Happy, Peppy, and Bursting with Color

Chilean music and dancers complemented a photo exhibition by Ronaldo Brunet at his native country’s Consulate on East 48th Street in Manhattan. It was an early-afternoon opening to coincide with a Chilean anniversary of…well, something I can’t exactly remember. Since 1999, the Consulate General has been showing works from native Chileans living in the United States. Mr. Brunet showed about eighteen pieces of street art photographs which he often calls “interactions.” When he finds an old billboard or torn paper posting, he’ll sometimes modify it with paint or by making his own cuts. His work is more illustrative than indicative of pure photography. The works rely on bold color and contrasts; the compositions are often skewed diagonally.

In attendance were the Chancellor of the Consulate and his wife, both dressed impeccably and very cordial, along with some of Mr. Brunet’s friends: artist Tom Ryan, who helped extensively with the exhibit set-up, Juan Gomez, a fellow Chilean, and John Howard, also an artist.

Next stop was the Morrison Hotel Gallery for a show by musician and songwriter Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame. The gallery was opened in 2001 by former record company exec Peter Blachley, former independent record store owner Rich Horowitz and music photographer Henry Diltz. The newer Bowery location occupies the former CBGBs Gallery spot. Stewart’s images are quite powerful statements of rock-n-roll persona. His color photos burst with vivd detail. His ideas drive the work’s appeal. Bjork seems suspended in space while holding a camera in a tableau comprised of orange and pale blue. Stewart uses a similar two-tone palette in Suicide Blonde where his subject lays in a bath of red with surrounding checks of turquoise. His black and white images are a little less compelling but one in particular is memorable, a Polaroid of Mick Jagger standing in a suit next to two women in a tub.

I bought Stewart’s book (The Dave Stewart Songbook, Vol. One), lugged it around with me the rest of the night and came close to arriving home with it still in my possession. As soon as I left the 61 bus on Victory Boulevard, I realized I left it on the seat next to me while chatting with a neighbor Alan. There went any hope of getting to bed by 3am. Called 311. Called the MTA. There’s was only one thing to do: head back to the ferry terminal and wait for the same bus to return. It took an hour. It was four in the morning.

“I was on this bus an hour or so ago and lost something,” I muttered with hope to the bus driver. How can he not remember an hour ago, I thought.

“What was it?”

“A book. An expensive book.”

The driver handed it to me and remembered I was on his bus when a fracas broke out between him and two obnoxious riders. He wanted my info in case he needed a witness.

I suppose leverage always comes in handy, especially at 4am.

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