Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sol LeWitt: Conceptual Artist

I'm still feeling the "color accent" fuction on the IXY:)
I think it fits the look of the "Structures". 
Sol LeWitt was born in 1928 in Hartford Connecticut to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants. It was a leap year starting on a Sunday. The year was filled with many odd and happy events. The river Thames (London)floods, the moat at the Tower of London(drained in 1843)is filled in by a tidal wave. Estonia changed its currency from the Mark to the Kroon, "Piane Crazy" is released by Disney(the first appearance of Minnie&Mickey mouse). Lev Trotsky is arrested by the OGPU. And the "Pineapple primary" takes place(a fight between various underworld figures and gangs in Chicago and the politicians who protected them. Hand grenades were used by some, hence the name)in Chicago. Linked to various art movements and a large number of people, Sol LeWitt is regarded as a founder of both Minimalism and Conceptual art. Along with this he was prolific in a wide range of media's, including drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. After receiving a BFA from Syracuse U.N. he traveled to Europe where he was exposed to the work of the old Masters. Shortly thereafter he served in the Korean war. In 1953 he moved to N.Y.C and set up his studio on the lower east side(The old Ashkenazi Jewish settlement on Hester st). During this time he studied at The School of Visual Arts while also pursuing his interest in design at Seventeen magazine, where he did paste-ups, mechanicals an photostat's. In 1955 he was a graphic designer in the office of I.M Pei for a year. Around that time he came upon the work of 19th century photographer Eadweard Muybridge. These experiences combined with an entry level job as a night receptionist and clerk at The MoMa would have a huge impact on his later work. He would also come to know many other artists(Robert Mangold, Robert Ryman and Dan Flavin)while working at the MoMa. His frequent use of open, modular structures originates from the cube. A form that has influenced and taunted LeWitt's thinking from very early on. Something taken, however small, from all these experiences, places, moments, media's, people, and ways of expressing creativity, must have caused LeWitt to think in terms of 3 dimensional "structures". Free standing shapes of varying degrees in an environment it is immediately at odds with, but after a while, depending on the individual, it's accepted. Or its looked at in an apathetic way, dismissed as just another meaningless object. An yet still there are those who are puzzled by them and seem to like them for reasons they don't understand. Either for the shape, shadow play, or simply how it makes them feel.  Sol LeWitt's work is meant to spark something within you, make you stop and wonder what a pyramid is doing in City Hall Park. Is there some greater meaning to it than what your seeing? What would drive someone to do this? LeWitt's "Structures"(1965-2006)will be on display @ City Hall Park until December 2nd 2011. Sol LeWitt pasted away in April of 2007. I think this event and public showing of his "Structures" is a much needed thing. Its strange, I had just begun to gain a greater awareness of Abstract painting when he passed away, and I had not known about him until now.

These two face Broadway. Out of all the "Structures"
at City Hall Park these are my favorite.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Castello Plan: A place worth eating @

"The Hot sardines" playing and drinking. Love it.
I love the light play, really nice. Makes you think of having a drink.
Like so many other great places to dine out in the City its not a huge place, but it's not cramped at all. In fact their set-up utilizes every square inch to maximum ability, lending itself to that voodoo they do so bloody well. Feeding you some of the best damn artistic creations in the realm of food. The decor is simple with a bit of a rustic feel, backed by well placed lighting that speaks of reason and elegant control. The Castello plan is a Wine, Belgian beer and Tapas bar. A great start is one of their small plates, the wild boar Cacciatorini(a dry sausage). A real delight  with a side of plain focaccia and a little cup of chick peas with honey:). The Cacciatorini was tender and just a little chewy with a slight taste of salt(like cured ham). The natural juices going very well with the focaccia, chick peas, and honey. Pair this with a frosty Belgian beer and your nearly there. Executive Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky did a fantastic job with the menu. For an entree try the seared chorizo & potatoes(w/green apple and homemade tomato sauce), a seemingly strange combination that packs a delicious punch. In the mood for seafood? Pan-seared shrimp(w/homemade pasta, cherry tomato, brown butter)is almost to good to be true. Its light but very filling, bursting with a gentle fresh primavera seafood madness. And as the season is upon us; cold white wine(Sav-blanc)combines with, to give a taste that will haunt you like a great summer fling. Some of the other dishes on the menu that night were Confit of Duck leg(stewed apple, Yukon potato), and Ricotta Gnudi(spring pea, oyster mushroom) A far out appetizer is the Sauteed Squid salad(spring pea puree, mustard-seed mayo dressing), only for bold .The Castello plan has some out-door seating for those who like, comfy high seats at the bar/counter where the glasses hanging mingle with the light above them in a beautiful, playful way. Add to this great musical performances(generally no cover)of one kind or another, giving you the best that they've got, and a reason to love them. If your in the area give it a try. And for those who live beyond the borders of Ditmas park, Q train to Courtelyou rd stop and your nearly there(when you exit the station take a left, its on the right side of the street before Westminster rd). Cheers! 

"The Hot Sardines"

The area has changed so much, yet from this photo
it looks much the same. On either side between Coneyisland(straight ahead)
and east 17th(in the opposite direction)
there are a slew of new stores and places to eat.
Not to mention new buildings and a bold new
crop of residents making it there home.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eri Yamamoto Trio

This one of a few drawings someone did
on the lower level of Arthur's Tavern
where the bathrooms are. I couldn't find a name of the artist. Shame that,


The Band, The Eri Yamamoto Trio, was really good.
They had a light, elegant, flow with spurts of  bangs,
or booms via the drumming at just the right moment.

My first round, ice water:) I was trying not to drink
but then the bartender started enforcing the two drink rule.
I should have seen this coming, it is a bar after all.



I tweaked the contrast, and bumped up the color saturation a bit.
This color function worked well in the dark setting of Arthur's Tavern,
certain colors are highlighted and everything else is in black and white
with some really cool grays.









Eri Yamamoto on the Piano. She writes the music
and brought the band together.

The way they strung the light went really well
with the color setting, making for a dark, yet romantic mood.
















I saw this stenciled on a boarded up bar down the block
and around the corner from Arthur's Tavern on my
way home after there set.
I  made some color variations of  it. Its was put to donate money
to the Japan relief effort by someone. I thought it was really nice.

This is Manhattan bridge when I was biking home to brooklyn.