Sunday 22 September 2013

PARK AVENUE ARMORY and Lauren Flanigan

This huge one block square 1880s historic building had been grossly neglected for many years. Used for Art Fairs embellished with Picassos and 6 ft high floral arrangements it looked OK till u went to leave yr coat. In the cloakrooms the plaster peeled, leaks leaked and damp & dust covered the walls.

Named among the World's 100 Most Endangered Sites, by 2007 this central NYC edifice was being transformed via a $200m "revitalization." Already the vast 55,000 sq ft central hall has seen multimedia art events by Ann Hamilton, Boltanski & a memorable huge video environment by Ikeda, (Japanese artist not Ikea!) plus Merce Cunningham Dance, NY Philharmonic, next comes The Life & Death of Marina Abramovic,, premiered at Manchester's Festival 2011, and Kenneth Branagh's staging of Macbeth.
I wish there was more art and less performance but given the size of the space... see my big piece on the Armory in State magazine for 2011.

This week a 15 million dollar gift has restored one of the famous American Aesthetic style period rooms, which will be used for recitals, and maybe art installations. (The Tiffany room is already done.)  For Europeans it's not much to shout about but in the US it's architecturally important. With its 19th century proportions, the room has great acoustics - proved on Thursday by the wonderful award winning Lauren Flanigan who sang newly discovered Kurt Weill songs. She has performed with the Met Opera, La Scala & Glyndebourne etc etc & can do jazz, opera and anything u care to name.  I don't even like opera - but she was entrancing.

The room looked OK too! Architects are Herzog & de Meuron. herzog de meuron nyc They hope the main space will become  the NY equivalent of Tate's Turbine Hall. 

My bad pix of Lauren and her pianist Ricky Gordon - but better than nothing.


  1. Lesley Main commented on her post.
    Lesley wrote: "Fantastic Clare. Read some just now and will continue later . What a huge loss for Scotland and the rest of Britain- in fact Europe ( when you think about all the exhibitions and artists you wrote about, helped and encouraged before you left for your expanding career in New York . We all miss you terribly but glad that everything is good in NY . It will be a great delight to be able now to follow you blog - Hopefully others who are in need of understanding more will be able to tap in too. Thanks Clare for posting - it's super - makes me feel you're back in good old Glasgow