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    The Price of Admission

    Stephen Kobasa

    (Bardo Museum, Tunis, 18 March 2015)

    tunis museum roman mosaic




    It was a bit steep,

    as you discovered when

    the guns began their guided tour.


    (In Parliament, hearing the shots,

    the legislators scurried away with their outrage).


    Shell casings bounce across the mosaics.

    What older assassins might have left their work

    on these tiles,

    some petty Caesar’s blood?


    And this was Carthage, too,

    until the Romans posted it with curses

    that have yet to be lifted.

    The story of the salted ground was a lie.

    Simply unnecessary.


    In other galleries, other cities,

    the statues have been erased into

    what they were

    before there were gods.


    Here, when you died,

    the statues vanished.

    You were the last to see them

    free of the footnote

    of your murders.


    Everyone who comes


    will think of you.

    This is where it happened, they will say.



    If they come.

                   – Stephen Vincent Kobasa

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    New York’s Off Broadway Scene: A Plethora of Solo Shows Now Playing

    Edward Rubin

    www.artesmagazine.comSolo shows, especially here in New York City, are a big thing. Big enough for New York City to have the world’s largest annual international festival for solo performances. Produced by United Solo, the festival will be celebrating its sixth season on Theatre Row in the heart of the city’s theatre district from September 17 – November 22, 2015. xxxxxx (more…)

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  • Steve Driscoll, Fall Is A Feeling You Just Can't Lose, 2014. crop Urethane on panel, 78 x 78 inches. Courtesy of the artist (1)

    Angell Gallery, Toronto: Steve Driscoll’s Painted Deceptions

    Emese Krunak-Hajagos

    www.artesmagazine.comAs I walked through the Toronto International Art Fair recently, a strong, large work with bright, burning red colors caught my eye. Thinking it a bit too much, I kept walking; but somehow, after more browsing, I returned to it. Something about the painting intrigued me. It was Steve Driscoll’s “Seared by the Sun” (left), depicting a landscape set afire by the setting sun. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Editor’s Letter: March, 2015

    Richard Friswell


    DSCN9078“Accuracy Is Not Truth” ~ Eugène Delacroix


    Left: Samuel J. Miller, Frederick Douglass (c. 1852). Private collection. 

    Why Black Art Matters


    The tumultuous universe of the visual arts coheres around a dual organizing principle: what have you got to say and how do you say it? This narrative underpinning has been true for as long as we have allowed art to occupy more than a mere decorative place in our experiential universe. Some would argue that prehistoric cave paintings and early Renaissance religious works mattered equally to their respective communities for their devotional and mystical properties; that is, their power to transport the viewer to a higher, spiritual plane. xxxxxx  (more…)

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    The Film, ‘Mr. Turner': Art is the Proper Task of Life

    Nancy Kempf



    Timothy Spall as J.M.W. Turner, on location in Wales

    Impressionism’s precursor, J.M.W. Turner, embraced the magical power of light and a new way of seeing.

    The portrait of the artist as a tortured genius is a ragged cliché, but clichés are clichés because they are truer than not. A luminary such as J.M.W. Turner would seem unusual territory for Mike Leigh, a limner of the common man whose butchers and bakers and candlestick makers struggle to stay afloat in the face of social and personal hardship. What Leigh showed us in his 1999 Topsy-Turvy, and lays bare again in Mr. Turner, is that great artists are mere mortals, too, ordinary people with ordinary problems facing quotidian pettiness and profound despair. And like the rest of us, rely on ego, self-deception, secrets and lies – and sometimes hope and grace – to cope. xxxxxx (more…)

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    New York’s Westside Theatre ‘Application Pending’: One Actress, 43 Characters, 75 Minutes

    Edward Rubin

    Christina Bianco in ‘Application Pending.’ All photos: Joan Marcus

    It took fifteen-minutes, as I watched Application Pending, to adjust to Christina Bianco’s electrifying, over-the-top performance. Between her ‘faster than a speeding bullet’ character changes—each with their own voice and mannerisms—and a surprisingly intelligent script that skewers just about everything and everybody in the most non-PC way, I had to reprogram my brain to take it all in. If I didn’t, my head would have exploded with all of the different personalities and hot-button topics being fired at the audience from the stage. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts: ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’

    Mark Favermann

    05_-Deutsche-Lufthansa-Ju-52Life sped up during the middle of the 20th Century. It also gained a sense of style. This appealing exhibition of collectors Fred and Jean Sharf’s wonderful collection of a variety of transportation art and objects proves that acceleration and aesthetics make an exhilarating combo.

    From an early age, most of us treasure model cars, airplanes and trains. It may have something to do with fantasy, a sense of imagined Lilliputian power or just a love of beautifully made scale models that we can hold in our hands. These may be outmoded generalizations, but most boys adore model trains, cars, trucks and airplanes, while a large majority of girls start out liking doll houses and everything that goes into and outside of them. There is a certain magic to miniaturization.

