Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 Art House Cinema

The art house genre rarely makes an appearance in small town theaters, summer belongs to the blockbusters and the high action movies. This is for those who must make a pilgrimage to a theater which might carry an art house movie. The list on this page have the most buzz in Hollywood Land and are most likely the best contenders for Oscar and the Golden Globe awards. The overwhelming theme for this year's films is; THE END OF THE WORLD. The apocalyptic juices have been flowing and the sci-fi theme has had the most affect on the synopsis's.

The Tree of Life which won the coveted  Palm de'Ore at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Terrence Malick, and stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. Audiences have packed the select LA and NY theaters which premiered last weekend. Already the trailer gives hints as to the beauty of the film. This one is top on my list and the one to look out for come Oscar season. The film about the cycle of mortality and, well, mortality, documents the moments in life that seem like it should be in movies.

Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen's comedic take on the 1920's bohemian lifestyle, meets time travel, meets   a lot of other things. Starring Rachel McAdams, Owen Wilson, and Marion Cotillard; this film is definitely for the pseudo-intellectual type, for they only will get it. Like other Woody fans we will see this just to say we have, though critics has been comme ci comme ca with their ratings. Some critics have tried to offset other critics critiques by saying that this is an art film and that you must look at it from other aspects.

The Double Hour  or in Italian La Doppia Ora is a romantic thriller directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, and yes, it is a subtitled film. The mystery romantic thriller has been sought after by many directors to make an American remake. I guess the idea of speed dating, gone bad, with a twist of murder is just too juicy to pass up. 

The Artist is in black and white, and a silent film. The movie focuses on the dwindling career of a famous silent movie star and an up and coming movie star, at a time when silent films are going out of fashion. The film was directed by Michel Hazanavicius and stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. The filmed premiered at the  Cannes Film Festival where Dujardin won for Best Male Actor.

Melancholia's director Lars von Trier made world wide headlines for making comments about Nazis during a press conference for the premier of the movie at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The movie which stars Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Kiefer Sutherland is based upon a large planet possibly hitting earth. The end of the world, tragi-comedy apocalyptic film won Dunst Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.

We Need To Talk About Kevin stars Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly and is the on screen adaption of the book "Kevin." In this role Swinton is superb, many thought that this film was going to win the Palm de'Ore at Cannes, but in fact it was the last movie to get an American distributor (Oscilloscope). It is hard to describe the films theme without giving away the plot, which includes a mother coping with the aftermath of her son's decisions. Anthony Breznican said it best, "But it’s the realism that makes it chilling. Imagine The Omen, The Bad Seed, or anything from the killer-kid genre of thrillers, but stripped of supernatural hokum and starting at the place those tales usually end, with focus on a lonely, guilt-addled survivor instead of the victims."

LA PIEL QUE HABITO - THE SKIN I LIVE IN-  Starring Antonio Banderas and Elena  Ayana, directed by Pedro Almodavar. The synopsis was taken from the youtube teaser. 

Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed a further three things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig...

The Future directed and featuring Miranda July and Hammish Linklater. As a Miranda July fan I was really excited to see her make another film after Me, You, and Everyone We Know. This indie film by the performing artist is again about the world coming to an end and a coming of age film (mid-age).

Incendies which has already been released is a story of a woman's journey through her mother's last wishes. Her and her brother travel to the Middle East in order to set things right and find their father. The foreign movie comes from France and stars Lubna Azabal. 

Another Earth tells the story of a duplicate earth and a duplicate you. Remember when you were a kid and you would wonder if their were aliens or another you?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hong Kong Art Fair

The 2011 Hong Kong Art Fair is the largest art fair Hong Kong has seen. There are 260 galleries all in participation for the event, which runs till May 29th. Here are some of the pieces.

"Three Heads Six Arms" Zhang Huan. 2008.
"The Marble Arm" AI Weiwei. 2007.
"Fen-Ma Liuming's Lunch II" Ma Liuming 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

$10 mill for Roman Lawn Ornament

photo: Christie's Auction 
A roman period statue dating from 1st century A.D. will be up for sale on June 9th from Christie's auction house, during the Antiquities auction.

The statue which appears to have been used as nothing more than a lawn ornament by a wealthy Roman could fetch up to $10 million if not more, according to Christie's website.

The statue which depicts the god Pan and a Hermaphrodite in a struggle, which was the common theme for both to be depicted as such.

The 15 piece auction also brings art from other lands such as Syria, Egypt, and Greece, pieces dating as early as 320 B.C.

The late surrealist artist Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington died late last Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Mexico City according to Reuters, she was 94.

You might remember the surrealist painter and sculptor from her famous affair with the German artist Max Ernest.

From London she then eloped to France with Ernest.

