200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, August 4, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum starts preparing for the annual West Indian Day Parade with the August edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter Alex Mali, the Pan Evolution Steel Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Dance Festival, with Dance Caribbean Collective, the Sabrosura Effect, Project of ContempoCaribe, KaNu Dance Theater, and Bloodline Dance Theatre, followed by a Q&A; a Fiyah Fit movement workshop with choreographer Jessica Phoenix; a caribBEING House mobile art center; a hands-on workshop in which participants can create noisemakers for the West Indian Day Parade, inspired by instruments in “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas”; Drink and Draw sketching of live models from mas camps, with sounds by Rodney Hazard; pop-up gallery talks by teen apprentices on Caribbean art and stylistic influences in the museum collection; pop-up poetry with Rico Frederick, Erica Mapp, and Camille Rankine of Cave Canem; and the community talk “Organizing Caribbean Communities in Brooklyn” with Ernest Skinner, Dr. Waldaba Stewart of the Medgar Evers Caribbean Research Center, Ninaj Raoul of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, and Albert Saint Jean of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “William Trost Richards: Experiments in Watercolor,” “Infinite Blue,” “Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more.
The second annual Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema and the Queens Museum have teamed up for a kickoff event on July 31, prior to the festival’s opening night on August 3. “A Midsummer Night’s Feast: A Celebration of Food, Art, and Cinema” features more than twenty food booths and free admission to the museum, which currently has on display “Mel Chin: All Over the Place” in addition to the long-term Panorama of the City of New York and others. The food vendors, who will be selling dishes and cocktails from $5 to $10, consist of Mums Kitchen, Scoops N Cahoots, Cristians Rice Pudding, Memphis Seoul BBQ, Forward Roots, Mama Lam’s, Panda Eats World, Queens Bully, Bliss Street Creamery, Coffeed, Bagelites, Queens Curry Kitchen, Samosa NYC, Hold My Knots, Silk Cakes, Casa del Chef, Perci’s Jamaican Jerk, Roast N Co, Rib in a Cup, the Guac Spot, and Arepa Lady.
There will also be trailers from many of the films participating in the festival, meet-and-greets with directors, and a red-carpet photo spot. The Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema runs August 3-12 at the museum and the United Artists Midway on Queens Boulevard; among the special events are a midweek red carpet and after-party with the August 8 screening of A Violent Man and The Invaders, Midnight Madness and Grindouse Horror on August 10, a closing night red carpet and after-party with the August 11 screening of Virginia Minnesota and La Rose et la Pivoine (The Rose and the Peony), and the awards dinner and gala August 13 at Terrace on the Park.
Three summers ago, I went to a talk on “Being Radically Happy” by former Silicon Valley guru Erric Solomon and Tibetan yogi practitioner Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche. As I was introduced to Rinpoche, an honorific applied to Tibetan Buddhist teachers, we shook hands and he said to me, “We have met before.” I assured him no, we had not. He looked closely at me, nodded ever so slightly, and mystically said, “Oh yes, we have met before.” I have since traveled to Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Meditation Center Cooperstown and Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling in Kathmandu, where he is Vajra Master at the home base of his uncle, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, to study with the jovial Rinpoche, who has a robust love of life and learning — and for good hamburgers and steak, which often make it into his metaphors as he teaches. In addition, he is responsible for many other monastic and teaching responsibilities that you can explore here, while his popular online courses, including Dharma-Stream, can be found at Samye Institute.
The thirty-seven-year-old married father of two will be back in New York City this week, hosting two programs on August 1 at the Rubin Museum. At 1:00, Rinpoche, whose book with Solomon, Radically Happy: A User’s Guide to the Mind, will be published in October, will lead a Mindfulness Meditation, consisting of an opening talk, a twenty-minute sitting session, and a closing discussion, all centered around a specific work of art in the museum’s collection. (The continuing series is presented by the Hemera Foundation, Sharon Salzberg, the Interdependence Project, and Parabola magazine; upcoming teachers include Tracy Cochran, Kate Johnson, and Salzberg.) At 7:00, in “Stories of Padmasambhava,” Rinpoche will share tales from the life of Guru Padmasambhava, the precious master who incarnated fully enlightened, as well as his student Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, recognized as the Mother of Tibetan Buddhism. The program will be preceded by a curator tour of “The Second Buddha” exhibition at 6:15 led by Elena Pakhoutova, and the stories will be followed by a Q&A and closing meditation. Rinpoche is an engaging, enthusiastic storyteller, so this should be a very rare and special evening.
