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Yogurt Culture is a monthly feature, highlighting interesting cultural events here in New York City, its environs, other cities in the US, and abroad. Like yogurt, this department will come in many flavors-- something for everybody, we hope, and like yogurt, culture's good for you!
  • Those eminent Victorians--the painterly ones--can be seen at an exhibition here in New York City entitled: "A Victorian Salon: Paintings from the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum." 35 wonderful and fun canvases of languid women, in exotic environments, amid classical themes. Some of the artists’ names will be familiar to you, like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of the most prominent pre-Rafaelites, and Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, Queen Victoria's beloved animal painter. There is also a painting by Anna Alma Tadema, the daughter of Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema (He is a personal favorite of mine in this genre. If you like the show, there are some wonderful books about Tadema where you can see more of his work). So go, and enjoy being immersed in the fantasy dream version of Damascus, Mount Olympus, the Nile.... at the Daheesh Museum, 601 Fifth Avenue at 48th St., through April 17.
  • Two interesting shows are running now at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum: "Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age: Selections from the Merrill C. Berman Collection" through May 23rd. 200 works from the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Great Britain, the United States, etc., from the early Twentieth Century, are extraordinarily innovative. Posters, books, collages and packages are on display, and they have an unbelievable eye-catching power. I've always felt this fecund period in the Graphic Arts was really the heyday of the century. There is a catalog available for the exhibition, published by Yale University Press, and if the subject interests you further there is a really neat book entitled "Film Posters of the Russian Avant-Garde," published by Taschen [Buy it now!] that you will enjoy as well. The other show to see there is "The Huguenot Legacy: English Silver 1680-1760" from April 27 to August 8. The Huguenots were French Protestants who fled France for Protestant Europe (many to England) and to America, after they were stripped of their political power by Louis XIV. It was time to split. But their influence, particularly on the decorative arts and fashion in England, was significant. The Cooper-Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street.
  • At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but only for 2 more weeks--the show ends March 14, is "Cubism and Fashion." Try to make it over to the Met and see this. The clothes, which are from 1908-1920, truly changed fashion by adapting the revolutionary principles of the cubism movement. You will get to see designs by Madeline Vionnet (a sublime designer, another personal fave), Callot Soeurs, and the peerless Gabrielle Chanel. While you're at the Met you can also see "Dosso Dossi, Court Painter in Renaissance Ferrara" through March 28. This is a rare opportunity to see 60 paintings, from various American and European collections, of a Renaissance painter (1486/7 - 1542) not as well-known as some of his contemporaries like Titian. Go see the darling of the court of Ferrara under the great Este dukes. No one can ever have enough of the Renaissance, and starting March 16th and running through June 27th the Met will have an exhibit called "The Treasury of St. Francis of Assisi." I don't have to hear anymore-- I'm there! Over 100 works of art from all over the world; the exhibition was organized as an effort to raise people's awareness of the terrible earthquake that so damaged the Basilica in Assisi two years ago. If you've ever had the good fortune to visit Assisi, you will recall seeing how that magnificent town sits perched on the hill like a jewel, as you drive up the winding road towards it. Once there, the Basilica is a never-ending feast for the eyes. Like a dream. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd.
  • More Victoriana for you--this time photography. At the Museum of Modern Art through May 4, you can see "Julia Margaret Cameron's Women," a very interesting and lovely exhibition of the photographer's work. Cameron photographed many famous men of the time, Darwin, Tennyson, Herschel (the astronomer). The women who are her subjects are not famous, and their fixed gazes give them a further sense of mystery. We do know who a few of them are: Alice Liddell of Alice in Wonderland fame, here in her teens. And there is Cameron's niece Julia Jackson, who was Virginia Woolf's mother (you can see the resemblance). I must stop here, because in a second I'll be on to the endlessly intriguing Bloomsbury days. MOMA is at 11 West 53rd Street. Always check to see what movies are playing that day as well: the film is free with admission, and MOMA has wonderful, wonderful film festivals, AND it's a great theater--comfy seats, clean, and a nice large screen.
  • At the Jewish Museum you can see "Ikat: Splendid Silks of Central Asia from the Guido Goldman Collection" through May 16. At the time of writing this column I have not seen this exhibit, but a photograph in the Program Calendar of a woman's robe from Uzbekistan during the 19th Century depicts a beautiful garment. The Jewish Museum always curates wonderful shows. They have a very nice bookstore, and a lovely little cafe downstairs. Always pick up their events calendar--they have interesting lectures and films as well. The museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue (92nd Street).
  • At the Frick through April 25, on loan from the National Gallery in London, is Drouais' full-length portrait of Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV. This is the first time the portrait has been seen in the US. The Frick has rearranged several paintings for the exhibition of this work. Two Chardins hang on either side of Madame de Pompadour, one of which has not been exhibited by the Frick for 18 years. The Frick's own Drouais "The Compte and Chevalier de Choiseul as Savoyards" has been moved from its usual spot to hang across from the portrait. Sounds wonderful doesn't it? The Frick is always a sheer delight, and if you haven't seen it, watch the film that is shown throughout the day, about the mighty Henry Clay Frick, and the evolution of one of the great American private collections of art. The Frick is located at 1 East 70th Street.
  • Also around and about Manhattan: The Guggenheim Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue at 89th Street, is showing "Picasso and the War Years: 1937-45" through May 9. The Morgan Library, 29 East 36th Street, has "The Wormsley Library: A Personal Selection by Sir Paul Getty" through May 2. For you bibliophiles out there, you can see illuminated manuscripts, copies of "Canterbury Tales," "The Faerie Queen," and "Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience" to mention a few.
  • In Brooklyn, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Eastern Parkway, you can see "Domestic Transformations" through March 14. Four Brooklyn artists, newcomers to the scene, take everyday household objects and make the profane, well, something more. While you’re there look around--the museum has a marvelous collection. Don’t miss the Egyptian Wing, considered one of the best collections in the country. There is also a wonderful costume collection, decorative arts collection, and, of course, art collection. In the art collection is William Blake’s color print Red Dragon, which Thomas Harris (author of Silence of the Lambs) made infamous in his earlier thriller Red Dragon (the movie was called Manhunter). The museum also has a wonderful gift/book shop, and a very nice café. An extra delight is that the museum is right next door to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, another sublime experience.
  • At the Wadsworth Atheneum, in Hartford, Connecticut, starting March 14 through August 15th, Bonnets to Berets: Twentieth Century Hats. The Wadsworth is a terrific museum, worth a visit.  And while you're in Hartford, if you've got the time, you should also visit Mark Twain's home, and take the tour. It's great fun. And Hartford also has some wonderful architecture on Insurance Row.  The Wadsworth Atheneum is at 600 Main St., Hartford, CT.
  • Perhaps off the beaten art path--Steve Wynn's new hotel/casino in Las Vegas, the Bellagio, houses the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art--no kidding folks. The gallery shows great artists like Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Rubens, Degas, Modigliani, and Pissarro. Admission is $10. So if you want a break from the slot machines, roulette and 21 tables, shows with white tigers and lots of good-looking showgirls, head on over to the Bellagio. I don't have an address but it's near Caesar's Palace, and something tells me you can't miss it.

That's it for now kids. I'm sure I left out a lot, but this column will grow as we grow. Also, don't forget to check New York magazine and The New Yorker, the Times, Time Out, or, of course, your local cultural guide, for comprehensive cultural listings. Have a good time.

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