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Batman Returns

My fiancé and I live in Chelsea, known to many as the art gallery epicenter of New York City. Peppering the sidewalks like haphazard splashes of paint on a Pollock canvas, there are almost 350 concurrent exhibitions at any given time. Some Saturdays, with no plan in mind, we meander the avenues neighboring the Hudson River and walk from 20th street until 25th. One such day in February, 2012 we stumbled upon Petzel Gallery.

The Walkup / Petzel Gallery The Walkup / Petzel Gallery

Anarchy, animation, trash, charcoal, linen and the world of a deranged evil villain collide in the gallery.

The Walkup / Petzel Gallery

Batman Returns, the show by artist Joyce Pensato ran from January 12 – February 25, 2012. Pensato, is an artist born, raised and currently working in Brooklyn. Her proximity to Gotham is not lost on me. “Batman” is a motif that first appeared in Pensato’s drawings as early as the mid-1970’s. “I was resisting working with the traditional still life — apples and pears and all that crap,” she says. Something clicked when she first sketched the caped crusader. “I just fell in love with Batman. I think it was the ears.

The Walkup / Petzel Gallery

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My Engagement!

On October 20, 2012 Michael secretly planned to propose to Keren (me) in an art gallery in Chelsea, NYC.  He wanted to celebrate my love of art and our many memories walking through museums and exhibitions together. Mike and I first moved into an apartment together almost two years ago, and our apartment felt like a home once we began collecting art. I also have vivid memories of our many vacations and the museums in cities we visited – learning about Surrealism at the Vancouver Art Gallery! Learning about the Medici’s at the Musée Maillol in Paris! Watching performance art at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid! We live and explore each other through cultural experience.

Yolanda Sanchez, Wherever you are is Called Here, 2012

Yolanda Sanchez, Wherever you are is Called Here, 2012. Oil on canvas, 48 x 96 in.

Yolanda Sanchez, The Absent Mirror, 2012

Yolanda Sanchez, The Absent Mirror, 2012. Oil on canvas, 52 x 42 in.

None of the galleries would allow Michael to rent their space. Some would not allow food near the canvases and others did not have the date available. Feeling dismayed, Mike vented to his local tailor and stylist Casey Bickley, from Michael Andrews Bespoke, during a pants hemming.

What kismet! Casey knew of a fellow whose mom owned a gallery and pulled some strings. Kathryn Markel Fine Arts agreed to the surprise. With the help of Alex, one of my fiance’s best friends from undergrad, Michael bought easels and interspersed pictures of Keren and Michael’s travels between the original paintings by Yolanda Sanchez, whose work was showing at the time.

Keren thought she was going to a work event until Michael started getting irrationally nervous. Michael sweated through his shirt and had to change before the event. He also could not even answer the most basic questions relating to the work event, “where is the event?”; “who is hosting the evening?” She knew something was up only moments before the big reveal when Michael started shaking (erratically) in the elevator. It was endearing.

Walking into the pristine, white space, Keren noticed that the entire room was empty and filled with photos of the couple. It took me a few moments to make sense of the scene – for a split second she thought that the artist had created an exhibition about her! Michael got down on one knee (uttered a beautifully prepared speech) and proposed surrounded by paintings by Sanchez for her work Meditations on the Between (press release can be found here). Thank goodness I was wearing something vaguely fancy and had recently been convinced to get a manicure! Had I known about the surprise, I probably would have dressed a wee bit differently, knowing how many photos I was about to be thrust into!

Mike and Keren Wedding Watercolor

Here’s a watercolor of Michael and me created by Danny Brito!

Keren and Mike at the Engagement Party

Yes, my sister did make us wear these ridiculous t-shirts! At least black is slimmimg!

Keren & Mike are Engaged!

The newly engaged couple!

Keren, Shari and Mom (Amy)

Keren, Moshe (Dad), Jesse, Maryanne and Roger

Keren, Shari and Mike

Michael had one more trick up his sleeve. Family and friends from Boston,Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. came in for the event. Surrounded by loved ones, a small gathering followed. Knowing my love of cheese platters and grape leaves, he also had catering from Zabar’s. Very New York!

Sanchez  writes of her work and mission statement, “My work is a gathering of my awareness of being and my experiences of moving with and living among other beings, places and things.   It is my desire to become a more ‘finely tuned observer’ and to live more in the moment.  Making art for me is a way of being present in the world; it is an act of attention.  And through this attention, I give back and offer praise to the world.  As such, my work is celebratory, expanding, opening, and about offering pleasure.”  Her art will forever hold a special place in my heart, I got engaged in front of her ethereal, bright and colorful paintings. Her canvases are dripping (literally) with emotions and sensations. As Wesley Grissom from Arbus Magazine writes, “Yolanda Sánchez is a figurative gardener. She doesn’t grow fruits, vegetables or flowers outside her Miami Beach home. Instead, the artist imbues vitality into allegorical gardens on canvas inside her studio.Brilliant blooms of pigment burst from her abstract paintings like clumps of crape myrtle blossoms tangled with verdurous sweet potato vines.”

Yolanda Sanchez, What was said to the Rose (That Made it Open), 2012

Yolanda Sanchez, What was said to the Rose (That Made it Open), 2012. Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 in.

Sanchez was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1960. She obtained a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1979. Later she acquired her BFA and subsequently, an MFA from Yale University, where she studied with the British painter, John Walker. Yolanda is a Fulbright scholar.

