2002-07-06 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
Guest column by Denis Macrae…

Ever since my retirement over five years ago I take several days a month to journey into the city to partake of the "Apple’s" delights including museums, plays, movies and events. I usually start the day as though it was a workday, leaving the home at 8 AM. The morning is often spent at a museum and my trips have included the Whitney, the International Center of Photography, and other such institutions. On Mondays, when many museums are closed, my two favorites are the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History, which currently exhibits "Baseball as America".

My most recent trip in mid June started at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I caught a gallery talk on "Gauguin in New York Collections" at 11 AM. The only thing I didn’t like was that the show was not big enough. I rented a tape recorder for $5.00, which commented on specific numbered paintings and which could be used throughout the museum. In case you have not used these recorders lately, they have improved in both technical and artistic quality.

My artistic appetite being whetted, my next feast was a large show of Thomas Eakins, which displays a photo10 times bigger than his well-known painting of rowers. The painting captured a famous sculling champion – with Eakins, himself, in another boat on a Philadelphia river illuminated by a particular quality of sunlight. In another painting I especially loved, a group of boys is swimming off a large rock, capturing a bygone era, which I remember from my own childhood. A part of the show demonstrates how Eakins used photographs, an art form in itself, to aid his paintings. I missed a film about this but did see another film, "Thomas Eakins -- Scenes from Modern Life," which includes his tragic dismissal from the Philadelphia School of Art.

Usually I plan my art day for Wednesday and go to an afternoon matinee at 2 PM. I arrive at the 48th Street Discount Ticket outlet between 1 and 1:30 PM in order to buy a ticket for about $40.00. Some of my favorite shows have been: "Proof," "The Crucible" and " Metamorphosis." On this particular Wednesday I changed my usual routine and saw the 2 PM film on Thomas Eakins at the Met. I also saw a great show on tapestries and then went on my walk through Greenwich Village. I was pleased to find that new chess stores had opened up on Mulberry Street. Hooray! A unique enterprise that hasn't been destroyed by creeping corporatism.

I usually close my art day at the movies - often at the Angelika on Houston Street, where I saw the offbeat "13 Conversations..." and bits of other movies.

I hope that this article tempts you to devise your own art trip to the Apple or anywhere else. GO AHEAD -- MAKE AN ART DAY!

The next RAA general meeting is Monday, July 8 at 7:30 PM in building T-149, Fort Tilden. All are welcome. Bring your latest artwork to share. The scheduled guest speaker is Fisher, presenting a slide show.

Thursday, July 11 is the second Thursday of the month and, therefore, Poetry Night at Jan’s Restaurant (formerly Patrick’s Restaurant). RAA and The People’s Laundry present an evening of poetry, with an open mic in a warm, convivial setting so conducive to good words and good food. Poetry Night begins at 8 PM. Jan’s is at 112-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Contact RAA for details.

Thank you to Marina Callaghan, RAA special events organizer, and to all who attended and/or contributed to our 5th annual Building Fund Benefit, for making it such a successful evening. Old and newly made friends gathered in Pier 92 Restaurant to celebrate and support an organization whose mission is "Promoting the Arts through Diversity, Education and Public Service."

Shore Front Parkway will soon have a fourth "wave shelter" mural resplendent with brightly colored, vivid images. Esther Grillo, assisted by her band of enthusiastic and talented young artists, is nearing completion of "Monarch Landscape" at 76th Street. More about this project, next week.

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