The New York Botanical Garden
Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, LuEsther T. Mertz Library Art Gallery
2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx
Tuesday – Sunday through October 28, $10-$28
In 1939, Georgia O’Keeffe was offered a commission from the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, later known as Dole, to go to Hawai‘i and create artwork for an ad campaign. The fifty-one-year-old famous artist accepted the proposal, taking it as a chance to explore a state she had never visited before. It turned out to be nine weeks that reshaped her art and her views of nature and beauty; the New York Botanical Garden, which has previously celebrated the work of such artists as Claude Monet and Frida Kahlo, is now exhibiting “Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i,” a lovely show that details the flora of what would become the fiftieth state in the Union in 1959, as experienced by O’Keeffe. Twenty of the Wisconsin-raised O’Keeffe’s paintings are on view in the garden’s sixth-floor LuEsther T. Mertz Library Art Gallery; they were last seen as a set in 1940 at an American Place, the midtown gallery run by her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. “If my painting is what I have to give back to the world for what the world gives to me, I may say that these paintings are what I have to give at present for what three months in Hawai‘i gave to me,” O’Keeffe wrote in her artist statement for the show. “Maybe the new place enlarges one’s world a little. . . . Maybe one takes one’s own world along and cannot see anything else.” The NYBG display includes “Waterfall — No. 1 — ’Iao Valley — Maui, 1939,” a green mountain range with a narrow stream of water flowing down the center; the gorgeous “Hibiscus with Plumeria,” an extreme close-up of the flowering plant; and, side-by-side, the two works that the Hawaiian Pineapple Company eventually used in their ad campaign, “Heliconia’s Crab’s Claw Ginger” and “Pineapple Bud.” Outside the gallery are large-scale reproductions of photos O’Keeffe took in Hawai‘i, a digital version of her sketchbook, and copies of the ads in magazines.
Two floors down is the short documentary Off in the Faraway Somewhere: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Letters from Hawai’i, in which Sigourney Weaver narrates excerpts of letters O’Keeffe sent back home to Stieglitz, who is voiced by Zach Grenier. “It was as beautiful as anything I’ve ever seen,” O’Keeffe wrote about the ocean views. Down the hall is “Flora Hawaiiensis: Plants of Hawai‘i,” a history of flora on the Hawaiian Islands, divided into native plants, canoe plants (brought by the first human visitors), and post-contact plants, introduced after Captain James Cook’s 1778 landing there. The walk to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory along Garden Way is lined with hanging lights by Hawaiian-Chinese sculptor Mark Chai inspired by plants in O’Keeffe’s paintings; in the round pond is “Heliconia Loop,” the large, circular hole in the middle serving as a kind of viewing scope for the surrounding trees. (As a bonus, the work lights up at night.)
