Wednesday, August 31, 2011

W 23rd St – Polke, white-hot, Woods

All summer long Leo Koenig has been presenting a fantastic collection of photographs, Sigmar Polke: Photoworks 1964-2000. Have you seen it yet? It is a mystical, whimsical show of work exploring perception and the manipulation of focus. For example, a sort of “still life with balancing pickle” draws your attention first to its sleek, pagoda-like shadow before you notice this shadow is cast by a gherkin. In another piece, a snapshot of two men is overpainted in the space between their eyes and what they are looking at. See this show, and you’ll be seeing things differently for hours afterward.
Speaking of changing your focus, why not focus on the white space for a minute? There is a bafflingly vast spectrum of whites out there (as a trip to the paint aisle at Home Depot can verify), and w h i t e - h o t at Margaret Thatcher Projects aims to explore the gamut. This group show features artists working in every medium from whitewashed collage to cut paper drawing to marble sculpture. (Special shout out to Aric Obrosey’s awesome Work Glove.) Indeed, the “blank space” on these canvases is richly filled. It's a simple idea that generates a simply gorgeous show.
Go from "snow white" to "forrest green" with The Woods are Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Let's face it, nature is basically the single most inspiring thing in the world, and generations of artists have been moved to capture it. This show at Asya Geisberg is a celebration of that quest. Sometimes haunting, sometimes peaceful, you could totally lose yourself among the curving paths and inviting cabins in these woods, but carry on because, as the rest of Robert Frost's poem warns:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Plus, there’s a private sale at Gemini G.E.L.’s temporary space down the block! If you have 90 grand to drop on a Roy Lichtenstein print, stop on by. (Other items start at just $850.) Then make your way across 23rd, and stop in Little Cheese Pub for skillet mac & cheese with homemade noodles or a surprisingly delicious (for a cheese shop) dairy-free veggie burger!

Venues: Leo Koenig, Thatcher Projects, Asya Geisberg Gallery, Gemini G.E.L.
Artists: Sigmar Polke; Jaq Belcher, William Betts, Omar Chacon, Freddy Chandra, Carlos Estrada-Vega, Kevin Finklea, Adam Fowler, Teo Gonzalez, Susan Graham, Rainer Gross, Jus Juchtmans, Aric Obrosey, Joie Rosen, Analia Saban, Fran Siegel, William Steiger, Lars Strandh, Barbara Takenaga, Bill Thompson, Heidi van Wieren, Venske & Spänle; Thomas Bangsted, Anat Betzer, Melanie Daniel, Allison Gildersleeve, Ezra Johnson
Streets: W 23rd St
Eats: Little Cheese Pub

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Waverly Place – Birdhouses, Three Lives, Port Salud

It is another amazingly perfect weather day in NYC, so get out and take a little stroll down Waverly Place. Start at McCarthy Square, a beautifully maintained little traffic island at the intersection of Waverly, Charles and 7th Ave South. It is dedicated to Private First Class Bernard Joseph McCarthy, killed for his country in World War II, and it features a prominent flagpole that was originally on the grounds of the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens. It also features a neighborhood of extraordinary houses, little birdhouses that is, which were crafted by “local handyman” Vincent Mele. I mean, how cute is this mini-15-Charles-St with mini-Morandi on the ground floor?!
Next, stop in Three Lives & Company. Their selection of tomes is meticulously gathered, and their staff is ridiculously knowledgeable. Walk in, chat up a sale person, and you will walk out with a new book that will change your life. It’s guaranteed to happen.
Crack the spine on that new book while you grab lunch at Jeffrey’s Grocery. Sitting by their huge picture window, sipping delicious coffee and looking out on this charmingly quiet pocket of the Village you almost forget 7th Ave is roaring just one block away. Order the insanely good egg & cheese sandwich, which is made with port salud (cheese) and espelette (chili pepper), and is served on a toasted baguette with a side salad. After lunch cut through Christopher Park to see George Segal’s powerful Gay Liberation Memorial. From afar it looks like a group of street performers painted like Roman statues. Up close it is simply and poignantly a pair of couples who are casually, comfortably enjoying a neighborhood park. Incidentally, that park, across from Stonewall Inn, has been witness to some of the highest highs and lowest lows of the gay rights movement. Today the dressed-in-white memorial seems like a tribute to all the blissfully happy couples that finally have the right to marry here. It is about damn time! 

