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Dining & Nightlife

Collier County

Pure Urban Oasis
Location: Mercato, 9123 Strada Place, Suite 7135, Naples
Details: (239) 514-7873;
What’s the buzz: The main dishes may offer a combination of great ingredients and flavors without excess. But excess seems to be the name of the game with dessert martinis such as Caramel Rendevous and Original Sin.
Name to look for: Founder Peter Schmid, a Michelin-trained chef who opened the well-known Peter’s La Cuisine on Bay Street in downtown Fort Myers and co-founded Blu Sushi


Loving Hut
Location: 975 Pine Ridge Road, Naples
Details: (239) 254-9490; www.lovinghut.us/naples_01
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What’s the buzz: This international chain of vegan restaurants has quickly developed a following at its Naples location.
Be the first to try: Vegan dishes prepared with bold American, Chinese, Indian, Thai and Vietnamese flavors in appetizers, salads, soups, noodles, rice, vegetable
and bean curd, entrees
and desserts
Don’t miss this: Spicy Cha Cha—yam flour crescents battered and seasoned with select spices served with bell pepper, celery, onion and lettuce

Pewter Mug 41

Location: 12300 N. Tamiami Trail, Naples
Details: (239) 596-6844
Hours: Monday through Thursday 4–11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday 4–11 p.m.
What’s the buzz: The North Naples landmark restaurant, which opened in 1970, succumbed to the economy last year but was saved by new owners and reopened as Pewter Mug 41.
Don’t miss this: Tad’s fried pickles
Loft 59 Nightclub
Location: In the former Sway Lounge, 2059 Tamiami Trail East, Naples
Details: Coming fall 2010; (239) 331-2530; www.loft59nightclub.com
What’s the buzz: The website promises the club will strive to bring the vibe of Miami, the elegance of Vegas and the energy of New York.

Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar
Location: Venetian Village, 4270 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples
(239) 649-5552; www.baysideseafoodgrillandbar.com
What’s the buzz: The restaurant celebrated its 20th anniversary with a renovation and re-opening in September that completely transformed the space with an ambience inspired by the pastel hues and iconic imagery of a seaside cottage, with modern features such as iridescent tiles, Avonite surfaces and glass panels.
Be the first to try: Whole Caribbean snapper with fried plantains, black bean and corn crab salsa
Don’t miss: Bell & Evans chicken with gorgonzola potato pancake


Grain de Café
Location: Marketplace at Pelican Bay, 8803 Tamiami Trail N., Naples
Details: (239) 594-8081
What’s the buzz: French husband and wife duo Isabelle and Pierre Frittoli bought the former The Bean and transformed it into a coffee shop that mixes American and French delights.
Be the first to try: Homemade, natural and often organic menu items including salads, sandwiches, quiches, pastries and more
Don’t miss this: Plans are in the works to expand its breakfast and lunch hours to include happy hour with live entertainment on weekends.

Norman Love Confections
Location: 3747 Tamiami Trail N., Naples
Details: Expected to open by Christmas; www.normanloveconfections.com
What’s the buzz: The famous Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers is opening a second location in Naples, next to USS Nemo’s in Parkshore Plaza. The more than 1,200-square-foot space will be a combination confection shop and coffee bar.
Be the first to try: NLC ultra-premium, handcrafted artisanal chocolates, pastries, desserts, breakfast bakeries, Italian gelato, specialty coffees and smoothies


Lee County

Biddle’s Piano Bar & Restaurant
Location: 12984 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers
Hours: Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., featuring nightly entertainment
What’s the buzz:
Recently relocated from Summerlin Road in south Fort Myers to the former Bennigan’s building across from Bell Tower Shops
Names to look for: Chef Bruno Ferreyra and Sous Chef Joshua Spicer made the move from the former location.
Don’t miss this: The signature dessert, the “Grand Finale,” is a miniature chocolate piano filled with fresh berries and espresso sauvignon mousse.

DaRuMa Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge
Location: Bell Tower Shops, 13499 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers
Details: Opening by the second week of November; (239) 344-0037; www.darumarestaurant.com
What’s the buzz: This popular Japanese restaurant, with locations in Naples and Sarasota, is expanding into Fort Myers with its traditional service or Teppan-style cooking at your table.
Don’t miss this: Twice the size of the Naples location, it will feature a huge center bar offering piano entertainment five nights a week and appetizer and drink specials at the bar.

