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An artist in the city

September 17th 2015

I'm well under way with the University course now and am enjoying the structure it brings to my week.

My four courses are Sculpture 1 ,Sculpture 2 , Ceramics and Painting . All the professors here are practicing artists in the New York art scene which is why I mention their names . Ceramics is my favourite course. It’s very much a demonstrated workshop and includes coiling, slab work ,using the potters wheel and basic glazes.

Ceramics Professor Sing-Yin Ho

Some of my preliminary efforts

The tutors are always referred to as ‘Professor’ and never by their first names, although it is all very laid back and relaxed…...

Sculpture Two- Professor Suzy Surek I am researching two artists: Earnesto Neto and Olafur Eliasson, both very different in their work. I am preparing a 20min power point presentation for next week – another assignment for this course is to create an architectural intervention of a space at Queens College using light as inspiration. It's all familiar stuff and nothing that we haven’t been well prepared for at Chichester University .

Sculpture One - Professor Nathaniel Lieb is slightly different - he wants us to get our hands into as many different materials as possible and , in his words, ' do it with love '! Week one is to make 4 sculptures using 4 different materials and to go to You Tube and watch 12 of his videos - Interesting stuff - onward and upward , it's certainly making me think outside the box that’s for sure!

Painting . Professor Judith Bernstein – worth a quick google! – she is selling her work well in New York and Canada. However, I was gobsmacked when I saw her work as she tells us she is 72 and lives with her cat!

She was part of the feminist art movement ‘Guerrilla Girls’in the 80s.

I was in the cafeteria at Queens College last week and this guy came in – he plays Basket ball for Queens –

He told me he was 7'3"!

The college closed for two days this week for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah so I’ve been out and about. I am being a complete culture vulture here and grabbing every opportunity that comes up .

Guggenheim Museum
main exhibit - Doris Salcedo- Amazing !!!

I did a Broadway Show, ‘Beautiful’, which was Carol King’s life story – it was very uplifting and I hummed the tunes all the way home –I have never been to an Opera before and I got a free seat at a live outdoor transmission of ‘Aida’ at the Met Opera House which was quite an experience . I sat next to a lovely retired opera singer who talked me through the story.

I caught the final day of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

’China Through the Looking Glass’-

the Met is very spacious indeed and a great place to get creative ideas.

Here is one of the exhibits and a picture of the Met.

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I went back to Harlem on my second weekend ,to the Bethal Gospel Temple to hear the gospel singing. The congregation are very welcoming to tourists and encourage you to sing, stand up and wave your arms around, all very moving.

For anyone coming to a new city there are two websites I would recommend - meetup.com and timeout.com. You will never be at a loss for things to do if you log on and its all linked to Facebook.

I joined a guided walk across the Brooklyn Bridge into DUMBO ( District Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), it’s an artist’s community and I met up with New Yorkers and fellow travellers - there are ‘meet up’groups for just about every activity you can imagine - especially music , fitness and culture .

Brooklyn – Crossing the Bridge

Oh, and did I mention the shopping? There are many different things here! You need to be seriously disciplined with spending ….. I have just discovered a local flea market which is a possible source of materials- East 14th Street at 2nd Ave, Sat and Sundays.

There is a sculpture shop downtown ‘The Complete Scultor’ which has materials I have never seen before, very tempting however, the homeward suitcase is always the limiting factor.

Near here, in Greenwich, is the School of Performing Arts and there is a vintage clothes shop opposite –Beacons Closet - it’s packed full of unusual clothing and even more unusual people – worth a look - 10 West 13th Street.

I popped into the affordable Art Fair up the block on 18th street - prices started at $ 1,500.00 and a lot of the art was going out the door – truly , there are some very wealthy people here- quite a few British Galleries were representing Artists and it was quite inspiring.

I heard that Chuck Close has an exhibition in Chelsea so I went over to have a look – he is showing at the Pace Gallery. It’s a good place to walk around as there are many private galleries here and lots of ideas for artists.

Chuck Close . Self Portrait

The other day was the anniversary of 9/11 and they had two laser beams shining all night in place of the Twin Towers . I have found that many of the New Yorkers are keen to tell their stories about 9/11, what they experienced, and how it still affects them.

I am just back from The Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. The current exhibition is‘Frida Khalo - Art , Garden, Life’.

As you can see from the pictures, the weather here is still very hot and so I thought it was a good opportunity to get out of the city centre to some greenery and shade. Well worth the trip out from Grand Central and my first trip on the railroad in the States.

Grand Central Concourse.

A fine example of the ‘Beaux-Arts architecture’ in New York.

Frida Khalo , Botanical Gardens, Bronx.
42nd Street

Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn