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    Penny Arcade’s ‘Longing Lasts Longer’ at Brooklyn’s St Anne’s Warehouse

    Edward Rubin
    penny arcade

    Solo performer, Penny Arcade

    I have always appreciated the bravery, as well as the chutzpah, of those performers who choose to go it alone in a one man or one woman show. Not unlike comedians who stand totally exposed before an audience hoping to avoid the slings and arrows, or for that matter the stink of rotten tomatoes, these are all but naked performers. Ultimately, they rely on the shear force of their god-given personality, and well-honed talents to wow their audience; and in the best case, bring them to their feet amidst thunderous applause.

    Some solo performers find success. Others slink back to their dressing room to nurse their wounds, never taking to the stage again. Ask any critic, dead or alive, and they will tell you that there is nothing more deadly than spending a couple of torturous hours watching a solo performer deconstruct on stage. Mercifully, this has never been the case with Penny Arcade who—next to the Energizer Bunny—is the hardest working performer in the business. At each star turn, and I have seen a great many over the years, she gets better and better.St Ann's editWarehouse

    Having recently seen Arcade’s Longing Lasts Longer, a lively exegesis on what’s wrong with this world with a dollop or two of survival advice—it ended its two week run at St Anne’s Warehouse in Brooklyn (right) in mid-December—I was pleased to hear that it is already racking up future bookings. It can be seen this coming April 8th and 9th at the Freud Playhouse in Los Angeles. And then, more than likely, as the lady cannot sit still, she will be taking her show – it was a big hit in London last year – to yet another city or back to Europe where the audiences just go crazy over her.

    I first saw Longing Lasts Longer at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater early last year. As are most of Arcade’s New York outings, the night club was filled to the rafters with loyal followers, hanging on her every word and expression. If memory serves me correctly, this idea-filled production, essentially “a work in progress”—as her work is continually evolving—was delivered by Arcade fast, furiously, and seemingly off the cuff in a somewhat helter-skelter manner.

    Not so with this newly revised production of Longing which was staged at St Anne’s Warehouse in Brooklyn (December 1-11 2016). Designed and directed by Arcade and Steve Zehentner, her long time collaborator, this “new” Longing bore little resemblance to the “old” Longing in either script or performance. Here we got a well-researched and tightly crafted stage production worthy of an HBO special with scads of newly minted Arcade expressions, Ellen Degeneres type dance moves, and over 100 musical sound and light cues, each perfectly timed to both introduce, as well as fit the material being discussed.

    Arcade is widely known for her trenchant observations, most of which echo our very thoughts and concerns. Yes, we love her bringing them out into the open and thrown back at us in her signature style which could be described as “in your face.” Not a shrinking violet, she adamantly lets us know, in the most entertaining way, what is on her mind, as well as ours. Working in tandem, the delicious “call and response” banter between Arcade and Zehentner having never been tighter, brought the audience closer, as privileged participants, to PennyArcadePlayLogothe inner workings of the production.

    As usual with Arcade, whose mind is always roaming the world, the topics she chose to tackle ran the gamut from cultural history, growing up, crowd mentality and consensus, the loss of individuality, mediocrity, as the new black, relationships, New York, and a slew of other subjects that caught her fancy. Quite surprisingly, exposing her well-read intellectual side, she talked about Edward Bernays “the father of public relations.”

    She also discussed Guy Dedord’s 1967 book The Society of Spectacle which not surprisingly brought our recent presidential election to mind. Here Dedord discusses Integrated Spectacle, a kind of mass hypnosis triggered by the merging of the government, the financial institutions, and the technology with advertising and media to create a powerful illusion of reality, one in which there’s no real news but spectacle, a circus show, car wrecks, all distractions from reality.

    In two of my favorite riffs, perhaps a little less serious then the above topics, Arcade talked about Snow White and sidewalk behavior, the former a clue to Penny edit Arcade#6LongingLastsLongerDec2016the Arcade’s  inner makeup, outer behavior, and her early theatrical bent; the latter, a sign of dwindling manners and the growth of rabid self-interest.

    “When I was a little girl and I saw the movie Snow White I did not want to be Snow White. I wanted to be the evil queen. I didn’t want to dress like Snow White, all blue and red and flouncy white collar. I wanted to dress like the evil queen. I loved her look. Didn’t you? That tight black hood like Azzedine Alaia. The peak in the front like Mary McFadden, and the red, red lipstick.

