Fashion, Supermodels, Celebs, and Collectors Love Jeff Koons

Photo: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

He’s made a name for himself becoming one of the most successful living American artist, selling his shiny works for millions of dollars, and is a discussion for bitter art students and fashion lovers alike. Jeff Koons has had collaboration with H&M — something that is regularly reserved for fashion houses like Alexander Wang or superstars like David Beckham. Jeff sealed the deal when he caught the attention of Lady Gaga’s lil’ monsters after designing her album cover for ArtPop.

The artist’s name is becoming omnipresent in pop culture, so it only makes sense that Koons is nearly a celeb himself. See below to further explore the phenomenon.

1. Jeff with supermodel Naomi Campbell Joe-SchildhornPhoto: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com

2. Jeff with fashion designer Stella McCartney Joe-SPhoto: Joe Schildhorn/BFAnyc.com

3. Jeff with movie star Drew Barrymore and supermodel Natalia Vodianova AN EVENING HONORING STELLA McCARTNEY PRESENTED BY AMERICAN EXPRESSPhoto: Joe Schildhorn/BFAnyc.com

4. Jeff with supermodel Stephanie Seymour JEFFPhoto: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

5. Jeff With his wife Justine, actor Taylor Kinney and mega star Lady Gaga The Worldwide Editors of HARPER'S BAZAAR Celebrate ICONS by CARINE ROITFELDPhoto: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

6. Jeff with director Sofia Coppola and supermodel Naomi Campbell PROJECT PERPETUAL Inaugural Dinner & AuctionPhoto: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com

7. Jeff with actress Ashley Benson H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship EventPhoto: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

8. Jeff with American icon Tommy Hilfiger and wife Dee 2014 HIGH LINE ART DINNER sponsored by TOMMY HILFIGER HOMEPhoto: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

9. Jeff with journalist and publishing powerhouse Arianna Huffington JEFFPhoto: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

10. Jeff with his wife Justine and the legendary Sir Paul McCartney Joe-Schildhorn-3Photo: Joe Schildhorn/BFAnyc.com

Art Star Jeff Koons New H&M Bag Lands On Fifth Avenue

Jeff Koons and Julio Santo Domingo

When I first heard Jeff Koons was collaborating with retailer H&M I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Maybe some mylar-effect puffer jackets? A lobster print puffer jacket? A mylar/lobster print puffer jacket? Actually, Koons collaborated with H&M on a leather handbag printed with a photo of his famous balloon dog sculpture. The real sculpture will cost you over $50 million, but the bag costs just under $50. A real steal, and also a great solution for someone like me that can’t fit all my giant balloon dog sculptures in my tiny apartment. 

The launch party last night was held at H&M’s new 5th Avenue flagship. The crowd of guests included movie stars like Olivia Wilde and Ashley Benson along with art stars like Tim Barber and Jeanette Hayes. I tried to get a quote from Koons and Ashley, but when the time came I was quickly elbowed past by fashion writers more eager than myself, and suddenly not fast enough to reach them before fans bombarded them with requests for selfies. I gave up on the press pit and headed into the party a little disappointed that I didn’t get to ask Koons why he wasn’t carrying his own Koons bag like all the popular girls. I saw people buying as many as five of the purses, presumably to put the extras on eBay when they inevitably sell out, like H&M’s collabs in the past.

Beyond the chaos of the red carpet was a fun party with tiny fish tacos, a performance from teen cutie Birdy, some tipsy shopping, and crowding around Koons. While Koons sculptures have reflective surfaces that often make for a good #ARTSELFIE, the store’s mirrors provided for a new kind of #KOONSSELFIE in which the photographer/subject can now wear the Koons.

