Thursday, September 10, 2015

THE ARMED MAN: A Mass for Peace, FREE Concert 9/24

The pomp and circumstance of events paying tribute to Pope Francis’ visit to New York brings “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” by Karl Jenkins as a timely opportunity to celebrate not only the humble Pope but also to celebrate a Mass for Peace.  “It is an inter-religious and cultural melting pot, and there is no better way to celebrate Pope Francis’ visit to our great city,” said Richard Owen, music director of Camerata New York.
          Camerata New York, under the baton of Maestro Owen, and the Amor Arts chorus will perform the rarely heard evocative work in New York, on Thursday, September 24 at 8 pm at a FREE concert, open to the public, at St. Jean Baptiste Church (Lexington Avenue at 76th Street). Reservations are requested. For more information, call 212.874-3990.
Amor Artis Chorus
“It is  a tremendous privilege for Camerata New York, in collaboration with the Amor Artis Chorus, to be performing this seldom heard work,” said Owen. The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace is a multi dimensional performance, based on the famous 15th century French folksong, “L’homme arme, a multi-religious work. The performance, accompanied by a video slide-show, is composed of traditional mass movements and Old-Testament Psalm settings, a Muslim call to prayer, and poetry by noted 19th century poets. In a world of turmoil and grief the work affirms that change is possible, and proposes that in the new millennium, in the words of Tennyson, we “Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace.”
          This epic event is a powerful reminder Owen said. “It is a tremendous privilege for Camerata New York, in collaboration with the Amor Artis Chorus. “What makes the piece so special is that it is inspired by the Mass, the Islamic call to prayer, and the Mahabharata, as well as Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Sankichi Toge, who survived the Hiroshima bombing.”
St. Jean Baptiste Church
What is Camerata New York? Now celebrating fourteen successful seasons in New York, the orchestra is made up of the finest young musicians in this great city. The orchestra has performed in major concert venues and hailed by critics for its “lustrous tone-quality with collaborations with some of the finest artists of the day including Alvin Ailey, cellist Nathaniel Rosen, soprano Aprile Millo and film star Alec Baldwin. For more information visit
          It would be remiss not to mention something about conductor Richard Owen. His celebrity is prolific and in addition to being the music director of Camerata New York Orchesta he is principal conductor with the Adelphi Orchestra and music director Saints John and Paul church in Larchmont, New York.
          Just to give equal billing to Amor Artis let it be said that for more than fifty years, it is one of New York’s beloved institutions. Its chorus and orchestra gained renowned as a pioneer of the early music revival in the U.S. Under its founder, Johannes Somary, it issued the first recordings ever of Handel’s oratorios, Theodora and Jephtha, and after 9/11, Amor Artis was there, making music with renowned musicians from around the world. For more information visit
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

