Archives for category: New York

For the June issue of Curve magazine, I connected with Ariel Levy to discuss “too much” women and her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply. The interview and book review are in the Pride issue and on newsstands now.



During our interview, I asked Ariel why she published this memoir about losing the life she was authoring for herself, which included being a reporter, wife, and mother. She did not spare herself. Ariel went well beyond the writer’s call to sit down with the page and open a vein.

Yet writing is one thing, publishing another.

“These extraordinarily intense things happen to the human female animal around the reproductive system,” she responded. “If you’re female, you will have some kind of drama around menstruation or pregnancy or birth or menopause.”

Ariel continued; noting that as a feminist, she believed:

“The whole world of human reproduction in the human female animal—that affects half the human population—is not something that is a subject for literature much. So I felt strongly that this was a legitimate subject to write about and that it was worthwhile.”

Through Ariel’s willingness to put her life on the page, to lay her mind and body bare, we can become better acquainted with our own thoughts, discover shared experiences, and challenge our perceptions as we keep evolving, generation after generation.

This is the revolutionary Mother Nature of memoir.

Amy Deneson Sabina, Gorgiality, Erez Sabag Bust

Those golden freckles! “Sabina” in Gorgiality 1 of 1 by Erez Sabag

GORGIALITY has me seeing stars. The exhibition extravaganza by fashion photographer, Erez Sabag, is lighting up The Robert Miller Gallery now through June 3, 2017.

I’m gushing about spring rainbows and real pots of gold, benefiting the Look Good Feel Better Foundation, in Bust.

Here, I’ll simply squee and suggest that if you’re near Chelsea, you might want to stop by and let yourself be dazzled. The collaboration between Erez and makeup artist, Georgina Billington, and creative director, David Warren is spectacular.

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Erez! @gorgiality Bravo, brother @erezsabag #GORGIALITY 💋

A post shared by Amy (@amydeneson) on

On set, Erez coined the word “gorgiality” to express the beauty he sees in individuality. “Real beauty,” he says, “is an intangible quality that defies definition, boundaries, and standards and which ultimately asks people to be themselves.”

GORGIALITY’s limited edition catalogue and selected prints (along with scarves!) are also available online. All proceeds from this exhibition benefit the Look Good Feel Better Foundation, an organization that has helped cancer survivors cope with the impact of treatment on their appearance since 1989.

That’s Gorgiality.

How Art Can Make You Happy Bridget Watson Payne

112 pages of joy

While I’m trying to decide if I’m going to make the trek out to The Frieze Art Fair, I read Bridget Watson Payne’s new gem of a book, How Art Can Make You Happy (Chronicle Books, May 2017).

This golden book begins: “Once upon a time you loved art.” Now, you miss it. You miss experiencing it, because you’re too busy or too out of the loop or too whatever.

On these luminous pages, Bridget lights the way for lapsed or aspiring art-lovers, guiding the way to enjoying art, instead of being intimidated by the scene or guilt-ridden over your art history knowledge. She offers tips on where and when to see art, what to wear, and how to (not) talk to art snobs. She provides frameworks and names names to help you cultivate your own taste, which is “actually a pretty subversive notion,” she writes, “namely that it matters what you actually, personally, like.”

Art Canon

“The canon super-simplified so you can finally stop feeling bad about your lack of knowledge about that.” – Bridget Watson Payne

I adore art—believe in it; collect it, rave about it. I’m a fan of what Bridget calls “art’s potent brew of visual pleasure, intellectual rigor, myriad meanings, and unexpected worldview.”

But I ask myself: Am I really going to skip the Frieze Art Fair?

We get to the heart of this question on page 53: OFFICIAL PERMISSION REGARDING BLOCKBUSTER SHOWS.

“You think, ‘I should go to that,’” she writes.

Yep, I think. But getting there involves the subway, a ferry, and a bus; all running on Sunday schedules. And it’s supposed to rain. I went to the New Museum yesterday, but I should…

I’m doing the guilty thing she dedicates most of her book trying to talk us out of doing.

How Art Can Make You Happy celebrates the many alternatives to should-ing on ourselves:

  • Look at an art book. Slowly.
  • Hang up some art on your wall, already. Really. Frame it. Pound in a nail. Put it up. And enjoy it, daily.
  • Seek out local public art with the Public Art Archive.
  • Gaze at the art “hiding in plain sight.”
  • Watch kids make art.
  • And I’ll add: Keep reading the work of art that is her book.

But mostly, Bridget shares:

SECRET #1: You have time to go to the big blockbuster art shows, if you want to.

SECRET #2: You don’t have to go to the big blockbuster art shows, if you don’t want to.

The simple truth is that we do make time for what is important to us.

Experiencing art is deeply important to me. For many reasons, including why Bridget believes in the magic of art, writing: “Art awakens you to three profoundly important realities.”

They are:

One, the reality of the world.

Two, the reality of other people.

Three, the reality of yourself.

Sometimes this means going. Sometimes this means bowing out of the way and enjoying others, enjoying art. Sometimes, I realize, this means continuing to be perfectly happy doing what I’m doing.

Am I going to find my way to Randall’s Island or simply continue hearting posts on Instagram by @friezeartfair, @artsy, @artforum, and @publicartfund? I haven’t decided, yet.

Nicholson Baker

New words spoken by a new interest, who was introduced by a new favorite author

But next time I’m near The Strand, I’m definitely stopping in to look for a book by Nicholson Baker. Bridget introduced me to this author extraordinaire by including his quote on words. Fingers crossed. I’m hoping to find his essay collection, The Size of Thoughts.

Treasure hunting for art in its many forms–books, paintings, neon signs–brings me delight. So my many thanks to Bridget Watson Payne for this ray-of-sunshine reminder, illuminating the art of appreciating art for the sake of happiness.

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