Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Washington Square Art Exhibit, Manhattan, New York

(all photos click to enlarge)

"It all began one balmy spring day in 1931, in the heart of the depression Era. Jackson Pollock, desperately in need of funds to pay the rent on his Greenwich Village studio that also served as his home, took a few of his iconoclastic paintings down several flights of stairs and set them up on the sidewalk near Washington Square Park. His friend and fellow Village artist, Willem DeKooning, in equally desperate financial straits, soon joined him."

"It is not known how many works of art, whose values would soon skyrocket, they sold that day. However, their enterprise was noted by some public-spirited citizens, including such luminaries of the art world as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the Whitney Museum of Art, and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Director of the Museum of Modern Art."

"They organized the art show that would evolve into the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, a twice-a-year happening, every Memorial Day Weekend and the weekend that follows, and every Labor Day Weekend and the weekend that follows."

"Early exhibitors were Village artists Alice Neel, Saul Berman and Ilya Bolotowski. Beauford Delaney trekked down from Harlem. It is now a showcase for over 200 artists from all over the world and is attended by more than 200,000 art lovers."

"Among the milestones that mark the past 77 years are the concept of the artists being selected as exhibitors by a jury of fellow artists, based on slides of their work being submitted; the abolishing of an early ban on nudes; the opening of the show to photography as an art form; and the recognition of crafts, provided each piece is one-of-a-kind and hand-made. Cash prizes, donated by individuals, organizations and corporations, are awarded in various categories based on selection by artist-judges. " all italicized text is from the WSOAE web site

My husband and I went to the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan over the weekend to attend the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.

The exhibit is now in it's 77 th year and it has been a favorite activity for us to attend for many years.

It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed strolling around the Washington Square Park area looking at all the different exhibits of paintings, watercolors, sculptures, photography, and handcrafted items which were on display and for sale.

Below is one of our favorite artists and we've bought many cityscape prints over the years from him as his prices are reasonable and his etchings and giclees really capture the essence of the city.

Isn't this a pretty 3 dimensional mixed media plaque?

Some lovely paintings of autumn scenery:

A few fanciful mermaid paintings:

This artist had many beautiful and delightful paintings depicting scenes and characters from Ireland for sale.

There were tempting booths full of an assortment of handcrafted art dolls and jewelry and clocks, etc.

Some still life acrylic paintings. I loved the bright colors the artist used against a contrasting black background.

Paintings of old Coney Island scenes:

Are there any paintings for sale that have the future potential of a Jackson Pollack or Willem deKooning painting? One never knows!

New York University is located in this area of Greenwich Village, and I took this photo as it's my daughter's undergraduate Alma mater, and I knew it would bring back some memories to her.

These beautiful old brownstones are located on Washington Square North. As Henry James wrote in his novel, Washington Square:

" This portion of New York appears to many people the most delectable. It has a kind of established repose which is not of frequent occurrence in other quarters of the long, shrill city; it has a riper, richer, more honorable look.... the look of having had something of a history."

The houses are now mainly owned by NYU, and used as university offices, but one can't help but imagine the days when they were the elegant townhouses of New York aristocrats in the early 1800's.

After enjoying all of the art work we decided to take a little rest in the park and stopped to buy water at one of the ubiquitous hot dog stands you can find on many NYC street corners.

How could we resist sharing this? There is nothing like a NYC soft pretzel with spicy brown mustard smeared on top!

Inside Washington Square Park a jazz quartet was practicing, and they filled the air with lovely music.
As you can see the park's in NYC are well used and well loved by locals. We had to search for a bench to sit on.

And when we did find a spot to sit we were entertained by this friendly local woman who told us she comes to the park every day to feed the squirrels. They came up to her and took the nuts right out of her hand! She told us she also belonged to a local organization put boxes in the trees for the squirrels to use for their nests and that they rescued orphan baby squirrels. It might seem surprising to see such kindness in what looks to be a big and sometime brusque city, but the New York I know and love is filled with such good hearted people.

Greenwich Village is a very unique and interesting neighborhood of New York City and I hope to blog many more times about it in the future.

