When you think about it, it makes sense.
The Guggenheim Museum, with its spiral ramp and odd angles -- one of the most difficult places in which to show works of art -- is ideal for the Paris period pictures of Wassily Kandinsky.
"Kandinsky in Paris: 1934-1944," the final installment of a four-year, three-part homage to the Russian-born modernist and the first museum show to focus on his previously overlooked late works, won't give in to the architecture.
Unlike the two earlier shows, which covered Kandinsky's signature abstracts from his Munich and Russian periods, there are no major works in this final installment. What is here, however, hangs in perfect harmony with Frank Lloyd Wright's museum design.
Some of the works, the ones of commas and spores in bright colors, seem to float on the walls, in defiance of the curves and angles the viewer must cope with to look at them.
Then there are the ones that look like Matisse cutouts. These don't float. But they are so small and precious that they are not overwhelmed by the walls.
Not everyone will find these oddly whimsical works to their liking. The once-revolutionary artist spent his final years in the haute bourgeois Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine and, like the French businessmen who lived around him, his concerns grew less and less profound. But the thing is that these paintings, watercolors and drawings will never look as good as they do in the spiraling Guggenheim. The museum should leave them up permanently, but it won't -- the show runs through only April 14 . . .
Like the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art seems to have found a perfect fit. The cool and corporate glass box, long a landmark in this town, hosts a show of the cool jungle world of Henri Rousseau.
His first retrospective since 1942, this exhibition should go a long way toward restoring Rousseau's rightful place in art history. He may have been a primitive, and his work may be a crowd pleaser, as accessible as Grandma Moses' patchwork New England landscapes, but he is not merely a facile producer of exotic fantasies, as the full-scale MOMA show amply proves. Broadway
The question is: Why shouldn't Smokey Robinson have a one-man show on Broadway?
The man who helped make the Motown sound into a national phenomenon more than 25 years ago has been around long enough, and although most people don't think of him in such stellar terms, Bob Dylan once called him one of the great American poets.
His engagement through Sunday makes good business sense, too. With more than half the Broadway theaters dark and revenues from lighted ones running at an all-time low, Robinson may breathe new life into the Great White Way.
"Broadway?" the 45-year-old musician said the other day. "Why, it's only another theater." Performance
One day Ping Chong may make it to Broadway, too. The Chinese performance artist, whose collaboration with dancer Meredith Monk has overshadowed his talent, has struck out on his own in an amazingly successful production at the La Mama Annex (East Fourth Street) through March 3.
"Nosferatu," the title of the witty multimedia affair, is not easy to describe. It combines projections, live performers and architectural structures in a Kabuki- inspired setting, but all you need to know is that it is about vampires, particularly ones from the F.W. Murnau film classic. And it is very good. Auction
You may have been to Sotheby's. But have you ever placed a bid in 8BC?
Sunday afternoon, local East Village artists will auction their works in the performance space to raise money for the Life Cafe.
The Life Cafe is a symbol of the old East Village. Run-down, idiosyncratic, offering healthy fare that looks and tastes fairly low on the food chain, the place has nonetheless served its run-down and idiosyncratic neighborhood without, in local parlance, ripping off a soul.
As anyone would for a good friend, when the neighbors learned that the Life Cafe (which takes its name from the old issues of Life magazine papering the walls) was in danger of losing its lease, they came to the rescue. Viewing of the works will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at 8BC (337 E. Eighth St.). The sale begins at 5.