USA: New York City

Posted by on Oct 14, 2017 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I flew Aeroflot from Barcelona to Moscow after a considerable delay, and made it to my next flight to New York concerned whether my pack would be joining me at my destination. After a 14 hour plus journey I arrived in JFK none the worse for wear, and happy when my pack emerged from the baggage conveyor system. A cab to Manhattan and light snack after checking in and I’m ready for a short night’s sleep before meeting up with my sister Nadine in the morning.

Looks like we’re back in Paris, but this beautiful art nouveau metro sign is in the park setting of the MOMA in NYC. I caught sight of it as my sister and I were making our way to the museum. We popped into a side entrance to ask a nice young lady about the metro sign’s origins. I engaged in a little Parisian banter, and after some pleasant mutual repartee, we were gifted two free tickets to the Museum of Modern Art.

The metro sign adorns a new garden area that is under construction.

Here is a statue in the original garden.

Max ERNST – beyond painting

Max ERNST – Woman, Old Man and Flower – 1923-1924

Ernst painted the first state of this composition in 1923, the year after he moved from Cologne to Paris to join the nascent Surrealist group. He subsequently modified elements of this picture. Most astonishingly he added the mysterious, partially transparent, partially modeled, fan topped figure in the foreground, presumably the flower referenced in the title. Even before leaving Germany, Ernst had been thinking about translating the collage and overpainting strategies of his small Dada works on paper into oil on canvas. The results achieved included radical leaps in scale, intensified colors, and what he described to Dadaist Tristan Tzara as “a much insaner effect.”

Max ERNST – An Anxious Friend (front) – 1944

Max ERNST – An Anxious Friend (back) – 1944

Max ERNST – Napoleon in the Wilderness – 1941

Ernst began this painting in France but completed it in Santa Monica, California, soon after escaping war-torn Europe. For the base layer he used decalcomania, a semi-automatic technique in which paint is applied with a sheet of glass or paper to create unexpected textures. He subsequently inverted the composition and used the same process to manipulate the landscape and its strange inhabitants, which evoke a world of flux and decay. The finished painting, Ernst wrote, was “possibly an unconscious expression of my feelings at the time; for its central feeling is not a triumphant Napoleon but a Napoleon in the wilderness on St. Helena in exile and defeat.”

Max ERNST – The Playing with the Queen – 1944

In this sculpture, a horned king towers over a conical queen and a sextet of infantry. Ernst first displayed the plaster version of this sculpture in THE IMAGERY OF CHESS, a 1944 exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York City. The conflict and hierarchy inherent to chess may have served as an allegory for World War II, which had driven Ernst into exile in the United States. Or, as Ernst’s wife, the artist Dorothea Tanning, later wrote, “A hypothetical king and queen playing a game involving kings and queens-there is no end to the interpretations that could be put upon such a situation.”

Louise BOURGEOIS – I Do, I Undo, I Redo – 1999-2000

Louise BOURGEOIS – Arch of Hysteria – 1993

Marcos GRIGORIAN – Untitled – 1963

Jackson POLLOCK – ONE: Number 31 – 1950

Alberto GIACOMETTI – The Couple – 1927

Vavara STEPANOVA – Figure – 1921

Claude MONET – Water Lilies – 1914-1926

No comparison to the exhibit in the Musée Orangerie in Paris but very nice nonetheless.

Henri MATISSE – Dance (I) – 1909

Henri ROUSSEAU – The Dream – 1910

Vasily KANDINSKY – Picture with an Archer – 1909

Paul CÉZANNE – Pines and Rocks – 1897

Pablo PICASSO – Les Demoiselles D’Avignon – 1907

The result of months of preparation and revision, this painting depicting five prostitutes in a brothel revolutionized the art world when first seen in Picasso’s studio. It’s monumental size underscored the shocking incoherence resulting from the outright sabotage of conventional representation. Picasso drew on sources as diverse as Iberian sculpture, African tribal masks, and the Spanish Renaissance artist El Greco’s paintings to make this startling composition. In the preparatory studies, the figure at the left was a sailor. Picasso, wanting no anecdotal detail to interfere with the sheer impact of the work, decided to eliminate it in the final painting. The only remaining allusion to setting remains in the title: Avignon was a street in Barcelona famed for its brothels.

