Taos In The House

Taos 1960’s – Present opened yesterday evening at the Vivian Horan Gallery on 67th street in Manhattan.

I arrived in the City on Thursday night after a three and a half hour layover at Love Field in Dallas.

I was flying Southwest; a tiny bit nervous after the incident that had occurred just a week prior. When I eventually boarded my connecting flight to NY, I chose an aisle seat more or less in the middle of the aircraft, and proceeded to situate my bags and myself, when the young man in the window seat remarked that I might not actually want to sit there.

“This is the row the accident happened in.” He informed me.

I buckled my seat belt and thanked him for his concern. He told me he was a camera man for ABC News, returning to NY after a week spent with a crew, interviewing witnesses, and covering the aftermath of the terrible tragedy. He filmed out the window with his iphone as we flew East.

I finally made it to my nephew David’s apartment in Williamsburg at around 1am, but sleep was still an hour or two away. The City was just coming alive.

Yesterday I walked toward the river to a cafe I like in this very trendy ‘hood. I ordered a large Americano and avocado toast and found a table outside. The sun was shining and the streets were filled with the hip and beautiful people who populate this neighborhood.

Afterwards I walked along the water for a bit before turning back and stopping at Whole Foods for a few supplies, on my way back to David’s pad, to get ready for the rest of my day.

At around 3:45 i took the Subway to Union Square where I changed trains to head uptown. I was meeting an old friend for coffee in Lennox Hill, close to the Vivian Horan Gallery.

Arthur Levy was the Editor of Zoo World, a Rock Magazine out of Miami, when I met him shortly after my arrival in the States in ’74.

Arthur and I continued to work together once I moved to NY, where he  was for many years, the VP of Publicity at Columbia Records. I always say I learned everything i know about writing profile pieces from Arthur, who is a great writer himself and one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with.

We hadn’t seen one another for many years, so it was a joyful, albeit brief reunion.

It was an easy walk from the cafe to the gallery, and the streets were filling with people, happy to be outside enjoying the glorious late Spring weather after its brutal early start.

I arrived at the Vivian Horan Gallery just a few minutes past 6pm. Paul O’Connor had suggested I come early.

“Get there at 6”, his text read that morning. “It’s going to be slammed later.”

When I entered the space, Taos was already in the house; Paul and his wife Tizia, Matt Thomas and his husband, Richard Spera, Jack Smith, Debbie Long, Kevin Cannon and Hank Saxe milled about. Except for Vivian Horan and her staff, they were the only ones there.

Within half an hour the place was packed. By the time Rachel Bell and her husband Sasha Von Dorp arrived with baby Vida, it was wall to wall people.

A huge crowd had turned out for this opening celebrating Taos artists.

Clearly it’s time for Taos.

Rita O’Connell arrived and Cherie Burns made a cameo appearance, Tom Folsom came and stayed. After spending time at the Wurlitzer Foundation a few years ago while researching his book on Dennis Hopper, Tom fell in love with Taos and returns often. He’s an honorary Taoseno at this point!

I watched as a woman circled one of Kevin Cannon’s  leather sculptures, pulling back hands that seemed to have a reflex all of their own; compelled to reach out and touch the sensual form. I smiled to myself knowingly; Kevin’s pieces beg to be touched and being his friend, I have and do.

Rita and I both commented on how brilliantly the show was curated and how the relationships between the artists had fed one another’s work – their influence on each other was so clearly evident seeing their work all together in one space.

Ken Price’s mutable, colourful form and Hank Saxe’s ceramics played off Kevin’s  surfaces, while Ron Cooper’s light sculpture proved the perfect juxtaposition to Debbie Long’s light filled glass installation right beside it.

One of Larry Bell’s large figuratived pieces dominated one wall as one entered the gallery, while Jack Smith’s portraits drew people into a corner beside a big bay window. Their small size in direct contrast to the huge Ron Davis that presided over the room.

Across from it, beside the fireplace, an O’Connor sculpture hung alone on a wall, while on the marble mantel, a couple of Kevin Cannon’s miniature works had been placed purposefully.

By now the gallery was jam packed and I began to feel a bit claustrophobic. I said hello to Elad and Nataya, as I stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air as  Oscar Burnett and his girlfriend arrived. His brother Cee Jay was already inside with his partner, Debbie Long.

Taos was seriously in the house!

I have to say that everyone looked fabulous. Matt, Richard and I joked at one point, that we all looked like a bunch of hardcore New Yorkers. Not a terribly big surprise since several of us have indeed called the City home for long periods of our lives, but it was so great to see how both the artists and their work held up in this elegant, Upper East Side Gallery.

When I came back inside I talked to Mimi Saltzman for awhile. We had not seen one another since we were in our twenties. It was a sweet reunion and I look forward to a dinner at Mimi’s house tonight, for all the artists. Mimi of course was a Taos resident for several years, along with her brother Robert, whom I profiled for Paul O’Connor’s award winning book, Taos Portraits,

It was getting late and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so I joined Tom Folsom and two friends and we said our goodbyes before going back out to catch a cab Downtown. Our fave bistro, Lucky Strike, was our final destination before we parted ways as the night closed in.

Tom and I shared a cab to Brooklyn and as we drove across the bridge, I looked back at the lights of Manhattan, casting a halo-like glow over the City,

It was as if for one brief moment, Taos had gifted NYC with a measure of its magical, mythical Light.

Taos; 1960’s – Present is hanging at the Vivian Horan Gallery through June 22nd. Do see the show if you plan to be in the City. For more information, please visit the site linked below this post.



All photos taken on my iphone


Editors Note: I missed a few people who happened to be in NY from Taos, and at the show. Artists Anna McGruder and Jeff Cochran both made an appearance, as did Phillip Bareiss.