April 4, 2023- Cat Schmitz

April spotlights exemplary thinkers, creators, and innovators in all art forms, featuring Pulitzer-Prize winning art critic and author Jerry Saltz, the New York City Premiere of works by Paul Wiancko and Dinuk Wijeratne performed by brother-and-sister ensemble Silvie and Brian Cheng, and artist Nate Antolik exhibiting his latest works.

All events and exhibitions are free and open to the public

The National Arts Club (NAC) continues its 125th anniversary year with numerous free public arts and culture programs in April, in addition to new visual arts exhibitions.

Program highlights for the month include an evening with animated film creator Bill Plympton, a celebration of 50 years of Grease with original Broadway producer Ken Waissman, a discussion with Pulitzer-winning art critic Jerry Saltz, a musical performace of iconic masterworks by artist fellow Silvie Cheng of the Cheng2 Duo, and more.

The exhibition of Still Lives: Tables, Chairs, Mannequins by Nate Antolik, featuring a selection of works resulting from Antolik’s daily practice of painting from direct observation, begins in April as does “Ancient Mirrors and Italian Cities,”showcasing sculptures by Ricardo Arango and Thomas Lollar inspired by research at the American Academy in Rome on ancient Estruscan and Roman hand mirrors.

All programs and exhibitions are free and available to the public with registration. In-person programs and exhibitions are hosted at the NAC’s historic landmark clubhouse, the former Samuel Tilden Mansion, located at 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY. Information on registration and the most up-to-date details can be found at nationalartsclub.org.

Past virtual programs can be enjoyed anytime on the NAC’s YouTube channel.


Programs take place in person, unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 PM
A Creative Human: Cat Schmitz
Join artist Cat Schmitz for a conversation about being a creative human in New York City, running a multidisciplinary creative practice, and embracing the ambiguity that comes with new adventures and big life changes. Cat Schmitz is an award-winning artist and designer who has designed for the History Channel, New York University, and others. She is currently a freelance art director at Sesame Street and runs her own design company called The World of Cat, that blends traditional textile design with functional art to create one-of-a-kind comfortable environments with textiles like rugs, quilts, art, and more.

Tuesday, April 11 at 6 PM
Bill Plympton’s Peculiar and Sublime World of Animated Film
Join us for an evening with Bill Plympton, one of the most notable creators of animated film with both main-stream success and oddball appeal. Well established as an illustrator and cartoonist since the 1970s, he is best known for his animated short films, garnering an Academy Award nomination (Your Face), the Prix Spécial du Jury at Cannes (Push Comes to Shove), as well as being regularly featured on MTV’s Animania and Liquid Television series. The evening will include a screening of The Tune, Mr. Plympton’s first feature-length animated film musical (1992) about Del, a song writer for the obnoxious Mr. Mega. In love with Didi, Mega’s secretary, Del’s quest to write a hit tune brings him to the strange world of Flooby Nooby, where he just might learn to write songs from the heart.

Tuesday, April 11 at 7:30 PM
The Loft Generation: From the de Koonings to Twombly
The Loft Generation: From the de Koonings to Twombly; Portraits and Sketches, 1942–2011 is a bristling and brilliant memoir of the mid-20th-century New York School of painters and their times by the renowned artist and critic Edith Schloss, who, from the early years, was a member of the group that shifted the center of the art world from Paris to New York. It is an invaluable account by an artist at the center of a landmark era in American art. Schloss writes about the painters, poets, and musicians who were part of the postwar movements and about her life as an artist in New York and later in Italy, where she continued to paint and write until her death in 2011. Jacob Burckhardt, son of the author, filmmaker, and photographer, and one of the editors will discuss the book.

Wednesday, April 12 at 6:30 PM
Poor Richard’s Women
How many women fell in love with Benjamin Franklin? How did America’s pot-bellied, balding scientist-statesman juggle all the romances? Award-winning author Nancy

Rubin Stuart addresses how Franklin found women as desirable and dangerous as electricity. Weaving detailed historical research with emotional intensity, she traces Franklin’s romantic liaisons through their private correspondence revealing independent women two centuries before the rise of feminism. Included are his common-law wife, Deborah; young Catherine Ray; his English “wife” Margaret Stevenson; the beautiful French musician Madame Brillon and the witty salon hostess Madame Helvetius. “This is a terrific read; poignant, provocative, and probing.”

– Library Journal.

Friday, April 14 at 3 PM
The Sweater, A History
Join co-author Gail DeMeyere and editor Keren Ben-Horin of The Sweater: A History, as they trace the garment’s fascinating 300-year history as an aesthetic and craft object and tell the story of its materials and construction, national traditions, fashion fads, and accessories. The sweater has gone full circle from the inception of the hand knit to the advancement of technology and back to knitting with natural fibers. Keren Ben-Horin is a fashion historian and curator who has curated several fashion exhibitions in New York and Israel and co-authored the fashion history survey She’s Got Legs: A History of Hemlines and Fashion. Keren is currently a Curatorial Scholar at the Center for Women’s History, New-York Historical Society. Gail DeMeyere has worked as an art director, curator, and knitwear designer. She received a BA in the History of Art from the University of Michigan and her MS from North Carolina State University in Textile Design, Marketing and Management.