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Birdy

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Jeff Dorsman, Eric Zindorf

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Johannes Huebl

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Timo Weiland

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Olivia Wilde

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Lorenzo Martone

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Perez Hilton

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Nicky Hilton

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Cleo Wade, Margot

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
June Ambrose

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Jeff Koons, Julio Santo Domingo

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Katie Schmidt, Marybeth Schmidt

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Donna D’Cruz

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Alek Wek

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Ryan McGinness

All photos courtesy of BFA/H&M

A Jeff Koons Whitney Send-Off

Jeff Koons, Tulips, 1995–98. Oil on canvas; 111 3⁄8 × 131 in. (282.9 × 332.7cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons

The Whitney is mounting the largest Jeff Koons museum exhibition to date as a last hurrah before heading to its new digs in the Meatpacking District. The museum is leaving the Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue with a bang, or a blunder, depending how you view the controversial artist. The retrospective includes almost 150 works by 59-year-old artist spanning his career from 1978 to the present.

Long before Gaga endorsed Jeff Koons’ brand of kitsch ruminations on media culture and mass production, the artist had courted the public eye and solicited the scrutiny of critics. By exhibiting a diverse range of works, the Whitney allows the public to (re) discover the artist on his or her own terms.

Prior to the opening on June 27th, one of Koons’ over-the-top sculptures will go on view at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The piece, title “Split-Rocker,” is more than 37 feet tall and made of over 50,000 flowering plants. Like most of Koons’ recent output, it’s anything but subtle.

Jeff Koons: A Retrospective, on view at the Whitney from June 27-Oct 19, 2014.

Jkoons 2 Jeff Koons, New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Blue; New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Blue; Double-Decker, 1981–87. Vacuum cleaners, plexiglass, and fluorescent lights, 116 × 41 × 28 in. (294.6 × 104.1 × 71.1 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

 

jkoons 3

Jeff Koons, One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985. Glass, steel, sodium chloride reagent, distilled water, and basketball; 64 3/4 × 30 3/4 × 13 1/4 in. (164.5 × 78.1 × 33.7 cm). B.Z. and Michael Schwartz. ©Jeff Koons.

 

Jkoons 4 Jeff Koons, Split-Rocker (Orange/Red), 1999. Polychromed aluminum; 13 1/2 × 14 1/2 × 13 in. (34.3 × 36.8 × 33 cm). B. Z. and Michael Schwartz. ©Jeff Koons

 

JKoons 5

Jeff Koons, Elephant, 2003. Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating; 36 1⁄2 x 29 × 19 in. (92.7 × 73.7 × 48.3 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons

 

jkoons 6

Jeff Koons, Antiquity 3, 2009 –11. Oil on canvas; 102 × 138 in. (259.1 × 350.5 cm). Private collection; courtesy Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte. © Jeff Koons

 

jkoons 7

Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Farnese Hercules), 2013. Plaster and glass; 128 ½ x 67 × 48 5/8 in. (326.4 × 170 × 123.5 cm). Amy and Vernon Faulconer and The Rachofsky Collection. © Jeff Koons

jkoons 8 Jeff Koons, Cake, 1995–97. Oil on canvas; 125 3⁄8 x 116 3⁄8 in. (318.5 × 295.6 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons

jkoons 9Jeff Koons, Junkyard, 2002. Oil on canvas; 102 × 138 in. (259.1 × 350.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P. 2011.215. © Jeff Koons.

 

Almost Everything You Need To Know About Art Basel In One Single Image

Ah, the celebration for Jeff Koons and Dom Pérignon at the Wall – perhaps no other event so perfectly summed up the parties of Art Basel in Miami more than this one. Jam-packed and star-smattered, it was sort of a grown up’s version of the world’s most hyperbolic Sweet 16 Party.

In the photograph above we see Zoe Kravitz, left, daughter of Lenny, who later stood in the DJ booth singing, karaoke-style, over his own 1993 hit, “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” Tucked in the background is gallerist and artist Tony Shafrazi; next to him is DJ Ruckus. To Ruckus’s right, with arm raised, is Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler (who also gave some self-karaoke assistance to 1989’s “Love In An Elevator.”) Mr. Tyler is flanked by luxury magazine magnate Jason Binn.

And there you have it.