The artist explains, “There is no story to be told, just simply a desire to awaken. My work, in general, is a search for re-enchantment, for a way to reach below the surface of things, to find that point of connection with life. ” How apropos because, on October 20, 2012, the day I became engaged to my soul-mate, an entire world awakened to celebrate my personal point of connection, my fiance.  Her subjective and explosive canvases are filled with pregnant thoughts, what-ifs, dreams, and promises. Each stroke a possibility.

Yolanda Sanchez, Midsummer Magic, 2012 Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm)

Yolanda Sanchez, Wanderings #1, 2012. Oil on canvas, 41 x 29 in.

Yolanda Sanchez, Wanderings #1, 2012 Oil on canvas, 41 x 29 in. (104.1 x 73.7 cm)

Yolanda Sanchez, Wanderings #2, 2012. Oil on canvas, 41 x 29 in.

Michael worked with a jewelry designer in Boston, MA to reset the diamond that is a family heirloom from Morocco in the 1880’s. The diamond has been worn by four women prior to me, including Michael’s mother. This history and character is incredibly important to me. At one point the diamond was a pair of earrings, then later a solitaire ring.  The stone is a brilliant, round cut. My wonderful engagement ring has a rounded, square halo of smaller diamonds surrounding the center stone. It is art deco inspired. Not all halo rings are created equal. In order to achieve the halo look, most designs use inner metal prongs to hold the diamonds. Another option is to cut, groove, or notch the diamonds to fit together.

Rounded, Square Halo Engagement Ring. Rounded, Square Halo Engagement Ring.

Halos and cluster rings have been around since before the Victorian age. Famously, Princess Diana had one decades ago! 

My proposal was quite literally a “work of art!” Now off to plan my wedding…

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Curious Curator George

A curator is one who manages or oversees such  as the administrative director of a museum collection or a library. One can be a curator of other place as well, such as a home! a shop! the storage closet at work! Wherever your jurisdiction and little kingdom of creativity might be, the best way to spruce up an empty space is by decorating naked walls.

No matter how keen your eye might be, buying original art as a gift for someone else can be perplexing business. Giving art can be one of the most unique and personal items that elucidates knowledge of one’s aesthetics, desires, decor and overall lifestyle. Because art comes in a variety of media, from a bevy of different artists, on a variety of surfaces – canvas, paper, masonite, wood – it also runs the spectrum of pricing! Art can be affordable! So, surveying my own friends as test subjects, I give you a buying guide for categories much more specific than just MOM, DAD, BOSS, HUSBAND, WIFE, et. al.

UGallery X TheWalkup Coupon Code

Because I also love my followers so much UGallery and I have teamed up to give you 15% off any item, that’s right 15% off just for readers of The Walkup! Use the coupon code: thewalkup15 anytime between now and December 21. Spread the word to spread the cheer!

Test Subject #1 – Danielle Long King – Program Manager, Public Programs at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Danielle speaks for all of your theater-going, performance art visiting, foodie, non-fiction reading, NPR-listening friends. She is intelligent and quirky yet tinged with a southern charm leftover from her New Orleans childhood – this might also explain her uncharacteristic obsession with the New Orleans Saints.  Have a friend like that? Get them this:

In Motion x The Walkup

In Motion by Savina Gost, photography on paper. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #2 – Mike Ballaban – Reporter at Mergermarket, Financial Times Group. Mike is a Brooklyn based political and finance junkie. He loves old-timey things like banjos, nautical terms, gimlets and steam engines. He also loves a good deli sandwich with brisket, pastrami or corned beef. He even has his own irreverent news blog HERE. Have a friend like that? Get them this:

Around The Bend by JOHN HUERTA JR.

Around the Bend by John Huerta Jr., oil painting on canvas board. Note: painted on location in Midway Utah by the Provo River. Original painting available at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #3 – Nora Bugescu – Associate Marketing Manager at Barnes & Noble.com. Nora is an effortlessly fashionable and well-traveled LA to NYC transplant. She favors indie-rock listening but also digs a good classic rock vinyl. She is the queen of inane internet trends, Game of Thrones humor and anything featured on BuzzFeed. Have a friend like that? Get them this:

Cold by Meredith O'Neal x The Walkup

Cold by Meredith O’Neal, oil painting on stretched canvas. Original painting available at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #4 – Max Stettner – Senior Development Coordinator at Birthright Israel Foundation. Max dresses so sharply that you could hurt your eyes looking at his peacoat. He also has impeccably groomed sideburns and facial hair. He listens to stellar remixes, little-known DJ’s and club music. Above all, his first passion is basketball (playing, watching, all forms). Have a friend like that? Get them this:
Listen to Me by Philip Mckay
Listen to Me by Philip Mckay. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.
Test Subject #5 – Adam Heller – Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader, US Army. Adam is currently stationed in Germany. He loves The Shins, Belle & Sebastian,  Deathcab for Cutie, Mumford & Sons and The Decemberists. He also has an amazing ability to remember facts from Douglad Coupland novels. He knows cars, computers and  DSLR photography. He will come to your next LAN party. Have a friend like that? Get them this:
The Standard Hotel by ADAM GARELICK
The Standard Hotel, 2011 by Adam Garelick, photography on paper. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.

Happy Holiday shopping and don’t forget to use the special coupon code – thewalkup15 – to receive a whopping 15% off ANYTHING on the UGallery website!
(which happens to be where all the images above can be purchased)
Cover your naked walls! Support a community of independent artists.
Give the gift of artwork.