Gracie’s Cupcakes & Ice Cream
Location: Bell Tower Shops, 13499 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers
Details: Opening mid-November; (239) 415-0300; www.graciescupcakes.com
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.  
What’s the buzz: This popular Naples cupcake shop is expanding into Fort Myers with 26 different flavors offered in four sizes ranging from miniature to giant.
Be the first to try: Tempting flavors such as red velvet, brown sugar caramel or mudslide
Don’t miss this: Bring your pooch in during Bell Tower’s Yappy Hours for a “pupcake.”

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
Location: Bell Tower Shops, 13499 S. Cleveland Ave.,Suite 201, Fort Myers
Details: (239) 432-9767; www.grimaldispizzeria.com
What’s the buzz: The first Florida location for this Brooklyn-based pizza chain opened in October.
Be the first to try: Coal-fired oven pizza featuring fresh ingredients such as hand-cut pepperoni from New York, fennel-seed sausage and hand-pulled mozzarella
Don’t miss this: Cheesecake is made in house and features seasonal favorites.

Twisted Vine Bistro
Location: 2214 Bay St., Fort Myers
Details: (239) 226-1687, www.twistedvinebistro.com
Hours: 4:30–10 p.m. dining; 3–7 p.m. bar  
What’s the buzz: The former H2 Downtown Bistro is now Twisted Vine Bistro, led by Culinary Institute of America-trained Chef Dan Virola and featuring his eclectic menu.
Be the first to try: Crispy jumbo shrimp in a carrot-ginger reduction or filets of beef wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon, and an extensive wine list
Don’t miss this: Hoisin-brown sugar-glazed wild salmon


Collier County

New stores at Mercato

Location: U.S. 41 and Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples

What’s the buzz: The retail scene at Mercato continues to thrive, with additions such as European clothing store Sportalm, accessories super-shop Charming Charlie, Simply Natural and Byte Shop/Style.
Be the first to: Deck out your home with a customized home theater system, courtesy of the Byte Shop/Style’s staff of certified engineers and technicians.
Names to look for: Outfit yourself head to toe in Simply Natural’s collection of cozy basics and striking accessories from Joe’s Jeans, Akiko, Cp Shades and Splendid.


New stores on Fifth Avenue South
Location: Throughout Fifth Avenue South, downtown Naples
What’s the buzz: Upon your return, head to downtown Naples for a stroll on Fifth—and perhaps a shopping spree, as well—at new additions Pucci & Catana Luxury Pet Boutique, Finials Foray and Fifth Avenue Design Gallery.
Don’t miss this: You won’t believe the square footage of Fifth Avenue Design Gallery, stocked full of favorites such as Baker, Hickory Chair and more.
Names to look for: Visit Pucci & Catana, pup in tow, for a selection of Juicy Couture, Roberto Cavalli, BowHaus NYC suitable for the most fashionable of pets.


Leslie Hindman Auctioneers
Location: 1300 Third St. S., Suite 201, Naples
Details: (239) 643-4448, www.lesliehindman.com
What’s the buzz: Full-service auction house of fine furniture and decorative arts, fine art, fine books and manuscripts, fine jewelry and timepieces, and vintage couture and accessories.
Don’t miss this: The first auction Nov. 21 will feature a collection of 61 Samson armorial cabinet plates, the Demetre Chiparus bronze Phoenician Dancer, and a Continental inlaid cabinet on stand.


Moana Beauty
Location: D’Amici Salon & Spa, 5628 Strand Blvd., Suite 8, Naples
Details: www.moanabeauty.com
What’s the buzz: A new line of luxurious bath and body products, formulated with natural ingredients from Tahiti, is made right here in Naples.
Be the first to try: Monoi body scrubs, made with naturally purifying Pacific sea salt, raw turbinado sugar or red Alaea salt, are the perfect recipe for smooth, fresh skin and clear pores.


New additions to Saks Fifth Avenue
Location: Waterside Shops, Naples
What’s the buzz: In with the new! Saks Fifth Avenue unveils Gilan, a new member of its fine jewelry family, and another delicious addition to the Bond No. 9 perfume collection.
Don’t miss this: Gilan, a family-owned jewelry house with roots in Istanbul, makes its very limited debut at select Saks locations in North America. Celebs such as Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek have been spotted sporting the opulent jewels.
Be the first to try: Bond No. 9’s Washington Square eau de parfum, which pairs old-fashioned purple rose with honey, vintage amber and an unexpected leather accord. (Its launch coincides with the reopening of Washington Square Park in New York City.)

