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Wild Ideas

Originally Posted: January 10, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

Leave it to "Bravura Boys" to get folks talking - and sharing some wild ideas to boot!
Saturday Leonard Barton and his associate Jeff Katz continued their series of quirky but highly informative exhibitions that look back to reference the now, with Rorschach: Draw Your Own Conclusions at Bravura Art and Objects on Nugent Street in Southampton.

Leonard Barton, Lauren Ezersky and Jeffrey Katz at Bravura. Photo by Katrina Lovett

Just before the holidays, they presented the controversial but prescient abstract surrealistic paintings of Nahun Tschacbasov including the powerful Madonna and Child with gasmasks which followed a '60s hearkening show of vintage and contemporary Scandinavian textiles that fueled our Marimekko peace and love reveries. Now psychoanalytical ink blot tests from 1921 by Hermann Rorschach who revolutionized the early days of psychoanalysis fill the walls and the front windows.

Before guests even walked into the gallery, they were mesmerized by the images in the windows which urged viewers to draw their own conclusions about the pictures, much like cloud watching on a clear day. The guessing games had begun.

Inside, viewers with clipboards and forms provided by Jeff were furiously scribbling their interpretations of the twenty images, two sets of ten each, one right side up, the other upside down. We "know" for sure that one was a picture of two Scottish Terriers high-fiving each other but someone standing next to us saw a completely different image - one too prurient for us to print!

Despite the plans for a totally anonymous survey, there was much clipboard sharing drawing gales of laughter and a chorus of "Shame, shame, shame" at some of the bawdier suggestions. On a more serious note, Barton had complimented the Rorschachs with a series of contemporary Asian and American artists including surrealistic photographs by Sag Harbor's Alex Vignoli which we saw with fresh eyes after our Rorschach test.

Fashionable scribe Lauren Ezersky, Sculptor Ryan Bollman, artist Danielle Franz, Rick Friedman and Cindi Lou Wakefield were among those not afraid to reveal their inner most views.

Back in December 2006, the Consul General of Brazil José Alfredo Graça Lima and his wife Marisa rolled out the red carpet at the Brazilian Ambassador's Residence to welcome the friends of the Bronx Museum of the Arts and celebrate their wildly successful show Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture. The exhibit opened last month when Mayor Bloomberg cut the ribbon on the museum's spectacular new $19 million building. "The Bronx Museum of the Arts has put the "grand" back in the "Grand Concourse." he said.

Letícia Birkheuer, Daniel Urzedo, and Lenny Niemeyer at the Bronx Museum of the
Arts. Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

Tropicália, curated by Carlos Basualdo and Lydia Yee, is the first comprehensive exhibition exploring one of the most significant chapters in the world's modern cultural history. It was the late 1960s, when daring experiments in Brazilian art, music, film, architecture and theater converged under the leadership of well known pop stars Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. The Tropicália moment produced a counterculture that has influenced generations of artists up to the present day including David Byrne.

Mark Stevens in New York Magazine says, "Tropicália's desire to assert the marginal against the powerful is something that, in our culture, should never go out of style. New York is itself a city of tension between center and edge. The Brazilians of Tropicália would be proud, I think, to show in the Bronx."

Holland Carter in The New York Time says, "Tropicália, or Tropicalism, wasn't a style or a movement as much as an atmosphere, a rush of youthful, cosmopolitan, liberationist optimism that broke over Brazil like a sun shower and soaked into everything: art, music, fashion, film, theater, literature."

The reception, complete with Brazilian hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, was organized by Hamptons residents Michèle Gerber Klein and Alina Slonim. The drinks made with caçacha (described by natives as a wild mix of tequila and rum made from the heart of the sugar cane plant) was provided by Beleza Brazil, represented by Olie and Marcia Berlic. The party attracted the best Brazilians and Brazilophiles in town including: painter Francesco Clemente; I 20 Gallery's Alice and Paul Judelson; Simone Klabin; fashion designer Lenny Niemeyer; Letícia Birkheuer, the 7th richest Brazilian fashion model who was discovered while playing volleyball, was declared the most beautiful model in the world by Giorgio Armani and is now studying acting at The New York Film Academy; Paige Powell; Curious Picture's Joao Amorim, the son of the Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim; Brazilian Deputy Consuls Marcelo Ramos Araujo and Evaldo Freire and cultural attaché Edvania Leite; IM Pei's daughter-in-law Beatrice Pei; Patrick Martinez; China Machado with Ricardo Rosa; Gilberto Gil's gorgeous daughter Isabela Gil, who is following in his footsteps with her music; J.P. Demasi; Nessia Pope; Sergio Bessa; Felicia Taylor with Alexandre Salia; Paul Beirne; Daniel Urzedo; James Sheeran; Mariana and Elia Zois; Claudia Calirman; Antonio Negreiros; Vogue's Grazia D'Annunzio; Gilberto Klein; The Marlborough Gallery's Janis Cecil; Ricardo Ortiz; Charlie Scheips, whose book "Andy Warhol: The Day the Factory Died has taken off at the bookstores; Annabella and Alberto Mariaca, and The Scenic Group's Simon Watson.

Representing the Museum was its Executive Director Holly Block and Trustees R. Douglass Rice, Elliot Brownstein, Allen Duan and Ruth Corn Roth with her husband Gordon Roth. Board President Bob Perez thanked the Graça Limas and praised Brazilian art. "We have never seen so many people at the museum since the opening of the new building and this show. They are coming to see art, great art and especially great Brazilian art. We picked the right show at the right time," he said.

The Consul General was charming. He reminisced about meeting Gilberto Gil and singing a couple of songs with him years ago. Why not fly down to Rio, Sao Paulo or Bahia or if that is a little too ambitious, just take the B, D or 4 Train to the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Tropicália is up through January. ¡É maravilhoso!

Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer

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