MODERN SUMMER: ABEX+: Review by Polly Guerin

Paul Jenkins' Phenomena Cry of the Peacock
One of my cultural finds this summer is the Jenn Singer Gallery, a boutique bijoux of a small space, masterminded by the petite gallery owner Jenn Singer. The gallery may be modest but it offers art on a grand scale---works on canvas and paper by some of today's most Influential Abstract Expressionists--hand picked from an important private collection in New York City. The gallery is located in New York City's historic Gramercy Park neighborhood, 72 Irving Place. The ongoing current exhibit opened in July and runs through August 28, 2015.
    Bright raw colors, rough edges and spontaneity define the paintings on view by established artists including Paul Jenkins, Syd Solomon, Robert Natkin and Stanley William Hayter. These artists are seasoned poets of the brush---with a focus on pieces from the 1970s and 80s, by postwar modern artists working at the height of their careers. All of the artists represented at the Jenn Singer Gallery have enjoyed prominent exhibition histories and their works are held in the permanent collections of top institutions including MoMA, the Guggenheim, The Whitney and the Tate.
     Paul Jenkins had a personal relationship with color and its purity, and was recognized as one of the leaders of the American Abstract Expressionist movement. Jenkins was known as a pioneer in uniting the concepts of color-field painting and action painting. His strong abstracts soar to heights of inspiration and resonate with hidden messages. Defined by the viewer Phenomena, for example, provides endless wonderment..Jenkins once proclaimed, "I paint what God is to me." In his paintings Jenkins flows, pulls, and pushes "pure color" to create almost celestial imagery on his paper and canvases. Two of his watercolors and oil on canvas are on view. Pictured here: Phenomena Cry of the Peacock, 1972. Watercolor on paper.
"Untitled"by Robert Natkin
      In an "Untitled" painting by Robert Natkin, a work from his Field Mouse series ca. 1970--- the mood is lightened and yet its compelling interaction of textures, patterns and space.grips our senses to look deeper into depths of its meaning,  and revel in the seemingly never ending tranquility of merging soft colors and shapes. Pictured here: Untitled oil on canvas.
    The series was inspired by an Ezra Pound translation of a Chinese poem, (below) which Natkin referred to as a "sweeping landscape of emotion.
And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life goes by
Like a field mouse,
Running through the grass not touching.
     Natkin once said, "I want the eye of the viewer never to tire, never to cease."
Syd Solomon;s Baytop, 1980
     Syd Solomon's direction cast his creativity to the sea, earth and sky as inspiration for his often-explosive action paintings. Soloman gained notoriety in the 1960s, and pictured here is Baytop, oil and acrylic on canvas 1980.
      It is interest to note that another artist represented here, Stanley William Hayter's roots in printmaking and Surrealism were a formative influence on Pollock and other abstract expressionists via his printmaking studio, Atelier 17, where he taught Pollock and other well know artists including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz and Alberto Giacometti. In his work on canvas "Curtain," the artist plays with his love of color, abstraction and the fascination with waves.
   For additional images, information contact the gallery: Summer hours: Monday-Friday: 11am-6pm. Saturday by appointment only. T. 917.722.6119.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Calder Shadows cast a new venue of the artist’s mobiles and stabiles in an exhibition that dramatizes kinetic shadow impressions in a group of rare Calder works.  Showcased in darkness---the ‘Venus Over Manhattan gallery in New York invites you to step into the expansive dark gallery, where each of Calder’s sculptures, created between 1929 and 1974, are lit so that its shadows become the exhibition’s subject.
WHIM OF THE LIGHT Dancing on the walls and moving at the whim of a light breeze or gently prodded  the shadows cast on the walls, ceiling, and floor of the gallery provide a fascinating interpretation of the metal forms on display.  Ever changing the wire versions become oscillating line drawings and flat metal forms become independent presences. The fascinating shadows captivate attention as the shadows seemingly change position and present an entirely different view of the object. Case in point: A mobile does not stand still and as it gently moves a new perspective of the work emerges as a different shadow version on the wall.
CALDER'S OEUVRE Calder’s mechanized works gave way to his mobiles and stabiles, sculptures that disparate metal elements, made from bent wire and flat sheet metal cut-outs were constructed with such masterful equipoise that their movements occur naturally and unpredictably in response to the energy of surrounding atmosphere.  
INSPIRATION After visiting Piet Mondrian’s studio in 1930, Calder began the experiments with abstract construction that would come to define his oeuvre. He drew inspiration from the playful work of Joan Miro and Paul Klee, making hand cranked and motorized kinetic sculptures that challenged the definition of a sculpture as a form fixed in time and space.
CALDER REMEMBERED As a student in the mid-1920s, the man who would become the celebrated sculptor, painter, illustrator, printmaker and designer, worked for the National Police Gazette newspaper and was assigned to sketch the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  One of the artist’s most enduring beloved works, first fashioned in 1926, is his Cirque Calder; a miniature circus made from wire, string, rubber and found materials, which today resides in the Whitney Museum of Art in New York. Today his works can be seen in other prestigious museum collections.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976), the renowned American artist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and died in New York City, which often proclaims him as their own native son.
VENUS OVER MANHATTAN is located at 980 Madison Avenue, between 76th and 77th streets, on the third floor and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from
10 am-6pm. Additional info contact:
Polly Guerin author: Cooper-Hewitt Dynasty of New York (History Press 2012)


Saturday, November 2, 2013

MILLER, JOE Lyrical Landscapes By Polly Guerin

The imprint of being born and raised in the mountains of the West is perhaps the core influence of visionary painter, Joe Miller’s lyrical body of work. His boldly rendered paintings of land forms, rainwater and rivers, mountains and rocks present nature in paintings that are not a pictorial representation of place. Instead Miller’s imagination takes the viewer on a journey where the essence of the place translates it into shapes, lines  and forms rendered in sun-drenched colors and pigment reborn with angularity and an a mystical aura. Pictured above: Detail from Miller's painting "Below the Mountain."
THE ARTSOURCE INTERNATIONAL Unique and exciting art works are presented in Joyce Towbin Chasan’s loft showroom, The Artsource International, LLC. She recently presented Joe Miller’s body of work, including paintings, watercolors and drawings in her creative exhibit space at 333 Park Avenue South, Suite 2A, New York City. Ms. Chasan, a successful gallery owner and art consultant is very selective in presenting artists and Joe Miller’s exhibit does not disappoint. The inquiring public  can view the show by appointment through November 30th; call 917.295.5016.

