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

    Richard Friswell

    Work/Welfare Line, New York (c. 1935)

    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, even today. Following the stock market crash of `29, the United States, and many other parts of the world, were plunged into a decade-long cycle of protracted unemployment, shortages of food and shelter, and—worst of all—a state of antipathy. Only after the election of 1932, when Franklin Roosevelt assumed the office of president, were progressive programs instituted to address the issues created by the crushing economic downturn. As unlikely as these aggressive federal initiatives are to ever be repeated in today’s cynical political climate, their effect at the time was dramatic and, for many, life altering. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Exploring Art: Freudian Analysis Using ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’

    Taylor Bourassa

    Andy Warhol, ‘Sigmund Freud’ from series, ‘Ten Famous Jews of the 20th Century (1980). Private collection.

    Art is an expression of the soul, a physical embodiment of the artists ‘psyche whereby the artists’ feelings and emotions are reflected. We can come to understand better the meaning behind an image and the state of mind of an artist upon closer examination of the image and we can accomplish this by employing Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic dream theory.

    Art is similar to dreams in that the two are dissociative* experiences rooted in imagery. To better understand the connection, let us outline the major components of Freud’s dream theory. xxxxxx (more…)

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    ‘Mangle Boards of Northern Europe’: Scholarly Examination of an Overlooked Folk Art Form

    Richard Friswell

    Mangle Boards, Netherlands (l: 1604; r: 1650)

    Surprisingly, the term “mangle” is not unfamiliar to me. As a young man, I would deliver our household laundry to a commercial cleaners at an old brick factory on the edge of town. The building was always sweltering—winter or summer—as heat and steam escaped from windows and ducts into the cool air above the swift river cascading beside the building. One distinctive feature of the scene was their phalanx of manglers: large, flat ironing machines with rotating, heated rollers that pulled in and pressed bed sheets and other large, flat fabrics in a continuous action. Through my youthful eyes, these apocalyptic wringer-like devices appeared equally poised to “mangle” their subservient operators as anything their vulnerable hands might feed into them. xxxxxx (more…)

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  • Editor’s Letter: August, 2015

    Richard Friswell

    www.artesmagazine.com“The way we see things is affected by what we believe.”    ~John Berger


    Left: Nicholas Hilliard, ‘Queen Elizabeth, The Ermine Portrait’ (1585). Hatfield House, London


    Listening to Stone

    The art of the quest means leaving home; it is the companion of adventure. Questers must be prepared to venture into the unknown, confront difficulties and dangers, and return home with new understandings of themselves and the world. A pilgrimage is, by definition, part trip and part ritual. The impetus for my journey was not nearly as dramatic or danger-wrought as that. It was urged on by a wish to pay homage, and seek the truth about an 18th century woman, whose story remained locked in the back of an antique pocket watch for over two hundred years. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Hartford’s TheaterWorks’ ‘I’ll Eat You Last’: A Consuming Passion

    Geary Danihy

    www.artesmagazine.comA portrait of an especially engaging shark swimming in shark-infested waters is what we have in John Logan’s I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers, which opened on Broadway in 2013 and is currently playing at TheaterWorks.

    Left: Karen Murphy (Sue Menger). All photos by Lanny Nagler

    Who, many of you might ask, is, or was, Sue Mengers? Well, for those in the know about the lore of Tinsel Town, during the 60s and 70s she was a talent agent to be reckoned with, a hard-driving, deal-making, brash, acerbic woman who flourished with style and flair in a world dominated by men. During her reign as one of the people in Hollywood you always took calls from she represented, among many others, Julie Harris, Barbra Streisand, Candice Bergen, Michael Caine, Bob Fosse, Gene Hackman and both Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen, all of them her glittering, glistening stars floating in a manufactured firmament. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA: Post-Impressionist ‘Van Gogh and Nature’

    Charles Giuliano

    ‘A Wheatfield, with Cypresses,’ 1889. Oil on canvas, 72 x 90 cm. The National Gallery, London, bought Courtauld Fund, 1923 Image © The National Gallery, London 2014.

    The parking lots of the Clark Art Institute have been packed all summer, including mid-week and early in the day. Even after extensive renovation and expansion, one summer after the reopening of Tadao Ando’s grand design, there is simply not enough space for cars. They line the road at the edge of the campus.

