Home Visual Arts American Academy of Arts and Letters: Pompous, Stuffy but Brilliant.

American Academy of Arts and Letters: Pompous, Stuffy but Brilliant.

Photography by Ghurron Briscoe.

In the post regalia of the Armory this Scallywag headed way uptown (155 th st ) to partake in some stodgy revelry of the Academy’s annual patronage to the visual arts.


Viewing the vast amount of heralded work at the Audobon Terrace required one to make a heads or tails choice as to which annex to abscond to. The annex we first chose was by far the most inspiring and well stocked with floating canapés and the requisite alcohol.


Of particular interest was the work of Beverly McIVER with her minstrel colored folk smiling and leaning backwards in absurd postures and lively violets. It certainly bought a sardonic smile on our faces.

Pushing past the frommage, the spinach crepes and the yoghurt dipped fruit and the gingerly clutching folk found us wondering whether we had come to a posh English hotel lobby with viewers stopping momentarily to regard the works of luminaries such as Chris Martin, Hillary Harkness, David Nelson before setting out on their day and of course finishing their teas (swap tea for merlot).


Satisfied and somewhat inspired Ghurron and I headed out to the other annex (yes the exhibit was so vast that it required one to countenance two field trips) where the hum of banter, the rustle of bow ties and the clicking of high heels could be heard. Mohawks, gangly beards and Balenciaga hand bags were of course conspicuously missing.

Once again more work to absorb and merlot to resolve, one had to wonder for a moment how the show’s curator went about the vast task of co habituating the work of 40 or so established artists? From a broad view it worked, but close up one’s head could be seen to be spinning to take in all the vast points of views.

What was intriguing nevertheless as we left this uptown event and dare we say very uptown sensibility was the look we were given as we stopped momentarily to light a fag just outside the auditorium and deign fabulousness. The kind of look that said ‘you look like you could be an impostor but we’ll grant you this one sojourn.’ Oh well we thought this wasn’t downtown and in a perverse way we were quite glad it wasn’t.




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