Kestenbaum & Company Auction of Fine Judaica: Virtual Tour of Exhibition

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Kestenbaum & Company is a New York City based boutique auction house dedicated to the sale of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Autographed Letters, Ceremonial and Fine Art.

With over twenty-five years in the auction business, Kestenbaum & Company is particularly renowned for its expertise in the fields of Hebraica and Judaica.

Top collectors, specialized dealers, museum curators and acquisition directors around the world rely on Kestenbaum’s expertise and value its discretion and integrity.

Kestenbaum & Company is the largest niche auction house in the United States having sold to date over 30,000 lots at auction of rare and antique Judaica.


Postmodernist Art Movement and Its Connection to Painting

Post-modernism is a very interesting art movement. Actually it is more of a way of seeing art, texts, and actions. For example, a post-modernist artist could paint their own body, and appear on stage waving see through vials, while a projector shows their paintings on a white wall behind the artist, or on the artist themselves.

Post-modernists have taken painting to a whole new level, and as a result, their art isn’t very durable. For example, a painting of a plate of shrimp that has real shrimp glued to it will spoil quickly.

Post-modernists see all painters as equal. They do not agree that masters such as Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo are better than the rest. To them all the artists are one group, not individuals. This view is not liked by many.

Some people may have certain post-modernist aspects in their work, but they don’t have to agree with everything this movement believes in. Actually, most post-modernist artists don’t even know that they belong to such a movement, they simply enjoy experimenting with various techniques and styles.

One very popular post-modernist technique is to include the artist as part of the “item” that is presented. Of course, an artist can have more than one person be part of their art work. For example, Leonardo da Vinci’sMona Lisa will be presented in a post-modernist view like this – a white wall on which the background of the famous painting is copied, and a real woman dressed as Mona Lisa standing in front of it. Another post-modern representation of the Mona Lisa would be a painting that represents the wall in the Louvre where theMona Lisa is displayed. However, Mona Lisa is desperately trying to get out, well aware that she is in a painting.

Part of the PO-MO view is to make fun of art. Allan Graham is a very popular American post-modernist. One of his paintings is simply the words “you are here” on a white canvas. The words are painted in black color.

Modernism and post-modernism are similar in many ways. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate just by looking at two paintings which movement they belong to. Only very extreme paintings can be classified within only one genre. Part of the beauty of art is that it doesn’t need to be logical or labeled.

Some artists enjoy mixing things up and surprising their audience. Others want to discover the classics, and they strive to reach the masters’ precision and calculations. Art is meant to be enjoyed, discussed, critiqued, and speculated. Unlike spelling, there is no right or wrong way to create art or to appreciate it.   Art  enthusiasts can hang anything they want on their  walls  as long as it makes them happy.

Post-modernism is a little bit of everything – Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Literature, Modernism, Acrylic Paintings, Music, Photography, and Architecture. According to POMOs everything goes good with paints, and if something can’t be put on a canvas, then it can be painted over. This makes the world of the fine arts even more exciting, unpredictable, and extreme.

Ten Essential George Harrison Songs

Everything written about George Harrison’s contribution to The Beatles has been notarised and analysed to death (super guitar play, spiritual searcher, sardonic and grumpy interviewee, underappreciated songwriting genius etc). But where John Lennon and Paul McCartney gave their very best to The Beatles (neither had the tenacity to continue writing at the level of brilliance they brought to the fab four), Harrison found himself in the position where he could prove himself as a songwriter in his own right. Releasing eight albums over the course of his career, Harrison wrote a collection of beautiful songs that certainly rivalled (often bettered) the best of the solo Lennon-McCartney material. Here are ten of his finest:

My Sweet Lord (All Things Must Pass, 1970): Perhaps the greatest song ever written about God, ‘My Sweet Lord’ gave Harrison the first no.1 hit any Beatle enjoyed in their solo careers. A shiny, shimery acoustic jewel (Harrison, Eric Clapton and members of Badfinger all give their hand at playing acoustics), vocally supported by “the George O’Hara-Smith Singers” (surprise, surprise, Harrison himself overdubbed) and a gentile guitar solo Noel Gallagher later pinched for ‘Supersonic’, this proved Harrison’s most famous and enduring work, somewhat tainted by a court case where Harrison was found to subconsciously borrow from The Chiffon’s ‘He’s So Fine’ ( this was in part instigated by Allen Klein, the Beatles erstwhile manager!). Nevertheless, as religious ballads go, nobody has bettered this song for sincerity or musical beauty.

