The Biddington's Bentley Takes to the Road

New York City April 2006 Update
Manhattan Art Events & Museum Exhibitions

Piranesi Desprez etching Editor's Note: See archived Jake Biddington's NYC articles below for more art museum, entertainment and dining information.

New York Public Library
Print Gallery: Old Master Prints--Recent Acquisitions

Through June 24, 2006

This recent acquisitions exhibition of Old Master Prints is not your standard hodgepodge of donations and purchases claiming to be coherent. Keen-eyed and knowledgeable, NYPL print curator Roberta Waddell has sought out, or snapped up, exceptional artworks that either elucidate an important aspect of printmaking or fill gaps in the NYPL's vast collection of over 200,000 original prints.

"The Fireworks above Castel Sant'Angelo"
Piranesi and Desprez
Much more than paintings or sculpture, prints run in step with technological advances and popular culture. As relatively inexpensive multiples, prints are populist art and historical gold mines. In this show, an especially fascinating pairing is the large etching by Francesco Piranesi (Italian 1756-1810) side by side with the same subject realized in collaboration with Louis-Jean Desprez (French (1743-1804). The two versions show "The Fireworks above Castel Sant'Angelo", an image sure to have pleased the well-heeled foreign visitors who passed through Rome on The Grand Tour in search of thrills as well as culture. Piranesi's solo etching is sparse and sketchy versus the rich rendering in etching plus watercolor and gouache when architect and stage designer Desprez became involved with the image. Over the centuries, artists have enjoyed this collaborative aspect of printmaking as impetus to leave the isolation of their studios and enrich their artistic vision.

Printmakers love their tools and are obsessed with technique, so familiarly with various methods is fundamental to appreciating Old Master prints. The NYPL exhibition illustrates several print types making its points visually, and the erudite and informative accompanying tags offer rich factual information as well. By looking, reading, then looking again, the viewer ascends the print connoisseurship curve quickly. Experiencing prints through the NYPL Print Gallery is like learning about wine by drinking vintage Burgundy: with this quality level as a benchmark, you'll know the meaning of "good".

Admission is free to the 42nd Street New York Public Print Gallery on the 3rd floor and to its accompanying curatorial lectures. Note: The Piranesi/Desprez print shown above is not the one in the exhibition.

Steven Parrino round painting

Whitney Biennial: Day for Night
March 2-May 28, 2006

According to the brochure blurb, the 2006 Whitney Biennial called "Day for Night "conjures a mood of dark intensity shifting between beauty and decadence". When a major museum inserts a colon after "Biennial", it raises a yellow flag. Instead of focusing on the visual aspect of visual art, this show's curators subscribe to the concept that art is words, or art requires words, for us unwashed novices to be able to decipher it. A quality exhibition requires no more than well-chosen artworks mounted coherently; then, the viewer can arrive at his own conclusions. The museum audience needs no third party acting as priest--nor as auteur--interceding to explain in words the great mysteries of art.
A Steven Parrino Painting
Still, certain artworks in the Biennial merit the visit: This year's designated "icon" is Marilyn Minter's hyper-realist painting "Stepping Up"--a doggy-eye view of a dirty girl in bejeweled heels. It's a vividly telling Pop meets Photorealism image. In a well-conceived installation, Urs Fischer's hypnotically rotating, candlewax dripping branches is an admirably contemporary melding of Robert Smithson and George Rickey. The shiny-black imploding round canvas by Steven Parrino (recently lost to a motorcycle crash) possesses an elemental power that calls to mind Rick Librizzi's contorted canvases from the early 70's. Evocative but not derivative, these three artists draw from the flowing and bubbling stream of art antecedents, using the past to nourish their own vibrant creative visions.
Note: The Parrino painting shown above is not the one in the exhibition.

Yeshiva University Museum
"At the Altar of Her Memories"
May 23-January 14, 2007

Located in a beautiful multi-gallery facility on West 16th Street in Manhattan, Yeshiva University Museum presents exhibitions of history and art relating to Jewish culture that engage a wide audience from olde NYC buffs, to fashionistas to art connoisseurs.

