Falcon Crest

A few weeks ago I reposted pics from last year of the falcon that visits our office every summer. Well, guess who just showed up? She was nice enough to alight on the west side of the building this time, which made for more dramatic images.

We’re 50 floors up. Too high for sparrows and pigeons. Okay for falcons and helicopters. Look at her pose. What a diva. She knows she’s being photographed.

We know when she’s outside because we hear her screeching. She calls her chick and teaches her how to dive off the building and attack some poor, unsuspecting bird or rodent. Here, she’s scoping the area for lunch.

The following morning, a rare treat. The baby makes an appearance. This isn’t a great shot but she was only there for a few fleeting moments. Mom will perch outside our window for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. People line up to take her picture.

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This is an interesting piece. It’s a collaboration between Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Pretty obvious who did what. It’s from Tommy Hilfiger’s collection and was sold in London in June. Call me tacky but I would totally hang this up.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat
New Flame
Est: £1,700,000—2,000,000
Sold for £2,408,750

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This is Ladder by Crazy Marina Abramovic. I saw it in a group gallery exhibit.

Last year she published her memoirs. It’s a hysterical example of tortured artisté navel-gazing and pretentiousness. As as child, instead of playing with toys, she “…prefered to play with the shadows of passing cars on the wall.” She made that up to sound cool, right? She didn’t actually do that, did she?

She was born into a wealthy Yugoslavian family and enjoyed maids, theater tickets, paintings, a grand piano. A world of privilege. All while the rest of the country scraped by in post-war poverty. Yet, she writes of the “…tyranny of support.” She complains about “…changing planes so often, museum and gallery openings, endless receptions…” What a loon. She should try the Port Authority bus depot at 6:20 a.m. My finest art.

She’s quite the gas bag but I *do* like her work. I saw her retrospective at MoMA in 2010 and loved it. Perhaps her odious comments are part of an elaborate performance piece. I hope so.

I ran my finger along the knife edge. They were dulled. Of course they were! What were you thinking?

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Morning meta moment. Walking down 42nd St. on my way to work I looked up and saw a billboard for an HBO series about 42nd St. Different era. Same pavement.

Kaleidoscope

I brought my daughters to Chelsea for a gallery hop. I think they’re bored by these excursions. I think they suffer them for my sake. Hopefully, one day, they’ll be a fond memory. *I* certainly enjoy these days.

This was Leo Villareal’s beautiful light installation at Pace Gallery.

You lucky ducks in London will get to see his Illuminated River installation along the Thames starting Wednesday, November 9th.

This was REASON by Carsten Höller​ at the Gagosian. It’s an oversized mobile you propel. The intertwining mushrooms never collide. My daughter was a bit too enthusiastic. She started running and the security guard had to tell her to hit the brakes.

This is Descension, Anish Kapoor’s summer installation in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s a never-ending whirlpool. I don’t know where the water goes or how it feeds back into the piece. I don’t care. I never peek behind the curtain. Standing next to it you feel a rumble, like a low, constant thunder. The railing rattles. This is the same guy who did the Bean in Chicago.

This necessitated a walk over the bridge. It’s VERY crowded with tourists this time of year. And it’s no wonder. It’s a spectacle. The cathedral window cutouts and cables are distinctive. One of my favorite architectural flourishes in the city.

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Andy Warhol
Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable)
Estimate on Request
Sold for $27,500,000

Roy Lichtenstein
Red and White Brushstrokes
Est: $25,000,000-35,000,000
Sold for $28,247,500

You’re looking at +$55M worth of art hung side by side. They’re nice, but I’ve seen better for much less.

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bins

May 28, 1993

I got the sweetest message from Laura on my answering machine.

[Note: Do you miss answering machines? With their unpredictable joys and sorrows? I do. Voicemail is to answering machines as ebooks are to hardcovers. Same functionality but lacks the poetry.]

It was a last-minute invitation to a stand-up club with some of her friends. She said she’d save me a seat. She said she’d love to see me but if I couldn’t make it, that’s okay, she’d see me soon. Do you know how many people freely admit they’d love to see me? Not many. I told Bonnie and she said I couldn’t NOT go. I’m kind of broke but moments later I was in a cab.

