This post is about a guided tour on Tuesday, April 23rd at 11am of the NY Botanical Gardens’ current exhibition of the monumental site sculptures of Manolo Valdés. There is also an excursion on Thursday, May 9th at 10 am to see to the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity.”
MONUMENTALLY FABULOUS : The New York Botanical Garden hosts its annual, wonderful Spring flower show but – not so fast ! – since last Fall it has also been hosting “Manolo Valdés: Monumental Sculpture,” an extraordinary assemblage of huge – yes, monumental – site installations by the Spanish sculptor Manolo Valdés. This is one of those things that one probably made a note of last Fall, forgot about during the Winter and, OMG, it’s only going to be around for another month or so ! These gigantic, but apparently lighter than air site installations, belie the weight and structure of the sculpture and instead reflect imagination, creativity and reflection.
Curating the colossal “Manolo Valdés: Monumental Sculpture” exhibit now open at the New York Botanical Garden was no simple undertaking. According to the NYBG: “The renowned Spanish artist fashioned the sculptures – some spanning more than 50-ft – at his foundry in Madrid. The pieces traveled 200 miles in seven trucks to a port in Valencia, then embarked on a 3,800-mile journey across the Atlantic on four ships to Newark, NJ. Finally, the sculptures made their way to the Bronx aboard eight flatbed trucks. The reward of such a complicated journey, however, is an elegant display of seven towering sculptures featuring Valdés’ signature female heads adorned with headdresses inspired by nature.”
Details: The tour is on Tuesday, April 23rd at 11 am. We all have Beth Ollwerther to thank for pulling this together for us and sharing her sense of beauty and adventure. Tickets will be $26. per person. We will figure out transportation when we see how many people are going. You will be sent a reservation / payment link via email; but be aware – the deadline will be soon !
IF DRESSES COULD TALK WHAT WOULD THEY SAY ? : The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the second stop for the blockbuster exhibition “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity” created by the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. Not just about fashion, nor just about Impressionism, this exhibit examines their intersection in the most beautiful and contextual way.
For those of us who weren’t art history majors or simply don’t have the visual or historic acuity to appreciate what’s going on here, this exhibition shows how fashion was used in many Impressionist paintings to illustrate some of the extraordinary changes going on, not only in art, but also in French society from the 1860’s to the 1880’s. The blurred edges of cafe society were a rich source of material as Parisians and its artists reveled in the maturing beauty of Haussmann’s Paris, “the capital of the 19th Century.” Fashion was regarded as a new frontier for self-expression – at a time when the very new department stores, fashion magazines and ready-to-wear clothing put “fashion” within the reach of a broader population.
At the same time, artists and writers of the period were rejecting an allegorical approach to art in favor of a more realistic depiction of modern life. The show’s 14 dresses and 79 paintings play off each other with the paintings helping you understand the people who wore the fashion and the dresses helping you understand the people in the paintings. You can peer up-close at the actual dresses and take in their static detail and then turn around and see a vivid depiction of how that dress was worn by what type of person in what sort of circumstance. Additionally, there are pages from fashion magazines of the period as well as an amazing assortment of accessories (parasols, undergarments, shoes, fans …etc) which fill in the tale. Honestly, this is a breathtaking show and worth seeing at least once. Rarely have art and artifacts been so illuminatingly paired.
DETAILS: Thursday, May 9th at 10am. This event has been organized by the wonderful Mollie Newman. We will send you an email with specifics on how to RSVP which we ask that you do so Mollie can make a lunch reservation at the Met’s Petrie Room.