Art and Film: John Callahan’s Higher Power

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Growing up in Portland, Oregon, John Callahan, who would become a cartoonist noted for his dark, warped humor, had been a promising art student. But his abandonment by his birth mother and the coldness of his adoptive family haunted him. He started drinking at 13, and by his early twenties, … read more… “Art and Film: John Callahan’s Higher Power”

No Comments

On July 4th: The art of decency

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Leave No Trace, Debra Granik’s first dramatic movie since her Winter’s Bone ushered in Jennifer Lawrence eight years ago, is among the best and most resonant films to appear this year. The movie, beautifully filmed mainly in Oregon, involves a disaffected and widowed Marine veteran aptly named Will, played by a brilliantly constrained Ben … read more… “On July 4th: The art of decency”

No Comments

Art and Film: The beautifully unlovely Nancy

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The artistic process comes up quite a bit in cinema. This month alone, three new movies feature protagonists who are artists struggling against various worldly impediments to make their way. At the agreeable end of the spectrum, in Brett Haley’s comforting Hearts Beat Loud, there’s the irrepressibly winning Nick Offerman’s … read more… “Art and Film: The beautifully unlovely Nancy”

No Comments

Report from Berlin: Ana Mendieta’s Super 8 films

Contributed by Loren Britton / Ana Mendieta’s exhibition at the Martin-Gropius- Bau is exquisite. Born in Havana, Cuba, in November 1948, Mendieta was sent to the United States in 1961, two years after Fidel Castro overthrew the Cuban Government. Her early work, some made while she was a student at the University of Iowa, is on view at the … read more… “Report from Berlin: Ana Mendieta’s Super 8 films”

1 Comment

Art and Film: Paul Schrader’s risky business

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Like an opaque work of conceptual art, writer-director Paul Schrader’s First Reformed is a high-risk venture, laden with the potential for artistic failure and embarrassment. But sometimes you just gotta say what the fuck. The risk paid off. The urgent nihilism of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, which Schrader wrote, is on full … read more… “Art and Film: Paul Schrader’s risky business”

1 Comment

Art and Film: Juliette Binoche is a painter on the prowl

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / In Let the Sunshine In (an awkward translation of the original title, Un Beau Soleil Interieur), French director Claire Denis’ gently flaying romantic comedy, Juliette Binoche plays Isabelle, a fiftyish divorced painter on the prowl, with her signature blend of obduracy and vulnerability. As an artist, she seems to live … read more… “Art and Film: Juliette Binoche is a painter on the prowl”

No Comments

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”

2 Comments

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”

No Comments

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”

No Comments

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”

No Comments