Photo: David X Prutting and Keith Tiner, BFA

This ‘Accessible’ Jeff Koons x Dom Pérignon Bottle is $20K

Last year, 58-year-old artist Jeff Koons broke a world auction record for the largest sum known to be paid for a work by a living artist. He sold his colorful Tulips sculpture to hotelier Steve Wynn at Christie’s New York for a cray-cray $33,682,500. This hefty price tag for his work, which normally ranges in the millions with or without an auction backing, must be why the NY-based artist deemed his $20,000 limited-edition design for Dom Pérignon rather relatable. 

"The Balloon Venus here in the gallery, even to manufacture, it’s a couple of million euros," Koons explained to WWD at Gagosian Gallery this week. "So you have your Dom Pérignon, which has its own expenses in production, but this is just something more accessible to people […] And even though it is still a luxury, there is greater accessibility and at the same time it’s a product that’s able to be made and to the highest standards."
 
Okay. But still, really? To his defense, the packaged product is rather remarkable. Cradled inside a two-foot version of the aforementioned Balloon Venus sculpture (voluptuous, polyurethane resin lady lumps and all) is a supreme bottle of Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003. It’s certainly a show-stopper and a centerpiece you’ll definitely flaunt for years to come. (Just don’t have kids or clumsy people around your home, ever.)
 
 

L.A.-Based Artist David Wiseman Shares Nature-Inspired Designs in New York

Two weeks ago, 31-year-old artist David Wiseman unveiled new and wonderful works at his first official solo show in New York, at Soho’s R 20th Century. Having worked with the gallery for a few years, the L.A.-based sculpture savant was finally fêted at a jam-packed reception, curated by interior designer Rodman Primack and immortalized in a hardcover monograph.

Brimming with exceptional limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces, from ornamented porcelain plates to elaborately framed mirrors, most everything bore the flora, fauna, and animal aesthetic Wiseman has become so well-known for.

According to the out-of-town talent, three-quarters of the items on display, from the purely decorative to the beautiful but utilitarian, had sold before the doors even opened. “It was so exciting,” he told me a few days following the frenzied event, where guests had gathered ’round him to sing his praises and snag an autograph. 

“Exciting” might be an understatement, as price points tended to hover around $50,000 and approached $100,000, though some wares commanded a cool $9,000 (the aforementioned plates, for example). It was a delightful—and successful—evening indeed, and much deserved given all the RISD-educated man has accomplished since graduating in 2003 with a BFA in furniture design.

The past nine years have brought both private and public commissions the globe-over, from Manhattan to San Antonio, Asia to his hometown. Wiseman’s signature installations can be found in a few notable locations, including the Christian Dior flagship stores in Shanghai, New York, and Tokyo, as well as the West Hollywood Library. The craftsman, however, tries never to repeat the same exact pattern twice.

The exhibition continues through January 12 and afterwards will travel to destinations as yet unconfirmed. For those currently in New York City—and those bound for Design Miami—I highly recommend checking out his fantastical, fairytale-like collection while you can. Wiseman’s creations are nothing if not inspired and imaginative, arousing the fascination and earning the appreciation of even the most minimalist and austere critics and connoisseurs alike.

Read on for more from the established visionary, a curly-haired, baby-faced guy with a voice made for radio. Even though you can’t hear him speak in his soft and soothing style, learn all about his process, his homage to history, why New York City just wasn’t sustainable, and why he believes he’s blessed.

DT366
Unique Collage table in bronze with glass top. Designed and made by David Wiseman, USA, 2012. 29" H x 40" D. Photo by Sherry Griffin/Courtesy of R 20th Century.

First of all, congratulations on this show and your success so far! How did you come to connect with R 20th?
R 20th came about because I was working with Rodman [Primack], who has a very special client right around the corner from R 20th Century. [R 20th] has a lot of amazing clients. [When I first started working with them,] I was focusing on custom commissions. I was doing whole room installations. [R 20th] brought an incredible amount of exposure and committed clients [who] were into the idea of working together in this old world, artist-patron style, where I was pretty much living with [them] and making pieces that were personal to their family narrative.

We’ll come back to the notion of narrative momentarily. How did this specific solo show come together?
Four years later, commission after commission, that led to new bodies of work and pushed me in a new direction, [pushed me to] understand new processes. That then led to more objects and installations, so this show is really a combination [of all these things].