Friday, April 14 at 7:30 PM
The Constant Future – A Century of the Regional Plan
James Sanders’s dramatic images transport one to a “dream city” of imagination and possibilities, of dazzling urban visions, built and unbuilt—and of the transformative ideas that have reshaped New York, its surrounding region, and, in time, cities all around the world. Archival video sequences trace the epic story of New York and its environs: the first urban area in the world to reconceive itself as a regional metropolis, an idea so familiar today it is almost commonplace, but a radical, innovative, and daring new way of thinking in the 1920s. The program features RPA’s four landmark Regional Plans—from 1929, 1968, 1996, and 2017— serve as the center point around which the story of the metropolis revolves. James Sanders is an architect and co-writer and producer with Ric Burns of the Emmy Award-winning eight-part PBS series, New York: A Documentary Film.

Monday, April 17 at 6:30 PM
Fifty Years of Grease: An Evening with Producer Ken Waissman
What do John Travolta, Richard Gere, Marilu Henner, Patrick Swayze, Ilene Kristen, Treat Williams, Barry Bostwick, and Carole Demas have in common? In the new book, Grease, Tell Me More, Tell Me More, they tell you, in their own words, how their individual careers began in this historic Broadway musical which started in the

basement of an old Trolly Barn in Chicago, became the longest running show in Broadway history, and went on to become a worldwide phenomenon, spawning a blockbuster Hollywood movie and continuous stage productions in nearly every language. Please join us for a special evening with Ken Waissman, original Broadway producer for Grease and co-author of the book. He will be joined by several original cast members.

Tuesday, April 18 at 8:00 PM
Art Is Life: Art Critic Jerry Saltz and Andrew Goldstein in Conversation
Jerry Saltz, the Pulitzer-winning art critic at New York magazine, is one of our most-watched writers about art and artists. Since the 1990s he has been an indispensable cultural voice: witty and provocative, he has attracted contemporary readers to fine art as few critics have. A frequent guest lecturer at major universities and museums, he has spoken or taught at Harvard, MOMA, the Guggenheim, Yale, and RISD. Now, in this special NAC event, he speaks with Artnet’s Andrew Goldstein about his newest book, Art Is Life, which draws on two decades of his work to offer a real-time survey of contemporary art. In Art Is Life, Saltz includes eye-opening appraisals of trailblazers like Kara Walker, David Wojnarowicz, Hilma af Klint, and Jasper Johns–and offers surprising takes on figures from Thomas Kinkade to Kim Kardashian. And he shares stories of his own haunted childhood, his time as a “failed artist,” and his epiphanies upon beholding work by Botticelli, Delacroix, and the cave painters of Niaux. With his signature blend of candor and conviction, he argues for the importance of the fearless artist. Jerry Saltz is the senior art critic at New York magazine and its entertainment site Vulture, and the author of the New York Times bestseller How to Be an Artist. In 2018 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Andrew Goldstein is the editor-in-chief of Artnet News.

Wednesday, April 19 at 6:30 PM
Martha Hill: Changing the Face of Dance
This event explores the legacy of the visionary dance educator Martha Hill, who founded groundbreaking programs at New York University, Bennington College, and Juilliard, profoundly shaping the course of dance in higher education in the 20th century and beyond. Her many, many students have gone on to extraordinary careers where they continue to shape the course of dance training and performance. Excerpts from the documentary Miss Hill Making Dance Matter, directed by Greg Vander Veer, will begin the program and will be followed by reflections of several of her former students on how Martha Hill influenced their lives and careers as they carry dance and dance education into the 21st century.

Thursday, April 20 at 6:30 PM
A Tale of Two Pyramids
We present Douglas A. Tilden, former Board member of the Archaeological Institute of America, and now an Independent Researcher as well as benefactor for our educational initiative. Tilden discusses with us his journey from a retired CEO of a major shipping company to a published field archaeologist fulfilling a life-long dream. He will also

share his experiences and observations gained from over ten years of work with the Maya civilization in Belize: what made it so distinctive and his views on what caused the demise of this once flourishing civilization.

Friday, April 21, 7:00 PM
FashionSpeak Fridays: An Evening with Nick Wooster
Join legendary design and retail consultant Nick Wooster for a conversation about his illustrious career. Nick Wooster’s resume reads like a roll call of top American fashion brands and stores. His tenure in the menswear space has spanned over thirty-five years with various positions at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and JCPenney. Currently the Style Editor of At Large Magazine, Wooster continues to consult with brands around the world, currently designing a capsule collection for the Japanese brand Kuon and a capsule for the Italian brand La Martina. He recently launched a capsule collection with the Japanese sneaker brand Onitsuka Tiger. Past collaborations include Tiffany, Lardini, Paul & Shark, and more. His own exemplary style was lauded with a space in Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List in 2015. Wooster style is highly encouraged.

Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00 PM
New York City Premiere with the Cheng2 Duo
The brother-and-sister ensemble, Silvie and Brian Cheng, perform masterworks of Dvořák and Brahms; and Sonata No. 1 for Cello and Piano; Shifting Baselines, by Paul Wiancko, Japanese-American composer and a member of the acclaimed Kronos Quartet; and Portrait of an Imaginary Sibling, by the Sri Lankan-Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne. These new works were commissioned by Cheng2 Duo during the pandemic, highlighting the stories of cross-cultural backgrounds while illustrating composers’ journey as multidimensional artists. The pianist, Silvie Cheng is a 2022-2023 National Arts Club Artist Fellow.

Thursday. April 27, 7:00 PM
New Ideas and Materials in Contemporary Furniture Design
The new generation of furniture designers have been changing how we think about furniture design and its function. There have been significant shifts in the approach to furniture design, with materials and technology becoming part of the conversation. As this market matures, we can see certain trends in the approach to contemporary furniture design. Join furniture designers Joyce Lin and Luam Melake together with AD Senior Design Editor, Hannah Martin, as they talk about the state of contemporary furniture design. The talk will be moderated by Evan Snyderman.

Friday, April 28 at 6:00 PM
Julia Pastrana and the Eye of the Beholder by Laura Anderson Barbata
Born in Sinaloa, Mexico, Julia Pastrana (1834–1860) was a gifted singer, musician, and dancer who could converse in English, Spanish, French, and her native Cahita. She also suffered from one of the most extreme cases of hypertrichosis terminalis on record and severe gingival hyperplasia: her face and body were covered with thick hair and her jaw

was disproportionately large. Pastrana toured North America and Europe billed as “The Ugliest Woman in the World.” Artist Laura Anderson Barbata lobbied for a decade for the repatriation of Julia Pastrana from the University of Oslo, Norway, where her body was kept, to be buried in Sinaloa, Mexico. In this talk, Barbata will share her 10 years of work to have Pastrana’s body repatriated to Mexico for burial. Laura Anderson Barbata is a 2022-2023 National Arts Club Artist Fellow. Her recent book will be available for purchase.


All our exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, Weekends, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Still Lives: Tables, Chairs, Mannequins – Nate Antolik

On view in the West Gallery, April 10 – May 5

Opening Reception: Tuesday, April 18, 6 -8 pm

Still Lives features a selection of works resulting from Antolik’s daily practice of painting from direct observation. Taking as his subject matter the interior of his home studio and the objects within it – tables, chairs, toy blocks and dishware – Antolik attunes himself to the indwelling persistence of domestic objects. Under his sustained and careful attention, the latter are revealed in the light of their autonomy – enigmatic witnesses of our everyday lives. Nate Antolik lives and works in New York. He received his BFA from the Atlanta College of Art and studied painting at the Art Students League. He has exhibited in New York City, Los Angeles, and Lisbon, Portugal.

Ancient Mirrors and Italian Cities – Remnants of Rome On view in the East Gallery, April 10 – May 5

The Ancient Mirror sculptures by Ricardo Arango and Thomas Lollar are inspired by research at the American Academy in Rome on ancient Estruscan and
Roman hand mirrors. Unlike ancient hand mirrors, these creations are a much larger scale, turning the small human scaled objects into large sculptures. Arango’s mastery in designing sculpture in welded metal and Lollar’s playful glazed drawings alluding to ancient figures and themes create an engaging visual collaboration. The installation is further enhanced by outstanding video images of Italian cities by Clayton and Parker Calvert. Ancient Mirrors and Italian Cities was exhibited at the Palazzo Bembo / Venice Biennale 2022.

A Masterpiece in the Making – Joaquín Sorolla’s Gouaches for the ‘Vision of Spain’ Continuing in the Grand Gallery through April 26

The National Arts Club is proud to partner with the Hispanic Society Museum and Library in presenting this landmark exhibition commemorating the Valencian master Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. The exhibition, which opens during Master Drawings Week,

features the work of the Valencian master Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida—the preeminent artist in Spain at the turn of the 20th century—on the occasion of the centennial year of his death. On view are Sorolla’s rarely seen preparatory sketches for the paintings in the HSM&L’s Sorolla Gallery, Vision of Spain. This is the first time the works are being exhibited in the U.S.


Founded in 1898, The National Arts Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts. Annually, the Club offers more than 150 free programs—both in-person and virtually—to the public, including exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, lectures and readings, attracting an audience of over 30,000 in-person visitors and thousands more online. Feature programs focus on all disciplines of the arts.

Since 2019, the Club has been undergoing a renaissance. New initiatives—such as an artist fellowship, an outdoor concert series, and online programming—have attracted new audiences. At the NAC’s landmark clubhouse, the former Samuel Tilden Mansion, efforts have been made to reimagine, renovate, and preserve the building’s galleries and historic spaces.

The NAC is also a proud community partner, providing therapeutic art instruction to children in the care of the Administration of Children’s Services, regularly convening New York City art leaders to share ideas and collaborate, presenting a popular series of concerts in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and more.

For a full list of events or to learn more, please visit nationalartsclub.org.