Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
This month, the Madison Avenue BID is organizing its 8th Annual Madison Avenue Watch Week, supported by the Horological Society of New York and set for May 14 to 19. The event gives watch lovers a close look at timepieces from International de la Haute Horlogerie and Baselworld 2018, while providing industry discussions, artisan demonstrations, sales appointments, and more. On May 15, Madison Avenue BID is also presenting an architectural walking tour, “Madison Avenue: High Fashion & Historic Preservation,” as part of the city’s NYCxDesign festival.
To hear more about the evolution of Madison Avenue BID, its involvement with the art world, and more, Whitewaller spoke with Matthew Bauer.
WHITEWALLER: Next year is your 20th anniversary with the Madison Avenue BID, and you’ve seen many changes since 1999. What are you most proud of in terms of what the organization has accomplished?
MATTHEW BAUER: Through the years, many special events have received plaudits, and I am always very proud of our uniformed public-safety and Gleam Team staff for their consistent and often Herculean work to keep Madison Avenue clean and safe. This careful and caring stewardship of our district creates the element of success for which I am most proud: We’ve fostered a spirit of true community among the businesses of Madison Avenue. While each of our 400-plus retailers are competitive with one another, they are willing and eager to share insights at our monthly manager mixers, work together to plan public events, and trade recommendations on best practices.
WW: What are you still setting out to do?
MB: I began my tenure at the Madison Avenue BID prior to the birth of my son, and now he is heading off to college this fall. This emphasizes to me how important it is to introduce the next generation to the brands on Madison Avenue and to the richness of the cultural offerings located in our neighborhood. Where else but the Upper East Side can you find the cutting-edge fashion featured in our boutiques, the breadth of human artistic endeavor exhibited at our museums and galleries, and the scientific discovery fielded in the laboratories of our local research institutions?
WW: What is most special about the Madison Avenue district?
MB: Most flagship fashion retail districts around the world are located either within their respective city’s central business district or within a “tourist bubble” that is frequented mostly by those not local to the city. What sets Madison Avenue apart from these other locations is that it is located in a community that is primarily residential. From the Madison Avenue locations of Chopard to Prada to Balenciaga to Tom Ford, the upper floors of the buildings housing these retailers contain some of the finest residential addresses in New York.
WW: What types of new art, or incorporation thereof, are we seeing in the community?
MB: This spring, the Madison Avenue BID is partnering on its fourth public art exhibition conducted in partnership with New York’s School of Visual Arts (SVA). On Madison Avenue’s sidewalks, students from SVA will be displaying, in Lucite-enclosed eight-foot-tall pedestals, artworks that represent their respective inspiration for pursuing a career as an artist. SVA’s chair of the 3D Design program and Art Directors Club Hall of Fame Laureate, Kevin T. O’Callaghan, is mentoring the students showcased in this public exhibition. Themes of past Madison Avenue BID-SVA public art exhibitions included “One of a Kind Luxury” (in which students created fashion-based sculptures produced out of a single object), “A Moment in Time” (in which students created monumental watch sculptures representing a particular moment in history), and “Language of Fashion” (in which students created fashion-focused sculptures incorporating the art of typography).