People in this city talk persistently of art’s coming death. You’ve met them. You might have even thought it yourself, feared that all artists genuinely nourished by the taste of beauty rather than billion dollar champagne have lapsed into shallow commercialism or fled to Europe.
Passing the American Eagle Outfitters clans cluttering Broadway and Grand st, the tourists snapping photos of half naked Hollister models, this same thought passes through my head. I turn the corner, searching for 95 Grand st and, so consumed by a feeling that any 21st century art salon in Manhattan must be some boring forgery of decades past, nearly miss the humble metal doors marking 95 Grand. But entering the front room, collaged decadently with ripely executed canvases and elaborately designed dresses hung on headless mannequins, the whispering lick of flamenco guitar crawls to my eardrums declaring differently. Art is alive.
“Let me walk you downstairs,” says the beautifully tanned reception woman, rising to guide my descent into the softly glowing lights and drumming sound of music. We walk the walls enshrouded in artifacts of every kind, antique copper pots, proof sheets, photo prints. I pause before a photographic portrait of Miles Davis, obstructing the path of a woman in a colorful chemise of some exotic kind, camera slung about her neck, a dazzling, invigorated expression knit to her brow.
“That’s amazing,” I tell her. A delicate smile explodes across her lips. “He took it,” she says. “My husband.”