Art and Film: Argentina’s haunting precedent

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Argentina’s decade-long “dirty war” (1974–83) during which a right-wing military junta “disappeared” about 30,000 left-wing dissidents – that is, executed them without acknowledgement of their deaths – ended over 35 years ago. Yet Argentina’s outstanding contemporary filmmakers continue to revisit the dirty war. In 2009, there was Juan José Campanella’s … read more… “Art and Film: Argentina’s haunting precedent”

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Art and Film: Robert Frank’s will to believe

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Swiss-American photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank is now 94, which means he has been in the midst what he calls a “natural disaster” – old age – for at least fifteen years. Yet when he was 80, as Gerald Fox trailed him for Fox’s 2005 documentary Leaving Home, Coming Home: … read more… “Art and Film: Robert Frank’s will to believe”

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Art and Film: Joanna Hogg’s sublime deliberation

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / In the autobiographical film The Souvenir, writer-director Joanna Hogg’s fourth and latest feature and a gemlike crystallization of her seamless method, she uses Jean-Honoré Franogard’s eighteenth-century canvas of the same title to set the terms of the budding relationship between Julie, the film’s ingenuous protagonist, and the older Anthony, a … read more… “Art and Film: Joanna Hogg’s sublime deliberation”

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Vintage 1959

By Jonathan Stevenson / At first blush, if you were born in 1959 – two years after Sputnik, just beyond the outer fringe of the baby boom, but before Gen X kicked in – you could be forgiven for feeling a little left out. You’re too young to have felt the thrill of 1960s radical outrage … read more… “Vintage 1959”

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Art and Film: Claire Denis’ cosmic noir

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Claire Denis’ stupefyingly smart film High Life, the first she has directed in English, starts ahead of its main events, without any set-piece exposition, in and around a barren spacecraft inhabited by a father, his baby daughter, and zippered corpses that used to compose the rest of the crew. Robert … read more… “Art and Film: Claire Denis’ cosmic noir”

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David Humphrey: Facile like a fox

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / It might be tempting to conclude that David Humphrey is too facile a painter for his own damn good – that his command of brush, surface, and pigment across a spectrum from representational to abstract is so assured, his vision so pristinely and confidently realized on the canvas, that he leaves little … read more… “David Humphrey: Facile like a fox”

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Art and Film: The lives of artists

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film Never Look Away concerns a German painter named Kurt Barnert (the charismatic Tom Schilling), but it is an unabashed interpretation of Gerhard Richter’s life. Its style is seductively elegant and its script at once discursive and oblique – qualities that make the story’s ugly intrigue … read more… “Art and Film: The lives of artists”

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Art and Film: Van Gogh’s sanity

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson /  “One man’s insanity is another man’s genius,” Joyce Carol Oates has written. In the popular imagination, though, Vincent Van Gogh was a psychologically tortured idiot-savant. Inner demons, not conscious deliberation, drove him to make his transcendent paintings, which invested natural phenomena with haunting emotional qualities and philosophical portent. Aesthetic discretion … read more… “Art and Film: Van Gogh’s sanity”

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Warhol at the Whitney: A provocateur for all seasons

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / There are certainly strong generational reasons for the Whitney to mount “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again,” its penetrating current retrospective. It goes almost without saying that Warhol changed art history by melding the commercial and the “fine,” and, in his energized aesthetic embrace of the whole … read more… “Warhol at the Whitney: A provocateur for all seasons”

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The Great War and Modernism

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The First World War – known as the Great War before it became necessary to number them – is one of history’s most celebrated lessons on two subjects in particular: how ominously easily it can be for a major war to arise, and the senseless cruelty and calamity of armed … read more… “The Great War and Modernism”

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