Back to this storytelling. How do you go about these intimate commissions?
It’s different with every client. I don’t want to repeat things; I want to keep it fresh. So, there’s this exploration process, a back-and-forth where I get to know them and the site [and] the city.

Can you offer an example?
[My] Noho project that spans four stories. The wife’s last name means “valley of the wisteria.” The husband’s last name on his mother’s side was Lindenbuam, which means “linden tree” in German. So, the installation was a dance between these two species that connects the four stories. They’ve subsequently had children and there’s animals that show up in the installation to represent each child.

Is your own home totally covered in your signature vines, too?
No, I have real vines! [There’s a] little grape orchard right outside my patio. But, my house is barren. I’ve only lived there a year and this last year has been brutal in terms of work, so I pretty much just sleep there. I get really into things and it takes over.

Brutal as in awesome.
I found what I loved to do really early on. This is what I’ve been working so hard for. I love working. I love being in the studio. It’s an exciting time, where a lot of the work is very labor-intensive. I’m at a point where I can trust assistants I’ve trained and worked with. I can do more of the creative stuff. Making stuff is still really important, though, because there’s only so much I’m able to design on paper. A lot of the design process happens touching the metal or porcelain, engaging with the forms directly. But, it’s exciting because I can hand them off for the mold to be made or the piece to be welded together.

You’re the next Warhol or Koons!
Not like that! It’s a very small team. It’s not a factory by any means. But it’s a thrill to work this way.

It’s impressive the price points you can command. I’m blown away, but not at all surprised.
I want stuff to be accessible, but right now everything is so labor-intensive. There will be a time when I make bigger run[s] of things, which will allow the minimums to come down.

David Wiseman for Target!
I don’t know if I have anything to contribute to that market right now. But, I have no problem with mass market. It just has to be done ethically and responsibly.

SM3194

Unique Glacier votive candle holder in hand-blown smoke-colored faceted Czech crystal with bronze and copper cradle. Designed and made by David Wiseman, USA, 2011. 3" H x 5" D. Photo by Sherry Griffin/Courtesy of R 20th Century. 

Is there anyone out there doing anything remotely close to what you’re doing?
I don’t know. It’s a big world. This type of work has been done for millennia, where someone was interested in having meaningful, handcrafted objects in their life, in their architecture. I feel like the 20th century is a bit of an exception. People are still making exquisite interiors, but it was much more part of the architectural tradition to bring in artisans. Construction has become less handmade. I’m of the historical precedent, like English country homes, which had decorative plasterwork on their ceilings. I’m definitely referencing that [with my work], but modernizing it and abstracting the forms and pushing the asymmetry and the naturalism a little more than historical artisans were perhaps allowed to or interested in exploring.

Can you describe your fascination with nature?
Nature is my departure point. Patterns, going back to ancient traditions, were about trying to make sense of the world in which we exist. Recreating it in human terms. It’s about being part of this wild and mysterious planet, internalizing it, and trying to analyze it. So, my fascination stems from that. Often, in architecture, up until the modern period, people brought nature indoors, whether through paintings or decorative arts or furniture or ceramics. Then, in the Western tradition at least, we went away from that. The utilitarian and machine age changed [things]. I wanted to get back to that tradition and pick up where the 19th century left off.

What draws you to nature-related renderings and depictions specifically?
I started with deer and owls. There’s a couple different birds—starlings and finches—that live in our urbanized environment, yet also have a wild existence. They’re mysterious and magical. They’re like these spirit animals that embody the same sort of imagined world of nature that I’m trying to bring into people’s homes. So, my installations and wall reliefs are about that unbridled, beautiful facet of nature, bringing it into our interiors.

You’re in L.A. now, but what once brought you to New York?
I got a job in the city working with Todd Oldham. He came to lecture at RISD and I gave him a little deer hat hanger I designed out of cast plaster. Then he hired me. This became, like, a business while I was in school. I moved to New York [and] I needed to find a place to continue making these, and other ceramics, because I was selling them in stores in L.A., New York, Japan, and Australia. So, I rented a ceramic share studio in Williamsburg.

