These are notes from an unusual week. 41 east 57 street is a beautiful art deco building that houses a number of galleries. The galleries have decided to have their openings on the same day of the month. This Wednesday, my first stop was the Gitterman Gallery exhibition of photographer, Jean-Pierre Sudre (1921-1997). Some people might not call Sudre’s photographs photographs. He experimented with creating crystals on glass plates that he used as negatives. This process is called “Mordancage.” The resulting photographs are these beautiful abstractions
“I wanted my images to contaminate your thoughts – because they contaminated mine.” Don McCullin
The following day I went to Albertine to listen to conversation between Kate Kirkpatrick, author of Becoming Beauvoir: A Life and Judith Thurman, staff writer for The New Yorker. If someone had asked me about the last time I thought about Simone de Beauvoir, my answer would have been over 30 years ago. I believe my mother’s french reading group read parts of The Second Sex. Kirkpatrick argued that Beauvoir was a hostage of the myth of the couple: Beauvoir and Sartre. Her image was frozen “in amber” and full of misconceptions. Beauvoir was all about becoming a person, the ability to make a life that you want. She asked the question what is your vision for your life?
Friday I went to New York Botanical Garden to a symposium: Roberto Burle Marx: Innovation and Activism. Three speakers: Bruno Carvalho, Co-Director of the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative, Gareth Doherty, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Program, Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Luisa Valle, Doctoral Candidate in Art History, City University, New York. From their credentials, the expectation was a very interesting presentation. However, instead all three talks were self-referential ivory “Tower of Babel” babble. Luckily the day was saved by walking through the excellent exhibition at NYBG “Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx (closes September 29, 2019). If only these scholars had paid attention to Burle Marx’s own words.