Daily Archives: October 23, 2009

Hiding in plain sight: Picasso in New York City

Picasso 2

This giant version of Picasso's "Bust of Sylvette" sits in the midst of three NYU towers in Manhattan's West Village.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

If you are a New York University alumnus, you probably know that there’s a huge reworking of a Picasso sculpture in the courtyard of Silver Towers (University Village) on Bleecker Street, just south of Washington Square Village. But if you’re not, you probably haven’t noticed it, even if you’ve walked along the block many times.Picasso 1

It’s an enlargement of Pablo Picasso‘s “Bust of Sylvette” (1934), executed on a huge scale by in 1967 Norwegian sculptor Carl Nesjär.

It’s not exactly a secret, but unless you live there or spend a lot of time in the neighborhood, you might have missed it. It’s not obvious from the street, as trees have grown over the years to block the view.

But the open courtyard amid the three 32-story towers (mostly used for NYC faculty housing) is a beautiful little space for the rather surprising artwork.

I’ve seen the gigantic work many times, but only recently was moved to stop and investigate it and take a few photos. It provides a moment of surprise and delight in an otherwise rather antiseptic and soulless modernist space.

Be sure to check it out the next time you’re in the neighborhood.

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The Bongos at Maxwell’s

The Bongos at Maxwell's. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

The Bongos at Maxwell's. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

If you didn’t go see The Bongos at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last night, you missed a magical evening. The band was tight and very much into performing for a (surprisingly light) hometown crowd. You have another chance to see Richard Barone, James Mastro, Rob Norris and Frank Giannini tonight at Hiro Ballroom in Manhattan, where they’re performing a CMJ show.

The Bongos' set list at Maxwell's.

The Bongos' set list at Maxwell's.

They played two solids sets, performing just about every song in their catalogue — which isn’t huge, since they only recorded two full albums and one EP in their 1980s heyday. But they played every one of them with great joy and energy. Plus, they threw in a couple of covers and a couple of their own songs that were never released.

They were joined by Dennis Kelly, who played synthesizer in the band’s early days, and Nick Celeste, a singer and guitarist who worked with Richard on his first post-Bongos project, Cool Blue Halo, in 1987.

Check out more photos of last night’s show after the jump.

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