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    Editor’s Letter: October, 2015

    Richard Friswell

    www.artesmagazine.com“Art is the reasoned derangement of the senses.” ~Kenneth Rexroth

     Left: John Neagle, The Studious Artist (1836). Collection: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.



    It’s the silly season again in American politics. Wide-ranging intolerable rants, invectives and urgent pleas are being aimed at the most vulnerable members of our community, marginalizing and vilifying many for simply for not being “one of us,” while seemingly animating others to demand accountability for the actions of the “one-percent.” This Age of Exclusion seems to strike a chord with alarmingly large numbers of people on both sides of the aisle—those fed up with the system, with died-in-the-wool politicians and with a feeling of powerlessness—who then, historically, act on a sense of disempowerment and disenfranchisement to take notice, rise up and agitate for change. This particular essay is not a call for some ill-defined new world order, or even for an upending of our historically-stable republican (small-‘r’) system. Yet, this current state of affairs is all too reminiscent of a passage by William Butler Yeats, who fretted in his 1919 post-apocalyptic poem, The Second Coming, “Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer / Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.” xxxxx (more…)

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    New York Hall of Sciences, “October Waves: Photography by Sandra Gottlieb”

    Mary Hrbacek

    Sandra Gottlieb, October Waves 2013 #10

    The New York Hall of Sciences, in Queens, presents Sandra Gottlieb’s powerful 2013 photographic series “October Waves,” curated by Marcia Rudy.  Twenty-five large scale photographs (30 x 40”) and five smaller scale close-up shots feature images of pristine waves with patterns of foam and strongly moving undercurrents in an homage to the ocean’s majesty and its ever changing inexorable might. xxxxx  (more…)

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    Rare Copy of 1217 Magna Carta Briefly on View at the New York Historical Society

    Richard Friswell

    magna carta edit nyhs“The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history… It was written in Magna Carta.” ~President Franklin D Roosevelt, 1941

    The New-York Historical Society is currently displaying a rare early copy of the Magna Carta, one of the most important historical documents in the world, in an exhibition titled Magna Carta 800: Sharing the Legacy of Freedom. On loan from Hereford Cathedral in England, this 1217 version of the Magna Carta will be on view at the New-York Historical Society for just a week. Originally issued in 1215, with subsequent reissues based on the revised 1217 version on display there, the Magna Carta celebrates its 800th anniversary this year. The document will be accompanied by the King’s Writ of 1215, also on loan from Hereford Cathedral, which is the only known surviving copy of instructions issued by John at Runnymede to local Sheriffs to prepare for the coming of the Charter. xxxxx (more…)

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    NYC James Cohan Gallery’s ‘All Watched Over”: Art, Science, Technology and Poetry

    China Blue

    Richard Brautigan, in a vintage photo

    Art, Science, Technology and 1960’s poetry are odd bed fellows in Martha Schwendener’s New York Times piece “‘All Watched Over’ Contemplates Art’s Relationship to Technology.” In this review Schwendener comments on the recent art exhibition “All Watched Over” at the James Cohan Gallery. The exhibition’s title is a fragment taken from Richard Brautigan’s 1967 poem “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace.” The exhibition Ms. Schwendener notes “features art based on systems that generally support” Brautigan’s vision of “imagined mammals and computers living together in ‘mutually programming harmony,’” while calling for more alliances between art and technology that eschew business opportunities.xxxxxx (more…)

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    Rochester’s Geva Theatre Production of ‘Monte Python’s Spamalot’

    Herbert Simpson

    Jacob Hoffman (Not Dead Fred) in Geva’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Unless noted, all photos by Colin Huth.

    It’s been eight years since I saw this calculated madness in a gaudy Las Vegas production, and memory won’t let me accurately compare this latest revival. The cult Monte Python-infection of our Broadway musical comedy is certainly intact.  But Vegas shows are all cut down in length [90 minutes, no intermissions] and expanded in size and glitz. Geva Theatre’s modest production is a little longer and has a smaller cast.  But it has caught the craziness, hung on valiantly to the over-the-top style, and actually rented a whole set of costumes from the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts. And also, the show-off, zany dancing is choreographed by Lenny Daniel, who was one of the topnotch performers I saw in the Las Vegas version in 2007.  So I guess it’s pretty much the real thing.  And the audience didn’t stop laughing even when jumping up to yell and applaud. xxxxx (more…)

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    Washington DC’s Women’s Voices Theater Festival: Empowering Talent

    Amy Henderson

    www.artesmagazine.comIn the spring of 2013, seven of Washington, D.C’s most influential theater artistic directors met to explore how they could enhance the state of their art. Although Washington hosts one of the largest number of theaters in the country, the theater community’s impact as a whole lacks recognition. Part of this invisibility is geographic, since Washington’s theaters are spread throughout the region rather than strung along a singular “Great White Way.” Another reason is financial, with competition for funding creating more of a silo sensibility than an embracing collaborative spirit. xxxxxx (more…)

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    deCordova Museum Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Mass with Dazzling New Installation, Vision

    Mark Favermann

    Sol LeWitt, Tower (DC), 1989, 2009. Photo: Mark Favermann.

    This astutely curated exhibit, which includes an international group of carefully selected new commissions, long-term loans, and permanent collection artworks, explores the presence of architecture in contemporary sculpture.

    During the previous curatorial regime, entering the deCordova Museum’s Sculpture Park was like walking into an overcrowded elephant’s graveyard of mediocrity. Justifying its acquisitions by reason of limited budgets, almost everything the institution accepted was a gift or loan from artists or collectors who most often donated their second, third or even fourth tier larger works. A couple of decades of this awkward curatorial process created an uninspired and crowded mélange of various pieces of varying qualities. Instead of collecting, the deCordova seemed to be warehousing large sculptures with little logical rhyme or reason. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Hartford Stage: A Slight “Opening in Time”

    Geary Danihy

    Sometimes you can gather the best of ingredients and follow a tried and true recipe and still, for some reason, the meal just doesn’t turn out right. Such is the case with Christopher Shinn’s An Opening in Time, which is having its world premiere at Hartford Stage. Directed at something of a snail’s pace by »more

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    Westport Country Playhouse’s ‘Bedroom Farce’: The Bedroom as Battleground

    Geary Danihy

    Anyone familiar with theater knows that staging a farce normally requires a lot of doors, which are frequently slammed as characters rush about chasing each other. In the case of Alan Ayckbourn’s “Bedroom Farce,” which recently opened at the Westport Country Playhouse under the capable direction of John Tillinger, there are the requisite doors, though »more

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    217 Films New Essay in Film, ‘Enough to Live On: The Arts of the WPA’

    Richard Friswell

    There are still many people, perhaps our grandparents or great-grandparents, who can vividly recall the Great Depression of the 1930s. Memories of hardship, loss and displacement become the narrative when we ask those who lived through it to recall what it was like. It has shaped the behavior (and fears) of those who experienced it, »more

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