Art and Film: Giacometti’s petulant eye

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson /  Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti was renowned for his inability to finish artwork. It’s tempting to caricature that kind of chronic dissatisfaction as precious narcissism and feigned perfectionism. But it’s also too easy, and in Final Portrait, writer and director Stanley Tucci – better known as an elite character actor specializing in … read more… “Art and Film: Giacometti’s petulant eye”

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Art and Film: Red scares

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Two current movies about Russia, both gloriously snide but in different ways, open with discrete artistic performances. In Armando Iannucci’s impeccably sardonic and irreverent The Death of Stalin, it’s a Mozart piano concerto, going out live on radio. The producers of the broadcast have neglected to record it, and, implicitly … read more… “Art and Film: Red scares”

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Art and Film: Amy Jenkins hosts death

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / During and after the AIDS epidemic, gay artists like Carlos Alfonzo, Ross Bleckner, Robert Gober, and Keith Haring used visual art to convey the tragedy of mass premature death that gutted the art world, as well as the political injustice of the U.S. government’s refusal to recognize the gravity of the disease. … read more… “Art and Film: Amy Jenkins hosts death”

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Art and Film: Dedicated followers of fashion

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / In the brilliantly obtuse Phantom Thread, a paradoxically epic chamber piece, Paul Thomas Anderson explores the way in which romantic union constrains and energizes creativity. Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis, archly perfect in his purported swan song) is a creepily narcissistic and unctuous haute-couture dressmaker. The House of Woodcock caters to … read more… “Art and Film: Dedicated followers of fashion”

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Art & Film: Liquid asset in The Shape of Water

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Cult film auteur Guillermo del Toro, director and co-writer of the triumphant The Shape of Water, sees 1962, in which it is set, as a historical hinge point. It was the first (and last) full year of Kennedy’s Camelot and the final year of America’s perceived (if delusional) postwar idyll … read more… “Art & Film: Liquid asset in The Shape of Water”

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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”

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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”

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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”

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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!”

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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””

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