Cityscapes || More Pollution

It takes all kinds…!

PS: I did watch the film and really wanted to like it. Maybe my expectations were too high or I’m just a grumpy old woman; either way it didn’t rate high on my list. But there is always number 2 which looks promising, if only because it features Diana in a glam ’80s costume – that alone is a sight to behold!

Midtown Manhattan

May 27th, 2017

[All Art Has Been Contemporary]

Art

All Art Has Been Contemporary
Neon, transformer, clips; 1999, fabricated in 2011
Maurizio Nannucci

Darkness Made Visible, featuring:

Blue (1993), film
Derek Jarman

Spiderman (2015), video installation
Mark Bradford

The exhibition pairs Derek Jarman’s final feature-length film Blue (1993) with Mark Bradford’s video installation Spiderman (2015)—both riveting first-person accounts of the AIDS crisis that are distinctly subjective, lyrical, humorous, and dark. Through imageless projection and bold voiceovers, they both expose and defy the forces that have marginalized queer bodies since the 1980s.

Visual and emotional stimulation at the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

May 2nd, 2017

Philip Glass Ensemble @ The Town Hall

In 1946, Jean Cocteau directed a dark, poetic film adaptation of La Belle et la Bête, the story written in 1757 by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.

In 1994, Philip Glass removed the film’s original dialogue and score and replaced them with his own musical score, performed live by members of the Philip Glass Ensemble. The singers, perfectly synchronized with the actors, become an extension of the story.

In April 2017, this masterful production was presented at the Town Hall following a brief discussion between Philip Glass and his friend and collaborator, Errol Morris.

”In the scene when Belle begs La Bête for permission to visit her father, La Bête, moved by her plea, decides to let her go, but requires her, at the cost of his own life, to return in a week. He explains to her that his magic exists by the force of five power objects—the rose, the key, the mirror, the glove, and the horse. These five are the root of La Bête’s creativity and magic. The point is, if a young artist were to ask Cocteau directly what he would need to pursue the life and work of an artist, these five elements would be the answer. The rose represents beauty. The key represents technique—literally, the means by which the “door” to creativity is opened. The horse represents strength and stamina. The mirror represents the path itself, without which the dream of the artist cannot be accomplished. The meaning of the glove eluded me for a long time, but finally, and unexpectedly, I understood that the glove represents nobility. By this symbol Cocteau asserts that the true nobility of mankind are the artist-magician creators. This scene, which leads directly to the resolution of the fairy tale, is framed as the most significant moment of the film and is the message we are meant to take away with us: Cocteau is teaching about creativity in terms of the power of the artist, which we now understand to be the power of transformation.”     

“The past is reinvented and becomes the future. But the lineage is everything.”

”If you remember your lineage, you will never feel lonely.”

All mages from Pinterest, except last one from the – well deserved – standing ovation.

Quotations by Philip Glass.

The Town Hall

April 20th, 2017

Rediscovering Francis Picabia @ MoMA [part 1]

Rediscovering the French avant-garde artist whose body of work is so extensive, undergoing so many style changes, the average spectator would have a hard time in identifying the source had there not been for his signature or the accompanying tags.

No style or label could hold Picabia for long: skillfully shifting from Impressionism to Pointillism to Cubism and Dadaism, briefly touching upon Surrealism before succeeding to rid himself of labels and become the intriguing artist we know today.

With all this versatility throughout his entire career curating a retrospective for Picabia is no mean feat. But then, MoMA is no mean institution either: for their exhibition that ran from November 2016 through March 2017 – the first of its kind in the United States – no less than 200 works of art were brought under one roof: paintings, periodicals and printed matter, illustrated letters and a film. Aptly named ”Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction”, it was comprehensive, enlightening and entertaining, all at once.

Untitled (Portrait of Mistinguett) c. 1909 – Oil on canvas
Physical Culture (Culture physique) 1913 – Oil on canvas
Comic Wedlock (Mariage comique) 1914 – Oil on canvas
Ad libitum – Your Choice; At Will (Ad libitum – au choix; à la volonté) c. 1914 – Watercolour, pencil and charcoal on paper mounted on board
Sad Figure (Figure triste) 1912 – Oil on canvas
I See Again in Memory My Dear Udnie (Je revois en souvenir ma chère Udnie) 1914 – Oil on canvas

[Note from the accompanying tag: Picabia associated ”Udnie” – a name of his own invention – with memories of watching the dancer Stacia Napierkowska, whose suggestive performances subsequently provoked her arrest, rehearse onboard during his transatlantic journey to New York in 1913. ”Udnie” is also an anagram of the last name of Jean d’Udine, whose theory of synesthesia (published in 1910) linked painting with music and dance through the concept of rhythm. In this painting, rhythm is intimated via a series of repeated, interpenetrating pistons and quasi-visceral orifices, fusing the mechanical with the biological.]