Venues: McCarthy Square; Three Lives & Company; Christopher Park
Artists: Vincent Mele; George Segal
Streets: Waverly Place, Charles to Christopher Sts
Eats: Jeffrey’s Grocery

Monday, August 29, 2011

Battery Park City – Perfect Weather, Public Art & SUPERTALL!

Is everybody OK?! Hopefully, Hurricane Irene simply kept you cooped up all weekend watching a bizzaro version of real-life Double Dare and browsing Google Art Project. Today it seems Irene left a bit of a peace offering in this gloriously perfect weather. So get out and celebrate the fact that low-lying Battery Park City didn’t get washed away with a public-art-spotting walk along the Esplanade! First, climb the serene grassy knoll that is the Irish Hunger Memorial on Vesey & North End Ave. Brian Tolle designed this thoughtful memorial with stones from all of Ireland’s 32 counties and native Irish wild flowers. When you reach the top of the winding path, you’ll see lovely Lady Liberty in the distance. Take a moment to remember all those affected by hunger around the world, and those who did feel Irene’s wrath, and maybe donate your (thankfully) unused hurricane survival supplies to the Food Bank.
Walking along the Esplanade is like a treasure hunt, though you don’t have to look very hard for the loot. From Ned Smyth’s The Upper Room to Siah Armajani’s railings along the waterfront, there are gems to be found all along this 1.5-mile stretch. I especially love Martin Puryear’s Pylons, massive columns standing tall between the ferry dock and the North Cove Harbor. Which is your favorite? 
Winter Garden Atrium inside the World Financial Center is another highlight. If you happen to be in the neighborhood on a Thursday, grab lunch at the WFC Greenmarket. Any day of the week there is the legendary burger and onion strings at PJ Clarke’s or the grass-fed, Angus beef burger at Quality Burger (not to mention the char-grilled steak banh mi at Fatty Snacks!). Then (if it’s Wednesday- Sunday), make your way down to the Skyscraper Museum for SUPERTALL!It’s a thrilling look at the 35 superstar buildings around the world that are 100+ stories and literally towering above the competition. There’s a special look at the World Trade Center towers and the past decade of their rebuilding. Leaving the museum and seeing Tower 1 rising just a few blocks north really puts the incredible triumph of these colossal structures into perspective. Super cool. 
Assuming you went for the burger at PJ’s over the Migliorelli Farm veggies, heed the signs and “Burn Calories, Not Electricity. Take the Stairs!”

Venues: Battery Park City; World Financial Center; Skyscraper Museum
Artists: Brian Tolle; Martin Puryear, Etc.
Streets: Vesey St to Battery Place
Eats: Greenmarket; PJ Clarke’s; Quality Burger; Fatty Snacks


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Google Art Project – Rainy Day Inspiration