New at Marissa Collections
Location: 1167 Third St. S., Naples
Details: (239) 263-4333; www.marissacollections.com
What’s the buzz: Marissa’s is your best bet for the chance to meet and mingle with the hottest, most coveted designers each season—and get style tips straight from the source.
Don’t miss this: Former Town & Country editor-in-chief Pamela Fiori will be signing copies of her breathtakingly beautiful book In the Spirit of Capri on Nov. 9.
Names to look for: Don’t miss personal appearances by designers Peter Ciesla, Yossi Harari, Irene Neuwirth, Tamara Comolli and others throughout the season.


Lee County

Preppy in Paradise

Location: 9541 Cypress Lake Drive, Suite 4, Fort Myers
Details: (239) 481-1995; www.preppyinparadise.com
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What’s the buzz: Let’s face it—a monogram makes everything a little cuter. This sweet boutique, newly opened in Fort Myers, is the place to go for thoughtful, unique gifts for kids or adults.
Be the first to try: Welcoming home a new addition to the family with a personalized, ultra-soft blanket.


New at Coconut Point
Location: U.S. 41 between Corkscrew and Coconut roads, Estero
What’s the buzz: Charming Charlie and Ethan Allen have taken up residence at the ever-popular outdoor mall.
Don’t miss this: Accessorizing doesn’t have to be a chore—Charming Charlie sorts goodies by color, so you can go straight to the shades that work best for you.


The Franklin Shops on First Street
Location: 2200 First St., Fort Myers
Details: Opening later this year; www.thefranklinshops.com

What’s the buzz: The old Franklin Hardware store will be reborn as an all-inclusive shopping space in downtown Fort Myers’ popular River District.
Names to look for: Award-winning design firm KVS Interior Design will offer even more furniture, accessories and artwork at its new Franklin Shops location.


Arts & Culture

Collier County

The Sarasota Opera with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra
Location: The Philharmonic Center for the Arts, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples
Details: La Cenerentola, 8 p.m. Nov. 14, tickets: $98; La Bohème, 8 p.m. March 25, tickets: $119.
What’s the buzz: The Sarasota Opera begins its reign as the Phil’s resident company with Rossini’s version of Cinderella, in which there’s neither a glass slipper nor an evil stepmother.


Annunciation Sculpture at Ave Maria
Location: Ave Maria University, 5072 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria
Details: March 25, 2011
What’s the buzz: After nearly two years of work, the final product, etched from tons (literally) of Carrera marble, can finally be seen in March.
Keep on the lookout: At press time, the brass at Ave Maria was putting together an unveiling party.    


Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
Location: North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road N., Naples
Details: www.cmon.org

What’s the buzz: After a $5 million donation from billionaire Tom Golisano, the Children’s Museum of Naples plans to open its doors in late 2011.
Be the first to try: One of the 13 exhibits, including Mother Nature’s House, Space Kiddettes, At the Beach and Journey through the Everglades.


Cuba on My Mind
Location: The von Liebig Art Center, 585 Park St., Naples
Details: March 12 through April 30, 2011
What’s the buzz: Cuba on My Mind features the work of Cuban and Cuban-American artists, whose work will confront the struggles of that culture.


Works by Robert Rauschenberg
Location: The Patty & Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art 
Details: Jan. 12 through March 20, 2011
What’s the buzz: Southwest Florida’s most luminous artist gets a new show, courtesy of John B. and Frances C. Fenning’s collection.  

Naples International Art & Antique Fair
Location: Naples International Pavilion, 4835 Immokalee Road, Naples
Details: Feb. 25 through March 1, 2011. Tickets: $15–$45
What’s the buzz: In the recently renovated Naples International Pavilion, International Fine Art Expositions (IFAE) showcases 60-70 stringently vetted art, antique and jewelry dealers.

Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra presents Baroque and Romantic Strings
Location: Sugden Community Theatre, 701 Fifth Ave., Naples
Details: 8 p.m., Dec. 6
What’s the buzz: Classic Chamber Concerts Artistic Director William Noll’s newest musical ensemble showcases the wealth of work written before the incorporation of large symphony orchestras.


