguing pieces for me at this exhibition were his wire sculptures, especially the portraits.


[Portrait of Joan Miro, 1930. Photo courtesy of the Calder Foundation]

If you are unfamiliar with the artist, here is a bio:

Alexander Calder was born in 1898, the second child of artist parents—his father was a sculptor and his mother a painter. Because his father, Alexander Stirling Calder, received public commissions, the family traversed the country throughout Calder’s childhood. Calder was encouraged to create, and from the age of eight he always had his own workshop wherever the family lived. For Christmas in 1909, Calder presented his parents with two of his first sculptures, a tiny dog and duck cut from a brass sheet and bent into formation. The duck is kinetic—it rocks back and forth when tapped. Even at age eleven, his facility in handling materials was apparent.

Despite his talents, Calder did not originally set out to become an artist. He instead enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology after high school and graduated in 1919 with an engineering degree. Calder worked for several years after graduation at various jobs, including as a hydraulics engineer and automotive engineer, timekeeper in a logging camp, and fireman in a ship’s boiler room. While serving in the latter occupation, on a ship from New York bound for San Francisco, Calder awoke on the deck to see both a brilliant sunrise and a scintillating full moon; each was visible on opposite horizons (the ship then lay off the Guatemalan coast). The experience made a lasting impression on Calder: he would refer to it throughout his life.

Calder committed to becoming an artist shortly thereafter, and in 1923 he moved to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League. He also took a job illustrating for the National Police Gazette, which sent him to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to sketch circus scenes for two weeks in 1925. The circus became a lifelong interest of Calder’s, and after moving to Paris in 1926, he created his Cirque Calder, a complex and unique body of art. The assemblage included diminutive performers, animals, and props he had observed at the Ringling Brothers Circus. Fashioned from wire, leather, cloth, and other found materials, Cirque Calder was designed to be manipulated manually by Calder. Every piece was small enough to be packed into a large trunk, enabling the artist to carry it with him and hold performances anywhere. Its first performance was held in Paris for an audience of friends and peers, and soon Calder was presenting the circus in both Paris and New York to much success. Calder’s renderings of his circus often lasted about two hours and were quite elaborate. Indeed, the Cirque Calder predated performance art by forty years.

Calder found he enjoyed working with wire for his circus: he soon began to sculpt from this material portraits of his friends and public figures of the day. Word traveled about the inventive artist, and in 1928 Calder was given his first solo gallery show at the Weyhe Gallery in New York. The show at Weyhe was soon followed by others in New York, as well as in Paris and Berlin: as a result, Calder spent much time crossing the ocean by boat. He met Louisa James (a grandniece of writer Henry James) on one of these steamer journeys and the two were married in January 1931. He also became friendly with many prominent artists and intellectuals of the early twentieth century at this time, including Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, James Johnson Sweeney, and Marcel Duchamp.

[more here]

About the exhibition:

When Alexander “Sandy” Calder (1898–1976), arrived in Paris in 1926, he aspired to be a painter; when he left in 1933, he had evolved into the artist we know today: an international figure and defining force in twentieth-century sculpture. In these seven years Calder’s fluid, animating drawn line transformed from two dimensions to three, from ink and paint to wire, and his radical innovations included openform wire caricature portraits, a bestiary of wire animals, his beloved and critically important miniature Circus (1926–31), abstract and figurative sculptures, and his paradigm-shifting “mobiles.”

This is short video of the Cirque du Calder:

Part II is here.

I know a few readers of this blog are interested in the Spanish Civil War. Calder designed a mercury fountain commissioned by the Spanish Republic for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. The artwork is a memorial to the siege of Almadén by the forces of General Franco. At that time, Almadén supplied 60% of the world’s mercury. The fountain is located at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. Calder also supported Spanish Refugee Aid.

Fall Foliage in the Park


Fall is one of my favorite seasons in NYC. I have been noticing the leaves changing color on my daily dog walks through the park. The color shift starts off with the yellows and gradually moves towards orange tones and eventually red. Every day I make a mental note to take a few pictures before it is too late but I never manage to stuff the camera in my pocket before the dog and I are out the door. I finally remembered.

I removed some of the old links on the left side of the page and added some new ones (Your Friend in the North, Standpoint and Left Hawk). You probably read the New York Sun published their last newspaper earlier in the month. I’ll keep the link as long as the website remains active.

Here is a selection of posts from various blogs:

Airforce Amazons discusses The language of victory

Arms and Influence on the debates between Bing West, Nir Rosen and others regarding the role of journalists in war.

Bob from Brockley provides a roundup of items from Labourstart

Contentious Centrist continues coverage of the Milan Kundera affair.

Elder of Ziyon reports on Egypt’s Siege of Gaza

Norman Geras’ (Normblog) thought about “Zionists”. He thinks a bit more here.

Marko Attila Hoare (Greater Surbiton) on Fascism and Hatred of Women

Ami Isseroff (ZioNation) on Intermarriage. More here and here.

Anthony Julius (ZWord) False Confessions: How Anti-Zionists Incriminate Zionism

Edward Lucas (Standpoint) asks What Should We Do About Russia?

Bill Roggio (Long War Journal) U.S. Strikes Kill al Qaeda Operatives in Pakistan and more here.

Sultan Knish ponders Where is All That White Liberal Anger Coming From?