arts 11.17.03

Fisher Landau Center for Art

Two stops on the N train from Lex and 59th is the white building you see here. It is hiding something.

With no fanfare, no signage, no entrance fee, no gift shop, no Acoustiguides, this white building is the site of one of the best museum-going experiences for contemporary art in New York. Part of what makes it such a joy is another thing it doesn't have: crowds. The last time we were there, not a single other soul (besides the staff) was there to interfere with the company of the paintings and photographs.

And what company you're in! Works by Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Francesco Clemente, Robert Rauschenberg, Kiki Smith, Peter Hujar, Willem de Kooning, Chuck Close, Matthew Barney, Gregory Crewdson, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist….

This exceptional experience is at the Fisher Landau Center for Art, 38-27 30th Street, LIC 718.937.0727. Emily Fisher Landau, whose collection of more than 1,000 works from contemporary artists of the past four decades this is, wanted to see her collection in one place — thus the FLC was born. The 25,000 square-foot building, originally a parachute-harness factory, was for a number of years open by appointment, but now welcomes visitors Thursday through Monday, 12-5.

Highlights of the four dozen or so works currently on display include a roomful of Ed Ruschas, a painful wax sculpture of a woman by Kiki Smith, and a digital print by Chuck Close of Hillary Clinton. Whatever your feelings about Mrs. Clinton, they are certain to be refracted by every wrinkle of this extremely up-close and extremely personal, virtually topographical view of the senator's face.

Gay Block photographed and videotaped her mother, Bertha Alyce, for nearly 20 years, until her mother died of a stroke in 1991, creating a moving documentary of a difficult relationship. The photos have been assembled into a new book called Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed. Included is the award-winning DVD "Bertha Alyce."

Ms. Block will be reading and signing tomorrow night, November 18 at 7pm at the Greenwich Village Bistro, 13 Carmine [Bleecker/6th] 212.206.9777. On November 20, there will be a signing and screening of the video at 7pm atCreative Books, 548 Hudson [Perry/Charles] 212.645.7573. The film will also be screened at Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Ave [2nd] 212.742.8880, on November 23 at 6pm.

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