The newly opened Native Fashion Now at the National Museum of the American Indian, formerly the Alexander Hamilton U. S. Customs House, celebrates the innovative talents of Native American designers. Both haute couture and street styles are represented in this exhibition divided into six themes: pushing beyond, wearable art, path breakers, revisitors, activators, and provacateurs.
Before entering the exhibition, I paused to admire the Beaux Arts entry and the Rotunda exemplifying the importance of New York as a port city and leader of commerce. Cass Gilbert is responsible for the design of the building, vaulted arched ceilings by Raphael Guastavino. The skylight is one of the largest ” free standing” oculi windows in the world. The murals on the ceiling depicting navigation and European explorers were added three decades later by Reginald Marsh for the WPA.
Seventy works of Native concepts of beauty and dress are displayed in a plethora of spacious rooms each with a specific theme. I especially enjoyed the Convergence section where cultural exchange is quite evident.
Before you leave be sure and peruse the Ceramica De Los Ancestros, Circle of Dance, and the Infinity of Nations’ 700 masterworks of the Native peoples of North, Central, and South America.
Admission to the museum is free as are the daily tours offered. The piece de resistance is that this world-class museum is open 365 days a year!
Park lovers – the restoration of the North Woods in Central Park is now complete and awaits man and beast! Renewing and sustaining this gorgeous woodland was a priority for the Central Park Conservancy. It included removing sediment accumulation, improving wooden rustic bridges, stone steps, and curved paths. I especially love the new wooden path across The Ravine between two waterfalls.
Two evocative arches are the gateways to this stunning landscape – Glen Span Arch(southern entrance) and Huddlestone Arch (north end). Sauntering through its winding paths, you will encounter snags (fallen trees) which have become “nurse logs” providing homes to animals and nutrients to plants, and a raw beauty to the overall surroundings. Birdwatchers and hikers alike are keen on frequenting this idyllic spot.
Check out the free guided tours offered and the Woodland Discovery Programs on the Central Park Conservancy (CPC) website.
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Whether you are a fan of ballet or not, Hippo Ballerina, at Dante Park across from Lincoln Center is sure to catch your eye. After all she is bronze, over fifteen feet tall, and weighs in at two and a half tons!
This is part of an art installation by Danish sculptor, Bjorn Okholm Skaarup, in cooperation with NYC Parks. Known for his bronze sculptures of animals, they appear to take on human qualities. Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and Fantasia’s dancing hippos will surely come to mind.
Craving more of this whimsical artist’s creations? Then, pop over to Cavalier Gallery on 3 West 57th Street right around the corner from Van Cleef & Arpels. Bronze Creatures Great and Small from all over the world will greet you on the fourth floor of the gallery. Be sure and take in the collection of colored engraved etchings of cleverly dressed birds in iconic historical settings. My favorite was the Italian Sparrow dressed in a Trojan headpiece perched in front of the Colosseum in Rome.
Hope you get the opportunity to visit Skaarup’s whimsical creatures. They will be on view at Cavalier Gallery through March 17, 2017.