Tag Archives: Art

There’s more to Orlando than Mickeyland! (Part I of II)

I recently went to Orlando to visit family friends.  On my first day, my friend Renee and I went on a scenic boat tour around Winter Park, which is a former resort town fifteen minutes north of Orlando.   I had no idea that there were such beautiful lakes and canals in Florida!  I loved seeing the historic mansions around the lakes and  I would definitely recommend the boat tour.

Pre-Winter Park boat tour

After the boat ride, we went to the Mennello Museum of American Art, which is a small museum that features the work of folk artist Earl Cunningham.  I liked Cunningham’s brightly colored paintings, but the museum’s sculptures and grounds especially impressed me (the museum overlooks another lovely lake).

Cute sculpture on the grounds of the Mennello Museum of American Art

We also attended the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, which is a huge outdoor arts festival that takes place one weekend a year in downtown Winter Park.  It was a lot of fun walking around and visiting all of the booths (there were over 260 artists!).  My favorite booth featured the work of Michael Gard, whose hanging wire sculptures reminded me of people dancing in the sky.  We were planning on visiting the Morse Museum of Art, which has the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany glass in the world, but we were exhausted from the festival.

Michael Gard's dancing scupltures

I had many memorable meals in Florida.  My friends wanted to me to see a typical Central Floridian restaurant so they took me to the Southern chain restaurant, Sonny’s Bar-B-Q.  I ordered sweet tea and was brought the largest glass I have ever seen in my life!  The waitress came around with refills, but the first glass had more than enough sugar for the day.  They gave us to go cups to take home the excess sweet tea.  I have only been to one other BBQ restaurant in my life, but I thought the BBQ was good and I liked the variety of sauces (sizzlin’ sweet, smokin’, sweet, and mild).

The biggest glasses EVER

Pulled chicken, garlic bread and steamed broccoli (I swear this tasted better than it looks!)

Another day we had a lovely brunch at the Grille at Riverview, which is a restaurant in New Smyrna Beach that overlooks the water.  The views were stunning!  The food was also very good.  I ordered plaintain crusted crab cakes and found the portions to be very generous.  I also tried my first bloody mary.

Grille at Riverview

Plaintain crusted crab cakes

Please stay tuned for part 2!

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Canstruction 2011

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After the Chocolate Show I went to the World Financial Center to see Canstruction, an annual design competition and exhibition that benefits City Harvest.  Twenty-six design and architecture firms participated in the event and built sculptures out of cans, which are on display throughout the Winter Garden.  The sculptures are very impressive and have accompanying artistic statements.  My only complaint is that the layout/continuation of the event isn’t well labeled.  I thought I saw all of the sculptures, but when I looked at an article online about the exhibit, I realized I missed a few.  I would have loved to see the can version of the Brooklyn Bridge!

Visitors are asked to bring canned goods, which are donated to City Harvest, along with the cans that are used for the sculptures.  I brought vegetarian baked beans.  Canstruction is on view until November 21, from 9am-6pm daily at 220 Vesey Street.  For more details about Canstruction, visit the website here.

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Fun Times in Washington Heights – Part I

Entrance to the Hispanic Society of America

Entrance to the Hispanic Society of America

This afternoon I visited the Hispanic Society of America, which I consider to be the greatest “hidden gem” in NYC.  I visited the society for the first time several years ago, but I decided to go again today after reading that the Dia Center had opened an exhibit there (Dia is an art foundation that supports contemporary artists).  Entrance to the Hispanic Society is free, and they also have a reference library for the study of the arts and culture of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.  The Hispanic Society is located on Broadway, between 155th and 156th street, AKA Audubon Terrace (property previously owned by the renowned ornithologist/painter).

You might recognize the facade from Law and Order, which was filming outside during my first visit

You might recognize the facade from Law and Order, which was filming outside during my first visit

Dia and the Hispanic Society began a four-year partnership in 2007 for the Hispanic Society to exhibit works that Dia commissions.  The current Dia exhibit Derrotero is by the New York-based artist Zoe Leonard and has two parts.  The first section Analogue is comprised of 400 photographs that the artist took between 1998 and 2007.  The artist originally intended to document the gentrification of the Lower East Side, but she also incorporates photographs of related imagery from her trips to Uganda, Cuba, and Poland (ex. coca cola signs found on facades of buildings abroad and on the LES).

