Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Supporting Communism Through Art: A Look at the 1930s Intersection of Politics and Art

"An old sailor snapped in Jackson Square, New Orleans"
by photographer Ben Shahn (1898-1969). For United States Resettlement Administration.
The 1930s were a tough time for society. In the aftermath of the devastation called World War I, the economic disaster known as the depression, and the geopolitical turmoil shaking the planet, it is no wonder that many artists were part of the movement to find a solution within the communist revolution.

Some of the best known of these communist supporting artists were Alice Neel, Stuart Davis and Ben Shahn. These artists, and others, often created art in the service of the cause of communism and the Communist Party, USA.

The ideology of communism preached that art needed to be freed from its formalist “bourgeois decadence.” Nevertheless, as a codeword for cubism, “formalism” still found its way into the work of these artists, in particular, Neel and Davis. These artists never completely sacrificed their artistic intelligence on the altar of political didacticism. To a lesser extent this was also true of their fellow artists, who are much less known.

The works of about twenty of these artists are now on display, including Neel, Davis and Shahn, at a new exhibition entitled “You Say You Want a Revolution: American Artists and the Communist Party,” at the Galerie St. Etienne, which takes a little explored look at this troubled time in history.

The Galerie St. Etienne is located at 24 West 57th Street. Entrance is free. 11am-5pm every Tuesday-Saturday until February 11, 2017.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Phoenix Ancient Art Bringing the Pantheon to the Armory for TEFAF New York Fall 2016

Teaming up with the Dutch expert stand-builder Stabilo, Phoenix Ancient Art will be presenting its exquisite collection of antiquities at the TEFAF New York Fall 2016 show within a re-creation of the great Pantheon of Rome.

Phoenix's Display Booth Design Brings to Mind the Roman Pantheon
The unique Phoenix Pantheon booth will be appearing at the Park Avenue Armory for the TEFAF show from October 22-26, and will include a vaulted dome ceiling and a central oculus which will light up the space. Phoenix’s Pantheon is not only meant to display the great art which the antiquities dealer is showcasing, but to bring to mind Hadrian, the great Roman Emperor, who was noted not only as emperor, but also as a patron of the arts and as an architect in his own right.

Co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art Hicham Aboutaam explained his own admiration and fascination with the Pantheon.

“I never miss an opportunity to visit and experience the Pantheon whenever I am in Rome,” he said.

“The inspiration of this domed temple, a unique masterwork of architecture, lies not only in its perfect form and unparalleled preservation, but also in the embodiment of the spirit of the Classical world seen in all of its ancient glory -- all the more remarkable as it is still visible in our own time.”

Phoenix is creating their booth version of the Pantheon as the perfect display case for the ancient artwork from their collection which were inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.

Hadrian was an admirer of Greek culture, which the Roman Empire engulfed and incorporated into its own culture approximately 2,000 plus years ago. His favorite artwork was Roman pieces which were inspired by the great Greek works of the Classical Period. Hadrian’s tastes influenced a style which came to be known later as Hadrianic Classicism.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Destroyed Arch Given Second Life Using Modern Technology

Hadrian Gate of Ancient Palmyra. Photo by O.Mustafin
Using modern technology, a 1,800 year-old Roman arch destroyed by Isis last year made a triumphant re-appearance in the heart of New York City’s financial district.

In May 2015, after the extremist terrorist organization ISIS captured the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, they began a campaign of destruction, including destroying precious ancient artefacts and murder. In August 2015 ISIS beheaded the famous antiquities scholar of Palmyra, Khaled al-Asaad, after he refused to tell his captors where valuable artefacts from the city were moved to for safe-keeping.

In October of 2015 the extremists blew up Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph, but that did not stop some from fighting back in an extraordinary way. A team of archaeologists from Oxford University’s Institute for Digital archaeology (IDA) was determined to recreate the arch.

Using photographs of the original arch, the reproduction is two-thirds the original size and was built from Egyptian marble using 3D technology.

Before its arrival in front of New York’s City Hall, the 11-tonne arch was first on display at London’s Trafalgar Square last April. It is scheduled to move to Dubai after spending one proud week in New York.

With its close proximity in space to the World Trade Center Memorial, and in time to the recent Chelsea bombing which injured 29 people, the arch is certainly a symbol of man’s triumph over evil.
“It is our hope that the arch, itself an icon of destruction and rebirth, will remind visitors of both the universality of suffering and the indomitable human capacity to rebuild what has been lost,” said the Executive Director of the IDA, Roger Michael.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Blockchain Accounting Consortium Under Consideration

The main chain (black) consists of the longest series of blocks from the genesis block (green) to the current block. Orphan blocks (purple) exist outside of the main chain. Illustration courtesy of Wikipedia.
Four of the country’s largest accounting firms met in New York City to discuss the possibility of creating a distributed ledger consortium.

