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ROBERT SEYFFERT: URBAN AUTOMOBILES
Bronx-based third generation artist Robert Seyffert, whose grandparents were close friends with Edward Hopper, readily admits the artist’s influence on his own paintings. “Whether it’s a big tree or a 1965 Pontiac,” notes Seyffert, “there’s something about the light hitting the subject that excites me, and that’s what I paint. I’m trying to get the sensation created by the thing I’m looking at, and not just copying it.”
Seyffert is certainly a kindred spirit to Hopper. Both men excel at using moody oils to evoke nostalgia and melancholy, as well as an appreciation for the beauty of urban constructs. But Seyffert’s current body of work invites contemplation not only of one singular object or moment in time, but its larger place within the context of America’s changing desires.
Although many of the cityscapes and automobile paintings in “Urban Automobiles” were done on the Lower East Side in the 1990s, the exhibition also includes Seyffert’s first explorations of these subjects (in the late 1980s, while he was teaching in Baltimore). The 30 works on display feature mid-to-late 20th century cars within both real and imagined urban landscapes — from a 57 Chevy to a Pontiac Delta 88. Cars both gritty and gleaming appear as testimony to American industrial prowess as well as our keen interest in a sleek, sexy design that compels restless spirits to get behind the wheel (drivers are often found in his cars, while historical figures sometimes lurk on the periphery).
In his latest works, Seyffert has collaborated with New York City graffiti artists, including the seminal graffiti artists Tats Cru, on three tagged giclee prints of his paintings. He’s also conceived of frames painted by David Yearwood (aka “Mdot Beatz” of the South Bronx) — giving the subject matter an unexpected contemporary spin even when the cars depicted are relics of the past.
Through June 16. Tues.-Sat., 10:30am-6:30pm and Sun. 1-5pm. At William Holman Gallery (65 Ludlow St., btw. Broome & Grand Sts.). For info, visit wholmangallery.com.
JAMES ADLER, AT THE MAKE MUSIC NEW YORK FESTIVAL
James Adler has called 14th Street home for years…during the times when he’s actually been home. The well-traveled pianist (whose music encompasses chamber and choral pieces, a film score and a children’s “pOpera”) has appeared as a soloist all around the world — including gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Dimetria Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece and at Alice Tully Hall right here in New York. For one afternoon only, you can see him at two events — both under the auspices of the “Make Music New York” festival.
On Fri., June 21, Cornelia Street will be closed to traffic all day so performances can take place in the street. From 9-11am, Yamaha keyboards will be set up, in an attempt to both entertain and make it into the Guinness Book of World Records (as the largest outdoor piano gathering). Three times between 12 and 2pm, NYC music students and professionals (including Adler) will perform a new work by Jed Distler, composed for the 175-keyboard configuration. Then, at 2:30pm, Yamaha artist Adler will perform three works for solo piano: Paul Turok’s “Tango,” Seth Bedford’s “Christopher Street Rag” and Adler’s Piano Fantasy on “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” For a full schedule of festival events, visit makemusicny.org.
FRACKING DOCUMENTARY: “DEAR GOVERNOR CUOMO”
Documentary filmmaker Jon Bowermaster has used the Antarctic Peninsula, the Aleutian Islands and French Polynesia to examine the tenuous relationship between humans and nature. In the 2013 documentary “Dear Governor Cuomo,” he follows a coalition of musicians, scientists and activists who gather in Albany to call for a ban on hydraulic fracturing. The group’s blending of music and message, they hope, will raise awareness about the controversial form of energy extraction’s environmental, economic and health risks — and perhaps motivate the film’s titular character to lay down the law. Bowermaster will participate in a talkback session, after the 75-minute film screens.
Thurs., June 27, at 7pm. At Bluestockings Bookstore (175 Allen St., at Stanton St.). Suggested donation: $5 (nobody is turned away for lack of funds). This event is wheelchair accessible. For more info, visit bluestockings.com or call 212-777-6028.
La MaMa KIDS: FAMILY PLAYDATE
SLANT Performance Group will weave their magical humor through La MaMa’s first Family Playdate — a fun-filled showcase performed by members of the Great Jones Repertory Company. Embracing intelligent dance, music and theatre, this unique event is specially tailored for a theatrical family experience in a relaxed atmosphere. Sat., June 22, at 11am. At La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4th St., 2nd floor, btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). Admission is $10 per family (no family turned away due to lack of funds). For a full schedule of events and more info, call 212-475-7710 or visit lamama.org.
SUMMER MUSIC IN CHELSEA
The next installment of St. Peter’s Summer Music in Chelsea concert series features an all-Mozart program that nourishes the soul of those in the pews, while raising much-needed funds to benefit the church’s Food Pantry outreach program. Matthew Oberstein will conduct the New Amsterdam Summer Orchestra, with violinist Jiwon Evelyn Kwark as the guest soloist. The selections include Mozart’s Violin Concerto #5, K. 219 A Major (Turkish) and Symphony #38, K. 504 D Major (Prague).
Thurs., July 28, at 7:30pm. At St. Peter’s Church (346 W. 20th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). The suggested donation is $10 ($5 for students/seniors). For more info, visit stpeterschelsea.com, or call 212-929-2390.
CHELSEA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Running three years in a row is an admirable achievement — but the upcoming fourth installment of the Chelsea Music Festival elevates the annual event to its rightful place as an official local tradition. CMF 2013 is poised to deliver another imaginative, unconventional fusion of music, art, cuisine and family-friendly programming. This time around, the British-Italian theme pays tribute to three composer anniversaries: Benjamin Britten (100th), Arcangelo Corelli (300th) and Carlo Gesualdo (400th).
Performances will showcase existing and newly commissioned works in the classical, jazz, folk, art song and early music genres. The featured artists include Germany’s Ensemble Amarcord, musicians from London’s Guildhall School of Music, Mexican visual artist Nacho Rodriguez Bach, Momenta String Quartet and The Declassified. Designed to stir your soul while stimulating your intellect, CMF’s lectures, festival talks, collaborative visual art exhibits and post-concert receptions encourage dialogue between artists and audiences.
June 14-22, at various venues — including Dillon Gallery (555 W. 25 St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.), the Leo Baeck Institute (15 W. 16th St., btw. 5th & 6th Aves.) and the General Theological Seminary Chapel (440 W. 21st St., btw. 9th & 10th Aves.). Tickets range from $25-65. Purchase at chelseanusicfestival.org — where you’ll find a complete schedule of events. Students and seniors receive a $10 discount, per concert (must show ID at the door). The CMF@Noon outdoor concerts are free. Following the festival on Twitter (@cmf_nyc) and Facebook (facebook.com/chelseamusicfestival).
– BY SCOTT STIFFLER