It has an outstanding history of arts, culture and music with such notables that once lived and worked there such as the poets Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e.cummings, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsburg, playwright Eugene O'Neill, authors such as Willa Cather, John Reed, Henry James, Jack Kerouac, O. Henry, Sinclair Lewis and Edgar Allen Poe, painters such as the before mentioned Pollock and De Koonig, and Hopper, Sloan, Marcel Duchamp, musicians and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary and Buddy Holly.

The list could go on and on, and each time I visit I'll try to highlight a different part of the village and bring you more information about it.


Michelle said...

What a fun day! There is a lot of talent in this post..

I was lucky enough to go to NYC on a family vacation as a younster and I remember how yummy those pretzels were..


Beverly said...

I love going to outdoor art exhibits. I have a few items I have purchased over the years, too. It must be wonderful being surrounded by so much history.

Kathy said...

I feel like I am still there Pat.
We went all around this area on our bus tour but alas did not have time to jump off. I know I could spend a week just wandering around this area, those houses in GV are beautiful, I wonder if the NYU need any office staff?? how wonderful to work in "Offices" like that.
Even Renior sold paintings on street corners, some for less than 50 francs. I am always on the look out for a modern day Renior haha. Glad you had such a wonderful day. hugs, Kathy.

Mrs. B said...

Hi Pat! Another wonderful tour! I love art shows like that. We always try to buy some local art when we go on vacation. It all looks like a great way to spend a day!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Even though I am trying harder not to blog while at work, the second I saw you mentioned Jackson Pollock today, too, I had to race over, lol. :-) Great minds...

Another fabulous tour! I've never made it to that art show, but WOW, I have to try to some day. It looks fabulous.

I love that neighborhood. One of my first PR clients (when I was in my early 20s) lived in the row homes on the gated Washington Mews near the park and I remember being ecstatic when I had to drop something at her home. She was an old time jazz writer and I felt like I died and went to heaven when I stepped in her home, filled with NYC music memorabilia. Your post made me remember that day.

Fifi Flowers said...

WOW... how fun that art show looks! I need to ask my friend if she attended the show... she works at NYU. Beautiful neighborhood... LOVE those buildings!

Tara said...

Hi Pat

OK, so the art enhibit is next weekend, too? My son's college is right near Washington Square Park--guess who I am calling tonight to fill him in?? (He loves info from my NYC blogging friend!!)

You're super, Pat!


Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
I enjoyed reading your post and viewing your photos of the art exhibit! I'm really getting an education here...i didn't even realize Greenwich Village was part of Manhatten. I am pretty confused about the neighborhoods in NYC! LOL Guess I thought it was a neighborhood like Queens or Brooklyn.

We don't have too many outdoor art exhibits near here!

Thanks for checking on us throughout the hurricane! We made it throught without so much as a power blink. Today has been a little more scary...lots of tornado warnings and watches not too far from here.

Hope you have a wonderful day,

Donna said...

Oh what fun! I wish I could have been there. All that art, I get so inspired after going to an art show. I love the area around NYU, it's beautiful.

And, yum! Nothing like a soft pretzel with mustard!


steviewren said...

I wish I could have strolled alongside you and your husband enjoying the artwork and later the music and characters in the square. I loved the acrylics you pointed out, as well as the portraits.

Judy said...

Hi Pat, What a fun post. It reminded me of our July Cherry Creek Arts Festival that is so much fun. I'll have to post about it next summer. We enjoy going. Today really reminded me it was September because it was only 60. A nice fall day.

Cindy said...

Once again, thanks for the delightful tour. I'm drooling over all of the artwork. I swear, one day I'll make it to NYC!

Junie Moon said...

Art exhibits are such wonderful occasions. I love attending them and am so tickled you included a photo of some mermaid artworks.

Joanne Kennedy said...

You always have such fun things to go to.

I love to see the Brownstones.

I was going to ask you if you ever did the Sex in The City Tour? I love Sex in the City and have wanted to go on that.

I don't know if they would even have that anymore since it's now off the air.


M.Kate said...

Hello Pat,
Fantastic pictures!! It's like a big art gallery only outdoors, love all the pictures..cant even find a favourite one. Wow..I want to eat that pretzel..now :D Love that garden, must be so cool sitting there under those trees. To answer your question whether we are related to the couple, yes, on my husband's side, the groom's his cousin. Otherwise, i wont be attending 2 weddings :D Happy week ahead!

