A Brief Visit to New York
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, March 25, 2014
When I go to New York, I hit the ground running; compressing weeks of meetings into four hectic days… and on the way accumulate enough material to keep you entertained with Blogs.
First Day: –Popping off the plane in Newark New Hersey, I high-tailed it to my “Archive Museum” in Clifton to meet visiting clients to discuss future projects… An interesting and productive meeting – upshot: I made new friends and discovered that we have “Russian Standard” vodka Martinis in common.
Chaira, chairs everywhere in my warehouse in Clifton, N.J.
Second Day: - A visit to New York is not complete without sticking my head into the D&D building, the mecca for New York decorators in search of everything grand and expensive. My friend Luigi Gentile opened his Bespoke showroom of comfort furniture, (no competition to mine…. otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it… ha ha.) Luigi is a talented designer and competent on all things electronic and mechanical… I had always wanted to see 3-D printing first hand… Naturally, Luigi had the latest gadget hooked up in his small showroom and prints out miniature models to show to his clients… (Must have one myself!)
By now it’s lunch time, and I take my “wing man”, Chris, to P. J. Clark, a hip bar on 3rd Avenue, where I took my wife Erica on our first date some sixty years ago! The hamburgers are still the best and the place hasn’t changed a bit since it became a designated N.Y. Landmark.
Our day’s goal was to see the Architectural Digest Home Show at the Piers. This is a showcase that has evolved over the years into a fine three-ring circus of everything for the home; from toilets to skinks, kitchens, sleep products, a special section to showcase Dining by Design… and what caught my attention – an inspiring wing devoted to young craftsmen and women showing their own creativity.
Architectural Digest Home Design Show
Dining by Design
of course I don't remember the designer's names... I am a visual kinda guy - and these were the exhibits that struck me.
Just a few immages from the general show
In the same exhibit with the wacky bike were these two gorgeous chairs by Italy's Giorgetti company
The Art & Craft wing of the exhibit
I found these delightful people and their works
Who said that a cabinet makers has to be tough and burly, Virginia Blanchard is the craftsperson who made all of these exqusite Art Nouveau and Art Deco pieces in her workshop in Maine
I love Aaron Scott's sculptured furniture - is a very versatile craftman who work in in Brooklyn NY
Aaron Scott sitting with one of his sculptured tables - (right) John Dodd's geometric designs combine wood and concrete in a sophisticated way
Amy Eisenfeld Genser created interesting wall art out of rolled paper - She hails from West Hartford CT
I really liked her work as well as any I have seen in museum art shows.
Patrick Weder, works in Williamsburg, Brooklyn... he is immensely versatile and worth watching. These light sculptures are made with twisted wire fencing and wrapped with paper machete
This might have been the right time for most people to go home, put their feet up and watch the evening news…. but not for me. My exuberant daughter Jessica whisked me off to a friend’s fabulous art-filled loft in Soho for a superb dinner and, surprise, surprise, a room-full of my furniture.
Day three: Back to my factory in Clifton to work with my staff on developing and critiquing new products in work… I’d really like to show them to you but must keep them under wraps until their introduction later this year.
Day four: My book, THE COMPLETE KAGAN, is finally out of print - I am told that copies are selling for up to $400, and a signed version has sold for $1,000 (If you own one… you’re rich!) The morning was devoted to a meeting with my charismatic publisher, Suzy Slesin of Pointed Leaf Press to plan a revised edition…(look for it in early 2015) it will be larger, heavier and more expensive… and yes, with about fifty NEW pages devoted to Kagan NOW… (I could have told you that the 2004 version was not complete!) We worked out the time schedule for the revised edition and all the work that I must do now to make it happen!
Next, we went gallery hoping in Soho… First, meeting up with my friend, Sebastian Errazuriz, the most talented young designer to hit the art-scene in recent years. He had a show in a hidden little gallery called Storefront for Art and Architecture at 97 Kenmare Street. His show, “Tough Love” is art that would be hard to show in an uptown environment. Sebastian took a few friends and me on a personal tour. His message is mind-boggling and wrenching: “50% of all construction workers are undocumented” – “Homeless population in NYC rises 13 percent” – “Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child becomes missing or abducted” – 800.000 children are reported missing every year – “Every 2 minutes another American is sexually assaulted” - “97% of rapists never spend a day in jail” etc. etc.
you know the little guy - The smiling big fellow is my friend Sebastian Errazuriz
Sebastian explaining the gruesome Newspaper headline - a photographer caught the gruesome last seconds of a doomed man's life - Sebastian's comment: Could he have saved the the man instead of taking the photo - we will never know
Last year's Boston Marathone's surviving terrorist - in this painting Sebastian is commenting on the innosence of this teenager dragged into this tragedy by his older brother. He painted this direct from a news paper photogrpah in the style Coragio, giving it a somber museum look
my friend Constance listening attentively to Sebastian's description of his works
Overwhelmed by the depressing message, we decided the only cure was a bourgeois lunch at Balthazar, (one of New York’s more trendy Bistros - at 2:30 it was still standing room only… we had reservations!)
Satiated, we visited Atelier Courbet, on Baxter Street, the sophisticated new gallery owned by Melanie Courbet and her partner Ashlee Harrison… A few weeks earlier I had been invited to an elegant Champagne opening where the ladies introduced a collection of luxurious silk rugs by Paris based Sabine De Gunzburg designed by a cadre of salubrious designer: Francis Picabia, Serge Poliakoff, Matthias Bitzer, Frank Gehry and Vladimir Kagan… Surprise, surprise! Frank Gehry’s and my rug had not arrived… ostensibly stuck in customs.…I was confident that by today they’d surely be hanging …. I was wrong!…To the girl’s utter embarrassment, they are still in limbo somewhere between Paris and New York…. Never mind, it was fun just visiting with the two beautiful young owners.
Bemused by my friends loss of my rug, I played a little joke on them with a 'fake' spilled coffee-cup on one of their imported French stools
Finally, on a personal note: My adorable grand-daughter Gigi, who is staying with her parents in my apartment in Palm Beach, developed appendicitis and had to have an operation while I was in New York, (by the time I arrived back in Palm Beach she had happily recovered). But here’s my little tale: For the past three years we have had a lonely canary occupying a huge aviary cage in my New York apartment; (he travels regularly to Nantucket for his summer vacation). “Conrad” always sings for his supper in search of a mate – to make Gigi and “Conrad” happy, I purchased a beautiful “blonde” to keep him company… We will be waiting with baited breath for the two to produce a bevy of offspring.
A bachelor's happy ending - with a beautiful blonde bride
Finally - Sunday: It’s time to return to Palm Beach. My dear friend and neighbor made a special farewell brunch - my favorite NY Deli food: “everything” bagels lathered with a cream-cheese “schmear”, herring, white anchovies, chopped liver and much more… Stuffed and happy, I am writing this little epistle at 32,000 feet on Jet Blue’s flight #1161 back to Palm Beach…