Pablo PICASSO – Ma Jolie – 1911-1912


Yves Saint Laurent

Little Black Dresses

Issey MIYAKE – A-POC Queen – 1997






Sculpture on a Truck


Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Singing waitstaff looking for their big break.

A rare unmolested Botero sculpture.


Something evil this way comes.

Some things drag down a whole ensemble. My sister Nadine hates to shop and would rather give than get.

Michael Kors to the rescue. Beautifying the world, one handbag at a time. One-third of the original price at TJ Maxx. I realize you are not what you wear, but a lousy bag can drag a woman down as much as crappy or unpolished shoes can do a man.

Proud, relieved, and happy brother after the successful removal of a fashion faux pas.

Beautiful view from the office where I signed my tax returns. Sometimes it’s tricky handling it during my travels.

Times Square Information Overload

Right above 2017 is where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. It’s cold and overrated. Watch it on TV instead. You’ll save a fortune and you won’t freeze your ass off. In fact, use the money for a trip to the Caribbean instead.

KINKY BOOTS – Show based on the movie of the same name with the musical score by Cindy Lauper. In fact she is the first woman to win a Tony for best musical score. The show garnered 6 Tony awards including Best Musical. It was a super show and I was fortunate that the original leads had returned to reprise their roles. What a break. I really have had such good fortune in my travels.

Waiting for the show to begin for my quality half-price seat. Always check TKTS in Times Square for discount seats the day of the show. You can find the same thing in London for their Theatre District as well.

Kevin Smith Kirkwood sneaks out with his black cap and Cyndi Lauper t-shirt. He was part of the Angel Ensemble.

Stark Sands (Charlie) generously signs autographs and poses for pictures for the crowd waiting outside the theater. What a talented and super-nice guy.

A placid scene amidst a frenetic city.




What has become of our country when a lying, crass, fear mongering, sex offending, narcissistic, psychotic sociopath like Trump is able to claim the highest office in our land? What does it say about Americans at large?

It says to me that this is no longer the country I grew up in, and it is not a place where I wish to live out my life. It’s no longer a problem that can be solved by unfriending people on Facebook.

It is a general malaise in the body politic, as well as the constituents of the greedy bastards in power and the ones who pull their strings. It’s a fixed game that I don’t see resolving itself before I take that long soil snooze. Human beings attracted to politics generally are incapable of resisting the corruption that power brings. Not only do people tend to vote against their own interests, but politicians also tend to vote for policies that are against the interests of their own constituency. They have no concept of the long term consequences.

As usual, humanity will wait until the last minute to respond to the cataclysmic crises we face in the 21st. century. Unfortunately, we may have kicked the can a little too far down the road this time. The dinosaurs had little choice when that meteor hurtled towards the earth some 66 million years ago. We, on the other hand, will be stuck with our own greed, stupidity, and denial to blame.

I was lucky enough to get front row center seats.


Brother Craig, Nephew Eli, Sister in Law Renée

Me and my brother Craig


  1. Karen Devers
    October 30, 2017

    Nice to see so much familiar art work, especially the Monet and Pollock. Both are among my favorites. I always chuckle when I see Picasso’s “ladies” since they showed it as going down with the ship in the movie Titanic. It wasn’t even on board, of course. A strange inclusion that anyone with knowledge of art recognizes. Oh well, movies do take liberties with reality!

    Nadine’s handback looks a bit like the one you bought me. I’m so happy for her and it’s nice to get such a good deal. I picked up a smaller version of mine for every day since I don’t usually carry much with me. I made sure to get blue so it’s a “mini-bag!”

    Glad you had a fine time with family and fun events. A little bit of NYC goes a long way for me. I used to visit it regularly when I lived in MD. I remember one visit driving through the tunnel and ending up going the wrong way on a one-way street. It was shocking to be in my little VW bug and see multiple lanes of cars headed right toward me. Then my suitcase was stolen from my car. Not a good time. Another time I stayed there for a month with a friend. That was long enough for me – sensory overload kicked in!

  2. The Travel Zealot
    October 31, 2017

    I’m with you, Karen, a little bit of NYC does go a long way. Three days and I’m done. Same with Las Vegas. Sensory saturation and then it’s time to get out. I can handle London for a week and Paris for a whole month. I prefer the smaller cities, but the big ones tend to have the best art museums.

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