“Cracklins are the purest form of pork; minimalist pork, if you will.” –Doug MacCash*
Art abounds at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and on the streets of New York City. If we pay attention, art abounds in life.
“Look around this room,” I hear George Rodrigue tell students during school visits. “Everything you see -your desk, the light fixtures, your clothing- was designed by an artist.”
(pictured, George Rodrigue with Lamp/Bear 2005 by Urs Fischer; 35,000 pounds resting temporarily on Park Avenue and 52nd Street, NYC)
Although we missed the first weekend of Jazz Fest, during a short week in New York City, sans the music, the experience was if not similar, at least comparable. In between publisher meetings (yes, new projects in the works-) we enriched our lives and our waistlines, reuniting with friends at Babbo and Red Rooster Harlem, and visiting museums and galleries as we normally would the Jazz Fest craft tents.
(pictured, George Rodrigue with his son Jacques Rodrigue at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea, where we saw a brilliant exhibition spanning a decade of portraits inspired by Picasso’s mistress. “The more I see of Picasso,” I told George, “the more I’m convinced that no one could touch him in 20th century art.” Related post here)
Of our museum visits, we missed two on my list, and I regret it as much as I regret missing an old high school friend who lives in the city, as well as his friend’s gallery, priorities, if they’ll still have us, for our next trip. Crazy, I know, but we skipped Richard Serra and the Mummies (not together, but doesn’t that have a ring?) at the Met and Rembrandt at the Frick, settling instead for classic portraits of Shakespeare at the Morgan Library and Picasso's Guitars at MOMA, along with a lengthy study of an old favorite, an enormous man wearing an enormous robe.
(pictured, Rodin’s Balzac; I read this week that when Rodin invited the young sculptor Brancusi to apprentice in his Paris studio in 1904, Brancusi declined, saying, “Nothing grows in the shade of a tall tree.”)
We spent an afternoon in the studio of an adopted Louisiana favorite, artist Hunt Slonem, where butterflies, Abraham Lincoln, and parrots (both live and painted), fill fifteen thousand square feet of an old studio, moving shortly ten blocks down the street to thirty thousand square feet of a new one.
(pictured, old studio: George Rodrigue with Abraham Lincoln; Wall of Rabbits; Rodrigue and New Orleans artist Mallory Page discuss art)
(pictured, new studio: artist Hunt Slonem; Rodrigue and Slonem discuss the challenges of studio space in front of Slonem's painting from a recent exhibition at the University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; a glimpse -maybe one fourth- of Slonem's new space)
Proving again that life itself is art, the women of our motley crew attended a Royal Wedding Party in Greenwich Village. We navigated a sea of paparazzi, ate bacon sandwiches and trout with eggs, and cheered the happy couple. As we headed home, dreary and tipsy before 9 a.m., the day also marked a first in the lifetime of legendary NYC publishing agent Roz Cole, an event, according to her, every bit as momentous as the wedding itself. A stranger, you see, gave us his cab.
“Can you believe it?,” she exclaimed. “What an incredible morning!”
…all in all, I thought to myself, as we sat in a pub at sunrise, drinking pink champagne and dressed in wedding-guest attire, no different than home…
*Doug MacCash writes about art for the New Orleans Times-Picayune
Pictured above, Dominique Coulter of Ireland, Mallory Page Chastant of New Orleans, Roz Cole of NYC, Wendy Rodrigue of New Orleans, Emer Ferguson of Ireland
For a detailed account of our recent museum adventures, see the post “Modern Art in New York” for this week’s Gambit’s Blog of New Orleans here
For George Rodrigue’s history with the Jazz Fest poster, visit here
I’m tweeting for the next few days from Houston, Texas and the contemporary art collection of Chris and Don Sanders, followed by Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Hope you'll join me-