Animal Magnetism

Robert Wilson : Snow Owl, 2006

1. Went to Doug Christmas’s Ace Gallery to see Robert Wilson: Voom Portraits. I have never been a fan of his theatrical pieces, but I liked this very much.
At first I thought they were photographs, but on closer inspection I saw the works were videos. Wilson utilized plasma screens [Voom] which have incredible definition and color. Not unlike the Warhol “screen tests” where the participants were positioned in front of a 16mm camera and told not to move or blink for several minutes, Wilson’s seemingly static images breath, blink, and some, after time, make big movements. Many pieces are influenced by images of photographers like Helmut Newton, George Hurrell, and one is a direct interpretation of Steichen‘s famous photo of Garbo holding her head in her arms.

Garbo by Steichen

Wilson videotaped trendy stars and aging society women but the very best are the animals! They can’t be directed and their impulses are always perfect. PANTHER, PORCUPINE, SNOW OWL & TOADS. The scale of the gallery, which is in an old Deco skyscraper on the Miracle Mile, and the sheer number of works is impressive. It runs through April.

2. Barbara Allen is a person I have know for a long time, although I never knew her well. She was a tall coltish beauty w/ an exotic Eurasian look. Always very nice, she seemed somewhat fragile. When she began a serious affair w/ Phillip Niarchos, the young (then) heir to a Greek mega-fortune (currently well-known as father of Stavros Niarchos III, beau of Paris Hilton) Barbara became the quintessential Seventies jet-setter. Phillip & Barbara broke up and she later married a wealthy, much older man, Henryk de Kwiatkowski. For no obvious reason Barbara de Kwiatkowska recently agreed to be profiled in the NY Observer. This is the result–Barbara of Beekman Place.