Monday, June 21, 2004

Mad for ‘Mod’igliani



“Beyond the Myth - Modigliani”, showing at the Jewish Museum through September 19 (located at 92nd street and 5th avenue, (www.jewishmuseum.org), is the first major Manhattan show to highlight the works of Amedeo Modigliani, and as a result, has garnered much attention. It has also been the subject of many recent articles in newspapers and magazines. The handsome, enigmatic, Northern Italian born Sephardic Jew, who lead a short, tragic and highly romanticized life, is known for his drawings, sculpture, and especially, his paintings of women, that are moody, expressive, iconic, AND instantly recognizable - befitting a legend. As one Times on line reporter said, “Mention Modigliani and you evoke before the viewer an immediate parade of slope-shouldered, long-necked, neomedieval madonnettes, flickering weakly like the final moments of a candle”.

And in an article written by Mel Gussow for the Arts section of The New York Times on June 2, he recounted the reaction of passersby upon spotting the Modigliani catalogue tucked under his arm - he was immediately besieged by strangers wanting to know where the exhibit was. He also mentioned that due to the overwhelming reaction and demand, the museum decided to extend the hours to “accommodate unexpected crowds.” By the way, like all interesting, romantic and tragic ‘legends’ Amedeo will soon be honored with a movie about his life, with the leading character played by Andy Garcia.

As someone who studied art history in college, I was always taken with the evocative images of Modigliani, and look forward to seeing the show for myself. While few of us can afford an original Modigliani, we CAN afford one of the many souvenirs emblazoned with images of some of his most identifiable works that are currently being sold in conjunction with the exhibit at both Jewish Museum Gift Shops – the one located at the Jewish Museum, and at the Jewish Community Center (334 Amsterdam Avenue, located between 75th and 76th streets, 646- 5055730).

The well-priced and appealing items are not only wonderful keepsakes but make for the perfect gift - and we ALL need gifts for graduations, weddings, birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs, etc. Some of them also make a thoughtful gift when you are visiting someone’s home this summer, and lest we forget, Christmas and Chanukah are not that far away.

Included among the offerings are a beautiful picture book ($50), calendar ($13.95), mini magnets ($12.95), leather luggage tag ($18), leather bookmark ($7.95), credit card holder ($30), boxed note cards ($14.95), and several reproductions ($30 - $40). There is a handbag and a cosmetic case, and some jewelry - including a flexible bracelet and a pendant. But, my favorite group is the bold and graphic pins (and we all know how ‘of the moment’ pins are). Set in metal and done in square and rectangular shapes, they are so reasonable ($45) that my suggestion would be to buy at least three- and wear them in a cluster if you really want to make a statement.

Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

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