    “Snow White was so bland. Ok, so the queen was evil. She wanted to be the fairest in the land! So, she was a narcissist!  But Snow White was borderline. She was a complete control freak. She was all over those dwarves. So what if they were sleepy? So what if they were dopey? So what if they were grumpy?”

    Arcade’s rant on annoying sidewalk behavior, especially here in New York City, where everybody thinks that they alone own the street, is a topic that has long been on my mind. It was only a few decades ago, when life seemed a lot simpler, that people used the right lane going both ways like a two-way street. Then all of the sudden, perhaps having its beginnings during the Open Enrollment Movement of the `60s, and further exacerbated by the Me generation, the sea started to change and negotiating sidewalks became a series of dodges not unlike in a football game.

    Arcade explains this phenomenon, quite humorously at that, in her own inimitable way. “The streets of our cities have been taken over by zombie tourists, mobs of them. It’s turned into a mall out there with hordes of shoppers overwhelming our cities, eating everything in their path, trampling over each other to shop in the same stores that they have at home.”

    She continues, “These people take up the entire sidewalk. From watching Sex and the City, they think they’re supposed to walk four abreast even when there are 15 of them. In New York we walk fast. When we walk we are going someplace. We are used to living in close quarters. New Yorkers do not walk into people! When we pass you on the street, we dip! This is something everyone used to learn their first year in New York. It’s the innate choreography of the city and it is a beautiful thing.”

    In ending her 90 minute show, Arcade waxes philosophically about happiness and  getting the best out of life, albeit with a tinge of resignation. “Happiness is a decision you make. Happiness is not magic! Happiness is our legacy as humans. I’m even am happy when I’m miserable. Because it is my misery and I farm my misery out until it grows into happiness. I don’t need anyone to me happy and neither do you! I am already happy.”

    There is no place to hide from the innate sorrow of being human. From the longing that is intrinsic to our humanity; The longing that makes us different from our brothers and sisters the animals; The knowledge that we will die; The knowledge that those we love will die; That nothing ever remains the same no matter how we try to hold on to it.”

    Like Thoreau’s quote “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”…Arcade reminds us that “Longing lasts longer, longer than anything else.

    And the only weapons in the face of certain death and annihilation, gentrification, amnesia and the erasure of history is joy, pleasure, gratitude, authenticity, individuality.

    “Many people give up. They say: “What can we do?” Many of us ask: “What can I do.”

    Arcade’s sage counsel is to “Own your life. Be the one that carries the history. Protect you authenticity…Live in your gratitude. That’s were the magic is.

    By Edward Rubin, Contributing Edito

    Penny Arcade Longing Last’s Longer at St Anne’s Warehouse 45 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY 866-811-4111


    Box Office: 718-254-8779, 866-811-4111

    Conceived, Written and Performed by Penny Arcade

    Designed and Directed by Steve Zehentner and Penny Arcade

    Creative Producer, Jeremy Goldstein for London Artists Projects

    Lighting Designer, Justin Townsend

    Associate Lighting Designer, Sarah Johnston, Soundscore, Steve Zehenter and Penny Arcade

    Hair, Brianna O’Hara for Salon 15

    Make-up, Virna Smiraldi

    Prop master, Daniel Lanziero.

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    “Stuart Davis: In Full Swing” at Washington’s National Gallery of Art

    Elaine A. King
    Davis, Stuart

    Cover image for NGA exhibition: ‘Stuart Davis: In Full Swing,’ Owh! on San Pao (1951). Detailed caption info for all images at end of review

    Stuart Davis (1892-1964) is considered to be one of America’s first modern artists and a precursor of Pop Art.  He was an enthused colorist whose bright, well-developed paintings translated French Cubism into an unquestionably American art expression. Stuart Davis: In Full Swing, currently on view at Washington’s National Gallery of Art, considers his work from 1921 and his breakthrough paintings of tobacco packages. It then moves through five decades to his final canvas, demonstrating through the chronology Davis’s habit of recycling earlier work for new compositions. With more than one hundred of his most important, visually complex compositions on view, the exhibition highlights Davis’s ability to assimilate the imagery of popular culture, the aesthetics of advertising, the lessons of cubism, and the sounds and rhythms of jazz into works that hum with intelligence and energy. (more…)

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    Washington D.C.’s Phillips Collection: ‘Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Epoque’

    Amy Henderson
    Mademoiselle Églantine’s Troupe 1

    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mademoiselle Églantine’s Troupe, 1895–96. Ed. Note: For detailed captions on all images, see story end.

