Sunday, March 31, 2013


Another year of creative dining designed by some of the best established and upcoming designers  in New York City. Dining by Design, a DIFFA event fundraiser for the fight against AIDS, was eye candy for the culinary inspired.
The event is split into three parts: a dinner where invited guests are actually seated at the tables for an inspired meal catered by some of New York's finest caterers, a cocktail party where entry consists of a $200 donation, and then three days of open viewing to the public as part of your ticket to the Architectural Digest Home Show. Rick and I attended the cocktail party as guests of the New York Design Center and also took Emmy and a pair of clients for a tour of the tables when we went furniture and appliance hunting at the  Arch Digest Show.
The Arch Digest show was disappointing this year. In years past the show had opened itself up to a broader range of home essentials. This year the show seemed to predominately focus on two aspects of the home: art and appliances. These are essential aspects of home design but I missed the furniture, lighting, carpets and accessories that had a greater presence in past years. This may bode well for ICFF this year. Where it had been losing ground to the Architectural Digest Show it may now have regained its preeminence as the primary show to introduce new ideas in furniture and design. Since we will be introducing a new line of furniture with Black Wolf Design at ICFF this year we may have lucked into the right time for our introduction. Y'all have your fingers crossed.
Here are some of our highlights from Dining by Design, photos curtesy of Emmy Shaver/Melahn.
Entry into the space was through a cascading waterfall of lights suspended on red cords.
For the cocktail party we were greeted by waiters with glasses of champagne at the ready in front of the Ralph Lauren Table.
For the past couple of years DIFFA has selected designers to mentor groups of students from local design schools in applying their talents to creating tables from a fixed budget. Some of the tables designed this year by the student groups were some of my favorites.
This student table and surround was created out of wire coat hangers.
Benjamin Moore didn't disappoint with color splashed and spilled all over the table, the chairs and the walls to boot.
Fantasy was in full swing at this Fragonard inspired garden party
Guests at the this table were not only treated to the eye candy of the space but literally to the candy itself. The walls were clad in thousands of Hershey candy kisses. No one needed to feel a thief in stealing away with a kiss of their own.
Even Broadaway got in the act with the soon to open, "Kinky Boots" kicking off a table of their own.
Here are some more tables to feast your eyes on.

Caravaggio Harvest II
Cy DeCosse, photographer
Represented by Verve Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Friday, March 22, 2013


It's a bit tough thinking about Easter egg hunts when the weather outside is as frigid as it has been this spring. Spring, can anyone believe that according to the calendar spring is here. I'm thinking that this cold weather demands alternative indoor activities, ones held over steaming pots where the only mittens needed are oven mitts.
Let's dye some eggs.
The “Marvin Stewart” of our household has always had a knack for sucking us in to his Tom Sawyer-esque activities.  Here's how our egg dying ritual usually goes. Rick has Emmy donate a couple of pairs of old panty hose from her underwear drawer while I scavenger around for a pair of scissors. Earlier in the day we'd make our way to the grocery store and stocked up on organic eggs, some herbs chosen for the graphic possibilities of their leaves, and then our dying agents: beets, onions and black berries. We also buy a gallon jug of white vinegar and a collection of rubber bands. Other than some big pots and a couple of big spoons our equipment and ingredients would be pretty much in place for, what I have to admit, is an activity to make some of the most beautiful eggs you’ll ever see.
Prep is pretty simple consisting of cutting panty hose into four inch squares, slicing up some beets, pinching some leaves off of our herbs and stripping the skins off of some yellow onions. In separate pots we dumped our onion skins, cut up beets and black berries with a mixture of water and vinegar in a ratio of three parts water to one part vinegar. Then it was on to the stove with our sloshing pots where we cranked up the heat to high until the mixtures came to a boil.
While we were waiting for the water to boil we started placing some leaves on the squares of panty hose. We each add our own artistic touch but it was Emmy’s use of oregano spears that seemed to produce the best results. After the leaves were in place we gently laid the eggs down on the leaf and panty hose blankets, pulled the hose up tight around the eggs, and twisted and sealed the little Easter packages with a rubber band.
Our next step in our egg bondage routine is to cut off the excess nylon leaving the eggs look a band of comic bank robbers.
The last act is to drop the eggs into the pots and let them sit for a couple of minutes in the bubbling mixture. The denser the amount of dying agent and the longer the time left in the dye will produce the more intense colors. Once Rick had approved of our work he turned the heat off and covered the pots of the newly tattooed eggs. We left the eggs sit over night and when we woke in the morning we fished out the eggs, cut off the hose and blotted the eggs dry. The result was some of the most beautiful Easter eggs our home had ever seen.
Here's a list of some other natural dying agents you can use and the color result you can expect from the dying process
Cranberries = pale purple
Raspberries = lavender
Pomegranates = light red
Beets = pale pink
Turmeric = bright yellow
Red cabbage = dark blue
Coffee grounds = dark brown
Onion skins = sepia
Spinach = pale green
Blueberries = blue to purple

