Posts Tagged ‘art exhibits’

Day Trip to the Bronx: Art, History, Eats and More

The Norwood section of the Bronx is not one that readily comes to mind for an outing in the city.  But if you hop the 4 train to the Mosholu Parkway station, the second to last stop on the line, you’ll discover a world filled with all the authenticity that is the Bronx of today and yesterday.

First stop:  Montefiore Hospital

Right now you’re thinking, start my touristic day at a hospital?  Yes, you should.  Montefiore Hospital is an integral part of the community and has created a setting and programs that invite the locals to share their love of the area.

credit: Meryl Pearlstein

The Montefiore ArtViews gallery at the hospital’s Moses campus in the Bronx is part of the hospital’s curated Fine Art Program and Collection, designed to show off, by theme, all that the Bronx offers.  Consisting of a rotating exhibition space inside the hospital, lined with art, photographs and other hand-crafted pieces, the gallery showcases art by local residents and is designed not only for patients and family members, but for all visitors to enjoy.

Map of the Bronx and Harlem River bridges – credit: Meryl Pearlstein

The current “Connecting People, Strengthening Communities: The Harlem River Bridges” exhibit by urban chronicler Duane Bailey-Castro is a line-up of 26 photographic masterpieces of the little-known bridges covering the Bronx. Some of the bridges, like the iconic High Bridge dating to 1848 which re-opened to pedestrians and bicyclists in 2015, are shown in daytime and evening settings.  Think Monet’s treatment of light over the course of the day with his lily pads or his haystacks.  The quality of the photography is crisp and breathtaking and captures a slice of this up-and-coming borough.  The use of bridges is symbolic as well as thematic.  In their placement along the corridor to the oncology department, one can’t help but think of the bridges that the hospital encourages, from sickness to health. In this case, the photographer’s personal journey from illness to wellness is reflected in his choice of subject matter.  The exhibit closes on April 4 but will be followed by “A Healthy Dose of Rock”, featuring current pediatric oncology patients at Montefiore who have been transformed by makeup and costumes into rock stars.  In June, Bronx photojournalist Marisol Diaz will exhibit from her current portfolio. 111 East 201st Street, Bronx.  Open 8am-5pm, daily.  For more information and scheduling details, visit http://www.montefiore.org/artprogram.

Bridge by Duane Bailey-Castro – credit: Meryl Pearlstein

Bridge by Duane Bailey-Castro – credit: Meryl Pearlstein

To enhance the experience, there are dining choices within the hospital, a health-oriented café with sushi, soups, sandwiches and the like to be enjoyed indoors or outdoors in the hospital’s garden area, which is also often decorated as an art gallery, with pieces connected to nature.  The nearby Norwood area shows off its Dominican flair with Latino restaurants tempting with the likes of mofongo, Cuban sandwiches, mamey shakes, and other South of the Border temptations.  Try El Presidente II at 4-10 East 208th Street, or for a Middle Eastern twist, Tasty Picks, 89 East Gun Hill Road.

Tasty Picks

Just down the street, one of the few remaining stone farmhouses that lined the Boston Post Road, the Valentine-Varian House house, built in 1758, currently serves as the Library for the Bronx County Historical Society and is open for visitors on Saturday and Sunday.  A standalone home, in a flower-filled park setting, the house is magnificent in its simplicity and construction.  Behind and through a tunnel, a surprising park offers a sanctuary in the middle of urbanity.  The Williamsbridge Oval recalls the simpler pleasures of outdoor sports and playgrounds, with a walking oval fitting perfectly into today’s fitness craze.

Valentine-Varian House. Credit Meryl Pearlstein

Chagall Exhibit Closing February 2 — Don’t Miss

Closing February 2, the Chagall: Love, War, and Exile, exhibit at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan should not be missed. This exhibit of paintings, prints and artifacts makes its debut in the United States, showing an important period in Marc Chagall’s artistic career: the effect of the fascism and World War II on his creativity.  It also show the impact of the death of his wife Bella in 1944 and the inclusion of his new wife Virginia Haggard McNeil into his paintings, which are filled with many familiar icons of earlier works.

Always hearkening back to Vitebsk, the village in Belarus/Russia of Chagall’s birth, the paintings include fondly remembered symbols of the shtetl or village, such as the cow, a brightly colored horse, houses, violinists, religious villagers and mothers with children. Later, darker paintings incorporate Chagall’s memories of the Bolshevik Revolution, a dark period of exile from his beloved Russia to France.  The exhibition includes 31 paintings and 22 works on paper, as well as telegrams, letters, poems, photos, books and more, all works of Marc Chagall or ephemera from his life.

Chagall: Love, War and Exile focuses on the artist’s works from the 1930s through 1948, following his move to Paris in 1922 (where he changed his name from Moishe Shagal/Segal to the more French Marc Chagall and incorporated much French style into his paintings), and during his second exile to New York at the invitation of Alfred Barr of the Museum of Modern Art. One of the most revered modernist painters, Marc Chagall (1887–1985) displays here the influences on his style from folk art, religious painting, Cubism and even Surrealism (one painting shows a “walking” street lamp). Especially interesting is his attempt at outreach to both Christians and Jews, showing frequent depictions of the Crucifixion of Jesus as well as of Jesus in the form of Jewish figures wearing Jewish religious vestments, both functioning as an everyman symbol of anyone who has been the victim of persecution.

Moving from the folk style of Russian art, to French-influenced flower-filled paintings, darker persecution-themed paintings, and mourning images following his wife’s death, Chagall finally shows splashes of color again in the final paintings of the exhibit. World War II has ended, Chagall has re-married and has a second child.  Themes of his past — “the village” that he so adored — remain but are now more vibrant, showing the Chagall that one has come to know more familiarly from his earlier paintings like “I and the Village” (1911) at the Museum of Modern Art.

The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, 1109 5th Ave, Manhattan, (212) 423-3200 http://www.thejewishmuseum.org

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