    The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. has recently opened an exhibition that showcases an extraordinary collection of Toulouse-Lautrec lithographs. Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the ‘Belle Epoque’  focuses on about 100 “defining images” that embrace the artist’s entire lithographic career (1891-1899) and provide a fascinating window into Montmartre’s fin de siècle  café and cabaret society. (more…)

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    Editor’s Letter: January, 2017

    Edward Rubin


    “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

    Left: Paul Delaroche, Two Heads, Camaldolese Monks (1844).

    Sweeping up the Heart

    Every singer, every actor, every dancer considers themselves artists. The world of expression and those who give form to our emotions through lyrics and movement, is poorer in these fresh days of a New Year, a result of the loss of several talented performers in recent weeks. While my head was still spinning with each new, sad announcement, I received an email from cherished, long-time friend and contributing editor to ARTES, Ed Rubin. Eddy is a New Yorker, through-and-through, and as a result, has ‘theater’ coursing through his veins. The performing arts come alive for those, like Ed, who can casually encounter a star or a cultural icon on the streets of the City, at a restaurant or party. You quickly learn that celebrities are just people, as their vulnerability and untimely deaths so often painfully demonstrate. (more…)

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    Gallery 100 New York: International Artists Draw ‘A Fine Line’                          

    Mary Hrbacek

    Alan Sonfist, “Leaves Frozen in Time: Spring,” Mix Media on Canvas, 4 x 4 ft. (122 x 122 cm.) no date provided

    A Fine Line, the inaugural exhibition for the newly launched Gallery 100 New York, presents an amalgamation of the varied but related works of four international artists, who use straightforward natural materials with telling effect.  The show curated by gallery director Michelle Loh, features Wang Huangsheng, Oliver Catté, Mahmoud Hamadani, and Alan Sonfist.  An express emphasis on paper unites the installation; there is an aura of purity emanating from the white paper of the drawings on view that permeates the space.  Color plays an important tandem role; hues glitter in conjunction with the brown cardboard works, and in the nature-based leaf piece entitled “Leaves Frozen in Time: Spring.”  The abstract drawings explore the essential delicacy of paper as it comingles with ink flowing irregularly over the surfaces, while the creative potential and durability of cardboard come sharply into focus in cityscapes that radiate urban exuberance. Traditional underpinnings resound through the exhibition; the use of ink, which is made from tree bark, is a medium used for millennia in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. (more…)

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    Holiday Inn: Roundabout Theatre Brings the Past into the Present

    Edward Rubin

    Corbin Bleu stars in New York’s Studio 54 production of Gershwin’s Holiday Inn. All photos: Joan Marcus (2016).

    The Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical, currently playing at Studio 54, first showed its lyrical face at Connecticut’s Goodspeed Opera House where it had its world premier during the holiday season in 2014. With a book co-written by Chad Hodge and Gordon Greenberg (he is also the director), Holiday Inn, stuffed with 22 Irving Berlin songs, some standards, others resurrected from the dead, is back on the boards again. Other than Radio City Music Hall’s yearly Christmas spectacular, it is the only major holiday themed production in New York City whose specific marketing goal is to brighten The Great White Way during this ‘Holidaze‘ Season. (more…)

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    Editor’s Letter: December, 2016

    Richard Friswell



    “To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year.”

    ~E. B. White

    Right: Bartelomeo Veneto, Lady Playing a Lute (c. 1520). Pinacoteca di Brera (Milan, Italy)


    Rebirth and Resilience

    Dear Reader- In May of this year, the ebb and flow of ARTES articles and opinion—so much a part of my life and that of our writers and online visitors since launching in 2009—came crashing down. The diagnosis: the accumulated content of 27 Gb of words and images, supported by WordPress code that in some cases dated to our inception, caused it to collapse under its own virtual weight. As explained, it was an aging sand castle foundation, eroded by a relentless tide of new material being heaped on top. Our repeated and best efforts to keep the site ‘live’ were to no avail. In thecaspar_david_friedrich_-_wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog-1818 weeks that followed, shock, sadness and a genuine sense of loss permeated my emotions.

    Right: Casper David Friedrich, Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818).