Beginning in May 2006, the Winnick/Yum Gallery at Yeshiva Museum presents an exhibition of puppets by Holocaust survivor Bracha Ghilai, a gifted and fascinating woman who, after decades of burying the horrors of her teenage years in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, began exploring her memories and revealing her story via hand puppets. The exhibit includes a film entitled "At the Altar of Her Memories" by sculptor/photographer/filmmaker Tova Beck-Friedman, Bracha Ghilai's niece. While poignant, this exhibit is profoundly hopeful in its reflection and portrayal of human strength and forgiveness.

Lynne Frehm abstract painting Masquerade

181st Annual Invitational Exhibition
National Academy Museum
May 10-June 8, 2006

The National Academy has a stated mandate to "fulfill one of its original missions by implementing exhibitions of contemporary American art with the goal of previewing new artistic directions". In recent years, because of its willingness to show painting in a range of genres, this annual exhibition has come to be a favorite among New York's contemporary painters as well as the art viewing public.

Lynne Frehm
Abstract Painting
The term "vetting" does not begin to describe the filtering process by which the 124 exhibiting artists made their way into this important invitational show: First, an academy member has to propose an artist's work. (One can only imagine the nuanced self-questioning that precedes such a recommendation: Who is wonderful--but not my direct competitor? What will the other academicians think of my making this implied endorsement? Worse, what if my artist doesn't even get selected?) Next comes peer review, where an eight-member panel within the academy sifts through the entrants and makes their selections for the show. Finally, a separate awards committee distributes $100,000 in prizes to their favorite entrants among those who survived the sieve.

New York abstract painter Lynne Frehm is represented in this year's National Academy Museum annual with a large work entitled "Ghosts over Manhattan". Note: The Frehm abstract shown above is not the one in the exhibition.

More Art & Antiques Destinations with Jake Biddington:
Art Tourism Montevideo, Uruguay
Art Tourism New Haven, Connecticut
Art Tourism New York City 2005: Christo's Gates
Art Museums, Neighborhoods & Dining in Buenos Aires
Art and Touring along Italy's Amalfi Coast
Art Museums & Restaurants in Amsterdam
Cultural Touring along Spain's Costa del Sol
Art Touring in Lisbon
Art Touring in Milan
Art Touring in Antwerp
Art Touring in Barcelona
I-80 Park City to New York City Art & Antiques
Art Tourism New York City 2003 (Archive)
Art Tourism New York City 2002 (Archive)
Art & Wine in the Finger Lakes of New York State
Art & Antiques in Hudson, New York (Columbia County)
Art & Restaurants in Rome 2002 Update
Hartford & Wilton, Connecticut
San Francisco Jackson Square
New Hampshire Route 1A
Morris County, New Jersey

Jake Biddington's 2005 Art Collecting Series:
Art Appraisals and Valuations
Investment Grade Contemporary Art

Jake Biddington Art Investing (Archives):
PPP Test: Judging Quality in Contemporary Art
Art, Time and Technology
American vs. European Paintings
Jake Biddington's Art as Entertainment
Jake Biddington's Vetted Antiques & Art Shows
Jake Biddington's Patent Numbers as a Dating Tool
Jake Biddington's Hard Assets as Portfolio Diversification
Jake Biddington's Buying Fine Jewelry at Auction
Jake Biddington's Long Term Investing
Jake Biddington's Short-Term Investing
Jake Biddington's The Craft of Art


Here at BIDDINGTON'S, our work is also our play. When we're not exhibiting and discussing art & antiques online, we're learning about wonderful objects in shops, at great shows and in museums all over the world.

In this article, Jake Biddington offers suggestions and descriptions of interesting art tourism destinations. Some of these venues are always in open; others revolve around special or seasonal events. These are art travel excursions we at BIDDINGTON'S--upmarket, online art & antiques auctions and Contemporary Art Gallery--have enjoyed making. We hope you'll like them, too.

Contact Jake Biddington about His Travels

COPYRIGHT: Images and information within are Copyright Biddington's, Inc. 1997-2005--except where preceded by individual copyrights of the artists.
Downloading or printing for online or print reproduction of any materials without specific written permission from Biddington's, Inc. is prohibited.

PEDIGREE & PROVENANCE--art words & terms defined. CREATIVE PROCESS--artists' studio visits.
JAKE BIDDINGTON'S INVESTING--financial advice on art & antiques collecting. MY ART--art for kids.