Month: January, 2012

There’s No Place Like MoMA

The Story of Film: An Odyssey. 2011. Great Britain. Directed by Mark Cousins. Image courtesy of the filmmaker and Hopscotch Films.

It`s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it

Andy Warhol

Mark Cousins pays homage to our shared love of cinema in his new documentary, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, which will be screened at the MoMA beginning tomorrow. It features film clips, commentary, as well as interviews with film-makers such as Baz Luhrmann and Gus Van Sant. Those of you with a lot of time on your hands are in luck because she boasts a run-time of 900 minutes. The film will be screened in a series 15 installments over 16 days, or if you’re feeling ambitious it can be seen in two 7.5-hour installments on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey begins February 1 and will run through February 16.


Freezing Our Assets Off!

Diego Rivera. Frozen Assets. 1931-32. Fresco on reinforced cement in a galvanized-steel framework, 94 1/8 x 74 3/16 in (239 x 188.5 cm). Museo Dolores Olmedo, Xochimilco, Mexico © 2011 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

80 years ago, the Museum of Modern Art exhibited its second retrospective ever – an exhibition of the murals of Diego Rivera. These murals showcased the artist’s abilities as a painter, in addition to solidifying his role as  an international political activist. Specifically for the exhibition, Rivera painted five large-scale murals illustrating the social and political turmoil taking place in Mexico during the early 1930s. In addition to these works, Rivera also completed three murals which depicted the lifestyle and landscape of depression-era New York City (including my personal favorite, Frozen Assets). Currently on view at the MoMA is Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art, which is an exhibition of the aforementioned murals, along with working drawings, watercolors, and prints also by Rivera. Additionally, the exhibition features preliminary sketches of Rivera’s infamous Rockefeller Center mural, which was destroyed because of its inclustion of an image of Vladimir Lenin. Because of their large scale, the murals are eye-catching and incredibly striking. They are also particularly apt, given our current political climate (see: Time Magazine’s Person of the Year). The exhibition is on view through May 14, 2012.

If You Build It, He Will Come…and Then Leave, Slightly Offended and Confused

view of Maurizio Cattelan’s exhibition, All

This is your last weekend to catch Maurizio Cattelan’s non sequitur menagerie of cheap thrills at the Guggenheim. The exhibition is wrought with controversial imagery intended to shock and affront. Particularly “scandalous” works include (but are not limited to) Cattelan’s Now (2004), a polyester resin and wax sculpture of JFK in a coffin, and La Nona Ora (1999), which depicts Pope John Paul II being struck down by a meteor. We all love a spectacle, so don’t miss this one. Maurizio Cattelan: All ends January 22.

Make Sure You Get My Good Side, Please

Fra Filippo Lippi (Florence, ca. 1406-1469, Spoleto), Portrait of a Woman and a Man at a Casement, Ca. 1440-44 Tempera on wood 25¼ x 16½ in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand

Currently on view at the Met is an exhibition entitled Renaissance Portraiture From Donatello to Bellini, which includes various examples of Italian portrait busts,  ¾ length portraits and profile portraits from the 15th century.  The collection features a who’s who of the Italian Renaissance A-list, including Lorenzo il Magnifico, Isabella d’Este, and Filippo Strozzi. Amongst the most interesting works in the collection are the portrait busts such as those by Verrocchio and Mino da Fiesole, which carry on the ancient Greek tradition of the noble reliquary bust. Other highlights include Botticelli’s portrait of the beautiful Simonetta, as well as Sperandio’s bronze portrait medallion of Federico da Montefeltro. In the exhibition, you’ll notice that most of the male profile portraits are taken from the right side, while the female profile portraits are taken from the left side. Federico, however, made a point to have his portraits taken from the left side because of an injury that he sustained during battle which caused him to lose his right eye, along with part of the bridge of his nose. Therefore, one can’t fault poor Federico for exercising a bit of vanity.

My personal favorite work in the exhibition, however, is Fra Filippo Lippi’s Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement (1406). If you have visited the exhibition or are familiar with Italian Renaissance portraiture, you may have noticed that there are (a) not very many available portraits of women, and (b) the women featured in portraits are often not wearing very much jewelry. What I learned from reading Adrian Randolph’s article, “Performing the Bridal Body in Fifteenth Century Florence”, is that specific pieces of jewelry such as a head brooch or shoulder brooch (like we see here) are an indication that the portrait is in fact a bridal portrait. Husbands would often commission portraits of their new wives, in which they would wear the jewelry given to them as part of their dowry or trousseau. These jewelry pieces communicated to the public that the woman was recently married and that, essentially, she was now indebted to her husband (sexually, domestically, financially) and his family.

So, pay close attention to these Renaissance portraits (on view at the Met until March 18) because they offer a lot of insight into the fashion, political culture, and relationship/gender dynamics of Renaissance Italy.

What would your portrait say about you?

What would it say about our culture as a whole?

Image provided courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 

The Best Part of Waking Up is Einspänner in Your Cup

Café Sabarsky, which draws its inspiration from the great Viennese cafés of the turn of the century

Marzipan Guglhupf and Kaiser Mélange

When visiting the Neue Gallery, I suggest making a trip to the gallery’s cafe’ Sabarsky. The food is delicious, the service is great, the cafe’ is beautiful, and the coffee comes served under a heap of whipped cream.

Personal recommendations:

Sabarsky Heiße Schokolade (hot chocolate)

Einspänner (espresso with whipped cream)

Marzipan Guglhupf (marzipan ring cake)

learning German, one meal at a time…

Die rechnung bitte!

Image provided courtesy of Neue Gallery New York

Woman with Raven, 1904

Picasso’s Woman with Raven (1904) is on view now at the Neue Gallery as part of the Ronald S. Laudner collection exhibition. You have to see her for yourself, so be sure to visit before April 2- then the exhibit will be nevermore. Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Woman With Raven, Paris, 1904 Gouache and pastel on […]