Hurricane Irene is threatening to ruin our day/weekend, but she’s not going to ruin our Inspirational Lunch!  Order in from your favorite neighborhood spot (and make sure to tip your delivery guy generously), and, while you're waiting, enjoy celebrated landscapes at museums around the world via Google Art Project. In case you’re not familiar with the website, it’s an extraordinary tool for exploring the museums around the world. Each venue has floor plans and virtual gallery tours. Each artwork has viewing notes, history and artist information. Plus, you can zoom in close enough to see every brush stroke! Start in NYC at the MoMA with van Gogh’s La nuit étoilée (The Starry Night). You can get closer online than you can standing there in person at the museum (no kidding!). When you do, you'll see the thickly-layered oil paint and feel the artists hand almost moving across the canvas conducting the sky as it swells and swirls. It's awesome.  
Hop the pond to the National Gallery in London for Landscape with a Goatherd and Goats by Claude. The delicately textured leaves are so lovely. Zoom in to see the diverse shapes and varieties. Claude was clearly a nature lover. Yet, according to the viewing notes, "It has been claimed that Claude painted this picture out of doors, but this seems unlikely." I wonder why... 
Next, travel to Russia for Landscape with Apollo and Diana by Lucas Cranach the Elder at Gemäldegalerie. Zoom in on the tiny buildings in the distance and the faint ships in the water. From the intricate brushstrokes in Diana's hair, to the feather bristles at the ends of Apollo's arrows, the detail throughout this masterwork is mind-blowing. 
Of course, there is so much to see on the Art Project site, you could spend the rest of the afternoon browsing around. Ease yourself back into this gloomy, rainy day with a stop at Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie for Carl Blechen’s Schlucht bei Amalfi (Gorge near Amalfi). The juxtaposition of the clear blue sky above and the violent waterfall below will help usher you in.

Venues: Google Art Project; MoMA; National Gallery; Gemäldegalerie; Alte Nationalgalerie
Artists: van Gogh; Claude; Lucas Cranach the Elder; Carl Blechen
Streets: worldwide / wherever you are
Eats: local delivery

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

W 20th St - Olek, Trans-Figuration & microwave, eight

As you approach Jonathan LeVine Gallery you will find a trail of shopping carts completely covered in crocheted yarn. Depending upon your natural inclination, you might think it’s either a comment on homeless or a quirky form of street art. Just in front of the gallery’s building there is a 2-story scissor lift, likewise outfitted in a formfitting crocheted sweater. (Is it still called a “sweater” if it’s custom made for a machine?) Once you make it to the 9th floor gallery, you’ll learn that all this knot-tying (and much more!) is the handwork of performance and public artist Agata Olek. For this show, The Bad Artists Imitate The Great Artists Steal, Olek has appropriated some of art history’s more influential appropriations, like Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel and Banksy’s West Bank silhouette. Almost everything in the gallery is covered in her camo-crochet patterns, the effect of which is surprisingly weighty.  
One flight up, Tyler Rollins Fine Art presents Trans-Figuration, in which a group of artists from Southeast Asia, working with diverse media, explore figure and abstraction through psychology and spirituality. Their work is consistently thoughtful and engaging. I especially love Pinaree Sanpitak’s Flying Cube.

Next, stop by microwave, eight at Josée Bienvenu Gallery (2nd floor) for a look at how this group of artists observes the ever-changing nature of communication, exchange and currency. These artists are obsessed with paying close attention to the evolving attitudes surrounding meticulous handmade work and have been doing so since 1999. In the age of instantaneousness they are committed to patience and precision. Alas, theirs is a dying breed.  
Down the block at Cookshop Chef Marc Meyer is committed to using sustainable ingredients, supporting local farmers and serving up scrumptious food. He's even participating in the Meatless Monday movement. The Hudson Valley Chicken Breast Salad is my favorite thing on the menu, though, so I'm happy it's Tuesday. If you only have time for something quick, try the "Shrewd Fast Food" at Blossom Du Jour. It's the latest from the folks who brought us the fantastic vegan meccas Blossom and Cafe Blossom. Their Burrito Grande tastes too good to be good for you, but it is! 