The meeting was held at Microsoft’s headquarters in NYC with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and blockchain specialists from Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC. Together these “Big Four” firms had $123.7 billion in revenue last year.

The format of the meeting will be a series of roundtable discussions discussing hot the accounting industry can work together to develop new blockchain standards.

Hosting the meeting is the startup Consensys, an ethereum-focused company. The head of blockchain accounting at Consensys, Griffin Anderson, who helped organize the meeting, said that the goal of the meeting is to identify precisely how a blockchain can help companies to do their job more efficiently, no matter which network they may decide to use.

"We are bringing together accounting blockchain industry experts to explore and to determine the value of a joint accounting and blockchain industry consortium," said Anderson.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Just Say Abracadabra!

Do you love when things just disappear? Or appear out of thin air? Are you a Harry Potter fan? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should rush down to Tannen’s Magic Shop, the oldest magic store in New York City.

And just how old is old, you might ask? Well, it’s not quite as old as the city itself, but still, how many shops do you know of that will be having their 100th birthday in a mere ten years? That’s what I thought.
In its new location in Herald Square, a visit to this shop is a study in mind-bending beauty. The products are many and varied, such as invisible paint, “pure smoke,” multiplying billiard balls, and lots, lots more. For your convenience they are organized into intriguing categories, such as: cigarette magic, coin magic, dove magic, knife magic, and onward.

The shop has served the needs of every famous, and not so famous, New York magician for these past 90 years. You can count on the proprietors of Tannen’s to show you what you need to know about each trick- but only if you are a real, or at least in-training magician.

Want to learn the “tricks of the trade?” Tannen’s can arrange that via magic camp and classes. Located just down the hall from the Flosso-Hornman-Martinka store, where the great Harry Houdini used to reside as president, just a visit to Tannen’s will make you feel magical.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Explore the Secret New York

In a city of millions there are some off-the-beaten-track attractions to inflame the imagination. Here is a quite short list of some of the more fascinating, less known places worth visiting around New York.


This is barely big enough to be called a room, let alone a museum. Nevertheless, consider a visit to this freight elevator turned display case which houses the “overlooked, dismissed, or ignored” items of the world. Created by filmmakers Alex Kalman and Benny and Josh Safdie, and sponsored by Kate, Andy, and Bea Spade, the space, which can hold three bodies at a time, holds rotating and permanent collections. Expect to see such oddities as the shoe that was thrown at George W. Bush at the Minister’s Palace in Baghdad; a hot water coil heater from Kaunus in Lithuania, and a plastic glove from Paradise Valley in Montana.
The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), at 11 East 26th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, across from Madison Square Park in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was chartered in 2009 and opened its doors in 2012. It is the only museum in North America dedicated solely to mathematics. Photo by Beyond My Ken.

Dream House

In 1993 modern composer La Monte Young created this work in collaboration with visual artist Marian Zazeela as the end result of 40 years of work together. (They are also married to each other.) You enter the Dream House through a black door on Church Street in Tribeca where you will experience constantly changing soundwaves accompanied by neon pink light reflections. Zazeela explains: “together, the sound and light can be experienced as a new form, or new media: the sound and light environment. The experience of the two mediums together as one requires a new, or at least different, mode of attention.”

Museum of Mathematics

Also known as MoMath, this museum is unique as it deals with a subject most people just talk about, but never really see. Opened in 2012 after the Long Island Goudreau Museum of Mathematics shut its doors, the goal is to give people a sensory experience of what mathematical abstractions might look like or behave like in the real world. The museum will open your eyes as to how math shapes our everyday lives, including architecture, technology and art.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Anchin Block & Anchin:Tips for Tax Savings

According to experts, including the professionals at New York accounting firm Anchin Block & Anchin, many people, perhaps most, do not take all the deductions that they are entitled to.

About two-thirds of all taxpayers do get a refund from the IRS, yet, that check could be bigger if some of the following easy-to-miss deductions are not taken.

Did you get a new job, and did it require you to relocate? If so, you may be entitled to a deduction. Here’s how it works: If you needed to move over 50 miles for your new job, you can get a deduction for the moving expenses, including the gasoline and moving van. Richard Baum of Anchin Block & Anchin says that even if you are just starting your career this rule applies.
“Moving expenses for someone’s first job are deductible,” says Anchin CPA and partner Baum.
Anchin experts also point to the Earned Income Credit. This credit is huge, but only about 20 percent of eligible taxpayers take it. It is for low to moderate income earners, but many of these families don’t realize that their income falls underneath the qualifying limit. In 2015 families with three children could earn up to $53,267 and claim the credit, while single parents with one child can earn up to $39,131 and claim the credit. Even better, the earned income credit is a refundable credit, meaning that you can get those big tax credit amounts even if you have no tax liability.