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”

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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”

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Adirondack idyll: Jay Invitational of Clay, Rockwell Kent, Ausable Chasm & more

Contributed by Sharon Butler and Jonathan Stevenson / Some artists go upstate to get away from the art world in the summer, and others gather an art world around them wherever they go. We went up to the Adirondacks recently to visit the summer outpost of Norte Maar for Collaborative Projects in the Arts in Jay, New York, where founders Jason … read more… “Adirondack idyll: Jay Invitational of Clay, Rockwell Kent, Ausable Chasm & more”

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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”

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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)”

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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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