Posts Tagged ‘phoebe snow’

Culture Vulture: Saturday afternoon at MOMA 1-23-21

January 26, 2021

Last week’s expedition to the Metropolitan Museum was so nourishing that Andy and I decided to hit the Museum of Modern Art Saturday afternoon. The big show I had my eye on was Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented, which I understood to be largely centered on Russian Constructivism. I did my best to fill Andy in on what I could remember about Mayakovsky and Malevich, the politics of Constructivism and its aesthetic relationship to Cubism, which all turned out to be pretty accurate. But the show also includes art and artists associated with the Dada movement (the subject of my only visual art class in college), including the great Kurt Schwitters.

The MOMA show also undertook the mission of spotlighting how this movement welcomed women artists, thinkers, and creators, including the likes of Fre Cohen, a name new to me.

The atrium currently hosts a bunch of beautiful, whimsical, enormous sculptures by Korean artist Haegue Yang that look vaguely like animals and/or robots, each one on wheels and covered with tiny bells. At scheduled intervals, art handlers come out and move the sculptures around so viewers can hear them jingle-jangle-jingle. We didn’t get to hear them but I’d go back just for that.

I like how MOMA is cycling through its permanent collection, bringing out stuff that is rarely seen. I enjoyed this Martin Kippenberger piece that inevitably invites life to imitate art and a huge Seth Price wall piece whose ideal form is a PDF you can download online at home.

We sat and watched some of Cao Fei’s fascinating film Whose Utopia, a documentary about a light-bulb factory in China.

In the first-floor lobby, we enjoyed Philippe Parreno’s Echo, especially the overhead piece near the 54th Street exit.

After this visual feast, we went home, made dinner, and I found myself giving Andy a multimedia introduction to Phoebe Snow, about whom he declared, “She was the real deal!”

Good stuff online

May 10, 2011

Adam Nagourney’s piece on Jerry Brown in the New York Times Sunday Magazine renewed my long-held respect and admiration for the governor of California (below). He has exemplary personal integrity, and he walks his talk.

photo by Douglas Adesko for the NY Times

My friend and colleague Glenn Berger is now a hard-working and successful psychotherapist in Manhattan and a family man raising two kids with his wonderful wife, Sharon. His first career, however, was in the music business, where he got his start as a recording engineer with the legendary record producer Phil Ramone. Glenn is an excellent writer with energy and ambition to burn, and he has lately started to write detailed reminiscences of his time in the rock ‘n’ roll trenches, chapters of what I hope will be a full book. After his fascinating account of being in the studio with Bob Dylan for his landmark Blood on the Tracks album, Glenn has surpassed himself with a piece commemorating the recently departed Phoebe Snow, whose great first album was also the first project he completed as Ramone’s assistant. The essay gives a great eyewitness account of the recording sessions, with shrewd musical analysis and knowledgeable contextual background, but Glenn also steps back and considers Phoebe as a person and what she meant to her fans (including himself). The piece left me in tears.

R.I.P.: Phoebe Snow

April 26, 2011

Sad news today about the death of the extraordinary pop-jazz singer Phoebe Snow.

Like many people, I loved her music since her first album, which came out in 1974. I saw her in concert once or twice in Boston, and then when I moved to New York City as a busy and ambitious freelance journalist, I interviewed her for an article for Rolling Stone. The story never ran, because the album the story was tied to got shelved. But I had hit it off really well with Phoebe, so I proposed to do a profile of her for Esquire. It was my first foray into long-form magazine journalism — I spent months researching and writing the piece, and it was a landmark for me. The article got a lot of attention. (You can read it online here.)  It was the beginning of my long relationship with Adam Moss, who was still a junior editor at Esquire before becoming the wunderkind of the NYC magazine world. And I got to hang out with Phoebe Snow for hours and hours. She was really fun and funny, touching and vulnerable and not a little bit crazy. I would see her periodically over the years, socially and in concert. I was very sad to learn last year that she’d had a serious stroke, and today marks the end of an era.

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