Venues: Jonathan LeVine Gallery; Tyler Rollins Fine Art; Josée Bienvenu Gallery 
Artists: Olek; Jalaini Abu Hassan, Tiffany Chung, Tracey Moffatt, Manuel Ocampo, Jimmy Ong, Sopheap Pich, Pinaree Sanpitak, Jakkai Siributr, Agus Suwage; Clement Bagot, Steven Bindernagel, Ajit Chauhan, Gustavo Diaz, Curtis Mann, Justin McAllister, Todd Norsten, William Powhida, Jonathan Rider, Rebecca Salter, Mathias Schmied, Lauren Seiden Julianne Swartz, Jill Sylvia, Ana Tiscornia, Daniel Zeller
Streets: W 20th Street
Eats: Cookshop; Blossom Du Jour

Friday, August 19, 2011

E 59th St - MonoVisioN & Empire

The extraordinary Scott Frances, whose focus is architecture and lifestyle photography, has finally published his first monograph, MonoVisioN. Today is your last chance to stop by the D&D Building to see a selection of his transportive shots, which are on view in glorious large scale. Each one of the 68 selections on display has a magical ability to tell you a complete story full of detail and light about a unique place in the world. The gallery itself, with its three floors and mazelike hallways and nooks, is a fun escape from bustling 59th Street, too! If you can’t make it there today, buy a copy of the first edition MonoVisioN and bask in utopia vicariously from the comfort of your own home.
In the mood for more decoration and design? Stay in the building and peruse the showrooms. (There are over one hundred!) You’ll find everything from wallpaper and throw pillows to antique furniture and art. If navigating 100+ shops showcasing some 3,000 vendors sounds like a rare form of torture to you, walk westward on 59th, pick up a little to-go lunch from Delmonico Gourmet Food Market, and grab a bench in Grand Army Plaza under Eva Rothschild’s Empire. Empire is a multidirectional archway of sorts with twisting and turning legs that look like the roots of an animated walking tree. Sit back and enjoy the fantastic people watching as tourists interact with the sculpture while deflecting (and sometimes accept!) invitations for horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park.
Venues: D&D Building; Grand Army Plaza - Public Art Fund
Artists: Scott Frances; Eva Rothschild
Streets: East 59th St, 3rd Ave to 5th Ave
Eats: Delmonico Gourmet Food Market


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MoMA – Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects

Here’s the thing: at first glance you might cast off this new show at the Museum of Modern Art as something you’re just not into. Fair enough. “Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objectsdoes sound pretty out there, but give it a shot! It is so neat, and there is so much to see/read/watch/do you can just skip by the pieces that interest you less. Warning: you’ll be surprised how few you'll choose to skip!

Botanicalls, by Robert Faludi, Kate Hartman, Kati London and Rebecca Bray, is a little device that uses moisture sensors to send you messages from your houseplants via voicemail and twitter. That's right, if your houseplants need to be watered, they’ll tweet at you. Don’t worry, though, because they're not ungrateful complainers. If you are taking good care of them, you’ll get a little “thank you.” 
Frank Warren's PostSecret started out as a project in which he left blank postal cards around public places with a message to the finder of the card asking to send it back with a secret. The project hit that illustrious tipping point and spread like wildfire. People began making their own postcards and sending them to the PostSecret address. He initially passed out 3,000 cards, but to date Warren has received close to half a million secrets. The messages are sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes overly graphic. There is something so charming about a handmade, hand-delivered postcard, especially amid the futuristic projects throughout this exhibition, even if it is scanned in and displayed on a flat screen monitor.
While Inspiration Lunch is about exploring what NYC has to offer block by block, the fantastic interactive online mapping project is about piecing together a portrait of life in NYC through user-submitted videos. The site was designed by Alex Kalman, Alex Rickard and Igal Nassima. The videos are 1 minute long and limited to 1 city block. On your next Inspirational Lunch, break out your smartphone, flipcam, etc and submit one! (And when you do, don't forget to share the link!)
Talk to Me is so ridiculously accessible, interactive and informational, you might need a quiet place to clear your head afterward. Try the watermelon gazpacho and a table by the window overlooking the Sculpture Garden at MoMA’s Terrace 5. Or head down for an afternoon cocktail at The Bar Room. You might even turn off your phone for a bit, especially if you tweeted all those hashtags throughout the exhibition... 