How do the two places compare for you?
I love making work in L.A. I’m really happy here. New York was great, too, but it wasn’t for me. There’s a very distinct Brooklyn design movement, which is wonderful, but I never felt like I was part of it. I was more interested in exploring my own themes, naturalism, wandering through forests, and being outside. Half of [my studio] is outside, and it’s amazing to just open the door and be able to grind in the daylight. You can only do that so many months of the year [in New York]. Nature’s present [in NYC], but it’s more present [in California].

What would you be doing if not this?
I don’t know. I had a mid-college crisis where I thought I wanted to be a doctor, so I took a biology course at Brown. Because I’m not providing an obvious service for somebody—I’m playing with clay—I feel an obligation to work really fucking hard, because it’s, in a way, egotistical to say that I’m an artist and I’m going to spend all my time working on my own expression. I’m lucky enough to have this as my job. I’m going to work my ass off.

SM3529
Unique Talon pepper well in bronze and porcelain. Designed and made by David Wiseman, USA, 2012. Edition of 12 plus 2 artists proofs. Signed and numbered, DW1. 6.5" L x 3" W x 2.25" H. Photo by Sherry Griffin/Courtesy of R 20th Century.

What We Hope To See at Jeff Koons’ Whitney Retrospective

The Whitney Museum of American Art is getting ready to say goodbye to its ritzy uptown digs before moving to a larger space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. And before it goes, there will be one last huge exhibit: a retrospective of work by controversial artist Jeff Koons.

“This will be the first time a single artist has ever taken over almost the entire museum,” Whitney curator Scott Rothkopf told the Times. “We wanted to choose an iconic American artist as a farewell to the Breuer building.”

The show, set to open in January 2014, will include over 100 of Koons’ works dating from 1979 through 2004. It will be the first time a New York museum has been able to pull of a retrospective of Koons’ work, which is often very expensive to manufacture and difficult to handle.

Koons’ catalog isn’t made up of pretty paintings, however. The artist is perhaps best known for his oversized metallic sculptures that look like balloon animals and his “Made In Heaven” series of paintings, which depicted him and his (now ex) wife, Italian porn star turned politician Ilona Staller. 

There’s plenty of other work in Koons’ oeuvre, however. Here are five works we can’t to see up close.

Koons Jackson

Michael Jackson and Bubbles: In the late 1980s, Koons made three of these sculptures, which portray Michael Jackson and his best pal, the chimpanzee Bubbles, in porcelain and gold leaf.

Koons Puppy

Puppy: This 43-foot-tall topiary sculpture was created in the early 1990s, and while it’s adorable, the most interesting part of this dog’s life was when three members of a Basque separatist group attempted to plant explosives near the sculpture while it was on display in Bilbao.

Koons Car

BMW Art Car: Who says art can’t be functional? In 2010 Koons designed this car for BMW and then entered it in a race. Unfortunately the stunning and rare vehicle did not win.

Koons Train

Train: A $25 million, 70-foot replica of a Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive is being considered by the folks behind New York’s High Line as decoration for the elevated park. But where better to debut the piece, which could perhaps be finished in time for the Whitney show, than on Madison Avenue?

Koons Heaven

Dirty – Jeff on Top: Of all the porno-style images from the “Made In Heaven” series, this is one of our favorites. Plus it seems like a good sculpture to hang out near and meet people.

Linkage: Lindsay Signed On To Play Liz, Gotye Upset By ‘Dinky’ Cover

It’s official: Lindsay Lohan has, after months and months of talking about it, signed on the dotted line to play Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime’s Liz and Dick. "I have always admired and had enormous respect for Elizabeth Taylor," says Lohan. "I am very honored to have been asked to play this role." [LAT]

After spending the weekend with him and her family, Kim Kardashian was spotted out and about with a subtle set of gold and diamond studded earrings that spelled out Kanye West’s initials. [NYDN]

Australian body-paint fanatic Gotye thought that Glee‘s take on his chart-topping "Somebody That I Used To Know" sounded "dinky and wrong." [D+T]