The photographs are organized thematically (i.e. bodega storefronts, rags, etc…).  I thought the photos were interesting, but I grew up downtown/have seen the gentrification of the LES firsthand and therefore didn’t find the exhibit so revelatory or groundbreaking.



The second part of Leonard’s exhibit consisted of antique maps from the Hispanic Society’s collection, which were housed in the main building (Analogue was in another building next door).  I thought the maps were a bit dull, so I didn’t photograph them.  However, the main building also houses the society’s IMPRESSIVE collection of Spanish decorative arts, paintings, sculptures, textiles, and archaeology.  The objects and paintings are installed around a beautiful carved wooden balcony.

NOTE – the Hispanic Society does not allow the use of flash and the interior is dark, so some of the photos are out of focus.


Goya's "Dutchess of Alba?

Goya, Dutchess of Alba, 1797

This effigy looks so serene

This effigy looks so serene

Sadly, my favorite part of the collection, the Sorolla Room is closed for renovation until 2010.  The Sorolla room is a ballroom with SPECTACULAR murals by the artist Joaquin Sorolla, but the murals are in Spain until the renovation is complete.


The sculptures in the courtyard are by Anna Hyatt Huntington, the second wife of the Hispanic Society’s founder, Archer Milton Huntington.

19th and 20th century painting wing with Don Quixote relief

19th and 20th century painting wing with Don Quixote relief

Across from the main building is a recently renovated wing, which houses the Society’s gorgeous collection of 19th and 20th century paintings.  Below are some of the highlights (I am sorry I didn’t note the painters or titles).



I HIGHLY recommend visiting the Hispanic Society of America, even if you are not a fan of Spanish art or culture (although you might want to wait until the Sorolla murals come back in 2010).


p.s. I just read on the Hispanic Society’s website that they offers free tours led by the curators at 2PM on Saturdays.  Also, both times I was there I was the only visitor (not including my mother the first time).  While I hope they attract more people, this makes for a more pleasant and intimate experience than you might have at the MoMA or the Met, although it doesn’t have the people watching appeal.

p.p.s. Across the street from the Hispanic Society is the Church of the Intercession, which has a Tiffany alter and one of the cemeteries of the downtown Trinity Church, where many prominent New Yorkers are buried.



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New Year, New Museum, New Blog! (corny, but somewhat fitting title for my first blog post:)

the New Museum of Contemporary Art

the New Museum of Contemporary Art (it was dark when I left the museum, so this isn’t a stellar representation of the building’s shiny white facade)

Last week I visited the New Museum of Contemporary Art, which reopened in a new building on the Bowery at the end of 2007.  This was my second visit to the museum.  During my first visit I was unimpressed by the art, but I liked the roof top balcony and found the crowd interesting.  I had never seen so many people in skinny jeans in one place.  I also spotted Fran Lebowitz in the elevator (I’m not a huge fan, but celeb sightings are always fun!).

On my recent trip I went to see the Elizabeth Peyton show, which is on view until January 11.  The exhibit is a survey of her work and features mostly watercolors of friends/celebrities from the rock music and art worlds.  Her first show was at the Chelsea Hotel, and a lot of the portraits are of people who are associated with the hotel.

The one thing I didn’t like about the show was that the portraits are not framed.  I understand that this was intentional, but I thought the works would have looked more finished with something around them.  I found it interesting that Peyton paints a lot from photographs.

I recommend the show because the portraits are beautiful.  I would love to commission a painting from Peyton one day!

7th fl./balcony

7th fl./balcony (you can’t see the balcony here, which was closed because of inclement weather, but the views are AMAZING)

Paper chair

Paper chair

Funny packaging at the concession stand/bar

Funny packaging at the concession stand/bar

Concession stand/bar

Concession stand/bar

Prices seemed high to me, but I guess that's not surprising

Prices seemed a little high to me, but I guess that’s not surprising

narrow staircase

Narrow staircase

Fun sign

Fun sign!


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