Venue: MoMA - Museum of Modern Art
Artists: Robert Faludi, Kate Hartman, Kati London, Rebecca Bray; Frank Warren; Alex Kalman, Alex Rickard, Igal Nassima 
Streets: 53rd St between 5th & 6th Aves
Eats: Terrace 5; The Bar Room

Monday, August 15, 2011

East Broadway & Grand St – Vandal Lust, Image Wars & Frame

The Abrons Arts Center at the Henry Street Settlement has three great exhibitions right now, so get yourself down to the Lower East Side! Take the F to East Broadway, and stop at Café Petisco for their outstanding coconut-crusted chicken sandwich! (Honestly, lunch at this charmer is worth the trip alone.)  
After you’ve sampled the fantastic offerings at Café Petisco, head east on East Broadway and visit Ramiken Crucible for Vandal Lust. Note: arriving at this gallery feels a bit like approaching a crime scene because Andra Ursuta’s massive sculpture fills the space with the depiction of a medieval-esque catapult that has launched a body into a plaster wall. The piece is a strange mash-up of movement and ultimate stillness, fantasy and nightmare, strength and fragility, human invention and divine design, and it is totally unnerving.
Tear yourself away and walk over to the Henry Street Settlement, Abrons Arts Center. There you’ll find a deeply personal and sincere show called Image Wars in which artists have responded to and commented on the way we experience visual representations of war and conflict in our oversaturated globalized society. Particularly telling is Carlos Noronha Feio’s Afghan-style rug.
Next check out Frame in the Upper Main Gallery. Artist Chelsea Knight presents a group of male construction workers building the frame of a house while reciting texts from feminist theory. It is a survey of societal norms, structure and progress, and it is a Cooperative Actions project, supported by Moving Theater.
Before you leave Abrons Arts Center, you must see Deb Sokolow: Notes on Denver International Airport and The New World Order. It is an inventive, ingenious presentation of works on paper from a fictionalized investigation by an “armchair detective” named “You.” Using common office materials like memos, emails and floor plans, Sokolow will have your mind whirling with conspiracy theory by the time you’re through. 
Venues: Henry Street Settlement Abrons Arts Center; Ramiken Crucible
Artists: Chelsea Knight; Yevgeniy Fiks, Rinat Kotler, Michael Mandiberg, Carlos Noronha Feio, Mary Temple, Kai-Oi Jay Yung; Deb Sokolow
Streets: East Broadway, Grand St to Canal St
Eats: Café Petisco

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Streets – E 72nd to the Brooklyn Bridge

New York City is full of folks who grew up elsewhere and journeyed to this fine island seeking “something more.” Still, from time to time nostalgia creeps in, and those suburban transplants crave the kinds of quieter streets ideal for Wiffle ball and roller hockey (cul-de-sac preferred). Enter SUMMER STREETS! For three Saturdays this August you can frolic down the NYC streets from E 72nd to the Brooklyn Bridge. As summarized on their website, it’s a chance to use the “valuable public space” that is our city’s streets to “play, walk, bike, and breathe.” Oh good! Finally a chance to breathe!
The route is loaded with rest stops and neat activities. Personal highlights include:
- Guacamole-making demonstrations by Chipotle (at Park & 51st)
- Free bike and roller blade rentals (throughout)
- Double Dutch Performance by National Double Dutch League (at Uptown & Foley Square rest stops)
- REI rock climbing wall (at Spring & Lafayette)
- Barefoot running by Vibram and Merrell (at SOHO rest stop)
and so much more!
While you’re enjoying juice and snack bars at the Astor Place Health and Fitness Zone be sure to look up. Animus Art has installed their super cool Flaming Cactus (cacti?) throughout the intersection. This public art installation caused quite a stir on East Village Grieve. What do you think? Is it interesting? Is it worth it? Is it art?
When you reach the southern end of the Summer Streets route, keep going! Continue down to City Hall Park for the Sol Lewitt sculptures. Then, if you’re up for it, why not walk across the Brooklyn Bridge?!
Of course, there are a million places to eat along the way, including free sample stands. Do yourself a favor, though, and stop in Hampton Chutney Co for a delicious dosa (just before the SOHO rest stop on Prince St near Lafayette). It won’t break the bank, and it’s the perfect amount of food to fill you up without making you too logy to keep going. Plus, they have cardamom coffee!

