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”

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Art and Film: Wajda’s final word on art and politics

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Wladyslaw Strzeminski, the reluctant hero of Afterimage, the great Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s last film before his death at age 90 last year, was a legendary avant-garde artist in Poland before World War II. He believed the painter’s job was to transform everyday experience into a singular aesthetic expression, an endeavor that was completely … read more… “Art and Film: Wajda’s final word on art and politics”

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Art and Film: Stefan Zweig and the artist’s abdication

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / If poet Pablo Neruda weaponized his talent and his plight to stand against authoritarian forces in his native Chile and elsewhere during his peripatetic exile, the prolific writer Stefan Zweig, a Jew who left Austria in 1934 as Hitler rose to power, was his timorous opposite. Yet there is a … read more… “Art and Film: Stefan Zweig and the artist’s abdication”

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Raymond Pettibon: Long may he buzz

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / It would be easy to cast the tireless, unconstrained Raymond Pettibon as the louche trickster demigod of wise-ass artist-snipers. But it would be lazy, even grudging and condescending, to leave it there. As his abundant – in one dose, perhaps overwhelming, albeit thematically arranged – exhibition “A Pen of All … read more… “Raymond Pettibon: Long may he buzz”

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A better bonfire at the Whitney: Painting from the 1980s

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / “Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s,” the Whitney’s trenchant exhibition of American work, immediately recalls the Reagan era, when bluffness trumped irony and a turbocharged version of squareness – razor-sharp creases and collar bars, coke-fueled hostile takeovers, money in the service of comfort and status, strategic peremptoriness – shoved aside … read more… “A better bonfire at the Whitney: Painting from the 1980s”

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Virtuosity: David Humphrey at Fredericks & Freiser

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / David Humphrey’s visual and intellectual virtuosity – augmented by the smooth surface finality of meticulously applied acrylic paint – is such that he seems to accomplish everything he wants in a given painting. Each one in his current exhibition “I’m Glad We Had This Conversation,” at Fredericks & Freiser, stands … read more… “Virtuosity: David Humphrey at Fredericks & Freiser”

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Art and Film: Elizabeth Murray and the splendor of the ordinary

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Elizabeth Murray, who died too young at 66 in 2007, stretched and contorted household scenes and objects into kinetic abstract festivals on baroquely shaped canvases that defied and escaped the presumed domestic tyranny of wifely and motherly duty. That may be what a Guerrilla Girl – fittingly interviewed in her … read more… “Art and Film: Elizabeth Murray and the splendor of the ordinary”

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Art and Film: Pablo Neruda and the triumph of art

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / With Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, the principled advancement of civilization as the goal of politics seemed to give way to the venal aggrandizement of the clique. It’s a grim setback, but the story of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda, as told in his … read more… “Art and Film: Pablo Neruda and the triumph of art”

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Art and Film: Damien Chazelle comes of age in La La Land

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Whiplash, Damien Chazelle’s remarkably assured and incendiary second feature from 2014, made the case that artistic accomplishment was predominantly a cloistered process of Darwinian nastiness, redeemed only in an evanescent performance that the artist must keep repeating to make good on his dark investment. The final scene – a drum solo … read more… “Art and Film: Damien Chazelle comes of age in La La Land”

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Godward and upward at SLAG

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Ben Godward is at home with bright colors and exotic shapes. The New York sculptor has for some time been producing boldly optic, resolutely asymmetrical pieces that render impressions of roiling urban excess into freewheeling mixed media, abundantly featuring foam, urethane resin, and Day-Glo hues. Much of his work’s appeal … read more… “Godward and upward at SLAG”

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