March 9, 2016 | Despite its dainty name the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is not an outfit to be trifled with. Nor is it one to do anything by half measures. Founded in 1858, it is comprised of twenty-seven members, each representing a state in the union at that time, who approached and still approach the project of preserving George Washington’s estate with an almost military rigor. Mount Vernon was virtually empty when the association was formed; the members set about furnishing it by having the representative from each state adopt a room. In 1858 these representatives were the wives and daughters of powerful politicians, jurists, and cultural figures, and thus well positioned to locate and donate important objects. Alice Mary Longfellow, for instance, daughter of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, located George Washington’s desk and brought it back to the estate, where it remains today.
Mount Vernon Ladies Association Council of 1884. All photographs courtesy of the Mount …
March 8, 2016 | At the moment, Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop and Museum has a national reputation though it is less well known around town. In one respect it is a little like its founder, the late Marion “Kippy” Boulton Stroud, who was both bold (and bossy) but surprisingly self-effacing. Unlike the Rosenbach or the Barnes, to name two of the city’s other idiosyncratic museums, FWM is something of a high-wire act, an ongoing experiment in the very definition of what this institution is and can be.
That openness should help FWM survive the demise of Kippy Stroud. You see it everywhere, starting at the classy gift shop near the entrance, where Tracey Blackman, the shop’s director, draws you into conversation while dispatching employees to do repairs, checking on meetings, and describing the shop’s artist-designed ties, napkins, hand-bags, and ceramics. You get the sense that she might even hondle with you if you couldn’t come up with the necessary cash. Tracey is improvising. Ever…
March 8, 2016 |
The American Revolution has a hit on its hands with Hamilton, the hip-hop musical currently lighting up Broadway. “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story,” the cast sings in its sly retooling of our republic as the story of Alexander Hamilton’s rise through the imperial city of New York (“History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen/to be in the greatest city in the world...”).
But wait. Wasn’t Philadelphia the cradle of liberty and our first capital? Wasn’t it in Philadelphia that Hamilton orchestrated the consolidation of federal power, and was it not, moreover, Philadelphia where his busy libido came to grief and scandal? Yes, but... Hamilton loved New York and lobbied hard for it as the temporary capital; Philadelphia was his third or fourth or fifth choice, so I guess you can say that at this late date he finally got his way. He usually did.
So we will stand up for the lesser-known glories of Philadelphia in this issue (timed in part to its April antiques sh…» More
A Bronx Tale: Exhibitors from the Winter Antiques Show tour East Side House Settlement, the show’s beneficiary
February 10, 2016 |
East Side House Settlement (ESHS) Administrative Building, 337 Alexander Avenue, in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, New York. Photographs by Ahron Foster.
“Take the work that you love, whatever it is, and angle it towards justice.” -Ta-Nehisi Coates
September 29, 2015: On this beautiful Indian summer day two quite different communities came together for a few hours in the South Bronx: a group of exhibitors at January’s Winter Antiques Show boarded a van bound for the Mott Haven neighborhood to visit the folks at East Side House Settlement, the charity that established the Winter show some sixty years ago.
Back then, in 1955, ESHS was still located on the city’s Upper East Side, near enough to the show’s site in Manhattan to make the connection between programs for the disadvantaged and the buying and selling of Queen Anne high chests and antique diamond brooches slightly less remote.
In 1963 ESHS moved to the South Bronx, a world away from …» More
January 14, 2016 | We occasionally split the run of an issue of ANTIQUES with one cover for subscribers—an interior from Abbeville, Louisiana, in this case—and another for distribution at shows—Louis Lozowick’s 1930 lithograph of the Brooklyn Bridge. If this sounds like a North/South thing it isn’t exactly, but I’ll explain that in a moment.
The New York art and antiques season seems a good time to consider the Brooklyn Bridge, a potent symbol linking past and future, our perennial theme here. Its soaring Gothic arches held in the disciplined embrace of an engineering marvel have always beckoned artists, poets, filmmakers, and musicians, and I can’t be the only Midwestern adolescent who read Hart Crane’s The Bridge and fell in love with those cables and arches before ever visiting this city. Did I imagine a monument so powerful that, in Crane’s overwrought words, it could “lend a myth to God”? I did. I still see it as a work of art, capable, on any given day, of transfiguring the landscape and …» More
[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi» View All