Nora Butler Designs
Location: 800 12th Ave., Naples
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
What’s the buzz: Local artist Nora Butler opened her own gift and art boutique near Crayton Cove.


John Tesh at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
Location: 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples
Details: Dec. 4. Tickets: $80
What’s the buzz: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, kicks off its 25th anniversary celebration extravaganza with Grammy-nominated musician and radio host John Tesh in


Bill Clinton at The Philharmonic Speaker Series
Location: The Philharmonic Center for the Arts, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples
Details: 8 p.m., March 8. Tickets: $237 for Clinton, $338 for entire series
What’s the buzz: The Phil’s inaugural lecture series begins with Forbes CEO Steve Forbes (Jan. 24) and follows with British anthropologist Jane Goodall (Feb. 14), but its headliner is the 42nd president.
Something old, but new: After 28 years, the Naples Town Hall Distinguished Speaker Series still knows how to liven things up with a hot, new line-up of speakers at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples—including Sarah Palin on March 23. Also this season: Frank Abagnale, Anderson Cooper and Rudy Giuliani. Ticket packages are $1,350 to $5,000. 


The Fantasticks at TheatreZone
Location: TheatreZone, 13275 Livingston Road, Naples
Details: Dec. 2–12
What’s the buzz: TheatreZone takes its turn at producing the longest-running play in the world (42 years off-Broadway).


Naples Botanical Garden Expansion
Location: Naples Botanical Garden, 4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples
Details: Opening Celebration Week begins Nov. 8.
What’s the buzz: The Naples Botanical Garden unveils three new gardens this season: The Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden, The Asian Garden and The Water Garden.
Don’t miss this: The new gardens’ unveiling on Nov. 13 after a slew of opening week events 


Lee County

Fort Myers Music Walk
Location: First Street, downtown Fort Myers
Details: Third Saturday of every month
What’s the buzz: Building on the success of Fort Myers Art Walk, more than three dozen venues, including
bars, galleries and restaurants, are participating.


Southwest Florida Symphony’s A Midwinter’s Night Fantasy
Location: Harborside Event Center, 1375 Monroe St., Fort Myers
Details: Jan. 15.Tickets: $125
What’s the buzz: The Southwest Florida Symphony celebrates its 50th season with a night of winter magic, featuring its own fairies and pixies and a ghoulish Ice Queen complete with Snow Court.


Taste of the Arts
Location: Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers; Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center, 2301 First St., Fort Myers
Details: Nov. 14.Tickets: $25
What’s the buzz: This new two-stage, all-day festival of art in Fort Myers will feature performances by Florida Repertory Theatre, Gulf Coast Symphony, Gulf Shore Ballet and Southwest Florida Symphony.


Big Arts Winter Academy
Location: Big Arts Center, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel
Details: Jan.5 through April 6. Tickets: $150 for members, $185 for nonmembers
What’s the buzz: The success of last winter’s Big Arts education program has grown into a full curriculum of arts education, featuring eight different classes. 


August: Osage County
Location: Florida Repertory Theatre, 2267 First St., Fort Myers
Details: March 11–27. Tickets: $20, $39 and $44
What’s the buzz: The Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play may not be the most lighthearted experience of the season, but it could be the most profound.


Gulf Coast Shakespeare Festival
Location:  Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Fort Myers
Details: 10 a.m. to dusk, Nov. 20–21; Tickets: $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students with IDs, free for children; (239) 333-1933, www.laboratorytheaterflorida.com
What’s the buzz: This new festival will feature scenes, workshops, demonstrations, activities and full-length plays from professional and amateur theatrical groups along the Gulf Coast.


Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Location: Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers
Details: Nov. 11-28. Tickets $39–$125
What’s the buzz: The Rockettes put Southwest Florida into the Christmas spirit a little early this year with a November showing at Mann Hall.


Women Call for Peace: Global Vistas
Location: Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs, 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs
Details: Oct. 1 to Dec. 4
What’s the buzz: Thirteen distinguished female artists have created a traveling art collection focused on the idea of peace obtained through nonviolence. 


Jean-Blaise Evequoz at Art of the Olympians
Location: Art of the Olympians, 1300 Hendry St., Fort Myers
Details: December through January. Tickets: $2 for adults, free for children 12 and younger
What’s the buzz: The Swiss fencer won a bronze medal in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Now, however, he’s turned to more aesthetic pursuits, namely painting.