    Credit that to the appeal of Van Gogh and Nature an exhibition focused on many less known and rarely encountered works by the Dutch post-impressionist. Adding to the number of visitors is a summer-long visit from Paris of the iconic work, Whistler’s Mother. xxxxxx (more…)

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    In the Realm of Spectacle and Dreams [Part II]: 19th c. Artists and Writers Shape a New America

    Richard Friswell

    Fullscreen capture 8132012 31826 PM (2)Curator’s Note: This is Part II of a virtual ‘exhibition’ examining America’s self image during the Gilded Age, Mark Twain’s derisive term for a period of U.S. industrial and cultural expansion during the last quarter of the 19th century. It offered rich material from some of America’s best-known artists and writers.  This exhibition focuses specifically on the cities of the Northeast and here, their rural and coastal environs.  The art selected for inclusion in not intended to illustrate the text in any direct or literal sense; any more than the narrative excerpts are meant to be descriptive of the meaning or intent of any painting.  Rather, they combine to provide a contemporaneous view of the painter’s visible world and writer’s literary sphere.  The pairing of  ‘narrative’ painting with a ‘painterly’ narrative yields a multi-sensory experience for the virtual gallery visitor which will hopefully prove larger than the sum of its parts.

    The Waterfront
    “The seaside is a good place to rest in, especially if one can control his surroundings. The quiet, the calm, the peace, the pleasant color, the idyllic sights and sounds, all tend to allay nervous irritation, to tranquilize the soul, the repress the intellectual, and to invigorate the animal functions in a very remarkable degree.  But this is not rustic life; it is only the waterfront retreat of the city resident.” xxxxxx (more…)

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    Paintings by Contemporary Artist, Bill Barrett: Humanism & Unbridled Joy

    David S. Rubin

    Bill Barrett, ‘Pinnacle VI’, 2007, fabricated bronze, 40 x 24 x 22 in. See 9/11 inspiration for this work, below.

    Throughout most of his long and distinguished career, Bill Barrett has been considered primarily a sculptor. The title of his 2003 monograph by Philip F. Palmedo, in fact, is Bill Barrett: Evolution of a Sculptor. Yet, a practice common to artists working today is to move back and forth among various mediums, and Barrett’s approach is no exception. The son of a painter who studied under the pioneering cubist Fernand Léger, Barrett watched his father paint in the studio as a child, and he himself explored the medium in his student years. Additionally, many of Barrett’s favorite twentieth century artists, including Arshile Gorky and Willem DeKooning, were painters. So the fact that Barrett would himself shift his main focus from the three-dimensional medium of sculpture to the two-dimensional format of painting is not all that surprising. xxxxxx (more…)

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    The Words of Gertrude Stein: ‘Composition…Master-Pieces…Identity’

    Edward Rubin

    www.artesmagazine.comGertrude Stein C’est Moi!

    I recently attended Obie Award winner, David Greenspan’s amazing performance of Composition…Master-Pieces…Identity at the Connelly Theater in New York. It consisted of two of Stein’s lectures: Composition as Explanation; What Are Masterpieces, and Why Are There So Few of Them; and one poem that could be a mini-play, as Greenspan acted it out, Identity A Poem. xxxxxx (more…)

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    National Gallery’s Double-Header: Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte; Dutch Master, Joachim Wtewael

    Amy Henderson

    Gustave Caillebotte, ‘Portrait of Monsieur R.,’ 1877, oil on canvas, Private Collection.

    One of the most influential but least recognized of the French Impressionists, Gustave Caillebotte exemplified Charles Baudelaire’s definition of a “flaneur.” In an article published in Le Figaro in 1863, Baudelaire rhapsodized about the flaneur as a symbol of urban modernity—a “passionate spectator” who immersed himself in the city’s “ebb and flow of movement” as modern life created a kaleidoscope of the “fugitive and the infinite.” The flaneur rejoiced in his “incognito” while he recorded “the flickering grace of all the elements of life.” xxxxxx (more…)

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    Santa Barbara Museum of Art: Constructivist László Moholy-Nagy and ‘The Shape of Things to Come’

    Richard Friswell

    László Moholy-Nagy (or Ladislaus), CH Space 6 (detail), 1941, Oil on canvas, 119 x 119 cm, Estate of László Moholy-Nagy

    “The reality of our century is technology: the invention, construction and maintenance of machines. To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century. Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras.” ~ László Moholy-Nagy