What Is Life (All Things Must Pass, 1970): Beautifully produced by Phil Spector (perhaps the last single he produced with his Wall of Sound effect still at its zenith), this swaying, blaring pop song found itself nicely in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas’ (1990) (Scorsese later directed a worthwhile documentary about Harrison, entitled ‘Living In The Material World’). A Motown fused classic, the song was a smash in the U.S., though bizarrely it was relegated to the flipside of ‘My Sweet Lord’ in the U.K! Amplified by Harrison’s arresting opening riff, this is the best song from Harrison’s debut.

Isn’t It A Pity Version One (All Things Must Pass, 1970): One of the songs The Beatles foolishly rejected, this was Harrison’s ‘Hey Jude’ pantheon, a plaintive look at life sung over a shimmering display of piano chords, orchestrated guitar lines and gorgeous gospel blaring, ‘Pity’ would be forever championed by Eric Clapton as one of Harrison’s best. Clapton himself played the song at ‘The Concert For George’ in 2002- there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)(Living In The Material World, 1973): This is Harrison’s best solo song and rivals ‘Something’ as the best song he ever wrote. Ably supported by Ringo Starr on drums, this is a lovely piece of pop delight, Harrison at his pinnacle as lyricist. There is a humility and vulnerability here from Harrison, a delicate slide guitar line (almost Hawain in its sound) made this Harrison’s second U.S. no.1.

This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying) (Extra Texture,1975): A sequel of sorts to Harrison’s White Album masterpiece, and it wasn’t Harrison’s instrument alone that cried. If ever a picture could be painted of Harrison in 1976, this was it, a period of uncertainty for him following an unsatisfactory 1974 tour of America and the breakdown of his marriage to Patti Boyd. Here he sets his mind out, decrying the veneral sneer of critics (“can even climb Rolling Stone walls”) to the state of his isolated mind (“found myself out on a limb”). Saturated in Dylan’s influence, ‘Guitar’ is an intoxicating deep cut.

Crackerbox Palace (Thirty Three and a Third, 1976): Harrison, a lifelong Monty Python fan and vocal supporter of comedy, delivered this laconic piece of irreverence, complete with bon mots a la “while growing up,trying to/ not knowing where to start”. With a music video directed by real life chum Eric Idle (Python cohorts John Cleese and Neil Innes feature), Harrison’s tirades in schoolboy uniform and bon viveur in his mansion, Friar Park, is a slice of Goon aspired brilliance.

Dream Away (Time Bandits Soundtrack, 1981): Recorded only hours after John Lennon’s death, this is a song driven by emotion and drive, all sung in the jovial fairy tale frviolity of Terry Gilliam’s first masterpiece ‘Time Bandits’ (1981). Opening with a nonsenical babylon of babble, ending with superlative slide playing, this is one of the wackiest pieces of bubble gum pop of the eighties, armed with lyrics of “dark in mythology” and “travelling through history”.

This is Love (Cloud Nine, 1988): Armed with Jeff Lynne as co-writer, George Harrison’s return to the mainstream after a half decade sabbatical brings a Beatlesque quality to the proceedings, albeit with lyrics only Harrison could write. “Since our problems have been our own creation/They also can be overcome” he sings, more chant than adage “When we use the power provided free to everyone.” Perhaps Harrison’s most Beatlite song (either this, or the tongue in cheek ‘When We Was Fab’), its been a radio-mainstay since the late eighties.

Cheer Down (Lethal Weapon 2, 1989): Although Harrison’s rockers were few and far between, this ‘Lethal Weapon 2’ closer showed stadium rocking came as naturally to him as Godly chants did. Collaborating with Tom Petty, its title came from Harrison’s wife Olivia, an adage she would utter if excitement ever got the better of him. Further Travelling Wilbury Jeff Lynne offers inspired be-bop harmonies, and Harrison’s guitar picking recalls his early Beatle days.

