Postcards of the Wiener Werkstätte
Located in the area known as Museum Mile, Neue Galerie is housed in one of the most distinguished and elegant buildings on Fifth Avenue. It was completed in 1914 by Carrere & Hastings, who were also architects of the New York Public Library.The creation of the museum grew out of the friendship between the late art dealer Serge Sabarsky and art collector Ronald S. Lauder. One of the exhibitions currently on view is “Postcards of the Wiener Werkstätte.” This is the first major museum exhibition held in the United States devoted exclusively to this subject. The works you’ll see here were selected from nearly 1,000 postcards given to the Neue Galerie by Ronald Lauder’s brother, Leonard A. Lauder. The Wiener Werkstätte, or Vienna workshops, were founded in 1903, to produce decorative objects and graphic materials. When the production line was expanded with the design of postcards, a new and unique art form was born. Beginning in 1907, the Wiener Werkstätte began publishing a numbered series of postcards, which documented contemporary events, celebrated holidays, and depicted fashionable costumes and accessories. Some are illustrations of various locations in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and elsewhere in Europe. Others are merely humorous or include popular sayings of the period. Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, and Josef Hoffmann were some of the major artists who designed for the firm and contributed to this medium.
Sargent and Impressionism
Just a few blocks south, Adelson Galleries presents a compelling selection of landscapes and interiors painted by John Singer Sargent. On view through December 18, the exhibition “Sargent and Impressionism” brings together paintings created in the English countryside of the late 1800s. The effects of light on water, leisure activities outdoors, and interior scenes of every-day life are some of the themes brought to life in these paintings.
The Red Shoes
A haunting story, originally published in the Nineteenth Century, is the inspiration for an ingenious theatre production at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. “The Red Shoes” is a classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about what can happen when temptation becomes obsession. Kneehigh Theatre and its artistic director, Emma Rice, have turned this morality tale into a daring cabaret, whose surreal and sensuous elements create a profound impact. In her adaptation, Rice introduces a new twist to the tale, giving the heroine the chance to battle for her life. This is the first American production of this work, but for Kneehigh Theatre it is a revival in celebration of their 30th anniversary.
Composer Portraits Series: Boulez
The 85th birthday of influential French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez will be celebrated at Columbia University’s Miller Theater on December 6th. The event is part of the Miller Theater’s acclaimed “Composer Portraits Series.” Boulez, who is known for mentoring young musicians, has been working closely with the Talea Ensemble to prepare for this concert. The program will feature works composed by Boulez throughout his career, from early miniatures for piano to the masterwork “Dérive,” culminating in a U.S. Premiere.
The Klezmatics at the Jewish Museum
As part of its annual Hanukkah festivities, on December 7th the Jewish Museum hosts a concert by the Klezmatics, the only Klezmer band to win a Grammy Award. The Klezmatics emerged out of the vibrant cultural scene of New York city’s East Village in 1986. Their repertory is steeped in Eastern European Jewish tradition and spirituality. The pursuit of tolerance and human rights are frequent themes present in their songs. The influences of Middle Eastern, African, Latin and Balkan rhythms are also woven into their compositions and improvisational style. Even jazz and punk are part of the Klezmatics’ eclectic musical sound.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kicks off its new season at New York City Center on December 1st. For five weeks, the company will present a series of 23 ballets, by 15 choreographers. This season marks the celebration of five decades of Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations,” widely considered to be an American classic. Ailey created this piece inspired by the African-American cultural heritage, which he described as “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Using African-American religious music, this suite explores moments of deep grief and holy joy. Other highlights are new productions of “Cry” – Ailey’s birthday gift for his mother – and “Mary Lou’s Mass” – a celebration of life, jazz and gospel. This season will also pay tribute to artistic director Judith Jamison. After 20 years at the helm of this renowned company, she will pass the mantle to choreographer Robert Battle. A personal inspiration to Alvin Ailey, with whom she worked so closely, Jamison has led the company to new heights and an outstanding reputation worldwide.