Debbie’s Week at a Glance: Painting with fire, panting for milkshakes

Featured image
Man on fire, Nick Moss at his studio.

I usually leave the weather reports to DPC, but 65 degrees on January 11th, must be noted. That and more than 1 billion animals perished in Australia (and yes, I mourn the people too, though they were thankfully, in smaller numbers).  It  makes me think a lot, about climate change, and of who will do something about it. OK. I will exit the soapbox.

Winter in New York is kind of sweet. There is less of everything and so everything is a little more appreciated. Supposedly everyone is in Florida, but if that’s true, how do the moguls who populate it, buy those mansions? I guess when you’re the boss, you can work remotely.

I’m actually writing this on a very bumpy flight to Naples. Florida, that is. So yes, I’m in those Florida numbers, and I guess I am in fact, working remotely. I’ll report in next week, on the demure, lovely little hamlet of Naples, which I suspect you know much less well than the other side.


Palm trees, sunshine, and golf courses. Yup. It’s Florida.

Before I left, though, there was some fun to be had at home.

Only weeks ago, my psyche and waistband pleaded “No more lunches!” I love my friends and loved every convo and crumb, but by December 24th I was talked out and out of my size 4’s.

Not so in January! 

I was thrilled to accept Felicia Taylor’s lovely invite to smart and healthy lunch. Healthy, because Avra is Greek-think salad, veg and fish, and delicious, and smart because this is who was there: Vanessa Noel with updates on her plans for the very first Shoe Museum, in New York. Jennifer Miller (no, not jewelry, the other one), who I encouraged to start a blog. She knows everything, from the best doctors, to the cleverest way to navigate the real estate market, and she’s not a broker! Marielle Flores Moens, the MarieBelle chocolatier, told of her creative process and their massive success in the design focused Japanese market. Anne Dexter Jones proudly shared stories of her daughter, Annabelle Dexter Jones’ role in the award sweeping series, “Succession.”

Felicia talked about her important soon-to-be released documentary about the street kids of Senegal — taught to read and write by memorizing the Quran, then sent to the streets to beg for money and food, threatened with death, when not. And I ate lunch.


Jennifer Miller, Vanessa Noel, me, Marielle Flores Moens, hostess Felicia Taylor, and Ann Dexter-Jones at Avra.
Desert choices: The fruit plate looks pretty sad next to the Baklava, dripping with honey.
On our way back from lunch, passing the surprising closing clearing out of Rotisserie Georgette.
Sad farewell.
Au Revoir Georgette! xx

“I love the way you’re hung!” was my unfortunate opening line at Nick Moss’s gallery opening at the Leila Heller Gallery. His work, was in fact, beautifully hung, but it was too late. Host, Keith Barish heard, and gave me a deserved guffaw.

You will see, in the pictures of Nick, that he is as compelling looking as his artwork. Compound that with the fact that his background was in welding, and he ‘paints with fire’. I feel the vapors coming on as I type this. Maybe the ‘hung’ reference was Freudian.

Nick grew up on a farm in rural Michigan and early on, learned how to manipulate metal. Fast forward to a fortuitous gig with Traeger Grills, where he designed the metalwork. That success and his long interest in art forged (forgive the pun) a new career as an artist.


The artist himself, Nick Moss. No, he never removes his hat, even while welding.

His work has included emojis, nudes, and in this newest show, features geometric shapes, colored and ‘painted’ with scalding  patinas. “The fire tells the patina what to do”, Nick explained.  Steel Shapes (the title of the show), were inspired by shadows of buildings, patterns in cobblestones and aerial views of farms and the earth. Art critics, vastly more knowledgeable than I have suggested the shapes nod toward Rothko, Kelly and Stella.

His newest work, Flame Paintings, was born by mistake. “Steel is full of surprises,” he told me. While cutting steel with a torch, the tip kept sticking to the steel, creating smudgy, unearthly images, pierced by a triangle.

The result is an intriguing combination of unearthly, hooded creatures with a hard, though spiritually referenced, pyramid.


Nick Moss Steel Shapes opening at Leila Heller Gallery …


Flame Paintings …


Tony Shafrazi’s newest acquisition.

Last I heard, the show was almost sold out, but you’re in luck, because he is back in his studio in upstate New York, playing with fire.

It was said to be Leila’s biggest crowd yet, in her new-ish gallery on 76th and Madison. After 9 ½ years downtown, Leila returned to the neighborhood where she had been for 30 years prior. No grass grows under her little tootsies, though. She’s off to her gallery in Dubai, then Switzerland, and ending up at the very happy occasion of Brooke Block and Oliver Kennan’s wedding at Round Hill in Jamaica.


L. to r.: Pre-game with Jade Brown before Nick Moss’s opening; Nick’s opening’s hosts, Ann and Keith Barish.
Double date — hosts, artist and partner.

L. to r.: Leila and Tony Shafrazi’s  blue beauty; Bo Dietl, insuring all was secure.

The crowd was bustling and buying, including Richard Mishaan (who bought a Moss at the last show for a client — quite an affirmation!), Patricia Duff and Richard Cohen (the new one), Betsy Ross (no, not the flag maker), Bo Dietl, Nancy Silverman, Stephanie Krieger, Allison and Leonard Stern, Crystal Lourd (who owns several Moss’s), Tony Shafrazi (he bought the blue beauty that night), Peter Duchin and Virginia Coleman, Elizabeth Callender, Dana Creel and Dana Hammond and Patrick Stubgen.


L. to r.: Nancy Silverman and Milly de Cabrol, in their au currant bobs; Stephanie Krieger and Allison Stern.
Who’s zoomin’ who? Tony Shafrazi and Christoph von Hohenberg.
L. to r.: Elizabeth Callender, and her artfully touselled hair; Julie Mulligan — have you noticed, only pretty people attended? It was on the invite.
Jay Snyder and Richard Mishaan, the latter fresh from a Bloomberg ‘friend-raiser.’
L. to r.: Helen Schifter; Chris Barish and Bettina Zilkha.
Crystal Lourd and Patricia Duff.
L. to r.: Robert Zimmerman, fresh from Martha MacCallum’s Fox show. He’s an equal opportunity commentator. CNN next; Robert’s pin — a gift from a Secret Service agent. Feeling safer by the second.
Angela Tassoni (in her own, fab necklace) and Dana Creel.
L. to r.: Peter Duchin and Jade Brown; Janna Bullock.
Pups always welcome!

When there was no more art to be had, a few of us tottered over to Ann and Keith’s son Chris Barish and daughter-in-law, Julie Mulligan’s place – Black Tap. Famed for its highly Instagramable ice cream Sundays, I was in it for the burger, and was not disappointed. Thoughtful Chris looked at the long line just outside our private room’s window and wondered if he shouldn’t give them drinks or hats? He didn’t and didn’t need to. They were in anticipatory heaven, and gave us no notice. If you happen to not be in New York, stand by. They have 20 so far, and many more to come.


The daily line, outside Black Tap.
L. to r.: Proud poppa of Chris Barish in his Black Tap restaurant; Black Tap’s famed Sundaes.
Peter Duchin hogging his desert … Well, OK, I’ll share with her!
A Nick sandwich, Ann I are the white bread. Congratulations, Nick, and good night.

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