Venues: NYC Summer Streets; Astor Place; City Hall Park
Artists: Animus Art; Sol Lewitt
Streets: E72nd – Duane St +
Eats: Hampton Chutney Co
Map: (See above Route Map)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

W 22nd St – Nort, Magic for Beginners & Sun Screen

Peek in through the wormholes of Phoebe Washburn’s Nunderwater Nort Lab at Zach Feuer and see what you find! Washburn’s installation, which is a direct comment on the flaws on inefficient construction and looks like something straight out of a hoarder’s basement, is a celebration of the process of making lunch with all its sights, sounds and scents. Regretfully there are no tastes for the observers. In fact, Zach Feuer Gallery’s press release states, “Washburn has devised a site and context specific installation that juxtaposes two seemingly unrelated activities - art and lunch.” Well, clearly, Zach Feuer, you are tragically unacquainted with Inspirational Lunch. Please read on!
Walking across 22nd St, you pretty much can’t go wrong. Pace, Julie Saul, CRG, Matthew Marks…This block is packed with blockbuster galleries! Plus, there’s a little Magic for Beginners at PPOW. It’s a show about limitations and minimalism, constraints that generally lead to creative, interesting art. This is no exception.
In case you missed it, last year the ICP had a super cool show of work by Miroslav Tichý, who was this crazy, reclusive Czech artists who made his own cameras out of tin cans, elastic waistbands and other repurposed junk and lived his life as an incredible voyeur. Google some images of his handmade cameras so you have an idea what he was working with, and go see Sun Screen at Horton Gallery. There is something so captivating about Tichý’s bathers. He has such a great eye for form and composition. Granted, at first glance his photos may seem like the creepy snapshots of a psychopath, but they are so much more.
As you approach 10th Ave, you’ll see the iconic corner diner. It was Empire Diner, it’s recently reopened as The Highliner, which is more American Nouveau than diner, but it serves a mean (if expensive) egg cream. Grab a stool at the counter and try the beef brisket hash.

Venues: Zach Feuer; PPOW; Horton Gallery
Artists: Phoebe Washburn; Bas Jan Ader, Olaf Breuning, Jennifer Cohen, Scott Hug, Kevin Lips, Niall McClelland, Jesse McLean, Kristie Muller, RBT. Sps., Brent Stewart; Miroslav Tichý
Streets: W 22nd St between 10th & 11th Aves
Eats: The Highliner

Friday, August 5, 2011

Forsyth St / Chrystie St – Ray Johnson, Mia Taylor & Freemans Alley

If you’ve never heard of Ray Johnson, add How to Draw a Bunny to the top of your Netflix queue and, while you’re waiting for that little red envelop to arrive, head down to Half Gallery. Basically, in the 1950s and '60s, Johnson inadvertently started the “New York Correspondence School,” which is to say that he started sending collages and such to friends via post mail. Half a century later, his work has influences scores of artists, and that is the focus of Half Gallery’s fantastic Ray’s A Laugh. Amid all the newer work, Johnson's mixed media collages still stand out. They are ever fresh and oh so cool.
This weekend only, trek a little further south on Forsyth Street, because it’s the last weekend to see flat pack, the inaugural show at toomer labzda. Mia Taylor, a British artist who is celebrating her US premiere with this show, works with neon hues, plastic strips and timber pieces to make wonderfully zany wall art and watercolors. If this show is any indication, this little gallery is going to be bringing us great artwork. Don’t miss the chance to say you were there when it all started!  
Cross Sara D Roosevelt Park to Chrystie Street and stop in Mulherin + Pollard for Daniel Davidson: Fat Fingers, which is, sadly, also closing at the end of the weekend. It’s a chance to see Davidson’s newest paintings, which are vibrant and fluid and completely abstract.
Since you're in the neighborhood on the weekend (or else you'll miss these closing shows), you simply cannot pass up brunch at Freemans. (From Chrystie, head west on Rivington until you see Freeman's Alley, then take that to the end.) Everything on the menu is delicious. The baked eggs, the smoked trout, the devils on horseback... Plus, their produce is from local NY farms, their seafood is sustainable and their Bloody Mary is made with potato vodka!