When France was invaded by the Nazi's during World War II they arrested Ernest for his art.

Carrington fled to Spain where she was put into an asylum for a mental breakdown.

To escape again she married a Mexican diplomat and moved to Mexico, where she eventually died last night.

She was the last of the surrealists and a friend to other famous surrealists like Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, and Andre Breton.

Here is some of Leonora Carrington's art.


photo: Pedro Vit

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Urs Fischer's Teddy Bear Lamp

Christie's art house auctioned off the Urs Fischer's Bear Lamp last week, winner paid $6.8 million. According to the Art Observer, the 20 ton bear is one in a set of three.

photo: Twi-Ny

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Princess Hijab

Coming from Al Jazeera, a French artist paints veils onto billboard ads posters with hijabs. Listen below for the artist Princess Hijab's explanation.

Pretty awesome!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pope John Paul II's Mussolini-esque sculpture

photo: Art Info
Rome's newest sculpture pays homage to the freshly beatified Pope John Paul II. Romans and the Vatican have sore eyes and a bit of retro flashback when looking at the tall bronze figure. The body of the hollowed sculpture, which stands with the pontiffs cloak openly embracing his loyal fans, on top sits a finger-tipped shaped head.  On the head sits a horizontal indented line signifying a halo, declaring the very nature of the late pontiff. The artist, Oliviero Rainaldi was not available for comment, but the story only broke a couple of hours ago.

So what is controversy? The problem for the Italians is the uncanny resemblance between the late tender hearted man and another late, err not so tender hearted man. One that the Romans know so well, no other than Mussolini himself. Though some of the Vatican citizens are still touchy on this subject of the late Fascist ruler, are they right in the resemblance or are they being nostalgic?

For those who might have forgotten Benito Mussolini was the Italian Fascist party leader in the early 20th century.

Many writers are calling this piece highly abstract, just another way of saying highly interpretive.

photo: Jakarta Post
I honestly doubt that the Vatican will take down the sculpture unless a pouring of massive outcry ensues, is this too Maine nostalgia now? Though the Vatican did OK the beginning sketches to the project, they are very upset with the outcome, but is this really that controversial?

Lest not forgot the original 1999 'non abstract' sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan entitled 'La Nona Ora,' Italian for the Ninth Hour. Where Cattelan depicts Pope John Paul II being hit by a meteor.
photo: AP


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Video Games as High Art? or were they just high?

So the people over at the National Endowment for the Arts otherwise known as NEA, and most commonly mistaken for an endowment that cares about good art (kidding), is rewarding $88 billion in grants for art.

But they have upset the art world by their recent decision to accept video games and mobile art into their grant system.

The show down has already begun, high art vs. gamers.

With the game industry garnering $11.7 billion in revenue in 2008 and one of the fastest growing fields in technology, game developers can now apply for even more money, as if they did not have enough. Is it fitting or is the video game a misfit in the art world?

 Here are what people are saying.

High art

6 hours ago (10:48 AM)
And the headline photo shows the newest batch of art critics.
4 hours ago (1:51 PM)
So will be funding graffiti next? Surely one could argue that to be "education­al" as well. Of what I won't say...:)


Liz Eckert writes NEA Enters This Century. After Eckert name drops Roger Ebert, who I guess is the all and be all of snuffy art, she goes on to explain about how this will revamp the image of the NEA. Just wait until you see the video the NEA posted, the link is at the end. 

Wired's  Lore Sjöberg wrote  Are Videogames Art? Time Will Tell. In 2010 Sjoberg talked about the cutaways being the artistic points of what a person could consider illustrative art. 

After all is said and done, no one has made a good argument for either side. The gamers, who may be too busy playing games, are not rejoicing. The high art, maybe to busy sulking, is not making any case. 

I think I am more upset about the explanatory grant video the NEA produced. Out of all the interns and artsy people that work at the company could they not have put together something a little more compelling. No fade aways but awkward cuts. Did they not have a computer for Alyce Myatt, the director of MEDIA ARTS, so that she could read from?

View Awkward Video Here at This Link

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Art

Osama is synonymous with many things, but art? This a collection of Osama in pop culture or as how artists wanted to represent him. 

A day after the death of Osama bin Laden here is a random sample of how pop culture saw Osama bin Laden. Also, a photoshopped favorite of the people, he will forever go down in history for many things, this might not be one of them.

James Esber

'Bearded Orientals: Making the Empire Cross'Priscilla Bracks 
Cheerio Art


Dale Chihuly MFA

Dale Chihuly's exhibit at the MFA primarily focuses on the use of lighting on the different textures of glass. Creating shadows on the different shapes and the colors that catch the light. In the photos it is hard to get a sense of the actual aura the glass gives the room. There was a lot of play with lighting and a lot of play with dark mirrors.