The centerpiece of the exhibition is, of course, the display in the conservatory, where hundreds of plantings have been added to create a Hawaiian-like atmosphere. The colorful plants and trees, both inside and outside, include heliconia, pineapple, kava, breadfruit, lotus, white angel’s trumpet, bird-of-paradise, hibiscus, cup of gold vine, Hawaiian tree fern, flamingo flower, ti plant, coconut palm, ohia lehua, jackfruit, red rosemallow, Arabian coffee, taro, banana, Maui wormwood, screw-pine, frangipani, sacred lotus, sweet-potato, sugar cane, candlenut tree, Indian-mulberry, air-potato, Malaysian-apple, and bottle gourd, among others. Visitors can take a break in a traditional hale, a structure made of wooden poles, natural cords, and a pili-grass thatched roof, all surrounded by plants. In conjunction with the Poetry Society of America, poems on white boards pop up on the path, by Brandy Nālani McDougall (“Māui,” “Red Hibiscus in the Rain,” “Yellow Orchids”), Puanani Burgess (“Awapuhi”), Kahikāhealani Wights (“Koa”), Sage U’ilani Takehiro (“Kou Lei”), Juliet S. Kono (“Silverswords”), and several by former US poet laureate W. S. Merwin (“Islands,” “Remembering Summer”). “I am looking at trees / they may be one of the things I will miss most from the earth / though many of the ones I have seen / already I cannot remember,” Merwin writes in “Trees.” Curated by Theresa Papanikolas, PhD, of the Honolulu Museum of Art, “Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i” more than establishes just how unforgettable the state can be.
The exhibit is supplemented with special events throughout its run, which ends October 28. On July 28 and 29, Celebrate Hawai‘i Weekend features “The History of Hawaiian Tattooing,” “‘Iolani Palace’s Queen Gowns,” and the NYBG Fashion Walk. “Aloha Nights” ($18-$38) take place on August 4 and 18 and September 1 and 8, with an evening viewing, interactive storytelling hula lessons, lei-making demonstrations, and live music. Hula Kahiko and Hula Auna demonstrations will be held on Saturdays and Sundays through September 30. And artisan demonstrations of coconut kiʻi puppet-making, lei-making, Hawaiian instrument crafting, poi-making, and more are set for Saturday and Sunday afternoons as well. E hauʻoli!
Panorama is back for its third year after proving in its first two that it knows what it’s doing, providing an excellent balance of music, art, technology, and food on Randall’s Island. Taking place July 27-29, the 2018 iteration features another diverse, high-powered lineup, including the Weeknd, Migos, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Father John Misty, the Black Madonna, and yaeji on Friday, Lil Wayne, SZA, Janet Jackson, St. Vincent, Gucci Mane, and Bicep on Saturday, and David Byrne, the xx, the Killers, Fleet Foxes, Nora en Pure, Moodymann, and Helena Hauff on Sunday. The performers play at three venues spread across the vast landscape: the Panorama Stage with its huge screen, the partially exposed Parlor, and the tented Point.
The Lab consists of a half dozen interactive, cutting-edge installations: the tranformative gathering space “As Above, So Below” by Kate Raudenbush, the multimedia adaptation “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions,” the audio-reactive “HyperSubtle” by Superbright, the solar-powered “Infinite Wild” by Smooth Technology, the giant mood ring “Pixel Vortex” by the Windmill Factory, and the transmutation tunnel “Portal to Flatland” by Magenta Field. The lines for the Lab can get very long, so go early to check out the fun. The food roster is rather impressive as well; among the more than thirty vendors are Alamo Mexican Kitchen, Bareburger, Emmy Squared, Ice & Vice, Korilla, La Newyorkina, Lolo’s Seafood Shack, Mighty Quinn’s, Roberta’s Pizza, Schaller’s Stube, Spicy Pie, Two Guys Chicken and Fries, and Waffle de Lys. There are water stations throughout the grounds for free fill-ups. And be on the lookout for giveaways and unique experiences from such sponsors as American Express, Bug Light, JBL, Rough Trade, Sephora, bai, and more. Panorama is a must for music and technology fans or anyone who just wants to do something different on a summer weekend.