In a title-card at the end of last night’s rerun, The Simpsons‘ producers congratulated their hosts at Fox Network for 25 years on the air. "We love you still," read the shout out, which also included a rather pointed amendment: "This doesn’t include Fox News." Shots, they were fired. [ArtsBeat]

Have you ever wondered how those quippy little news stories end up in your office elevator? Turns out, those "content snacks" are the work of actual humans, writing from suburban Massachusetts with their so-called "metropolitan hats" on. [NYM]

Mod maven Lisa Perry is following-up her Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein projects with a Jeff Koons collection that is inspired by his work in both aesthetic (cupcakes and robot bunnies and shiny materials) and price (very, very expensive). [ArtInfo]

Patti Smith at Espace

My first vision of Patti Smith is a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. She’s a few feet from me on a dark stage in a club, long lost in addled memory. I can see her now in my minds eye …slow motion… then faster than life, then a strobe light vision in a white T-shirt. Bottles are being thrown at the stage and she’s barking and bellowing at the combat-booted crowd. She leers and screams, threatening them into a frenzy of punk madness. I became conscious in that world of geek bands like the Dead Boys, The Heartbreakers and The Ramones, where being sedated or lost or misplaced was the anthem. Patti Smith was saying something different to me that night.

She was different. Her hard, street mean demeanor left a trail of intelligent lyrics behind—realized as I was jostled by the frothing crowd. She was simply smarter, more romantic, and more poetic than the lot. I went home and read the words and saw the difference. Over the years, I would occasionally catch her act, but it wasn’t the same. Less angry, better T-shirts, nobody throwing anything or pushing me or kicking. I could hear the words easier and I sang along. Her seething was evident but less apparent as she and the generation evolved. The words and passion hit home, but my home had changed. I’d see her on the subway or walking on the street or once having dinner with Sinead O’Connor at Hangawi (that vegetarian Korean restaurant that slays me). She was/is such a part of the downtown religion that I pay sacrifice to. I play “Because the Night” every time I DJ because the words got me through so many nights so long ago. I was invited to Patti Smith live in concert at a benefit for the American Folk Art Museum at Espace Friday night and I had to go.

The event promised Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Betsy Johnson, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Kelly Bensimon, Ruben and Isabel Toledo, Jake Paltrow, Blythe Danner, Ryan McGinley and a host of others, but I’m not much for name dropping. The evening was to celebrate the birthday of Henry Darger whose intimate collages are currently on view for the first time in the museum’s new exhibition. A conflict of no particular interest made me late and I came in while Patti was on stage. She complained of a little thing in her throat that caused her to miss a note here and there but an ageless crowd couldn’t hear or care if they did. It was strange seeing the flowered banquet tables and seated audience rock to the songs that had them foaming once before. Betsy Johnson bounded around in her happy state and then helped out with “Gloria” just before Patti’s big move of standing on a table near the stage. Her “Ghost Dance” lyrics, “We shall live again” seemed ironic. She stayed on stage after her last song forgoing the formality of the crowd stomping their expensive shoes and clapping their manicured hands for an encore. She made light of it saying, “It seems so lame. Oh they want us to come back?” It was a fun, light moment.

She demanded the crowd rise from their seats for “Gloria” saying, “You’re lucky to be alive, actually a lot of you ARE lucky to be alive.” Once again, I felt like she was talking directly to me, like in that black and white and muffled memory I was reliving from an era I’d miraculously survived. The intensity of the East Village/L.E.S world echoes in punk anthems of long-dead bands. People today play them or listen to them as muzak without truly understanding that era of anguish. It’s marvelous that she’s still relevant. Patti Smith is still great and she still brings a certain intensity, still packs the punk poet but she plays to a different crowd, or at least a crowd that has become different. After the show, my gal and I walked east to catch Michael Caine’s brilliant performance in Harry Brown where he channels Charlie Bronson and Travis Bickle to vanquish terrorizing British punks in modern England. Our journey took us past a Food Emporium with a large advertisement for Himalayan Pink Salt and Freeze Dried Green Peppercorns. I was interested in their magic. The first time I saw Patti play I had a slice and a coke at Stromboli’s