One-man reenactment of the Star Wars Trilogy
Location: Theatre Conspiracy
Details: 8 p.m., Dec. 30–31. Tickets: $40
What’s the buzz: We’re interested to see how performer Charlie Ross condenses George Lucas’ three-movie science fiction opus into one-man, single shows. But if Spin Magazine and the Chicago Herald are to be believed, the result is hilarious.


Even More

Scheduled Flights to Key West
Location: Naples Municipal Airport, 526 Terminal Drive, Naples
Details: www.gulfcoastairways.com. Tickets: $105–$202.50 each way
What’s the buzz: Instead of having to charter a private plane to the Conch Republic, you’ll soon be able to take one of the regularly scheduled Gulf Coast Airways flights to Key West out of Naples Airport (pending approval by the Federal Aviation Administration).


Giraffes at Naples Zoo
Location: Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road, Naples
Details: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets: $19.95 for adults, $11.95 for children
What’s the buzz: The Naples Zoo’s effort to open a giraffe exhibit got a boost with An Evening with Jack Hanna, and fundraising efforts now feature a temporary preview with five giraffes. The zoo hopes to complete the giraffe’s permanent habitat by 2012.


Location: 950 Sixth Ave., Naples
Details: www.hazelden.org/florida
What’s the buzz: Minnesota-based Hazelden, an alcohol and substance abuse treatment facility, opened its seventh national location in Naples in April, offering both residential and out-patient programs.


City of Naples Dog Park
Location: Northeast corner of Goodlette-Frank Road and Central Avenue, Naples
Details: www.mhkap.com/naplesdogpark
What’s the buzz: The proposed acre-sized dog park broke ground on Oct. 4, with plans to complete construction before 2011. Its organizers are still accepting donations at the website.


Bill Cosby at the Phil
Location: The Philharmonic Center for the Arts, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples
Details: 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Jan. 17. Tickets: $59–$84
What’s the buzz: The pioneering comedian of The Cosby Show and I Spy and winner of five Grammy awards stops by the Phil for two quick performances, one night only.


Prado Cinema Café Opens
Location: 25251 Chamber of Commerce Drive (at U.S. 41 and Bernwood Parkway), Bonita Springs
Details: (239) 992-6600, www.pradocinemacafe.com Tickets: Before 6 p.m., $4.75; after 6 p.m., $9.50 for adults and $4.75 for children, adults 50 and older, students and the military
What’s the buzz:  This remodeled former Regal 12 movie theater at The Prado at Spring Creek offers leather seats and side tables to enjoy a wide variety of affordable dining options, plus beer and wine, while watching first-run mainstream and artsy films.
Be the first to try: If you feel like splurging, try the champagne and caviar for $75.


New Overpass
Location: College Parkway and Summerlin Road, south Fort Myers
Details: Expansion of Summerlin Road between Cypress Lake and Boy Scout drives
What’s the buzz: The $25.2-million road-expansion project aims to make getting to the beach easier. But although it was scheduled to be finished in May, the discovery of asbestos pushed its completion back at least 200 days.



Flamboyant sculptor Louise Nevelson created Dawn’s Forest as her ultimate artistic statement. By Donald Miller

Louise nevelson was the most successful female sculptor of her era. Visitors to the Patty & Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art will see and walk through her largest last creation, Dawn’s Forest, permanently installed in the museum’s atrium, beginning with a gala Nov. 13, followed by a free public day.

The large, white abstract environment has 12 parts, unified by Nevelson’s characteristic use of wood. Thanks to Museum Founder and CEO Myra Janco Daniels’ negotiation with former owners Georgia-Pacific and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Dawn’s Forest is the museum’s most important offering. Made of balsa wood and pine plywood, Dawn’s Forest was examined by museum staff members for wear and tear. They refreshed it by replicating its off-white color with latex paint.

 Dominating the space, a multi-columned grouping rises from a central platform 22 feet tall, 52 feet long and four feet wide. It holds seven sculptures and pillars suggesting a triumphal arch. Other sculptures flank this classically derived form. In the southwest corner, a stepped tower rises 25 feet while another occupies the northwest corner.

