Friday, June 3, 2011

American Academy of Arts & Letters: 156th and Broadway

"Texas Swing" by Malcolm Morley.  Oil on linen, 80.5" x 120"
The American Academy of Arts and Letters is an institution that strives to recognize and award emerging artists--painters, sculptors, architects, composers, and writers.  It clearly doesn't get the pomp and circumstance that the Oscars or the Emmys generates, but if you have an interest in any of the represented arts and are lucky enough to have time in NYC when they are exhibiting winning pieces (twice a year; the current show goes from May 18 to June 12 -- check out their website for the latest:, you should definitely take a look.  You could have a very personalized and serene experience (I was the only one visiting during the forty-five minutes I was there).
"Years Later" by Amy Bennett. Monotype: oil on paper, 18" x 22.5" framed
I particularly liked the fact that Academy members were the ones who were manning the 4 galleries.  These "security guards" are actually artists and obviously have a real interest in the art and exhibition space.  They are more than willing to share their insights, thoughts, etc. and that is a real treat.

Architectural Presentation Model by Robert A. M. Stern
I particularly liked a few of the paintings (see first two photos above) that caught real life details and light in an almost surreal way.  I was fascinated by the architectural models (see above), especially the Disney casting center and feature animation buildings as well as the deconstructed Mickey Mouse seating (perhaps once a cast member, always a cast member? -- I once worked for the Mouse).  Also, there were several cabinets filled with recently published books displayed with manuscript pages (see below); it got me thinking about the process of writing, publishing and possibilities....

A well-timed visit to the American Academy of Arts and Letters can be an inspiration to the opened heart and mind.

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