Colorful Distractions

There are many ways to beat the winter blahs, but if you’re drawn to beautiful things, late January is a good time to make a trip to the city, where exhibitions of fine art and precious objects will provide some color and tempt your pocketbook.

Starting with their boldface name-attracting preview parties, the Metro Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea (125 West 18th Street) and Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street kick off on January 23rd and 24th, respectively. There’s plenty to see at both venues, including some great talks by art and design experts during the runs of both shows.

Uptown at the Armory, where the event is open to the public from January 25 through February 3, the 59th iteration of this venerable showcase of all things rare and luxe features a special exhibit of 60 treasures from eight of  the finest “cottages” of Newport, including The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House. One of my favorite pieces on display is an over-the-top, 1890 couture ball gown from the house of Charles Frederick Worth in Paris. History-savvy fashionistas know that Worth was designer to the celebrities of the Robber Baron era.

It’s always fun to see great jewelry, and Didier, Ltd. has some one-of-a-kind pieces made by renowned artists at its Armory booth. Since my own birthday is in May, it was hard not to be attracted by this gold pendant depicting a bull, crafted by Picasso in 1958.

Downtown at the Metropolitan Pavilion, you will see great prints and paintings, folk and outsider art, historic textiles, toys, and much more at the 34 dealer booths.

Pace Prints offers Snow Pines, a work by noted contemporary artist Helen Frankenthaler who, FC readers will be interested to note, once kept a studio in the industrial loft space that is now the Artists’ Lofts building in Harbor Point in Stamford.

Metro Show Exhibition days following the preview party on the 23rd run from Thursday the 24th through Sunday, January 27th. Among the special events is a tour of the show with designer Elissa Cullman, principal of Cullman & Kravis, the interior design firm she founded with the late Hedi Kravis in 1984. She’ll point out her top picks and dispense some advice about blending objects and furnishings from different eras in the home.

The Editions/Artists’ Books Fair, a showcase for contemporary publishers and dealers, presenting the latest and greatest in prints, multiples and artists’ books will run concurrently with the Metro show, giving Metro show goers an additional browsing opportunity, adjacent to the Metro show in the Altman building next door. This show, scheduled to run last November 1, was postponed by superstorm Sandy and is running collaboratively with the Metro Show.

The shows offer catering for lunch or a snack, but when you finish at the Metropolitan Pavilion, a fun place to eat in the neighborhood (the Flatiron District) is Pipa, a chic tapas restaurant located at 38 East 19th Street. Order some small plates and sangria, to celebrate your colorful day.

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