This week: Neil Welliver, Workshop performances & more.
“Neil Welliver: Paintings and Prints” at Alexandre Gallery (through June 29): In the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, the state of Maine became a second home to a number of modernist painters who defied convention and continued to paint figuratively in an age of abstraction. Among these artists were luminaries such as Lois Dodd, Alex Katz, and Fairfield Porter, but another (albeit perhaps less popularly known) painter who responded to Maine’s rural landscape with lyrical intensity was Neil Welliver. Trained by abstractionists (his teachers at Yale included Josef Albers and Burgoyne Diller), Welliver began making “realistic” pictures of the landscape that nonetheless captured the essence of all-over painting. At Alexandre Gallery (which also represents Dodd) through the end of this month is an exhibition of Welliver’s paintings and prints, which expertly capture the crisp light of Maine, as well as the sense of calm and isolation that arises with prolonged stays in those northern woods. —AS
“The Golden Age” by Ray Chen (Decca): As the concert season winds down, we have a minute to take stock of some of the spring’s latest albums. This week, I’m listening to a new release by an old buddy, Ray Chen, a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth competition and one of the most sought-after young violinists on the circuit today. His new album, appropriately titled “The Golden Age,” is a real throw-back, featuring classics of the chestnut genre that I like to call “violin-music.” A healthy mix of serious and schlock, the new disc places Bruch’s G-minor Violin Concerto alongside Kreisler standards such as “Syncopation” and “Schön Rosmarin,” as well as favorite Heifetz encores like “Estrellita” and “Summertime.” Ray is a terrific player, and brings sparkling wit to every item in this charming release. —ECS
Workshop Performances at the School of American Ballet (June 2, 4): With graduation season comes the spring performance cycle of our schools of ballet. Last week, in New York, it was the students of Darla Hoover’s Ballet Academy East with a four-performance run at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, which included the rapturous “From A to M” by guest choreographer Alan Hineline. This Saturday and Monday, the students of the School of American Ballet present their Workshop Performance at Lincoln Center’s Peter Jay Sharpe Theater. At the school built by Balanchine, advanced students will perform his Source and Western Symphony, as well as Circus Polka by SAB co-founder Jerome Robbins. In Creases, a 2012 work by SAB’s phenom alum Justin Peck, will also make its Workshop debut. —JP
“The Roots of Radiant Heating” at the General Society Library (June 5): One of the new luxury amenities so sought after by home buyers is underfloor heating, which promises to heat the body without heating the air—brilliant for cold New York winters. But this feature isn’t so new at all. In fact, the Romans pioneered the technology with hypocausts, which used tile stacks and concrete layers to create radiant heat. Though hypocausts are described in Vitruvius, Western architects and builders couldn’t recreate the technology until 1911, when the Royal Liver Building, in Liverpool, England, was built with 119,000 square feet of radiant walls. Tomorrow Dan Holohan, a heating scholar and enthusiast, will detail the history of radiant heating at the General Society Library. —BR
“Cezanne Portraits: A Conversation” at Albertine Bookstore (June 5): On Tuesday at the estimable Albertine Bookstore, John Elderfield and Mary Morton will sit down to discuss the portraits of Paul Cézanne. Together, Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, and Morton, the Head of the Department of French Paintings at the National Gallery of Art, curated “Cézanne Portraits,” an ongoing exhibition at the National Gallery of Art (which our own Karen Wilkin reviewed for The New Criterion’s May issue). This evening of conversation between two heavy hitters of French art scholarship, free and open to the public, is not to be missed. Also at Albertine this week is the Award Party Ceremony for the annual Albertine Prize Award. The winning book will be announced at the event, which is also free and open to the public. —AS
From the archive:“The James cult,” by Joseph Epstein (October 2012). On the work of Henry James, and his loyal following.
From the current issue:“The future of classicism” by Clive Aslet. On the state and prospect of classical architecture.