Got there and the performance was already underway. I stood in the back of a dark club and didn’t see her. Then I saw a head tilt up and a plume of cigarette smoke spout towards the ceiling. It was like the Bat Signal. Also, Laura has a very distinctive way of flipping her long hair over to one side. It’s a trademark move. I only saw a silhouette and knew instantaneously it was her. She was at a table with five friends. An empty seat was next to her.

When the acts changed, I wound my way through the club and sat next to her. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on her face when she turned and saw it was me. She held my hand under the table.

We woke up the way we fell asleep; in each other’s arms. This can’t possibly last, can it? [Note: Nope. It can’t.]

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I’m battling sciatica. I’ve tried physical therapy, acupuncture, a chiropractor, megadoses of naproxen and steroids, heat and cold. They prescribed an opiate but I refuse to take it.

I just read a book by a guy named Dr. John Sarno. He says my pain is not physiological. It’s a distraction to prevent me from dealing with repressed feelings of anger, anxiety and worthlessness. Do you know what? I belive him.

The Artist’s Medium was Baloney

I’ll bet you’re thinking the post title is a metaphor for bad art. It can be taken both metaphorically and literally. From this year’s Whitney Biennial, I give you Pope.L’s Claim (Whitney Version). Or, more accurately, The Baloney Room.

The Biennial is always ripe with hyper-modern art begging to be ridiculed. This year’s show was actually quite accessible and there were many pieces I enjoyed. But where’s the fun in discussing those?

There were 2,755 slices of bologna pinned to the interior and exterior of freestanding walls. The slices were carefully arranged in a grid. The number of slices represents 0.25% of the total number of Jewish citizens living in New York City.

Each slice has a small, black and white image of a (supposedly) Jewish person pasted in the center.

As time passed, the slices dried and the portraits distorted. The exhibit was quite smelly. There was some ARTNews-worthy mumbo-jumbo explaining the MEANING of a slice of baloney with a portrait on it but I wasn’t buying what they were selling.

Pope.L is also known as William Pope.L. A pretentious name to go along with his pretentious art.

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On the other hand, we have Robert Rauschenberg. There’s a fine retrospective currently at MoMA. I’ve always been a fan of his work but this exhibit gave me a deeper appreciation. It restored my faith after the Biennial circus.

In Hiccups (1978), Rauschenberg gathered images from magazines and transferred them to 97 sheets of handmade paper using a lithographic press. The sheets are connected with zippers.

The sheets can be disassembled and reordered. You can change the flow and texture of the piece. I didn’t get the sense this was participatory, so I didn’t try to rearrange the sections. When he was young, Rauschenberg briefly worked as a zipper inspector for a bathing suit company.

Hiccups wasn’t participatory, bur Black Market was. When first exhibited in 1961, Rauschenberg placed objects in the suitcase. Viewers were invited to take an item out and leave one of theirs in return. They were instructed to draw their item on a clipboard attached to the canvas.

He closed the exhibit when he discovered items were being taken but nothing left in return. You can always count on humanity to let you down.

This is Canyon, one of his Combines. These were works made from found objects. The stuffed eagle was given to him by fellow artist Sari Dienes. She found it in a hallway of the Carnegie Hall studio building in 1959.

Bald eagles are a protected species, so selling this would be a felony. Consequently, when the owner passed away and bequeathed it to her children, the appraisers valued it at $0. The IRS disagreed and said it’s worth $65 million and wanted $29.2 million in inheritance taxes. To get the IRS off their backs, they agreed to donate it to MoMA and MoMA agreed to always have it on display for the public to enjoy. Thank you, IRS!

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bins

May 18, 1993

Bonnie has viral meningitis. She calls it fire on the brain. She got it from kissing the guy who owns the company she’s doing work for. How about that Bonnie? Always sleeping with the help. I paid a visit and brought some groceries. She wanted hummus, beef bouillon cubes, Georgia peach juice, macaroons and some other stuff. Why can’t she just get milk and bread like everyone else?