THE ESSENCE OF PLACE The artist states, “I paint from my imagination because I prefer to paint with a relatively free line with shapes and colors unrestrained from the brush and the color demands of realism." His oeuvre creates dynamic compositions that draw the viewer into paintings that clearly take inspiration from nature, but astonish by their minimalistic shapes and color impact. Miller works in a variety of media and infuses his work with elegant, minimal lines that evoke dynamic compositions in large scale paintings.  Check out Joe Miller's website:

The artist says, “My imagination is excited by landscapes set above and below, and beyond the sea. As in the desert I still work from my vision.” Of his paintings Miller concludes, “These colors, shapes, marks and lines are like musical instruments capable of producing a beauty in their relationships and controlled freedom of application.” 

Polly Guerin is author of the book: THE COOPER-HEWITT DYNASTY OF NEW YORK (History Press 2012)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

VENTURA, AUGUST, Channeling VERDI in his FILM "27"(c) By Polly Guerin


It’s not every day that someone turns 200 and there is cause for celebration in the year 2013, which marks the bicentennial of Giuseppe Verdi, arguably the most influential musician of his generation. So it is timely and a fitting tribute to the great musical genius that August Ventura, author, film maker and Verdi devotee is preparing a documentary film entitled “27” about the people of the Parma, Italy and their unique relationship with the composer’s 27 operas.
AN ARTISTIC VISIONARY Mr. Ventura is a visionary, a man who brings to the audience a rare and provocative essay revealing the famed city of Parma, its celebrated opera lovers in the cafes and Verdi Clubs.

PWSA I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend an introduction to Mr. Ventura’s oeuvre presented by PWSA, the Professional Women Singers Association, held at the historic landmark Players Club. Founded in 1982 PWSA’s mission is to advance the careers of women singers and promote excellence and functions as a network of distinguished singers who support each other in their professional careers. Marguerite Roberti the featured singer in the film may be a singer from a bygone era, but she captivates the audience with recollections of performing in the early 60s as well as insights into her own brave career choices.

RETURNING TO "27' Mr. Ventura is a writer, historian, archivist, and is as passionate about his film as he is about Verdi operas. He has wedded history and opera in a film that offers a fascinating glimpse into Parma, Italy’s cognoscenti, the Club of 27, the Verdi Clubs, and the city’s famed "loggionisti” at the Teatro Regio. Most captivating are the images of the everyday people whose devotion to opera permeates their life, and as if Verdi was an elixir of love, even the street sweeper bursts out in operatic song. Ventura’s talk was capped by a live-Skype conversation with Margherita Roberti who now lives in California. For more information about the film, go to
For more information about PWSA and to learn about membership go to their website: MR. VENTURA is on the lecture circuit promoting his film but you can visit his website at or contact him at

Men Great Visionaries in Art and Music brings to light the many individuals who have created, explored and contributed to the world through their talent and determination to produce and uphold the very best achievements in their business and personal endeavors.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

BEL GEDDES, NORMAN Celebrated Futurist (c) By Polly Guerin

Though many people may not be familiar with the renowned American industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes he is best known to New Yorkers for the “Futurama” exhibition at the 1939-40 World’s Fair, where 5 million visitors got the opportunity to behold a 35,000 square foot installation and leave with a pin proclaiming, “I Have Seen the Future.” Bel Geddes (1893-1958) was a visionary who played a significant role in the 1920s and ‘30s, shaping not only modern America but also the nation’s image of itself as a global innovator and world leader. Pictured above: Bel Geddes with Futurama Diorama, ca. 1939. Image courtesy of the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation/Ransom Center. 
THE DA VINCI OF 20TH CENTURY The “Norman Bel Geddes: I Have Seen the Future” exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York through February 2014 is the first major exploration of the stage and industrial designer’s oeuvre, whom The New York Times dubbed, “the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th Century.” Bel Geddes’ portrayal of what would become streamlined, technocratic and optimistic captured the national consciousness.

