Art and film: Billboard as political provocation

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / During the pre-Mad Men golden age of roadside America, advertising billboards set a tone of warm and friendly commercialism. Perhaps the most notable and culturally durable ones were those of Burma-Shave, a then-novel brushless shaving cream. The ads were picture-free and strictly verbal: they consisted of short, whimsically sardonic poems … read more… “Art and film: Billboard as political provocation”

No Comments

Art and Film: Ruben Östlund’s bloated indignation

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The art world and the bourgeoisie are taking a cinematic beating this year. Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) mercilessly exposes the resentments of has-been art stars, and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a supremely creepy and deeply humorous takedown of the upper-middle class … read more… “Art and Film: Ruben Östlund’s bloated indignation”

No Comments

Art and Film: Noah Baumbach’s New York state of mind

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is arguably Noah Baumbach’s best movie since The Squid and the Whale, and seems sure to advance his putative destiny of becoming Woody Allen’s successor as the ranking cinematic chronicler of the artily exasperating New York state of mind. Like the earlier movie, the new one … read more… “Art and Film: Noah Baumbach’s New York state of mind”

No Comments

Art and Film: Aronofsky’s Bosch-esque mother!

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Albert Oehlen is perhaps foremost among visual artists seeking to capture the jangled frenzy of the Internet Age, having done so in virtuosic paintings that conveyed its sometimes frightening but often funny digital visitations into daily life and the everyday psyche. When his remarkable exhibition “Home and Garden” appeared at … read more… “Art and Film: Aronofsky’s Bosch-esque mother!”

No Comments

Art and film: Kogonada and Modernism in “Columbus”

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Columbus is a serenely penetrating postmodern film, acted with realistic understatement and set in the eponymous city in Indiana – coincidentally if perhaps ironically, Mike Pence’s home town. Directed by the young South Korean filmmaker Kogonada (remarkably, it’s his first feature), the movie involves the convergence of two people from … read more… “Art and film: Kogonada and Modernism in “Columbus””

No Comments

Art and film: “Detroit” and Faulkner’s truth

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / William Faulkner famously said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” That is a key truth about one of his central concerns – race in America. Kathryn Bigelow, in her harrowingly compelling film Detroit, uses that truth as a kind of nightstick with which to beat the audience … read more… “Art and film: “Detroit” and Faulkner’s truth”

No Comments

Film: A strategic retreat’s smirk of defiance in DUNKIRK

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson /In his paradoxically granular war epic Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan assumes viewers know that the British Army’s 1940 strategic retreat from the eponymous French coastal town was crucial to Allied victory in World War II, minimizing narrative exposition and personal back-story and thrusting the audience straight into onslaught, survival, and endeavor. Nolan employs three … read more… “Film: A strategic retreat’s smirk of defiance in DUNKIRK”

No Comments

Art and Film: Ghost as witness

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / George Eliot said, wisely, that “our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” For the great and infamous, it’s a prescription for immortality. As to more ordinary people, the sentiment can be cloyingly anodyne around the moment of a loved one’s death – it was viciously … read more… “Art and Film: Ghost as witness”

No Comments

Art and Film: Not so simple folk (art)

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / According to Aisling Walsh’s irrepressibly winning Maudie (2016), Maud Dowley, plagued by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, was through no fault of her own a high-maintenance sibling whom an impatient older brother deposited with a mean aunt. Maud found existential solutions in an untutored talent for painting outdoor scenes and an essentially … read more… “Art and Film: Not so simple folk (art)”

1 Comment

Art and Film: The life and death of a cinephilic boomtown

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / A somewhat film-nerdy set of historical facts gave rise to found-footage maven Bill Morrison’s extraordinarily artful and expansive documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time. Dawson City, Yukon Territory, was the Klondike Gold Rush’s quintessential boomtown, over the course of two years swelling in population from 500 to 40,000 in 1898. Within … read more… “Art and Film: The life and death of a cinephilic boomtown”

No Comments