Last night, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Greenwich Village’s Christopher Street hosted one of the last events for the 2015 Chelsea Music Festival, a celebration of Finnish and Hungarian art, culture, music, and food, now in its 6th season. The event, titled ‘Sibelius and Ida’ was a musical retelling of the relationship between famed Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and one of the classical singers he composed a number of pieces for, Ida Eckman.
The New York City club scene throughout the 70s and up to the 80s was, in a word, completely ridiculous. Mind you, that’s completely ridiculous in what might be the best way. The scene was all about conjuring up the biggest, weirdest, most unashamedly outrageous personality you could, and hitting a couple of parties throughout the town until the early (and sometimes late) morning.
From the no-holds barred Studio 54, frequented by Andy Warhol and Tina Turner in the 70s, to the Limelight of the 90s, a hotspot for New York Club Kids like James St. James and Leigh Bowery, club life produced some interesting characters and some equally interesting art. ‘The Last Party,’ a collection of artworks from this hazy, strobe-light heavy period of New York’s youth culture primarily during the 70s and 80s, was opened Wednesday by Gallery 98 at the WhiteBox on Broome Street.
The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Image via www.sumnermredstonefoundation.org
In an age dominated by blockbuster films, movie theaters that show anything other than the top 15 newest Hollywood films are scarce. Fortunately, there are still a few with some respect for what film used to be before the commercialism. New York City is full of movie theaters playing all the same top grossing films, but there are a handful off the beaten path if you know where to look. Here are some of the coolest, oldest, quirkiest, and most beautiful places we found in the city.
‘Potato Chip’, 18 tons
If you ask an art aficionado why they’d pay millions for a Van Gogh (and most of them probably would), the answer might be because Van Gogh was a master Post-Impressionist who defined the form and set a daunting standard. But Van Gogh, as a figure of mystery, just as famous for cutting off his ear as he is for ‘The Starry Night,’ is more than a master painter. His paintings sell for millions also because his tortuous life and peculiar habits made him not just a great painter but a legendary artist.
There is no how-to book for those who aspire to be legendary artists, but Michael Heizer might be onto something. Heizer’s latest show, ‘Altars,’ opened last month at the Gagosian Gallery on West 24th Street in the heart of Chelsea‘s art gallery sector, but many say his magnum opus is yet to come. In fact, it’s been coming for the past 40 years.
Spend more than five minutes in Chelsea and you’ll find a smattering of galleries, installations, and one of New York’s most prominent art scenes, from the famous David Zwirner Gallery, now social media famous because of recent exhibitions by Yayoi Kusama to the blank, spacious Gagosian Gallery, now hosting legendary recluse and architectural sculptor Michael Heizer.
What may go unnoticed, however, is the history behind the neighborhood, as is the case for most areas on the lower half of Manhattan. Last Saturday, we took a tour with David Behringer, founder of The Two Percent, whose Chelsea art gallery tour, called Audio Hop, showcases both sides of Chelsea culture and focuses almost as much on the walk to each of Chelsea’s galleries as it does on the galleries themselves. Audio Hop will continue into June, take a break for the summer, and return in the fall with all new tours. Here were some of the weirdest things we found.