She didn’t look too good but was in high spirits. I gave her a back rub and that made her feel better. She always loved my back rubs. She said they have a medicinal, healing quality. I picked up a bacon cheeseburger deluxe from the Greek diner for myself. We sat at her glass kitchen table and talked. I ate my delicious burger and she picked at my fries and drank water.

She has a book idea. “How to Commit Sexual Harassment.” She’d show two photos. One photo, captioned “Correct,” would be a man and a woman in business attire, holding brief cases standing with their hands extended to shake. The other photo, captioned “Incorrect,” would be the same woman with her hand extended and the man would have both hands on her breasts. The humor seems kind of broad and obvious to me. She wanted to know if I’d pose for the photos and I said sure.

We talked a lot about Laura. She seems genuinely happy for me and told me to be careful not to smother her. I got home around 10:00 and Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai was on PBS. I went to bed. At 1:30, my doorbell rang. It was Laura. I let her up. I opened the door and watched her walk off the elevator. She was wearing a red tee-shirt, a black/white jacket and blue jeans. She’d spent the day in the sun and was glowing. She was a vision. I’d never seen her look more ravishing and told her so. She stepped into my apartment and closed the door behind her. She put her arms around my neck and said she couldn’t sleep. She kissed me.

Animal Planet: New York / New Jersey Edition

I was sitting on a bench in Central Park reading a book and these two shady-looking dudes walked out of the bushes.

It was 6:00 p.m. Raccoons are nocturnal animals. Typically, I only see one when it’s splattered across the roadway. NYC wildlife is so accustomed to handouts that they come out at all manner of the day and night.

That woman was lucky she didn’t have anything to give them. If you feed them, they follow you. And if you stop feeding them, they can get a little crusty.

City animals are conditioned to rely on the kindness of strangers. You can hand-feed sparrows. Try hand-feeding a sparrow in your neighborhood.

These horses were at Christie’s.

Deborah Butterfield
Maliʻu
Est: $300,000-500,000
Sold for $367,500

Ahona
Est: $300,000-500,000
Sold for $307,500

I stood next to them and could’ve sworn they were made of wood but the lot descriptions said they’re bronze. I wanted to wrap them with my knuckles but there was a security guard posted nearby.

As long as we’re on animals, I’ll rerun these from last year. Manhattan has a few peregrine falcon families. There’s sufficient shelter and an unlimited food supply. I’m up on the 50th floor and they occasionally survey the city outside my window.

No other bird flies up this high. We never see pigeons or sparrows up here. I do love these shots. The urban backgrounds stand in stark contrast to the wild predator.

Back in New Jersey, guess what we have in our back yard? Bunnies!

Coco, the evil canine, found this nest. She had one in her mouth but dropped it when it squeaked. I think she mistook it for one of her toys. The previous day, the lawn service guys ran over the nest. Good thing the bunnies are dug into the ground deep enough. What a mess that would’ve been.

This is Corn. We’re cat sitting her. Isn’t she beautiful? Cats are elegant. Dogs are needy.

The daughters were walking through the woods with some friends and found this skull. It’s a deer. Well, we presume it’s a deer. What else could it be? I set it on this stump in an attempt to Create Art and two of its teeth fell out.

This is some genuine Circle of Life shizzle. A good lesson for the kids.

Speaking of the woods…see this giant pile of pulp?

Until last month, it was some woods down the street from me. Unfortunately, they were in the way of nine custom built luxury homes, so they had to GO. Coming soon: Hiddenwell Estates. First they decimate the landscape, then they give it a bucolic-sounding name and complain about the deer eating their flowers. I despise the real estate developers out here. They’re dirty, stinking, parasites.

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bins

May 11, 1993

Margaret set me up on a blind date. She said this girl was blonde with great legs and came into a lot of money, but didn’t elaborate on how much or where she got it. Margaret cares about that stuff but I don’t. I told her as long as she has a sense of humor we’ll get along. I wondered if she’s a psychotic racist, like Margaret.

