Kissing at the New York Public Library

Tim and I went to the New York Public Library a couple weeks ago and saw the exhibit about its legendary Picture Collection.  It’s been the source of inspiration for myriad artists and writers over the past century — everyone from Andy Warhol to Diego Rivera sourced images through the library’s collection.

We pulled out a portfolio labeled “Kissing” — here, in honor of Valentine’s Day, are five of my favorites.


NYPL Kissing 5

Resolutions and Rivulets

Two years ago, at a New Year’s Day brunch in New York City, my partner Tim and I made a resolution:

Write a book.  Record an album.  Enjoy.

(Somewhere, there is a video of us resolving this.)

These weren’t resolutions we expected to accomplish in one year, but resolutions for our largest and most important goals as artists.  And for two years, they’ve been the guiding forces of our lives.

On New Year’s Day this year, we whiled away the entire day in Cambridge — first at Starbucks, perched above Harvard Square, then for several blissful book-browsy hours, at the Harvard Coop.  As I have done most days this year, I worked on my book.  And sitting looking out over the Square, I thought about those resolutions we made.

Tim’s album Rivulets was released today.  Five years in the making, Rivulets is his best work yet.  Dynamic new jazz compositions, filled with a sense of expansion and play.  Check it out:

Announcing Rivulets!

Rivulets is a dynamic album of new compositions from jazz pianist and composer Tim Peck. In support of this release, Tim Peck Trio will take Rivulets on tour in March, with anticipated tour stops in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Nashville, and other cities. Visit www.tpeck.com to learn more.

Building on the strengths of the trio’s 2007 release, Ms. Matched, Rivulets explores intersections between composed and improvised music in the trio format. By combining influences from modern jazz, contemporary classical, and international music genres, Rivulets creates a series of dynamic new vehicles for improvisation.

The members of Tim Peck Trio are in-demand musicians in the greater Boston jazz scene, and have performed with such musical luminaries as George Garzone, Bob Gullotti, Charlie Kohlhase, and Ben Schwendener. The trio has developed an engaging group sound, and Rivulets showcases its lyricism and conversational interplay.

Tim Peck Trio is Tim Peck, piano; Sean Farias, bass; Miki Matsuki, drums.

 purchase Rivulets on 
iTunes • Spotify • CD Baby • Bandcamp

Chrysler

When we stayed in New York this winter, our hotel had an amazing view of Chrysler Building, which has always been my favorite skyscraper.

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During our stay, I found myself thinking about the building’s numbers.  Seven arched tiers at the top.  Then the rays on each tier arrayed: one, three, three, five, five, five, eight.  These numbers feel elegant, like they carry their own rhythm, a numeric poem.  A riff on the Fibonacci Sequence,* which has long been one of the mathematic concepts that’s resonated with me most.  Three rays plus two tiers equals five rays.  Five rays plus three tiers equals the next tier’s eight.

I had never known about the connection between the Chrysler Building and Fibonacci before, and it was a pleasure to discover it for myself while lying in bed, watching the sunrise.

*A funny story about the Fibonacci Sequence: I first learned about it from Mathnet on PBS, when I must have been somewhere between 5 and 7 years old.  Detectives Monday and Frankly used the Fibonacci Sequence to solve a crime, and for me, the pattern has been imbued with a quality of mystery ever since.

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I love that this picture captures both the Chrysler Building and the small rooftop garden across the street from our hotel.  Large-scale and miniature testaments to beauty.

MoMA

Lean

Lean, MoMA

While I stopped in the MoMA lobby to draw up plans for my visit to its galleries, I was caught by this image of a fellow visitor standing by the window, glancing between his museum floorplan and the view outside.  I love the shape of the man and the statue, each leaning in their different ways.

Two Pieces at MoMA

A couple of weeks ago, I made it up to the MoMA in New York.  The MoMA is where I first fell in love with Cézanne’s landscapes back in the late 1990s.  I haven’t returned the museum since its renovation, and I had two pieces of artwork I was especially excited to see on this visit.

Pines and Rocks

The first was Cézanne’s Pines and Rocks, which is one of the landscapes that first drew me into a lifelong admiration for Cézanne.  I even wrote a paper on one of Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire landscapes when I was in graduate school.  But I hadn’t seen Pines and Rocks since my last visit to the MoMA, even though I remembered its impact on me and thought of it often in the intervening years.  After fifteen years, it was thrilling to be able to find this painting again.

Object

The second piece I really wanted to see was Méret Oppenheim’s Object.  This is actually one I had never seen in person before, but a professor showed a slide of it during an art history class I took in college, and I felt immediately drawn to Object.  I’ve kept a pretty low-quality print out from that slide presentation ever since then, just so I could have an image of it.  We actually had a pretty hard time finding this piece in the museum at first, and we went back through the gallery twice, determined to find it.  I was so happy to finally see Oppenheim’s tiny sculpture in person, and happy also to replace my grainy print out with a high-quality postcard image from the MoMA gift shop.

Has anyone else visited or revisited a beloved piece of artwork recently?