Venues: Half Gallery; toomer labzda; Mulherin + Pollard
Artists: Ray Johnson, Leo Fitzpatrick, Hanna Liden, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Adam McEwen, Dash Snow; Mia Taylor; Daniel Davidson
Streets: Forsyth St, Chrystie St, Freeman’s Alley
Eats: Freemans

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

E 77th St – Case Histories, Middle Age & Flowers for Summer

The Future Was When? is an awesome video by Patricia Esquivias currently screening at Alex Zachary Gallery as part of Case Histories. In it, in her casual, stream-of-consciousness style, Esquivias explains her fascination with mosaic tiling while recounting the story of Susan Brown, an artist who repairs broken mosaics in the NYC subway stations. It is about 20 minutes long, and it’s just one of many great pieces on view in Case Histories. I hope you have some time to stay and watch!
At Leo Castelli Gallery, the experience of getting buzzed into the gorgeous old Brownstone that is 18 E 77th and riding the tiny elevator is reason enough to visit. It’s so old New York! Their current group show, Middle Age, offers the likes of Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha. These art stars may not be “young and fresh,” but they are certainly not past their prime. The show is a celebration of how seasoned masters have informed art and design throughout history. Ludwig Schwarz’s sculpture of pawned diamond rings drives the message home: life gets complicated, scrap the knickknacks and keep making beautiful art!
On a more conventional note, Michael Werner Gallery down the block invites you to Flowers for Summer, a look at the “historical motif of the flower.” It’s summer. It’s hot outside. I’m happy to look at some pretty blooms, whatever the motives may be. 

Now, choose your own adventure: A) walk a few blocks north to the Met Museum’s south steps and treat yourself to Sigmund Pretzelshop’s hot dog on a pretzel bun with homemade kraut. B) walk east toward Madison and satisfy your sweet tooth with L’Arte del Gelato, which has a cart outside the Carlyle Hotel. C) indulge yourself to the summer restaurant week lunch menu at the Carlyle Restaurant (fancy pants!).  

Bonus: Stop in the Gagosian Shop and follow the instructional footprints down to the basement for Damien Hirst’s butterflies, pills and polka dots. On your way out, pick up an art book or a deck chair. 

Venues: Alex Zachary; Leo Castelli; Michael Werner; Gagosian Shop
Artists: Barbara Bloom, Patricia Esquivias, Harun Farocki, John Miller, Rosalind Nashashibi, Alexander Kluge, Steve Reinke and James Richards; John Baldessari, Jasper Johns, Diana Kingsley, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Pettibone, Ed Ruscha, Ludwig Schwarz, Oona Stern, Lawrence Weiner, Erwin Wurm; Hurvin Anderson, Georg Baselitz, James Lee Byars, Lovis Corinth, Aaron Curry, Enrico David, Peter Doig, Thomas Houseago, Jörg Immendorff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Per Kirkeby, Jean Fautrier, Lucio Fontana, Fernand Léger, Eugène Leroy, Markus Lüpertz, A.R. Penck, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Sigmar Polke, Kurt Schwitters, Félix Vallotton, Don Van Vliet; Damien Hirst
Streets: E 77th Street, 5th & Madison Aves
Eats: Sigmund Pretzel Cart; L’Arte del Gelatol Carlyle Restaurant