A Little More England! Kingston Lacy

June 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

For the  record, I took around 3,000 photos on this trip, which is insane. But I am told by almost all good photographers I know that the key to getting a few great shots is to take A LOT of them. So, I did. And I am not saying that these are all great photos, but I am trying to up my game a tad.

And now back to England. The first leg of the trip was focused on the areas surrounding Bath and one of our first stops was farther south in Dorset, at Kingston Lacy (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy/), which was built to resemble an Italian palace. For all I know that was “tacky” in the day, but I find it to be pretty today. And from the 17th century until 1981 it was the Bankes family home.  (In case you are at all interested:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bankes)

We arrived on a rather dreamy day…cloudy enough to get the “English” feel, but with just enough sun and blue skys here and there to make you want to walk your legs off to enjoy the house and grounds.

KLFrintView with tourists

The walk leading up to the house kind of surprised me. Why? Because as an American who spends a lot of time seeing really big developer’s houses all over the place, this house actually seemed reasonable in size. I know this is nuts, but I have always felt that many houses are just too big these days — especially for their lot sizes — and this is estate pretty confirmed my beliefs. Is it large? Yes. But it contained a family and a staff and is sited on 8,500 hectares. (Which is a lot of acres. Please don’t ask me to do the math. I’ve been doing it all day.) And the combination of the scale of the house with the size of the property felt Just Right.

Some of my favorite moments…

KLCeiling

Amazing ceiling in the center hall. One interesting fact I learned on this trip: Many times, more “violent” paintings  — animals killing each other, for example — were placed in staircases, as they were not considered “polite” for sitting rooms. (And this center hall definitely delivered on that trend.) I tend to agree, but generally I am not one for violent art anywhere in the home. That said, when you are talking Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel, I suppose one can relax the rules a touch.

thisissometimesmymodKL

I do love the amount of carving and plaster that can be found in this building — and many others that we saw. This one, though, just cracked me up, as I am pretty sure that I make this face at meetings sometimes. And when on the phone with my Dry Cleaner.

Abedroommygmwoudllove

As imposing as the more public spaces can be, this place still felt like someone’s home. And this bedroom really drove that home. When I walked in, all I could think of is how my Grandmother would have loved this room. And the reading contents were pretty excellent as well…

2013-05-04 19.28.00

And, to make good on that Manor House Thing, some other shots…

2013-05-04 18.44.48

2013-05-04 18.58.08

OK, this one is blurry…but that lady was just constantly in my way!

2013-05-04 19.12.10

2013-05-04 19.41.41

2013-05-04 19.53.25

2013-05-04 19.54.19

And then there is the back of the house, which leads to the wonderful grounds…

KLBackview

Yeah…this is the payoff. But there is more…

2013-05-04 20.43.36

onegardenpath

fiddleheards

gorgeous

2013-05-04 21.21.39

(I want to paint my closet this color…or at least find a lipstick in this shade.)

2013-05-04 21.23.01

Yes. This is a headstone for a pony. Next to it was one for “a dear friend”, which I am hoping was also not human…or Silvertail must have been some pony.

2013-05-04 21.25.07

You have no idea how long it took us to figure out that these sheep “looked different” because they were shorn. (I thought they were goats at first. You can see it, right??)

Sure…we pretend to be in The Country at the beach, but no matter how many herbs we grow, we are helpless city folk. I am hoping that we are slowly educating ourselves on these matters. Which, in addition to just being outside, having fun and seeing new things, is kind of the point of the whole affair.

Until next time: know your shorn sheep from your goats!

xx

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

Rediscovering the Art of Fielding

April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

First, let us begin by acknowledging that it is just past 1AM and I am awake. I have read a new magazine*, watched a rather mindless episode of The Good Wife from season 1**, and listened to an entire 43 minutes of Tara Brach telling me how to better accept myself. And then I decided to accept the fact that I could not sleep and got out of bed. Why fight it? Right, Tara?

It seems however, that I am not alone…

Iamnotalone

If you look closely, there are some other lights on in the neighborhood. Why do I suspect they are on because people are just getting home from something fun or are doing a 1AM feeding?

