Monday, December 17, 2012

Art News — Mostly

By Charles Kessler

Yale Community Expansion Preview. Photo: Mike Marsland.
  • Video of James Panero from the New Criterion and the Wall Street Journal, about the Bushwick art scene.
  • The end of ArtCat Calendar. After listing more than16,000 exhibitions at 2,000 plus venues since  November 2004, the lack of advertising revenue has forced Barry Hoggard and James Wagner to call it quits. Too bad. ArtCat was an invaluable resource for listings and for short reviews of lesser-known exhibitions. 
  • The Washington Post reports the Corcoran Gallery of Art will remain in its historic Washington home. Good!

My Favorite Left Bank Posts of 2012:

The Top Ten Art Exhibitions of 2012:
Henri Matisse, Still Life with Yellow Curtain, Anemones and Fruit, 1925, oil on canvas, 31 ½ x 39 ⅜ inches (Private Collection).
1 - 10: The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Matisse: In Search of True Painting. Yes, all of the top ten! It blew me away. I'm speechless. I mean that literally — I have nothing to say! I'll be going back a few times so I'm sure I'll recover.

Recommended Reading:

Irving Sandler, the guest editor of the December/January issue of the Brooklyn Rail, with the help of Elizabeth Baker, Phong Bui, and Amei Wallach, came up with 14 questions to ask art critics about the state of art criticism today. He got answers from more than 20 critics. Among my favorites were Peter Plagens and Barbara Rose (whose take on Gerhard Richter I agree with: "Richter has slid into mannerism, formula, repetition, and mass production").

"The Strangest Art," a review by Wendy Lesser of A History of Opera: The Last 400 Years, by Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker, is both entertaining and insightful, not only about opera, but about art in general:
Opera must be one of the weirdest forms of entertainment on the planet. Its exaggerated characters bear little relation to living people, and its plots are often ludicrous. Yet it demands from its audiences real involvement, real sympathy, even real tears. Mothers constantly fail to recognise their sons, sisters their brothers, husbands their wives, but we, sitting at a distance of hundreds of metres, are expected to penetrate all the thin disguises. Women dress as men posing as women—mainly in order to make love to other women—and nobody turns a hair. And on top of all this, people sing all their lines: not in the way you or I might sing, in a lullaby-ish, folk song-ish mode, but inhumanly, extremely, with a visible awareness of their own remarkable achievement.
... Opera’s unreality, it turns out, releases it to be something more real than most fictions, because it can acknowledge and still transcend that unreality. 
And a long New Yorker article, compelling throughout, by Joshua Foer about an amateur linguist who invented "one single language that combined the coolest features from all the world’s languages." The article covers everything from a discussion of Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase" to linguistics as art. There's even a surprise ending involving Ukrainian terrorists.
“I had this realization that every individual language does at least one thing better than every other language,” he said. For example, the Australian Aboriginal language Guugu Yimithirr doesn’t use egocentric coördinates like “left,” “right,” “in front of,” or “behind.” Instead, speakers use only the cardinal directions. They don’t have left and right legs but north and south legs, which become east and west legs upon turning ninety degrees. Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can’t be formed without providing what linguists refer to as “evidentiality,” inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.

Why I love New York:
The best way to counter hate: NY Times video by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. In Times Square, protestors counter an anti-Islamic speech by pastor Terry Jones ... by singing the Beatles. Full article here.

FINALLY from palindromist Barry Duncan:
When I hear people talk about the upcoming Mayan apocalypse, my childhood flashes before my eyes. I'm not thinking that the end is near, I'm just remembering the regionally distinctive utterances of my South Jersey playmates: “Give me back that baseball. It's Mayan!”
Well, if the world does end on the 21st, two days before my 56th birthday, I'll always be a palindromic age, which isn't such a bad deal. After all, an apocalyptic event can't be reversed. Or can it?

Time: RIP.
Oh, shall a man?
It's '12, no?
Evil, all.
It's Mayan, huh?
Nay, am still alive on 21
st, in a mall. Ah, shop!
I remit.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Duncan 


Jeffrey Collins said...

Thanks Charles. Your adding the video of James is from my film that I have been working on for two years. There is also clips from your friend Carl Belz there too.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Charles Kessler said...

WOW! I had no idea that you were involved with that video. And what a great site is.

Check it out people.