I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE Much of what American take as commonplace, such as a drive on an interstate highway, a visit to a multimedia Broadway show, dinner in a sky-high revolving restaurant, or game-watching in an all-weather stadium were innovations pioneered by the futurist. Bel Geddes popularized modernism for home design, and used streamlining as his design mantra, which was demonstrated with his designs for transportation vehicles such as buses, yachts, ships and cars. Bel Geddes’ Motor Car No. 9 (Gold tone, without tail fin) circa 1933 is a striking example of automobile-streamline-chic. Image: Courtesy of the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation/Harry Ransom Center.
A FUTURISTIC WORLD Bel Geddes later moved into designing complete systems, such as urban utopias and he remained a visionary even after World War II he was involved in virtually every field that defined Cold War American.  A complicated figure, he was a savvy businessman and an incredible showman combined.  His monumental claim to fame was Bel Geddes’ aim to do nothing less than to transform America through design.
Highlights of the exhibition include: The General Motors commissioned film “To New Horizons,” which provides museum-goers with footage of what it was like to attend the “Futurama” exhibition at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.  Monumental sketches of stage sets and rare photographs of The Divine Comedy, whose production will be shown as computer stimulation demonstrates Be Geddes’ versatile skills for theater production.  To see a complete listing of the exhibition highlights and events visit:

ANDERSON, LEROY and The Typewriter Syncopated Music (c) By Polly Guerin

 Leroy Anderson's The Typewriter

Can a typewriter become a musical instrument? Well, if you were the famed American composer Leroy Anderson (1908-1975), the answer would be most emphatically "Yes"!!!  Anderson's musical style employed creative instrumental effects and occasionally made use sound-generating items such as typewriters. The composer would occasionally appear on the Boston Pops regular concerts on PBS to conduct his own music while Arthur Fiedler, the Pops' director, would sit on the sidelines.   For 'The Typewriter' Fiedler would don a green eyeshade, roll up his sleeves, and mime working on an old typewriter while the orchestra played.  The Typewriter had worldwide fame. It was used as the theme song for Esto no tiene nombre, a Puerto Rican television comedy program, which was loosely based on the US television series Rowatt & Martin's Laugh In. 

LISTEN TO THE TYPEWRITER For all the aficionados who remember the typewriter and for those individuals who want to experience a delightful recording go to you tube to listen to the 2011 performance by the National Orchestra and Chorus of Spain in Madrid with the typewriter soloist Alfredo Anaya's enchanting rendition to the surprise and admiration of both orchestra and audience. To access this uptodate delightful recording go to the following link:
SUCCESS, SUCCESS Anderson's pieces and his recordings during the 1950s were immense commercial successes. “Blue Tango” was the first instrumental recording ever to sell one million pieces, earning a Golden Disc and the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Charts.  His most famous pieces are probably 'Sleigh Ride' and 'The Syncopated Clock', both of which are instantly recognizable to millions of people. In 1950, WCBS-TV in New York City selected Syncopated Clock, as the theme song for The Late Show, the WCBS late-night movie. 
LYRICS BY PARISH Mitchell Parish added lyrics to 'Syncopated Clock', and later wrote words for other Anderson tunes, including 'Sleigh Ride', which was not written as a Christmas piece as surmised, but as a work that describes a winter event.  Anderson's oeuvre was prolific.  From 1952-196l his composition 'Plink, Plan, Plunk' was used as the theme for the CBS panel show I've Got a Secret.  More success followed. In 2006, one of his piano works, "Forgotten Dreams", written in 1954 became the background for a British TV advertisement for mobile phone company '3'. Montovani's recording of the song had been the closing theme for WABC-TVs Eyewitness News for much of the 1930s.
In 1936 Leroy Anderson's arrangements came to the attention of Arthur Fiedler, who asked to see any original composition and thus began his career in works like Jazz Pizzicato and Jazz Legato, combined recordings that went on to become one of Anderson's signature collections. His light concert pieces and syncopated rhythms remain a joyful legacy of rare and original renditions that continue to intrigue and delight listening audiences everywhere.
Polly Guerin
Author: The Cooper Hewitt Dynasty of New York (History Press 2012)