    My dismay was only reinforced by conversations with tech experts who offered little hope for an easy fix; or a complex rehabilitation effort at great expense, with no guarantees at the other end. Weeks turned to months as I contemplated life without ARTES as a daily project. I taught more classes, began writing a long-planned book, and roamed the many book stores and libraries in my area looking for solace. It was an emotional summer for me as various strategies for restoring ARTES churned in the back of my mind. Events were further complicated by added responsibilities related to my aging mother at one end of life’s spectrum, and the imminent arrival of a grandchild at the other. (more…)

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    New York’s Marianne Boesky Gallery with Matthias Bitzer: a different sort of gravity

    Mary Hrbacek

    Matthias Bitzer, Installation view. Foreground: phosphor notes (a different sort of gravity), mixed media (2016)

    The works in Matthias Bitzer’s show, “a different sort of gravity” couldn’t be more confounding or diverse; this is the show’s aim. On my first view, I found the installation to be incoherent, even confusing.  It took my breath away. On the second view I realized that the exhibit resonates with a sense of its true meaning, but this baffling heterogeneous display takes time to grasp.  (more…)

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    New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater, ‘My Paris’: C’est Tres Bon

    Geary Danihy

    Bobby Steggert (Henri Toulouse-Lautrec), Mara Davi (Suzanne Valadon) in Long Wharf’s production of ‘My Paris.’ All photos: T. Charles Erickson

    A crippled man, diminutive in size, falls victim to drink, drugs and various other vices and dies before he is forty. Not the stuff you would gravitate towards if you were considering creating a musical, unless you wished to have your audience leave the theater feeling worse than it did when it sat down. You also probably wouldn’t think of writing a musical about a wicked witch or a girl named Mimi dying of HIV or a mother suffering from bipolar disorder. You’d walk away from the projects…and you would be wrong. xxxxx (more…)

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    Westport Country Playhouse and Mark Lamos’ Repertory: Art Isn’t Easy

    Geary Danihy

    www.artesmagazine.comBack in 1931, the Westport Country Playhouse’s inaugural season, several plays were presented in repertory, that is, several plays alternated daily. This also occurred in the 1932 and 1935 seasons, but the repertory concept was soon abandoned and wasn’t attempted again until the mid-1960s. That’s about to change this year, for the Playhouse will be opening its 2016 season with two plays in repertory, Red, by John Logan, and Art, by Yasmina Reza, in a translation by Christopher Hampton. Both plays won Tonys for Best Play, Art in 1998 and Red in 2010. xxxxx (more…)

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  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s ‘Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change’

    Amy Henderson



    Robert Irwin, ‘Untitled’ (1969), acrylic paint on shaped acrylic, 53″ diameter. Collection: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

    The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., has just opened a major exhibition that celebrates one of America’s most influential postwar artists. Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change is the first American museum survey of Irwin’s work outside of California, where he was a leader of the Light and Space art movement in the 1960s.

    Exhibition curator Evelyn Hankins, in her catalogue essay “Experiencing the Ineffable: Robert Irwin in the 1960s,” explains that capturing the arc of Irwin’s pioneering and ever-changing artistic trajectory has been a daunting task. Irwin’s evolving artistic work doesn’t fit into convenient art theory pigeon holes. His path unfolds in its own particular way and is totally devoted to the experience of seeing. xxxxx (more…)

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    Isamu Noguchi: Spirit and Matter Written In Stone

    Edward Rubin

    www.artesmagazine.comJapanese American artist Isamu Noguchi’s (1904-88) philosophy of life and artistic output are so intricately intertwined that it is near impossible to think of them separately. He is also one of a handful of 20th Century artists whose very ideas and explorations, perhaps even more vital today than in his own time, warrant careful study. Noguchi was no ordinary thinker. He believed that seeing stars from the bottom of a well can be a sculpture, spoke of ancient monuments and stones as being alive, light and sound as sculpture, and shapes carrying memory. He also was extremely interested in the additional space that sensory experiences and imagination supplies and experimented widely with such notions as weightlessness in weight. xxxxx (more…)

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    Rochester, NY Geva Theater with O’Neill’s ‘A Moon for the Misbegotten’

    Herbert Simpson

    Donald Sage Mackay (James Tyrone, Jr. and Kate Forbes (Josie Hogan). All photos by Ron Heerkens, Jr.

    This fine production of Eugene O’Neill’s last play was planned as a co-production with the Theatre Royal of Waterford Ireland and played there first. Geva’s artistic director, Mark Cuddy, has negotiated artistic exchanges with Ireland’s leading theaters for more than twelve years since his sabbatical year there, and made this choice with Ben Barnes, now director of the ancient Theatre Royal, and previously director of Ireland’s famed Abbey Theatre.  It is a play with only five characters and basically a single setting, but it’s on my “NFA List” [Not For Amateurs]: rich, haunting, debatable, truly meaningful, funny, tragic, humane, and heartbreakingly beautiful. xxxxx (more…)

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    Baroque Rome in the Footsteps of Gian Lorenzo Bernini

    Tamara Thiessen

    Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona, Rome. All photos courtesy of the author.

