Wines-OrdonezJorge Ordonez, wine producer from Malaga, Spain, held a special NYC tasting recently for his superb desert wines, made from Muscat of Alexander grapes grown in the mountains near the Mediterranean sea, not far from the city of Malaga.

Describing the hand-harvesting process, using donkeys on mountainsides that can reach a 70 degree inclination, Mr. Ordonez said everything related to making his wines was “difficult.” Good sign. With five harvests beginning in August and running through October, the grapes come from 100 year-old vines and organic methods, offering a range of tasting and price options. On the higher end, Old Vines #3, 2011 (photo) has an intense fruit taste combined with notes of honey (515 g R.S.) and jasmine that can hang with the best sweet wines from Germany, France, Hungary and Italy.

Wines-WIK2The wine collection of William Koch, featuring 43,000+ bottles, many of the best wines of the last century — described by Serena Sutcliffe: “in oenological terms, it is a Bible” — was reduced by 20,000 bottles this past weekend, after a three day sell-off at Sotheby’s in New York.

The 2730 lots, including several DRC La Tache 1971, saw bidders willing to part with upwards of $34,000/bottle ($343,000 paid for 10 bottles Chateau Mouton-Rothchild, 1945), from a collection that had been riddled with bogus wines. Starting in 2005, Mr. Koch employed an army of experts (including FBI & CIA), spending $millions, to ferret out the fakes and bring those responsible to justice.

Only a scant 21 lots in the sale were wines from Spain. Perhaps Spanish wines were the ones he chose to keep. Good choice.

LatinArt2016GilbertoRamirezIt’s easy to lose one’s balance — with much of the Latin American contemporary art up for auction this week in NYC. Those seeking artwork — more grounded in essential truths, might consider Mujer Meditando (bottom), by Mexican muralist Gilberto Ramirez (c.1963), available through Lotus Editions.

StreetArt2016oo“…Grieve at the falling away of ‘the things’ which had once been the repository of the Spirit and are now being ousted by an empty ‘doing’ done in the image of nothing…” Erich Heller, The Artist’s Journey into the Interior (Random House, 1965)

AmericanScene2It’s become fashionable, even for Democrats, to say “no” to Hillary. Where were these people when she was saying “yes” to destroying Iraq, Libya , and Syria?


StreetArt2016hhChristie's-O'KeeffeChristie's-O'Keeffe1921Art sales, this week in NYC, continue to reflect a decline in the market for American art, with works by Georgia O’Keeffe being a notable exception. Lake George Reflections (c.1921-2) sold for $12.9 million yesterday at Christie’s.

Seventy-years ago the Museum of Modern Art, under the direction of James Johnson Sweeney, gave Georgia O’Keeffe her first retrospective at that institution. The show was a major NY happening, with over 12,000 tickets printed for the May 14, 1946 opening. Several weeks into the show, one of the MoMA board members asked Sweeney about the possibility of buying an O’Keeffe painting from the show (White Canadian Barn, 1932). Sweeney said the price would be $2500, to which the (female) board member replied that she had thought it would be “several hundred dollars.” The present work was not in that retrospective.

Note: The painting was presented at Christie’s both vertically and horizontally.


ClassOf2016The first stop for this NYU grad was Ferragamo on Fifth.


BalletHispanico2016BalletHispanico2016kBalletHispanico2016mBallet Hispanico, billed as the “new expression of American contemporary dance,” held their annual gala fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel, 5/16. Honorees included Richard E. Feldman, President of the SHS Foundation, and Linda Celeste Sims, Ballet Hispanico Alumna & Principle Dancer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

“Through the work of its professional company, school of dance, and community arts education programs, Ballet Hispanico celebrates the dynamic aesthetics of the Hispanic diaspora, building new avenues of cultural dialogue and sharing the joy of dance with all communities.”

Photographs: Stephen Wise

GOK-Christie's“Some such consciousness, it seems to me, is alive in the mystic and musical drawings of Georgia O’Keeffe. Here are emotional forms quite beyond the reach of conscious design, beyond the grasp of reason—yet strongly appealing to that apparently unanalyzable sensitivity in us through which we feel the grandeur and sublimity of life.” Wm. Murrell Fisher, Camera Work (#49/50, 1917)

Christie’s NY will be offering five O’Keeffe’s at their American Modern Sale, May 19, including the present works: (left) Blue I, 1916; (right) Red Hills with Pedernal, White Clouds, 1936.


Stephen B. Wise


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