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Filed under: New York, News, Special, Writing | Tags: Art, library, Madison Ave., Manuscripts, Maurice Sendak, Museum, New York, Sketches, The Morgan, Where the Wild Things Are
Wild Things Days kicked off in New York today with the unveiling of original drawings and manuscripts by the author of Where The Wild Things Are.
By Dean Stattmann
When Maurice Sendak sat down in 1955 to put the final touches on his illustrated book, Where the Wild Horses Are, he completed but a framework for the story it would later become. Now, over a half-century later, with Sendak’s award-winning children’s book just days away from its international film debut, Where the Wild Things Are is about to enter the next stage of its evolution. To celebrate, The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City is hosting an exhibition of Sendak’s original illustrations and manuscripts to highlight the creative process that gave birth to the 1963 best-seller.
Beneath the lofty stained-glass and fresco-clad ceiling of The Morgan’s majestic East Room, surrounded by three-tiered antique bookshelves bearing historic titles by Charles Darwin and Mark Twain, art lovers and Wild Things fanatics alike converged this morning to browse early drafts and preliminary sketches from Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are in an exhibition entitled Where the Wild Things Are: Original Drawings by Maurice Sendak.
Where the Wild Things Are uses minimal prose and compelling illustrations to tell the story of Max, an imaginative young boy, who is sent to his bedroom without dinner and consequently creates a magical world filled with fantastic creatures, or Wild Things, by simply setting his imagination free.
Of the 15 artifacts put on display, three seemed to garner particular attention. The first, a drawing of Max sailing away from a ferocious sea monster, reveals Sendak’s process of developing his characters from early tracing paper sketches to the images found in the book today. Another piece, a pencil-drawn scene excluded from the final published version, shows Max, having discarded his utensils, tucking into a bowl of spaghetti, poised on all fours atop the dinner table. But perhaps the most insightful of all the items on display is a two-page excerpt from Sendak’s notebook, which reveals profound details about his artistic process.
“Not only do we see Sendak’s work, we see him giving instructions to himself,” says curator Christine Nelson. One page bears the ballpoint scribbles of a later Where The Wild Horses Are manuscript, with a note from the author, “Drop this story for time being – I’m forcing it and it won’t be forced.” On the adjacent page, after attempting the current title in verse form, Sendak simply writes, “ALL BAD.”
The exhibition, organized in cooperation with Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library, the official home of Sendak’s artifacts, is part of Wild Things Days, a two-month-long, Philadelphia-based series of events, exhibitions and activities based around Sendak’s work. The exhibition at The Morgan is the only event to take place in New York and will remain open until the end of Wild Things Days on Nov. 1.
Image: Preliminary drawing of dust jacket for Where the Wild Things Are. Pen and ink, watercolor. Copyright Maurice Sendak, 1963. All rights reserved. Courtesy of The Morgan Library and Museum.
Filed under: Music, News, Writing | Tags: Albums, Downloads, Harry Patch, In Rainbows, Radiohead, The Believer, Thom Yorke
By Dean Stattmann
In a recent interview with The Believer magazine, Radiohead front-man Thom Yorke disclosed that his band has no intention of releasing another full-length album. Ever. Instead, he said, the group would focus on shorter EPs and downloadable singles available exclusively online. This comes just days after the release of “Harry Patch (In Memory Of),” the band’s latest download-only track.
The internet is an amazing tool in so many ways, and with more of the world moving online each day, it is becoming exponentially harder to make a list of things that cannot be accomplished from behind a laptop. But the relationship between music and the internet has been bittersweet. From Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich’s historic battle with Napster back in 2000 to the recent multi-million dollar lawsuits stemming from illegal downloading, the issues of ownership and unbridled mass-sharing continue to be an itching thorn in the RIAA’s side.