I called this girl, Sam. She sounded pleasant enough but wounded. She said something about men being rotten and, in particular, men who get caught fucking their ex-girlfriends. We arranged a date and she told me to look for someone wearing jeans and red boots. I told her to look for the whitest white man she’s ever seen. She said, “What do you mean? Are you a vampire?” I said, yes, I am.

We met at the Garden and saw the Knicks get their asses kicked. She wore a lot of makeup and ostentatious jewelry. Diamond bracelet. Diamond rings. Diamond pendant. The game ended, I put her in a cab and went home.

All I could think about was Laura.

This feels like when I almost drown in Mayport. I was swimming alone and got caught in an undertow. I could feel myself being dragged out to sea. The beach was deserted. There was no one to yell to. It would’ve been a particularly humiliating death since I was in the Coast Guard at the time. I remembered to swim parallel to the shore and then in. I almost didn’t make it. When my feet touched sand I cried.

How do I swim out of this undertow? I can’t even type a complete sentence without stopping midway to think about her. I’m drowning. This girl is too young, talented, pretty and smart for a fraud like me.

The night I died a little

bins

May 4, 1993

Laura came over and molested me.

She had lunch with some guy to discuss her acting career. For my lunch, I ate a big insecurity sandwich and a washed it down with tall glass of low self-esteem. She came over about 5:30 and said he was creepy. That’s all that was said.

We sat on the sofa and talked for a long time. You could feel the bright filament pulling us together. Finally, we surrendered to it. She straddled me. She gently took my face in her hands and lowered her mouth onto mine. We kissed. She unbuttoned her shirt but didn’t take it off—a move I love. She was wearing a black bra. She slowly moved her hips while kissing me. I reached behind her and unclasped her bra. She has a soft, smoky voice, like a melody, and she’d moan gently and whisper my name, which is another move I love.

Then her eyes started to water and her nose started to run. She had a severe allergic reaction to the cats. We had to get out of the apartment or she’d suffocate.

We ate dinner on 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street and took the subway to her place on the Upper East Side. She’s got a tiny apartment and a roommate so we bought some beers and went up to her roof. It was clear and cool out. We huddled close and talked and kissed. The skyline was the backdrop. It was a beautiful night that I’ll never forget. At one point, I asked if she had a boyfriend and she said, “You don’t want to talk about that now, do you?” My heart sank. I said no, I never want to talk about it, but now I do. I want to know.

It was almost morning. She walked me to the subway at 59th Street. We kissed in a vestibule at Bloomingdale’s. When she kisses me she wraps her body around me and I have to hold us both up. We broke, she looked up at me and told me I was fantastic.

I don’t know. I think I might love this girl. This actress. An actress. So predictable.

I called an allergist this morning. The initial injection would be $150, the second $90 and $30 per week thereafter. I can’t afford that. What am I going to do?

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Ye Olde Me

I treated my sister to a movie while visiting Cleveland last week. I bought the tickets and thought, gee, it sure is CHEAP to see a movie here. Once inside, we discovered the young punk selling tickets gave us the senior discount without asking if we’re eligible. (We are not.) My sister thought it was a riot but I took it pretty hard.

I just had a birthday. I’ve got aches and pains after I run. I used to engage in innocent, harmless flirtations that, more often than not, were well-received. Now, women look right through me like I’m a wisp of steam that somehow got into the room. I was complaining to a friend and she said, “Welcome to being a woman over 40.” I am no longer mistaken for being younger than my actual age. That was my superpower but now it’s gone. I’ve got the deep blue blues over it.

My astrological sign is cancer. I met this fellow while walking the beach on my birthday.

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The summer installation at Rockefeller Center is this 45′ high inflatable nylon ballerina by Jeff Koons.

I’ve heard some complaining about how Koons misappropriated Degas’ dancers but I’m so tired of the haters.

When the weather is bad they deflate her and take her inside.

Koons said the project is tied to a charity, The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I fail to see what the connection is.

It’s based on his steel ‘Seated Ballerina’ from his antiquity series.