“Fold, Crumple, Crush” is a quiet, charming documentary directed by Susan Vogel examining the life and work of Ghanaian-Nigerian artist El Anatsui. The film begins at the 2007 Venice Biennial where Anatsui is overseeing the construction of an exhibit of his work. Vogel then follows Anatsui to his home in Nigeria, gaining insights into the artist and his art from his colleagues at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, his assistants in his workshop, and from the man himself. Over the course of the film, we learn of Anatsui’s evolution as an artist, from paintings, to sculptures made from clay and ... More » »
What do a Dutch actress best known for her performance in a soft-core porn film that was distributed in mainstream venues, a French-educated, Brazilian psychoanalyst interested in trauma, and an American interpreter of avant garde percussion music have in common? Is that even a worthwhile question to ask about the women who are the subjects of Manon de Boer’s Resonating Surfaces – A Trilogy, on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), extended through May 5, with additional live programming this weekend. The Dutch actress, Sylvia Kristel, who gained a world-wide reputation for her role as Emmanuelle in the ... More » »
A young man in the nondescript uniform of his generation (trainers, tee shirt,…) dances in front of the automatic doors to a grocery store. His solo (captured on video) veers between street dancing and modern dance, then turns into the stumbling of a drunk. The slow motion, repeats and jump cuts of the video manipulation creates its own, sophisticated choreography. Edward and Me (2000) is the first of six videos in the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery‘s exhibition, David McKenzie; Everything’s alright, nothing’s okay! (through September 28). The video is smart and appealing – yet raises the question of what assumptions we’d ... More » »
Juan Downey was an important, yet under-recognized pioneer of video (and worked in a variety of other media), who was active in the downtown art scene in New York, where he moved in 1967 and remained until his premature death in 1993. A substantial body of his work has not been seen in the U.S. in decades. The Bronx Museum of the Arts and MIT’s List Visual Art Center have organized this large and stunning, first U.S. survey, Juan Downey; the invisible architect, which is on view in the Bronx through June 10. If you are interested in video, video ... More » »
The epitath for Clemens von Wedemeyer‘s The Fourth Wall, through Jan. 29, 2011 at Project Arts Centre, Dublin, might be Anthropologist, heed thyself. The three-channel installation, supported by a printed guide, explores story-telling, the search for human origins, the credibility of film, the responsibility of anthropology and our tendency to view the world through expectations honed by legend and desire. The video one sees on entering the gallery, Found Footage, centers on the first contact, in 1971, with the Tasaday, a tribal group in the Mindano rainforest of the Philippines. The tribe had been living a Stone Age existence in ... More » »
If you don’t know the music of jazz singer/musical genius Anita O’Day, you can fill a big gap in your life by seeing the video Anita O’Day, The Life of a Jazz Singer (got it off of Netflix of course).
The last scene in Andy Warhol — the first documentary made about the artist after he died in February, 1987 — is a close-up of Warhol talking while he’s having make-up applied by an assistant, presumably for a tv appearance although it’s not clear. He’s having a conversation with someone off camera and he’s talking about make-up. Specifically, make-up that’s applied to dead bodies for a funeral. As he talks, Warhol’s image begins to pixillate, growing more and more abstract as he says things like “Death can make you a star but if the make-up isn’t right, it’s all people ... More » »
Hitler and Goering look at art. The documentary film The Rape of Europa which I just saw on DVD is a magnificent movie about a sad topic — the Nazi looting of fine art from museums and from Jewish families during WWII. We’ve all seen Schindler’s List and know something about the looting but this movie shows the extent of the crimes and how the art was stolen — systematically and with grand plans to show it all in personal and state-run Nazi museums. The thievery went on for 12 years, and while much of the art was restored ... More » »