New pillars in front of the museum’s inner doors support a wall relief that is 11 feet tall, 26 feet long and 10 inches deep. On the east side facing the plaza, three sculptures of different lengths, nine-and-a-half feet to 19 feet, hang from overhead. No value estimate is available, but it is surely worth several million dollars.

Nevelson decided early to become an artist and built her career over many unsung years. Born Leah Berliawsky to a Jewish family in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sept. 23, 1899, she and her mother in 1905 joined her father in Rockland, Maine. Louise grew up with four siblings. Her father was a junk dealer, so she knew about wood early. An outsider in Rockland, she learned English and showed artistic talent. At 18, she married Charles Nevelson, who with his brothers owned cargo ships. The couple had a son—abstract sculptor Mike Nevelson, now 88—but divorced in 1931.

Moving to New York, Nevelson studied at the Art Students League, briefly with Hans Hofmann in Munich and assisted Diego Rivera on murals. She later taught art and studied with more artists. In the 1950s, she discovered “gold” in New York’s gutters and supply yards and assembled sculptures she spray-painted black, white and gold. She found one color quieted visual cacophony while emphasizing rhythms and harmony. Her work was additive rather than reductive: she nailed elements into patterns rather than carving them.

In the late 1950s, through talent and force of will, Nevelson became famous as she had always expected to be. Showered with honors, hailed internationally, she became flamboyant, wearing double black mink eyelashes and a black velvet-covered hunting cap as personal motifs.

I interviewed Nevelson when she was a co-juror in Pittsburgh’s 1967 Carnegie International. The museum owned her simple arching sculpture, Pink Leaf, painted matte black. I asked why she called it that. She said, “Because it’s pink, you know.” Later I learned she used the word “leaf” for other works. References to nature in titles suggested her commitment to life, just as “dawn” asserts a direct if metaphysical connection to nature. Art curators and friends discussing her sources cite Maine’s piers and wooden buildings as influences. But Manhattan’s facades, cornices and orbs also inspired her, as is evident in Dawn’s Forest. 

This work also recalls the white, room-sized environment of Dawn’s Wedding Feast. It was shown in the Museum of Modern Art’s Sixteen Artists, 1959. Feast failed to sell and was dismantled to join later work. Dawn’s Forest followed Bicentennial Dawn, 1976, a smaller environment in Philadelphia’s Federal Courthouse. Nevelson oversaw Dawn’s Forest’s installation in Georgia-Pacific’s huge lobby in 1986. She died at 88 of cancer two years later.

Dawn’s Forest is Nevelson’s great culminating vision. Like the artist, it commands attention. A myriad of shapes and recesses change as shadows deepen. Since visitors come to the work just steps from the outer doors, it may claim too much room or need modification. Time will tell. But for the first time, this masterpiece has made the atrium a vibrant gallery.

The Patty & Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., opened its 2010-2011 season Oct.1, but the Nevelson environment is off-view until Nov.14, following a gala dinner/art auction the previous evening. Museum hours: TuesdaySaturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sunday noon–4 p.m. Admission: adults $8, students $4; prices rise Jan.12– March 20. (239) 597-1900.


How Naples Won the Prize

Myra janco daniels, founder and ceo of the naples Museum of Art/Philharmonic Center for the Arts, was sitting in her office one morning when she heard news that would change the future of the museum. 

A large installation by sculptor Louise Nevelson was to being given away to a worthy museum. She learned that it was owned by Georgia-Pacific and Met Life, so she booked a flight to Atlanta the next morning to meet the officials in charge of finding Dawn’s Forest a new home. 

“They said, ‘What do you look like?’” she recalls. “‘I’m a pygmy with dark hair. I’m going to be wearing a dark red power suit, and I’ll be in a wheelchair. I’ve torn ligaments in my left foot, but I can walk enough to see that.’ Once I saw that, I forgot I had a foot.”

Daniels assured them she had the authority to accept the sculpture, they made a deal, and then lawyers delayed the process for a month. “But I knew we had it,” she says. 

Daniels also knew the only appropriate space for it was the glass-domed Figge Conservatory. “That meant moving the Chihuly [sculpture]. I called the Figges and they said, ‘We have complete confidence. Do whatever you want.’

“Every museum needs a focus, something big in name, power, that says something to the community,” Daniels says. “This is it. To have the largest collection of Nevelson is big. It’s something you dream about having, but you think it’s an impossible dream.” 
                                                                   —Denise Scott


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