Rene Ricard, the Massachussets-born artist and poet who was a fixture of New York’s art world since he arrived in 1965, has died. He passed away early this morning in Bellevue Hospital, said the artist Brice Marden, who had known Ricard since the 1960s. He died of cancer.
Quality restaurant art is nothing new, especially in New York. When it opened in the late ’50s, the Four Seasons Restaurant, in the iconic Seagrams Building, had art by Picasso, Miró and Jackson Pollock on the walls. (The dining room was meant to get a series by Mark Rothko, but he pulled out of the project, and the paintings now hang in three museums.) The food/art nexus may have culminated with the freewheeling 1970s, when Gordon Matta-Clark had his restaurant, Food, in Soho—compared with that, most restaurant offerings seem pretty staid. These days, you can go to Casa Lever, in the architecturally groovy Lever House, and gaze at myriad Warhol prints of celebrities—Hitchcock, Sly Stallone—while you’re eating your $52 “Costata” T-bone steak. And if you’re looking for something a bit more classical, there’s always Maxfield Parrish’s monumental mural, Old King Cole, which hangs elegantly above the bar in the St. Regis Hotel. But a new joint set to open by the end of the year is bringing New York restaurant art to a whole new level of downtown hipness.
Last Wednesday artists and techies crammed the main hall of General Assembly, one of Silicon Alley’s group workspaces, for a panel called “Art Outside the Gallery.” The discussion included entertaining takes on how people discover new art these days: interior designer and set decorator Christina Tonkin described how one client, an unnamed New York Yankee, wanted the painting that hung in superagent Ari Gold’s office on the HBO show Entourage. (It wasn’t a real painting, so she had it reproduced by the show’s set designer). Also on the panel was the affable painter Richard Phillips, who regaled the audience with anecdotes about texting with Lindsay Lohan.