    Moholy-Nagy was an artist in a time of cultural revolution. He believed that humanity could only defeat the fracturing experience of modernity—only feel whole again—if it harnessed the potential of new technologies. He held that artists should transform into designers, and through specialization and experimentation find the means to answer humanity’s needs. And yet, throughout his career, he continued to fundamentally think of himself as a painter. His interest in qualities of space, time, and light endured as well, transcending the wide range of media he happened to be working in. Whether he was painting, creating “photograms” (photographs made without the use of a camera or negative), or crafting sculptures made of transparent Plexiglass, he was ultimately interested in studying how all these basic elements interacted. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Luma Foundation, Arles, France with Tony Oursler: Intermingling Magic, Science, Life

    Elaine A. King

    Oursler_1 crop LM21418_TER3_01_hrTony Oursler is a prolific contemporary artist, known internationally for his inventive state-of-the-art combinations of technology, sculpture, and performance.  He has been an innovator of new media work since the early 1980s, focusing on video, digital projection and installation. In the last category, he merges the spoken word with other human-produced sounds, including burps, farts, whispers, breathing and sighs, into his sculptural assemblages.

    Above: TER3′ (2015) aluminum, acrylic, resin, LCD screens, media players, sound performed by Jinnie Lee 46.75 x 36.5 x 3.5” Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong xxxxx  (more…)

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    Goodspeed’s ‘Guys and Dolls,’ Got the Show Right Here

    Geary Danihy

    Scott Cote (Nicely-Nicely) and the cast of Goodspeed’s Guys and Dolls. All photos © Diane Sobolewski

    Goodspeed Opera House, on the banks of the Connecticut River in Haddam, CT, starts its new season under the guidance of executive director Michael Gennaro with the same style, spirit and professionalism that marked the productions of the Michael Price era. Its first offering is Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls,” one of the most successful of the Broadway musicals of the 1950s. It’s easy to see why the original show ran for 1,200 performances, and why this revival will please audiences throughout its two-month run. The show is well cast, artfully directed by Don Stephenson, and boasts an eye-catching set and period perfect costumes. xxxxxx (more…)

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    In the Realm of Spectacle and Dreams: 19th c. Artists and Writers Shape a New America

    Richard Friswell

    639 coverCurator’s Note: This virtual gallery ‘exhibition’ will examine the self-image of America during the Gilded Age, Mark Twain’s derisive term for a period of U.S. industrial and cultural expansion during the last quarter of the 19th century. It offered rich material for some of America’s best-known artists and writers. This exhibition focuses specifically on the cities of the Northeast and their rural environs. The art selected for inclusion in not intended to illustrate the text in any direct or literal sense; any more than the narrative excerpts are meant to be descriptive of the meaning or intent of any painting. Rather, they combine to provide a contemporaneous view of the painters’ visible world and writers’ literary sphere. The pairing of ‘narrative’ painting with a ‘painterly’ narrative yields a multi-sensory experience for the virtual gallery visitor which will hopefully prove larger than the sum of its parts.

    Part I of this ‘exhibition will focus on the late 19th c. New England city. Readers may want to familiarize themselves with the text of William Howell’s The Rise of Silas Latham (1885). In it, the author offer a rich and colorful narrative ‘picture’ of city life in Boston at the turn of the century. His ‘naturalistic’ style of story-telling set the stage for a new brand of novel—one in which everyday events and the interior lives of his characters are central—clearly the way for a new form of ‘modern’ literature in the next century. xxxxxx (more…)

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    Stratford Festival’s ‘Adventures of Pericles': A Fanciful, Dramatic Journey.

    Herbert Simpson

    As far as I’m concerned, The Adventures of Pericles is two hours of terrible playwriting, ending with the touching story of Pericles’ lost daughter, Marina. A younger, cuter, infinitely less interesting version of Odysseus, this Pericles wanders through eight plots, each elaborately introduced by a long-winded narrator named Gower [the name of the earlier poet »more

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    Stratford Festival, Ontario with ‘Hamlet’: Strong Performances, but 20th Century Setting?

    Herbert Simpson

    Short of doing a tedious textual exegesis or a pedantic comparison of specific lines and scenes, it’s difficult to review another Hamlet after seeing so many of them. We need and want to see more performances of great classic works like Hamlet or Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, or The Sleeping Beauty ballet; they should be kept »more

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