PS said...

My husband was born, raised and worked in NY.
I've been promised a trip to Coney Island..

Anyway thanks so much for your very kind compliments on my pics.



Hooked on Houses said...

Wow! Another fabulous post! I love learning about things like this. Wish I could've been there myself, but this is the next-best thing. Thanks, Pat! -Julia

Cori G. said...

HI Pat,
I've always wanted to visit Greenwich Village. Do you know how it got its name? The art exhibit looks like it had some great artists featured. Thanks for the tour. I'm looking forward to next week and just remembered that you love Lighthouses. San Diego has a charming little one way up on a hill. Remind me and we'll try to make sure and fit it in.
Have a wonderful day my friend.

dana said...

You just make my day when you post about your wonderful East Coast experiences! I would be in Art Show Heaven if I was able to stroll along and view those amazing works of art---on what looked to be the perfect weather day. Oh, then to have a New York pretzel--OMG!!! Did you buy any art?

Now, about the squirrels! That's another story here in the mid-west! Those little varments are not too welcome. They have a habit of invading attics! We even had one chew a PHONE WIRE and we lost service! They are cute--but we don't encourage them to hang around by feeding them ;-) One plus about having a newer home with tiny trees in the yard---we don't have squirrel problems (yet!) Dana Loved this post so much--even the squirrel part!

Judy said...

It looks like you had a fine long weekend to end the summer! Wonderful paintings...beautiful neighbourhoods to stroll...and sunshine as well. Thanks for taking us along on your city tour.

Rue said...

Hi Pat :)

The tour was wonderful, both of Brooklyn and of the village! I love looking at the different buildings in the areas around NY. It's amazing how different it is from one part to another.

My favorite is the storybook house on the other post. How cute is that?? :)


Barb said...

Hi Pat,

You had a jam packed day. It would be so difficult to choose what to buy from the street fairs. I think I would drive myself nuts trying to decide.

I used to love the carts outside the Gm building. Lauder corp is housed there and we would make the run.

Have a beautiful day.


Anonymous said...

What a nice day it looks like you had. The exhibit looks awesome! Wonderful scenes you captured for us. Thank you! I like the story of the woman who helps care for the squirrels.


Marina Capano said...

HI Pat!WOW, PERFECT POST! Nice exhibits !I have an award for you on my post today. The post is called Spring time. Please stop by and take it home. Have a lovely day. Marina

Marg said...

Whew, how do you get so much accomplished?
My first art exhibit was in Germany and I have learned to appreciate so much more the meaning of art.
It's so reflective.

sonia a.m. said...

Wow! I am glad I found your blog! You have a wonderful blog!

Lavinia said...

Toronto has a big outdoor art festival right in the heart of a downtown square...but this year it was rained out, I believe. I like those mermaid paintings, I would have been sorely tempted to pick one up...

Lisa B. said...

That was wonderful! I love outdoor art fairs. What a beautiful day you had! And it is so nice to see the city thru your eyes. It is so much more serene than what one usually sees.
I was once lost in NYC and came across an area called...I believe Saint Marks Square. I wonder if I'll ever see that neighborhood in one of your posts?

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Pat, Your always doing such fun things. I love doing outdoor art exhibits, and love all the different vendors with food of course! Your tours really show us just how awesome New York really is!Great job you're doing for your city!
Hugs to you!

Lisa B. said...

Ok, let me try that again...I believe it was Saint Marks Place in the East Village....I think that puts me in the right country! lol;D

aliceinparis said...

I would have LOVED to spend the day there!! What a great way to enjoy a day.Cheers, Shelagh

AliceT said...

I found your blog while doing Ireland research. Loved your Ireland trip so much I will give your link to my Irish genealogy group. But now your blog and pictures on the Washington Square Art Exhibit.....what memories this evokes for me. Around 40 years ago I was lucky enough to live in the West Village. Also, my Aunt and Uncle had an apartment at 2 Fifth Avenue which overlooked the park. Now I can time travel myself back into my youth because of you. Thanks so much.