Hyper No8, 2007
Denis Darzacq, Photographer
Represented by Laurence Miller

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Everyone strives to get a bread and butter client, someone who comes back time after time because they believe in what you do. Those are the clients you love working with. The Vision Council is that client for us. They know what they want and they are appreciative for all you do. This is a big thank you to a group whose relationship I will always appreciate.
With that said here are some pictures of this year's press booth for the 2013 Vision East Convention.

Truman Capote, New York, 1965
Irving Penn, photographer
Represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery

Saturday, March 9, 2013


There was a bit of mist in the air. I'd grabbed the 57th Street crosstown and walked from Eleventh Avenue over to Pier 94. I'd never done the Armory Show before and definitely not with a VIP ticket, the one Alice said she'd have for me if I'd meet her at the entrance to Pier 92. Pier 94 was the bigger Pier with a grander bar but both Piers were pretty impressive. Alice was the only working artist, assembling one of her ball chain works as attendees walked by or waited in line to check their coats. Pier 92 was assigned the title of Modern Works while Pier 94 was given the more general title of Contemporary Art.
As I managed the treacherous task of crossing the West Side Highway I realized most people attending the Opening Event at the Armory Show don't use the crosstown bus to get there. A line of black Rolls-Royces lined the entry and glamour and money hopped over the wet pavement trailing furs and Armani into the VIP event. I had never realized how tall money is. I stand just shy of six feet and I was dwarfed by both men and women. Maybe it's a new generation and with every ensuring generation a certain amount of gained height seems to appear but I was under the armpits of men in the six-six range most discussing in a language that seemed like German the aesthetic qualities of the women cat-walking the aisles in stiletto heels.
I have to admit I too was more interested in the people than art, not only the tall ones but the ones making the scene a scene, screaming out to be seen in hair spiked two feet over their scalp or wearing colors that bellow look at me. I only wish I had the courage to snap more pictures of the intriguing and bizaare. I've never been able to find the protocol for that kind of guerrilla photography: do you snap first and try to catch the spontaneity and then get reprimanded for having taken the picture or do you ask permission and then end up with a lifeless portrait?
Now to the show. I will never claim to be a Peter Schjeldahl but here are some pieces that made me stop looking at the people and focus on the art.
Mel Bochner
Blah Blah Blah, 2012
Monoprint with collage, engraving and embossment
Represented by Sims Reed Gallery
There's a three dimensionality in his work that combined with the raw color is very attractive

Chiyu Uemae
Untitled, 1959
Oil on canvas
Represented by Whitestone Gallery
The Asian aesthetic is so evident in his work,that attention to detail that can be missed unless you get right up on the work. The meticulous use of minute pattern is amazing. It pulls you to where you get lost and surrender to its soothing nature

Tom Duncan
Dedicated to Coney Island, 1984-2002
Mixed Media
Represented by Andrew Edlin Gallery
This piece is just total fun. It's interactive. It pulls you back to a childhood delight at pushing buttons making Ferris Wheels spin and trains go back and forth.