    Above: Deutsche Lufthansa Ju 52 model. Photo: Mark Wallison, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.xxxxxx (more…)

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    Metropolitan Museum of Art Speaks Out on Recent ISIS Atrocities

    Richard Friswell

    mosul cropARTES wishes to add its voice to that of the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas P. Campbell, and others, on the destruction of priceless artifacts at Iraq’s Mosul Museum. His statement reads:

    Speaking with great sadness on behalf of the Metropolitan, a museum whose collection proudly protects and displays the arts of ancient and Islamic Mesopotamia, we strongly condemn this act of catastrophic destruction to one of the most important museums in the Middle East. The Mosul Museum’s collection covers the entire range of civilization in the region, with outstanding sculptures from royal cities such as Nimrud, Nineveh, and Hatra in northern Iraq. This mindless attack on great art, on history, and on human understanding constitutes a tragic assault not only on the Mosul Museum, but on our universal commitment to use art to unite people and promote human understanding. Such wanton brutality must stop, before all vestiges of the ancient world are obliterated. xxxxxx (more…)

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    By Design: A Transformed Cooper-Hewitt New York Museum Reopens

    Mark Favermann

    Cooper-Hewitt-Smithsonian-installation crop-C_dezeen_468_1At their best, the exhibitions at the restored, renovated, and expanded Cooper-Hewitt Museum explore the history and culture of design and decorative arts with transcendent panache.

    We go to a design museum to see the best of form and function. Because design is the intersection of art and function, aesthetics and technology, its physical grace is underscored by its utility. In the last half-century, objects of design (in some cases objects of desire) have been showcased with care and scholarly intensity in design museums throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Over the years, the enthusiasm for design has spread. Now corporations see the notion of good — even great design — as a goal. Design is not only fashionable and chic, but it has become mainstream.

    Above: Installation view, “Controller of the Universe” and Solar Wall, in “Tools: Extending Our Reach.” Photo: Matt Flynn, courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design. xxxxxx (more…)

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    In Oscar Season: True Stories (Bio-Pics) Hold Timeless Appeal

    Nancy Kempf

    gbh 2Biographical films and films based-on-a-true story certainly seem to have become the favored source material over original screenplays. One can hardly sit through a series of trailers without “Based on a true story” flashing across the screen at least once. Of the Academy’s eight finalists for this year’s Best Picture nominations, fully half are biopics – American SniperThe Imitation GameSelma, and The Theory of EverythingBirdmanBoyhood, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, based on a story by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig, are all nominees for Best Original Screenplay as well. The original screenplay for Whiplash, Damien Chazelle has said, is largely autobiographical.[i] xxxxxx (more…)

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    New York City’s La MaMa Galleria: Christopher Tanner’s ‘Eye of the Heart’

    Edward Rubin

    Christopher Tanner, Untitled Nude, mixed media

    There is never a month gone by when somebody does not run into me on the street and ask whether or not I have heard about Christopher Tanner’s latest.  And I have to ask, “Are you talking about his artwork? Is he having another exhibition, performing on stage, in play, in a movie, on TV, or is doing some of his own filmmaking?” What is it this time? xxxxxx (more…)

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    Boston Museum of Fine Arts Showcased ‘Goya: Order/Disorder’

    Elaine A. King



    Francisco Goya y Lucientes, ‘Self-Portrait While Painting’ (about 1795), oil on canvas. Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid.

    Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes has been attributed with being the last of the Spanish Old Masters, while credited at times with being the father of modern art; not only because of the liberties he took in rendering his subjects and the treatment of space and light, but also for his subversive critique of Spanish society.

    Having studied such greats as Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez and Rembrandt van Rijn, and creating reproductions of their work, Goya turned out to be a great romantic painter—both a chronicler and commentator of his era. Additionally, he was the official painter for 4 successive kings, thus witnessing a side of life that many were not privileged to see.  Few artists in the 18th century were engaged in political critique attacking the hypocrisy rampant in society. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Life, Times of Caravaggio after Rome: A Quest for Art & Inspiration

    Linda Y. Peng

    Self-portrait_as_the_Sick_Bacchus_by_CaravaggioMichelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio arrived in Rome in 1592, at the age of 21. During his next fourteen years there—in a city filled with artists all rivaling for commissions—Caravaggio managed to outshine them all. Pilgrims, both religious and artistic, flocked to see his paintings at the altars of its churches, as he was soon to be acknowledged as one of the most famous artists then in Rome.

    Above, left: Michelangelo da Caravaggio, ‘Self-portrait as the Young, Sick Bacchus’ (1593). Galleria Borghese, Rome. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center: a ‘Gigi’ for Our Time

    Amy Henderson

    After a triumphant standing-room-only tryout run at Washington’s Kennedy Center, a new production of Gigi is opening on Broadway this spring. It is a revival that is nothing like a replay: this is a dynamically refashioned musical that brings a 21st century sensibility to the world’s oldest profession. In the classic 1958 Lerner and Lowe »more

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    New Haven’s Long Wharf : Don’t Have to be Jewish to Like “Bad Jews”

    Geary Danihy

      Open any text on playwriting and in the first chapter you’ll likely come across this basic dictum: a play is about someone who wants something and someone who doesn’t want him to have it. All the rest is just icing on the cake. Joshua Harmon, whose “Bad Jews” recently opened at Long Wharf Theatre »more

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