***

The film shown was ‘‘Entr’Acte”, René Clair’s Dadaist Masterpiece (1924), originally designed to be screened between two acts of Francis Picabia’s 1924 opera Relâche. You can read all about it – and watch it – on Open Culture (film is on YouTube).

***

From a retrospective exhibition at MoMA.

January 30th, 2017

New Yorker Festival

Our initiation to The New Yorker Festival, an annual event with performances, screenings and talks bringing together personalities from the worlds of art, culture, literature, politics and, to quote the organisers, everything in-between.

A modest but very interesting start with just two of the events.

Louis C.K. talks with Emily Nussbaum came first. I remember the shock in seeing the dreaded ”sold out” mark next to the ”buy tickets” button. Ever the optimist, after scrolling down for more talks, I thought I’d give it another try. And, lo and behold, two tickets available – must have been the very last ones.

Hot topics like the then upcoming elections and Presidential candidate Trump were covered, but also those more personal like family and work. And money spending, when it came to Mr. C.K.’s latest work Horace and Pete, a production entirely self-funded and web-streamed on his website, yet still managing to loose money even without involvement of middle-men.

We were even treated to a news flash, when Mr. C.K. announced that it would soon become available on Hulu. Two months later the news became official. I had watched Horace and Pete with mixed feelings of disbelief and admiration upto the final moments of grief; for I just couldn’t stand the last episode, torturous from beginning to Horace’s tragic knife-stabbing end. The untimely appearance of his his long-lost son didn’t help either.

The following evening was the turn of a gentleman whose class, charisma, acting mastery and a certain British charm can be summed up in two words: Jeremy Irons.

In ”Jeremy Irons talks with Rebecca Mead” the discussion flowed freely like between two friends having a good time. A journey that started in the Isle of Wight, touched upon Mr. Irons’ childhood years and went on about education, racism, economy. ”Unregulated capitalism is like unregulated water: It will drown you” said Mr. Irons, a phrase that stuck with me since.

His motorbike, Broadway stints and other important steps in his career (Brideshead Revisited – yes, of course) were also mentioned, as was his newest film ”The Man who knew Infinity” which I have yet to watch.

A lively conversation, spoken in Mr. Irons’ distinctive voice, excellent diction and that very charming British humour, enhanced by his expressive gestures – and when these were not enough to contain him in his seat – his walking about the stage in a kind of improvised performance.

Dressed in a steampunkish outfit, matching scarf and biker boots Mr. Irons was the personification of an English gentleman with a touch of ”frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” flare, audiences around the world find so irresistible.

The series is held in different venues in New York City, in October.

October 7th & 8th, 2016

Manifesto

I went in expecting to see an interesting video art installation. I came out a better person, conscious that I have witnessed a brilliant work of art. Julian Rosenfeldt’s Manifesto bridges admirably the boundaries between filmmaking, theatrical artistic expression and technical dexterity. Mounted on 13 screens, positioned all over the monumental Wade Thompson Drill Hall in deceptive randomness, Manifesto brings to life excerpts of over 50 manifestos and statements by artists, filmmakers, choreographers and architects, going back as early as 1913 (Appolinaire’s The Futurist Antitradition) and as recently as 2002 (Jim Jarmusch’s Golden Rules of Filmmaking).

And then, there is Cate Blanchett. In case you still had a doubt about Ms. Blanchett’s brilliance as a performer this is your moment of truth. Passing effortlessly from the role of a homeless man, to a diva choreographer, a TV anchorwoman, a factory worker, a school teacher, a scientist, or my two favourites – a puppeteer and a conservative mother, Ms Blanchett interprets, dramatizes and recites excerpts, merging different manifestos and statements in every story seamlessly, skillfully proving yet again what a powerful performer she really is.

Manifesto is on at the Park Avenue Armory until January 8th, 2017. An unmissable treat, if your way brings you to New York City until then.

wp20161210_205203 wp20161210_223307 wp20161210_225458 wp20161210_225714

wp20161210_225204

wp20161210_225744 wp20161210_225840

wp20161210_225923

wp20161210_225955

Photography is not permitted inside the hall, and rightfully so for once, as camera and cell phone lights would have been all but rude intruders destroying the immersive, audio-visual experience.

As a compensation, cameras are welcome in all the beautifully restored reception rooms on the first floor.

December 10th, 2016