Deborah Butterfield
Untitled, 2012
Found steel, welded
Represented by Danese Gallery
I first heard about Deborah when she taught at the University of Wisconsin. One of her pieces graces the entry to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Her horses are amazing, graceful and emotionally packed 

Cameron Gray
Yellow Mao (After Warhol), 2013
Oil on wood tiles
Represented by Carl Hammer Gallery
Here is another work that needs to be viewed from two different points-of-view. From a distance it appears as an homage to Andy Warhol's Mao prints but as you get closer you begin to see that the image is really made up of hundreds of hand painted tiles of everything from flowers to babies. Cameron works out his pieces on his computer and then enlists hundreds of artists to each paint a tile in a color and theme that he has designated. The results are phenomenal. 

Alice Hope
Untitled, 2012
Ball chain; neodymium magnets on steel plate
Represented by Ricco/Maresca
I couldn't end without showing one of Alice's astounding constructions where she explores ordinary materials, magnetism, and the relationships between science and art.

Trine Sondergaard
Guldnakke #5, 2012
Represented by Bruce Silverstein Gallery
As seen at the Armory Show

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Lets start this posting out with my arrival back in the Big Apple a week ago this evening. I started the journey here on a Badger Bus, a mode of transportation used primarily by college students and one woman who talked from Madison to Milwaukee on her throwaway phone to a friend about how the two of them were going get ripped on tequila and squirt cheese while watching the academy awards in celebration of her recent release from incarceration from a bar fight where she blooded a no-good fat bitch.
Every time we made a stop the driver did his welcoming speech and informed us that the wifi password was the clever "badgerbus". I pulled out me computer and for fifty-nine miles I used my left knee and hand as a stabilizing support for the vibrating bus table while trying to find the badger bus server with a one finger typing scheme from my shaking right hand. I never succeeded.
I did get to open up my computer a the airport and on the plane but I never did get on line. The airports and planes have found some perverse way of blocking my Verizon hot spot devise from working so you can only use their Gogo connection which, of course, comes with a cost.
By the time I got to the apartment I was too exhausted to open the lid on my MAC. Refreshed on Monday morning I set myself up to take a look at my email and get started back to work. I pressed the start button, the screen lit up in that soft fuzzy grey color. The wheel started spinning and then spinning and then...nothing. Time after time I tried to start up my link to the world, my best friend, the thing I rely on to get me through the day, but nothing. It had left me.
This is all in explanation for why I'm so late in posting this week. IO wait patiently, now linked to a temporary life line with a rental computer, while the best experts in the world work over the barely breathing carcass of my beloved friend and keeper of all too many secrets. Get well cards are greatly appreciated.

In the meantime I spent Thursday night equally discombobulated, but this time not necessarily because of my missing computer. I had RSVP'd to an event sponsored by the New York Design Center and 1stdibs for the Vera List Art Project, a philanthropic project where artists donate prints for sale with the profits benefiting Lincoln Center. Thinking the event was at Lincoln Center I thought I had all the time in the world to get from the apartment on West 75th Street to Lincoln Center on 63rd and Broadway. Wanting to arrive fashionably late for the event scheduled from five to eight I decided to walk the twelve blocks. I though six was an appropriate starting time. The weather was nice, why not? For the next hour and a half I walked from the opera to the ballet to the symphony and past the opening of Holland Taylor's new production of "Ann" without finding anyone who knew a lick about the Vera List event. It finally dawned on me that perhaps the event wasn't at Lincoln Center but somewhere else. At 7:45 I mad it into the elevator at 200 Lex and up to the 10th floor, home of the 1stdibs showroom, where I got the last glass of white wine and a carrot cake muffin. Here are some pictures of the event:

Daughter of the Circus
Michael Garlington, photographer
Represented by Gallery 291, San Francisco