Anyway, this is not the point of this post. This is:

I imagine that I don’t strike anyone as a someone who is into sports. And for the most part, this is true. However, I was brought up in a Baseball Family, and while the Yankees were the Family Team (and still mine), I spent a rather large part of my teens at Mets games c/o Nelson Doubleday and the fact that my Dad worked for him. While I may not have truly appreciated the choice seats we always had at those games (I felt as if I knew Gary Carter because I was always right near him), I did learn a thing or two during those years. And of course, ’86 made me a little obsessed and I got in deeper. Then college rolled around and I just about never thought about baseball again.

Until last winter when I read this wonderful book: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding***. The book is about baseball and then not about baseball. But the passages about actually playing the game were so beautifully written that I found myself right back in 1986, with better hair, I hope. (Those scenes are almost topped by the conversations among these young men while they are trying to become amazing ball players. It felt so honest to me…but I digress.) After I finished the book, I moved on to another and kind of forgot that I was into baseball once again.

And then some extremely cool friends of ours invited us to a suite at Yankee Stadium to see the second game of their season.

Howmanycaloriescould thisreallybe

Let me begin by saying that being indoors with the option to be outdoors — that included a fully stocked bar to make sure that you were “toasty” in the 30-degree temperature — is really the best possible way to get reintroduced to the joys of a live game. (To my knowledge, I never was able to sip on tequila while watching the Mets. It rather does take the edge off crap weather.) Mr. H and I arrived a little bit before the others, because I hate being late and am therefore often early. The upside here is that I was able to geek out a bit and first have a giggle at this important warning:

yesithoughtthey meantthe creatures

However, I will be truthful and tell you that I read “bats” as you know, BATS. Those flying things that scare the hell out of me. Only later did I realize they meant baseball bats. Still, at the height we were at, I am not super clear as to how I could have gotten hit with a baseball bat, so maybe my confusion was reasonable.

Then there was the field:

Gettingwarmedup

Just seeing it got me kind of psyched for a game I knew my team was going to lose. And lose they did. But it didn’t matter. I simply find the art and ritual of the game to be very pleasing. The pitchers getting warmed up…the batters waiting for their turn, even if they know the guy before them is going to make this waiting and prep unnecessary…the catcher pretty much feeling like the heart of the team, keeping everyone together. Heck, I even get excited when they play the National Anthem.

And then there is the fabulous part of watching it all with your friends. Laughing over a shared disapproval of a particular player, wondering why they were all wearing “baseball slacks” rather than the usual bottoms, and all deciding that even though it was 30 degrees outside, we would get our butts out there and watch the final inning together. In the cold, like our own little team.

A wonderful way to remember a love that was forgotten.

xx

* Bullet. I like the intent and hope they stop with some of the weird type and typesetting. No margins isn’t cool…it just looks wrong. But do check them out online to get a flavor: http://bullettmedia.com/magazine/

** Is this show worth my time? I can’t tell yet, but I feel like lots of people love it.

*** Just in case: http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Fielding-A-Novel/dp/0316126675

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

In Search of The Giant Silver Bean

May 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was recently in Chicago and just knew that aside from catching up with my good friend and getting a massage, I needed to do two things:

(1) Visit The Art Institute of Chicago and

(2) See Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Walk”, which I like to think of as The Giant Silver Bean.*

In spite of a very early flight, my friend and I did a good bit of walking on Day 1, but alas, no Bean. We did however have a wonderful meal at MK that evening, which included a homemade gnocchi with fava beans and a poached egg that we were both still thinking about during lunch the next day. I also had truly memorable carrot soup — and how often does that happen? Do visit: https://www.mkchicago.com/index.swf

The next day was a little work focused and I didn’t have time to visit The Institute or the Bean. But I did make sure to perk up my room while working, and the hotel did their part as well:

Flowers on my desk, courtesy of me. And chocolate, which I did not eat, courtesy of the fine people at the Peninsula. An excellent massage was also to be had at their spa. All work and no play makes Mrs. H a grumpy lady.

That evening, my friend and I went to Sepia which reminded me of some of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn: Food and wine focused, with a mellow vibe and a delightful interior. (Another must: http://www.sepiachicago.com) And it should be said: Chicago has that Big City thing going on at night…

Finally, on a rainy Wednesday and in spite the early signs of a migraine, I ventured out in search of both The Institute (as I am told it is referred to) and the Bean. I hit the museum first:

The steps outside…not quite as grand as the Met, but I would still eat yogurt on them if I went to school nearby. (No headband, though.)