Two years ago, the subversive DIY aesthetic of longtime collaborators Peter Fischli and David Weiss was on view at the Guggenheim in the engaging retrospective “How to Work Better.” Fischli has now headed to MoMA — Weiss passed away in 2012 — for the “Artist’s Choice” show “If Everything Is Sculpture Why Make Sculpture?” It’s the thirteenth in the three-decade-old series, which has previously turned over the curatorial reins to Mona Hatoum, Elizabeth Murray, David Hammons, Stephen Sondheim, and others, and is the first one to take place in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, where the Swiss artist has created an intervention that will delight regular visitors to the outdoor space, who will notice subtle and not so subtle changes, while also charming newcomers to the garden. Only one of Katharina Fritsch’s “Figurengruppe (Group of Figures)” stands on the main level, “Yellow Madonna,” the others apparently spending the summer in the Hamptons. Ben Vautier’s word painting on wood, “If Everything Is Sculpture Why Make Sculpture?,” is a rare example of a painting hanging outside, not concerned about the elements ruining it. Only the first three bronze versions of Henri Matisse’s exquisite “The Back” adorn the north wall, the ghostly outline of the missing fourth clearly visible. Fischli and Wade Guyton’s “Untitled Aspen Wall Nr. 6” is an out-of-place gallery wall with nothing hanging on it. Fischli has left in several mainstays of the garden, including Aristide Maillol’s “The Mediterranean” and “The River,” Hector Guimard’s “Entrance Gate to Paris Subway,” Pablo Picasso’s “She-Goat,” and Isa Genzken’s “Rose II” while adding Tony Smith’s “Moondog 1964,” Herbert Ferber’s “Roof Sculpture with S Curve, II,” and Robert Breer’s “Osaka I” white dome.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is “Snowman,” a human-size, frost-covered copper snowman in a large vitrine with a special coolant system to prevent it from melting in the summer heat. It’s adapted from a 1990 commission Fischli and Weiss made for a thermic power plant in Saarbrücken, Germany, that used its own energy to keep the snowman frozen. It’s a big crowd pleaser while also continuing the artists’ DIY sensitivity — as Fischli has stated, the snowman is a “sculpture that almost anyone can make” — and questioning of just what art is. “The snowman may be a metaphor for our climate crisis, but it’s running on electricity, so it’s a contradiction, because it’s also contributing to global warming,” Fischli told the New Yorker last summer, “but the piece is about taking care of something and protecting it . . . and being dependent on something. Someone else has to take care of him. And the contradiction between artificial and nature, because I’m making snow from a machine.” Oh, and be sure to pick up a brochure in one of Fischli’s specially designed boxes. The snowman and other works selected by Fischli (by Franz West, Mary Callery, Elie Nadelman, and William Tucker) will remain on view in the garden through next spring. You can also visit the garden on Thursday nights when MoMA presents concerts at 6:30 with Combo Chimbita on July 26, OSHUN on August 2, Xenia Rubinos on August 9, Kemba on August 16, Zenizen on August 23, and Mutual Benefit on August 30.
For two decades, Austrian artist Erwin Wurm has been transforming such capitalistic items of consumption as homes (and beds, toilets, pillows, and couches) and automobiles into more abstract and theoretical objects in such series as “Fat Cars,” “Melting Houses,” and “Discipline of Subjectivity.” In 2015, Wurm’s “Curry Bus,” a dramatically altered Volkswagen Microbus, sold curry sausages outside the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. The “One Minute Sculpture” artist has now reshaped a VW Microbus into “Hot Dog Bus,” a mustard-yellow, pudgy, frankfurter-shaped vehicle that is giving out free wieners in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturdays on Pier 1 and Sundays on Pier 5 through the last weekend in August. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, franks were developed more than half a millennium ago, either by a butcher in Coburg, Germany, or a community in Vienna, the Austrian name of which is Wien. In the nineteenth century, European immigrants brought the dachshund-shaped edible to the States, where a bun and sauerkraut were soon added. Thus, Wurm sees the hot dog as an all-American food that brings equality to the rich and the poor, the native born and the immigrant, the worker and the tourist; for example, stand by any frank cart in New York and marvel at the vast array of men, women, and children stopping by to pick up a quick fix. The bus itself looks somewhat obese, hinting that the frankfurter is not exactly the healthiest of lunches or dinners and is an example of Americans’ less-than-stellar diet as a nation. Just remember to wait in line at “Hot Dog Bus” and clearly state whether you want ketchup or mustard on your free weenie, then take a long walk around beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park to burn those extra calories.