Conversely, groups like Chicago hip-hop duo The Cool Kids and British indie sensation Arctic Monkeys owe it all to the virtual space that has become a staple in just about every home on the planet, with sites like MySpace offering bottomless marketing opportunities to anyone with a modem. Music has made a new home online, and it’s looking more and more like that’s where it will stay.
But throughout audio’s online exodus there has always been something there to anchor the music in reality: The album. Be it in the form of a cassette, vinyl or compact disc, the album is the original form of music ownership. It is something to hold on to. And now Radiohead wants us to let go.
The concept is not entirely new. In October 2007, Radiohead sparked widespread media debate with the release of In Rainbows, their seventh full-length album, initially available only in digital format through the band’s website. Physical copies of the album surfaced months later.
But this time there will be no album.
“None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again,” Yorke told The Believer. “We’ve all said that we can’t possibly dive into that again. It’ll kill us.”
This could just be a sign of the band’s inevitable fatigue following a lengthy career of consistently quality releases. But it could also be the beginning of a tragic industry trend signaling the end of music as we know it.
Photo by flickr user alterna2 under the Creative Commons licence
Filed under: New York, Photography, Writing | Tags: Adrian Kondratowicz, Anycoloryoulike, Art, New York City, Pink, Polka-dotted, TRASH, Trash bags
By Dean Stattmann
If you’ve recently passed by Cite – the eclectic SoHo furniture store on Greene Street – you may have noticed a bright pink polka-dotted bag in the window. Rather than a special edition Lovesac, this is the work of up-and-coming Harlem-based artist Adrian Kondratowicz. Oh and it’s actually a trash bag. In 2008, with the vision of reuniting art with function, Kondratowicz created TRASH, a line of biodegradable polka-dotted trash bags. Made from a PVC liner scented to repel rodents and insects, the eye-catching eco-bags quickly got the attention of the press, giving Kondratowicz the exposure he needed to pursue more sizeable ventures. And now, on the eve of unveiling his latest project, he answers some questions about TRASH and how artists need to adapt their work for tough economic times.
What inspired TRASH?
I was originally thinking of getting some poster boards, renting out some ad space and running these posters that were pink with white polka dots and just tiling it really, really big. After finding out how expensive that was, I printed some out and started wheat pasting them, but then the thing with wheat pasting stuff illegally is that people tear it down as soon as they see it, or it just gets done over really quickly, so I needed something that was basic that would be there, but also that was not very ‘street,’ and for some reason the trash bag popped into my head and then I just imagined the whole street lined with them.
How did the project materialize?
I shopped it around all the art production companies, the non-profits and the private dealers and collectors, and everybody was very enthusiastic but nobody wanted to write me a cheque. So I wrote myself a cheque, put everything I had behind it and it worked out very well. It’s just a matter of planning and being organized. It’s like with everything else. It wasn’t really that hard to do. And also a bit of luck helps too.
How was luck involved?
Doing the right location at the right time and having the right people see it. It’s not like we promoted the thing. I have a small mailing list and the whole point of doing these things is to create awareness of some sort, whether it be for me, the project or the environment. It’s funny, like after two or three installations, everything went live on the web through the blogs and next thing you know TV stations are calling me and magazines are asking for press material and it was just like a snowball and it keeps on coming.
What was TRASH’s biggest victory?
Just getting it done, from having sketches to ordering the bags. Before I did the installations I had a series of promotional events with maybe 20 or 30 people installing the bags at various people’s homes and then actually putting them on the street. I guess that was the most exciting. That’s always the most exciting, when someone sees your work and reacts.
What do you do to give your art that mass appeal?
The way I conceptualize my stuff is I think of a concept visually and I try to integrate specific behaviors into it and obviously the most common is how do you make it so people can actually buy it or benefit from it. Why would they need this? Why should this be in their lives? I think that’s the new definition of art.
So, what’s next for you?
