Friday, November 30, 2007

Michelle Segre

Michelle Segre's new show at Derek Eller Gallery (, 615 West 27 Street, New York, NY) is filled with large, beautiful, outrageous, corporeal sculptures. The work is influenced by several varieties of surrealism--Pavel Tchelitchew (
Enrico Donati ( et al., as well as classic medical illustrations (Dr. Frank Netter, the Michelangelo of Medicine, and wax medical models but mainly represents the individual vision of the artist herself, who defiantly serves up something that is going to be unpalatable to some observers. Some critics will inevitably deride these sculptures as horror movie/sci-fi "surrealist kitsch" (the New York Times, in particular, seems unable to use the words surrealist and surrealism without using the word kitsch in the same paragraph)--some will love them for all the same factors . Astute observers will delight in the work's virtuoso craftsmanship, anatomical fantasy and perfect balance between haunting narrative and magnificent objectness. The artist (who I've known since 1982!) and her work shown below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Earl Krentzin

My article on Earl Krentzin will be appearing in the March/April issue of Silver magazine. A preview is below, plus images of three pill boxes and two chests, all from 1970-71.

Much has been made in the design press of late about the blurring of boundaries between design and art. The New York Times recently declared that "design is the new art," suggesting that the decorative arts are just now getting the respect that painting has received for centuries. A recent article in Vogue Living noted that "design was once considered a shabby cousin to the art world and was kept at a disdainful distance, but now the two are becoming increasingly linked." Much of the buzz is about the affinity between the design and art of our time (meaning the last 15 minutes) and the embrace of 20th and 21st century design by collectors of contemporary art. But is it all really so new? Creators as diverse as ceramist/sculptor Peter Voulkos and painter/textile-designer Vera Neumann were obliterating the boundaries half a century ago. Earl Krentzin has been doing it with sterling silver since the mid-1950's. Krentzin's work defies the either/or categorization of art versus design and demands to be analyzed as both (although to defy and demand are not actions that one would associate with this humble and gracious artist). His functional-sculptural objects echo the relational forms and expressionistic surface of so-called "primitive" art but also carry on the tradition of virtuoso craftsmanship with precious materials conveyed in the exquisite objects of Cellini or Faberge. Krentzin's boxes, bowls, canisters and goblets are also sculptures, comprised of adorably grotesque humanoid or animalesque forms, single or grouped to tell odd little stories. The functional and material characteristics of his objects are traditionally attributed to crafts while their narrative quality is associated with the pictorial tradition of fine art. In 1968 Frank Getlein acknowledged the merging of these traditions in Krentzin's works by stating that they appeared "as if they were created by Peter Carl Faberge after designs by Hieronymous Bosch."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Leslie Winer says I'm "Incredibly Good Looking"

I'm trying not to be too self-indulgent here with my posts but I am pleasantly stunned to report that Leslie Winer remembers me and my brother Charles from the 1980s downtown/art/fashion/nightclub scene as "those incredibly good looking twins." She and Charles corresponded recently via her blog where she made that statement. You may know that Leslie Winer was one of the most important models in the 1980s, a profound beauty and a great provocatrice. A picture of her by Pierre and Gilles is below, as well as a link to her blog, plus pictures of me and Charles by Jimmy de Sana from 1989 and Amy Arbus from 1988, perhaps as Leslie Winer remembers us. Maybe I'll self-indulge some more and post my portraits by Horst, Mario Testino, David Armstrong, Timothy Greenfield Sanders, et al.
Leslie Winer by Pierre and Gilles

Amy Arbus:

Jimmy DeSana:

Friday, November 9, 2007


In further Metropolitan Opera House art-news Billy Erb's photo/multimedia exhibition "Chandler/Chandelier" features images of the beautiful Chandler Moss AND the spectacular crystal chandeliers in the opera house. Some of the other images in the show include Lady Kier in magnificent profile and the giant diamond-light-sculptures that adorn the exterior of the New York State Theater, across the plaza from the opera house at Lincoln Center (image below). The opera house chandeliers were designed by Hans Harald Rath and made by Lobmeyr of Austria. They were described in the 1966 opera house guide (see also my 1 November post):

As far as is known, crystal has never been used in such quantity for the purpose of illumination as may be seen in the radiant chandeliers of the auditorium and Grand Lobby. Suspended from the white dome of the auditorium are a central chandelier nearly seventeen feet in diameter and eight other starbursts of various sizes. On the circumference of the ceiling are twelve satellite clusters, . . . Each chandelier contains a black core from which golden beams cast their glow: some of these bear lamps, others are embellished by massive pieces of crystal and scores of crystal pearls.

Info on Billy Erb and his exhibition at:

from "Chandler/Chandelier" by Billy Erb

Installation view, Billy Erb

Last Day For LUXURY

Tommorow, Saturday 10 November, is the last day to see LUXURY, the permanent collection installation at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. A new selection of pieces from the permanent collection, organized around the theme of EXOTICISM will open on 27 November. If you can't make it tommorow you can still see an online version of LUXURY at:
Also currently on view at the Museum at FIT is "Chic Chicago" a magnificent display of fashion from the collection of the Chicago History Museum, until 5 January 2008:

Two ensembles by Norman Norell, in "Luxury," at the Museum at FIT

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Metropolitan Opera

There's a really outstanding contemporary art exhibition in the gallery at the Metropolitan Opera house here in New York. On view are works on paper, collage and mixed media by Guillermo Kuitca:
The works display a perfect balance between aesthetics and concept. Coincidentally I just came across a copy of the "Official Guide Book" to the opera house that was published when the building was completed in 1966-67. The descriptions of the design and lavish materials used are really interesting: bianco de nieve, travertine and cremo marble; 23K gold leaf; silk velvet handrails supported by posts of crystal balls on polished bronze; book-matched teak paneling, etc. There is a photograph (below) of the Eleanor Belmont Room, a sort-of VIP lounge, named after the founder of the Opera Guild. The room was designed by Billy Baldwin and has glazed pearwood walls, a portrait of Mrs. Belmont by Simon Elwes and . . . well the picture says it all. The guide book describes, but does not illustrate the Opera Club (a private dining room) designed by Angelo Donghia and the executive offices designed by Mario Buatta. Maybe someone out there can let me know whether these (now historic) interiors are still intact. On a personal note, my uncle, Philip Rosenberg, the well-known film production designer, began his career as an assistant to Eugene Berman designing sets at the Met. Berman also got him a job assisting Marcel Vertes on his murals at the Cafe Carlyle. On another personal note, I spent alot of time at Lincoln Center as a child attending the Little People's concerts. I'm not sure that the music had such a big influence on me but the modern architecture and luxurious ambiance had a very strong impact on my sensibility.

Eleanor Belmont Room, Metropolitan Opera House, New York

Allison Malinsky

Take a look at the delightful paintings by Allison Malinsky. She has been loitering in the lobbies of hotels like the Carlyle and the Pierre here in New York and her observations are reflected in these oil on linen interpretations. Opening 6 November, 6:00-8:00pm, 80 Washington Square East,