There’s nothing new under the sun. History repeats itself. Cliché’ Cliché Cliché. It seems more often than ever what’s deemed something new and fresh is often a recycled idea from a previous generation glossed over. I’ve always admired visionaries whose creations not only continue to stand apart from the successions of inspiration but continue to evolve from their monumental points of fame. Where am I going with all of this? Well, this week I ventured down to Tribeca to visit the art gallery, Bortolami, and experienced a trifecta of timeless creativity from Barbara Kasten. A well-respected octogenarian, Barbara has been pushing the envelope of space since the early 1970’s.
Commanding attention in the sky lit concrete room is Barbara’s first freestanding sculpture since her early works of the 70’s. The most substantial installation of a trifecta of mediums filling the open space epitomizes modern and contemporary art. The geometric order of florescent pillars that all rely on each other’s tension is immensely intuitive and nod to the photographs and 3D installations that dance off the walls. It takes me back to my experience at Public and the trifecta of the architecture of the building.
At first sight, Public is a pretty straightforward execution of a minimal contemporary tower. Very modern and clean, the concrete and glass exterior is like a pillar of wrapping paper covering a surprise gift. The hotel’s interior is the second layer of wrapping: warm woods, bronze mirrors, and warm lighting. You can’t help but appreciate the comfortable and trendy appeal. The actual gift is underneath it all in the underground Public Arts space. Public Arts is the real surprise, where Ian Schrager reminds the world why he is hailed as the visionary he is. It’s the first nightlife concept since his first venture, Studio 54 over 40 years ago.
Since it opened, Public Arts considered one of the hottest and most difficult nightspots in NYC for clubbing. I would expect that from a nightclub created the greatest party promoter in modern history. What I didn’t expect was how this space is utilized to embody all things creative. Everything inside is moveable! Depending on the night, you can experience an Avant-garde movie screening, listen to Grammy award-winning artists, or dance with the cool club kids of Brooklyn in one week and never feel like you’re in the same place. It is one of the best gifts that could be given to a section of the city that has been a cultural incubator for decades.
Imitation is the best form of flattery, and we all are inspired by the gifts other’s express to the world. This week I tip my hat to two minds that were originators then and still have their handle on the high bar for their successors. What’s new may have been done before, but the fluorescent frequency of pure creativity always stands the test of time. Times change, people don't, but my Instagram does.