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The largest-ever collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's objects comes to NYC
Fans of Bilbo Baggins, Smaug and other iconic characters can now see how J.R.R. Tolkien envisioned Middle Earth in this once-in-a-generation exhibit of Tolkien’s original illustrations for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in which Hobbiton, the Mountain and more first came to life. The display is on view at The Morgan Library & Museum beginning Friday, January 25 through May 10. Below are some of the highlights. Conversations with Smaug Photograph: Bodleian Libraries, © The Tolkien Estate Limited, 1937 Due to printing costs, this illustration of Smaug was not included in The Hobbit’s original edition. Smaug himself was inspired by the Dragon in the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf. The Hill: Hobbiton-across-the Water Photograph: Bodleian Libraries, © The Tolkien Estate Limited, 1937 The landscape of the Shire, home to the Hobbits, was inspired by the countryside around Birmingham, England, where Tolkien spent his childhood. Dust-jacket design for The Hobbit Photograph: Bodleian Libraries, © The Tolkien Estate Limited, 1937 In this design for The Hobbit’s cover, the birds on the right represent the forces of good, while the dragon on the left represents the forces of evil.
Fearless Girl statue has been moved from its spot opposite the Wall Street Bull
For nearly two years, a statue of a young girl has been engaged in a staring contest with Wall Street’s iconic outdoor sculpture, Charging Bull—but no longer. Tuesday night, under cover of darkness, Fearless Girl, as it’s called, was removed by State Street Global Advisors, the Boston-based financial services outfit that had installed the work in March 2017 as a way of promoting the inclusion of more women officers on corporate boards. According to the firm, the sculpture, by artist Kristen Visbal, is being transferred to a spot in front of the New York Stock Exchange by the end of the year. With her uplifted chin, and hands-on-hips posture, Fearless Girl delivered a defiant feminist message, though some people called it a self-serving stunt by an investment company looking to burnish its progressive bonafides. The statue also attracted the ire of Charging Bull artist Arturo Di Modica, who, feeling it detracted from his work, demanded its removal. As if that wasn’t controversy enough, a couple months after Fearless Girl appeared, another artist, Alex Gardega, decided to offer his opinion by installing his sculpture of a urinating dog next to her leg. Nonetheless, Fearless Girl became a hit with tourists and Instagrammers alike. City Hall gave its blessing to the project, extending its stay though in April of this year, announcing that both sculptures would be moved to the Stock Exchange because their location at the northern tip of Bowling Green was creating traffic problem
A captivating new sculpture has popped up in front of the Flatiron Building
Over the past four years, the Flatiron Partnership has held a annual competition for a outdoor art commission to take up the plaza in front of the famed Flatiron building during the holidays. For its fifth year, the Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition, as it's called, has selected an installation titled Happy designed by Studio Cadena. The installation comprises a space enclosed by 24 transparent yellow vinyl panels hung like curtains around a metal, open-frame structure whose shape echoes the triangular footprint of the Flatiron Building. According to the organizers of the competition, which also includes the Van Alen Institute, Happy will spread holiday cheer by "gently swaying in the breeze…while it casts long colored shadows in the low light of late fall and early winter…a simple device to make you stop, wonder, and most importantly, smile." In other words, Happy is supposed to make you, well, happy, as opposed to feeling suicidal as many New Yorkers are wont to do this time of year. You can experience the joy through January 1.
An exciting new Frida Kahlo exhibit is coming to the Brooklyn Museum
Fans of Frida Kahlo get ready! The famed Mexican artist, Madonna fave and culinary inspiration will be the subject of a major new show opening at the Brooklyn Museum on February 8. “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” takes a deep dive into both Kahlo the painter and Kahlo the legend with a exhibition that includes not only her important canvases and other works of art, but also a collection of her clothing and personal possessions that had been kept out of sight for 50 years. Locked away after her death in 1954, the items were re-discovered in 2004 and comprise traditional Tehuana dresses that Kahlo favored, as well as pre-Colonial jewelry she owned. Also included are the hand-painted corsets that Kahlo wore to support her back, which had been crushed by a collision between a trolley and a bus the 18-year old Frida was riding. Photographs, films and ephemera related to Kahlo’s life round out the selection, along with examples of Mesoamerican art (an interest of both Kahlo and her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera) drawn from the museum’s holdings. The show is up until May 12, with tickets going on sale December 3.