Any Road (Brainwashed, 2002): Written in 1988 and first performed on VH1 during an interview between Harrison and mentor Ravi Shankar, ‘Any Road’ was released posthumously in 2002. Completed by Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison, ‘Brainwashed’ proved a poignant listen, none more so than ‘Any Road’, a song that seemed to finish the message began by ‘My Sweet Lord’ in 1970. Fittingly, it would be nominated for Best Male Pop Performance at the 2004 Grammy’s. Written for the ukulele, ‘Road’ proved a busker’s dream, a chord filled journey that promised “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”.

Romantic Getaway Las Vegas

Our two-night romantic getaway began on a Tuesday at the end of July and was superb. It was hot outside (109 degrees Fahrenheit), but what an oasis inside the hotel.

ROOMS. We looked for a quick romantic getaway in Las Vegas while celebrating Kevin’s birthday and found it at the Rio. Here is our review on what you can expect from the rooms when booking your romantic travel here. We’ll be reviewing foods at the hotel where we stayed in an upcoming blog post, but for now, let’s look at the rooms, or suites, I should say, at The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A wonderful night’s sleep.

ROOM: It’s HUGE! And the bed… OH THE KING SIZED BED! We slept for 12 hours straight. The nice thick mattress was like falling onto a cloud. The size of the suite was at least double what you would find elsewhere and includes a couch, a comfortable chair, a two-person working desk and flat screen TV.

Yes, there are some cons, which I will mention, but the pros of our room far outweigh the things that are easily overlooked.

Pros: Because we are artists, we noticed the   wall   art  right away. The art is beautiful and restful. A watercolor of rolling hills and etheric sky hangs above the two person couch and is the first thing we see when waking. “Good morning world!”

Over the bed is a gold and soft purple image of a peaceful outdoor scene. Off the end of the bed and to the right was an enormous wooden TV cabinet and pay per use bar. Around the dividing wall and near the entry door we found a long storage unit and on top were a complimentary Keurig coffee maker and coffee items, drawers for clothing storage, a hair dryer, sink and a double glass mirrored sliding door with a mini frig inside. The bathroom included a toilet, of course, large tub/shower with curtain and another sink with lots of counter space. Four stylistic lamps, a large wall mirror made the choice of gentle lighting an easy one. Every suite has a view from its wall of windows. For us, when we look slightly up (11th floor) we can see many of the strip hotels – Whyndham, Trump, Encore, Wynn, Treasure Island, Palms and the Mirage. The room is wonderfully sound proof and the entire evening the only thing we could hear was the gentle humming of the beautifully chilled air conditioner. The room was immaculately cleaned and the tile floors polished to a high sheen. We even had a dressing table with chair and large mirror for easy make up application.

Cons: The carpet is old and needs replacing. The door to room 1187 does not close tightly. We returned from an evening out to find our door ajar. That Keurig coffee maker we mentioned earlier? You’ll pay $8 for a box of coffee pop-ins from the room bar (looks like there’s enough in there for about 3 cups of coffee). There’s also a Starbucks downstairs by your elevator in the Impanema tower. The flat screen TV is rather small. In some spots the wall paper is in need of repair or replacing. The mini frig was cool, but not cold enough and not adjustable. The view from the floor to ceiling windows with black-out curtains and sheers when looking down is of the industrial air conditioning units, the delivery bays, and asphalt, parking and industrial buildings. The bathroom, as with most hotels today does not have a vent, so when you shower the mirror gets steamed quickly and there are no windows in the room to vent the steam.

Ours was a working and together-time vacation so while working at the desk on our articles, we found the cold AC blowing on our backs both annoying and distracting, but where else were they going to place it? We just learned to work faster.

We waited for the Rio’s Semi-Annual Sale and our price for two nights, which included 12% sales tax and $25 per night resort fee (which is taxable, like the room), internet and free parking, was $154.56

We did wonder what the Resort Fee included and discovered it was for In-room Wi-Fi, Fitness center access, In-room local/tool-free calls and access to their Rio Spa and Salon. More about that in an upcoming article.

Be assured, the cons are not enough to keep us from returning or encouraging you to enjoy a restful, romantic getaway with your sweetheart at a very reasonable price.

As far as the view from our Impanema Court room is concerned – look up, not down. The carpet? Keep the lights low. The frig? Bring your own ice chest. The TV? Turn it off and enjoy some much-needed together time.