And it must be said that the brand guidelines are meticulously followed throughout the museum…not a napkin or sign wasn’t set in this typeface above. As a marketing type, this pleases me. But enough about branding…

Recall that I am really into pottery, and imagine my delight at finding such an interesting and beautiful collection on view toward the entrance. What really caught my eye was a number of pieces that looked positively mid-century Danish, and turned out to be from the 1600’s and made in Korea. Obviously, I still have tons to learn about pottery. But that keeps Life interesting, no?

Since post-war and contemporary work are two of my favorites, after my time with the pots, I made my way straight into the modern wing, which had a wonderful, airy staircase…

It looks out onto the Pritzker garden, over which Ellsworth Kelly’s “White Curve” presides, even in the rain…

The Institute also had one of the most beautiful Clyfford Still paintings that I have even seen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyfford_Still), a wonderful, smaller Pollack and a very nice Motherwell. I just love when I happen upon things that send me, so this was a real treat. (Less of a treat was the increased migraine pain brought about by a Bruce Nauman flashing neon work…love him, but that was not a good idea for me at that moment.)

In addition to the art, I also enjoyed some lovely views from the inside the museum, looking out onto Millennium Park, also know as Home of The Giant Silver Bean.

With the head beginning to go Full Migraine, I decided I best get myself to that view before it was too late. You can read all about Millennium Park on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Park) and on their own website (http://explorechicago.org/city/en/millennium.html). As far as public spaces go, this is a good one…beginning with “Crown Fountain”:

It is actually an interactive work of public art and video sculpture, and made of glass bricks. There are two of them as you can see in the photo below, and one of their highlights is that they feature video of local residents. (Hopefully not while they are doing anything embarrassing.)

If you keep going, you will come across a delightful trio of sculptures. (The blue is barely visible at the end of the line…but I swear it it there.) Even though they are white, yellow and blue, I could not help but be reminded of “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?”, by Barnett Newman. But that is probably just me.

I kept going, and finally, pay dirt: my first view of the Bean…

I swear I didn’t run, since I am an adult, but I did get to see the Full Bean pretty quickly…

It is pretty thrilling up close…

Especially when you get to see the reflection of the sky and cityscape on it. As for how if felt to walk under it, I cannot tell you. The only time it occurred to me to do that — in spite of that fact that everyone else was doing it — was when Mr. H asked what it was like underneath. Yeah…this was not my A Game. The head was really beginning to become a problem. But at least I did get to admire the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which was just cool to look at from the side…

So the next time I am in Chicago, I will make a point of seeing more if it.

With both missions accomplished, it was time to get back to the hotel to gather my things and head back to New York. And getting back home was made much easier courtesy of this fantastic service:

You give them your flight info and they check you in and print out the boarding pass. Since I always have trouble using Business Center computers (I am a mac girl), this option neared Miraculous in my book. Needless to say, a most civilized way to begin the uncivilized experience of Air Travel.

And that is all I have for now. Thank you, Chicago, for a most lovely visit.

xx

* My research on the internet tells me that I am not alone in referring to it as The Bean. That said, if I were ever in the company of Mr. Kapoor, I would call it Cloud Walk….he looks awfully serious.

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

Cindy Sherman at MoMA

April 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Just a quickie today: Mr. H and I realized that if we didn’t plan it, we were going to miss the latest Cindy Sherman* show at MoMA. So, we stayed in town and went this morning.

My friends, it was really fantastic. One of the highlights for me was the complete collection of her “Film Still” series from the seventies. It has probably been more than twenty years since I had seen any of them, much less all of them together. And they feel as fresh and relevant today as they must have then — and to me when I first saw the in the early nineties in school. I also loved the “fashion” photos from the eighties (the ones from the nineties didn’t do as much for me) and her work during the last four years depicting well-to-do women of a Certain Age.

Over lunch, Mr. H and I discussed the show (as well as the yummy menu at the Bar Room at The Modern), and agreed that one of the things we liked best was that while obviously “feminist”, Sherman’s work doesn’t seem to be beat you over the head with the problem of women being objectified and stereotyped, but rather points out the plain fact that women are objectified and stereotyped. And through that lens (no pun intended) she sort of probes the results and the ways in which women Get On With It. And although there are many uncomfortable moments, the work is also witty, insightful and visually stimulating. If only I could take a trip to her brain…maybe Google will work on that after their browser glasses. In the meantime, I will just enjoy the parts that she shares with us in her photographs.

xx

* Just in case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Sherman and in case you might be able to go: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1170

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the I also love art category at Some Cozy Night.