My next project is called “Paint by Numbers” and it involves the public and participation. It’s a project for community regeneration and it involves enrolling people and inviting people to participate in creating a community mural that’s made out of stickers and the fun part happens with me distributing the stickers. There are a couple different ways I’m going to do that, but I don’t want to get too deep into it. But it’s going to be really fun!
Photos by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: College, Music, New York, News, NYU, Photography, Writing | Tags: Dorm, Erik Michael, Guitar, Lafayette, Matt Golubjatnikov, Music, Musician, New York University, NYU, Recording
By Dean Stattmann
On a quiet Monday evening, a muffled cry emanates from the closed door of a New York University dorm room in downtown Manhattan. It’s the penthouse floor of Lafayette Street Residence Hall – one of the furthest from campus – where the university hides its Greek life. Echoes of grueling Guitar Hero solos and epic beer pong bouts bounce off these walls after hours. But amidst the Halo, hot wings and all the other accurate stereotypes, one student is ripping through the mold.
Matt Golubjatnikov, a politics major at NYU, has been playing guitar for seven years and is finally getting some attention. He spent his freshman year with NYU abroad in Florence, Italy, before finally moving into Palladium Hall on 14th Street. During his sophomore year, he pledged the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and kicked off his junior year with a spot in the frat’s spacious eight man duplex. But while most musicians with his talent move on to decked out studios with fountains in the lobby, a floundering economy has caused this junior to seek out alternative facilities, like his dorm room.
“Home recording has become incredibly accessible relative to past years,” he says. “If you have the patience and experimental interest to overcome the often steep learning curve that is inherent in today’s music software, then you can do basically anything.”
In 2008, Golubjatnikov, 21, got curious and decided to see where his music could take him. Working with a tight budget and a demanding schedule, he eventually opted for home recording equipment and slowly began to acquire the pieces of what would become an impressive home studio. One year, a semi-acoustic guitar, two effects pedals, professional recording software and a studio microphone later, he has filled his room with everything short of a waiting room, and he can still afford food. “It really surprises me what you can do with a thin wallet,” he says. “My whole recording rig from cables to software comes to a grand total of about 250$. I know more resourceful people that can even shave the amount to less than half of that.”
Starting out on Haight Street in San Francisco, C.A., with just his busted Crate amplifier and suave midnight wine Fender Stratocaster, Golubjatnikov found influences in early grunge bands and the better part of the 90s punk scene. He has since added to this list, finding a renewed appreciation for bands like Black Label Society, Incubus and Alice in Chains. He doesn’t know how to label his own music, but pegs it somewhere between hard and alternative rock. The stuff he finds himself playing traverses genres, he says.
But despite the unlikely evolution of Golubjatnikov’s dorm rock, he admits that recording in his makeshift studio – which he shares with a roommate – can sometimes present unusual problems. “You do come across unique obstacles when recording in a dorm versus a studio,” he says. “But all it takes is the creative mind that is a prerequisite anyway. When recording vocals, if I can’t get a good natural reverb or echo, I just record while standing in my shower. The ceramic walls provide a clean, non-manufactured effect. Problem solved.”
Golubjatnikov has released several tracks online under the name Spareluck, choosing social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook to bring his music to his friends and whoever else wants to listen. The reception has been outstanding, he says, and one of his tracks was recently featured in a beat by fellow New York-based producer Erik Michael.
Golubjatniokov may not have an album in the record store just yet, but he pays little mind to this. For him, the real pay-off is in the music. “I harbor no shame in saying that some days I will just put my own material on repeat on my iPod,” he says. “I mean, you make what you want to hear, so it’s natural to be your own biggest fan.”
Photos by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: Fashion, Lifestyle, New York, News, Photography, Special | Tags: Dean Stattmann, Fashion, Fashion Business Association, FBA, Kimmel Center, NYU, Spring
On April 4, New York University’s Fashion Business Association threw its first show of 2009 at the university’s Kimmel Center on Washington Square South. I wanted something a little more engaging than just photos this time so I hope this works…
Graphic by Dean Stattmann