    A s one walks the city of Rome, its major public squares and bridges, basilicas, galleries and other holy places, the work of 17th century sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini appear to accompany the visitor. No other artist, pope or urban planner had a more enduring impact on the look of the Eternal City today. From the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square to the fountains of Piazzas di Spagna, Popolo, Navona and Barberini – Bernini sculpted Rome’s look like no other. xxxxx (more…)

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    Washington’s National Gallery of Art@75: 300 Years of American Prints

    Amy Henderson

    Michele Fanoli after Richard Caton Woodville, ‘Politics in an Oyster-House,’ 1851, hand-colored lithograph, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Gift of the Estate of William Woodville VIII), 2015.

    There is a fascinating cultural breeze riffling through some of America’s most esteemed museums. In February the Philadelphia Museum of Art announced an upcoming exhibition on Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950, which aims “to provoke.” This week, the National Gallery of Art launched its 75th anniversary with the first comprehensive exhibition to survey 300 years of American life, not through art-to-the-manner-born, but through prints—a “democratic artistic medium” that is inexpensive, widely accessible, and easily distributed. xxxxx (more…)

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    Yale Rep’s ‘Cymbeline’: To Be Male, or Not To Be Male, That Is the Question

    Geary Danihy

    Miriam A. Hyman (Posthumus) and Sheria Irving (Imogen), in CYMBELINE by William Shakespeare, directed by Evan Yionoulis. All photos © Carol Rosegg, 2016.

    Yes, it’s true that in Shakespeare’s time men and boys played women’s roles on stage (because, by law, they had to) and, yes, as the Yale Rep’s playbill notes, women have had occasion to dress as men and, yes, there have been stagings of Shakespeare’s plays that have used cross-gender casting. All of this is noted in the playbill, and as one reads it one gets the feeling that the authors perhaps protest too much as justification for the current casting of Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare’s later plays that has defied pigeonholing (tragedy? comedy? Perhaps a “romance”?). The play is, at best, problematic, and scenes and plot devices echo many of those used by the Bard in earlier plays, so much so that one gets the feeling that Will might have been running out of gas. In any event, Yale Rep’s current production, under the direction of Evan Yionoulis, reflects, if unintentionally, the problems in the play itself, compounding confusion as to how the audience is supposed to respond to what it is seeing. xxxxx (more…)

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    Peabody Essex Museum’s ‘Asia in Amsterdam’: Borrowed Inspiration

    Emilie Foster

    Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde. The “Golden Bend” in the Herengracht, Amsterdam, 1671-1672. Oil on panel. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Courtesy of Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

    Creativity cannot exist in a vacuum. Whether intentional or subliminal, ideas travel and leave their mark regardless of culture, method of transport, or purpose. Because of this, society evolves and changes. Art changes. It has to, in order to survive. Creators borrow from everything around them, infusing each work with a moment in time and space. Throughout history as the world started to get smaller, this evolution only intensified. Exposure to new cultures created new opportunities, not only in art but also commerce. Nothing comes without a price however, often at the expense of the originator. xxxxx (more…)

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    New York’s Gerald Peters Gallery, ‘Fault Lines’: A Shifting Perspective on American Landscape

    Mary Hrbacek

    Jason Middlebrook, ‘We All Can Relate’ (2015), acrylic on maple, 22 x 28 x1″.

    The exhibition entitled “Fault Lines: Shifting Perspectives on Landscape in American Art,” at New York’s, GP Presents, displays five contemporary nature-oriented artists whose process-based art engages natural motifs with new intentions.  While they offer new contexts that dismantle and restructure nature as a subject, the artists are fully engaged in exploring it as a hot topic. xxxxx (more…)

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    Memory Networks: Interview with Contemporary Artist, China Blue

    Richard Friswell

    China Blue, ‘Mind Draw,’ video still (2014)

    Editor’s Note: Artist, China Blue, lives and produces art in the New England region.  She is founder and executive director of The Engine Institute, an organization fostering collaborative explorations between artists and scientists through research, development and presentations, with the goal of facilitating the spread of scientific and artistic literacy. A light and sound artist, China explores human sensory and perceptual abilities through her investigations and explorations into bioacoustics, ultra and infrasonic sampling devices, brain wave monitoring, and robotic sensory avatars. Here, she sets her sights on a complex human condition–Alzheimer’s disease–applying her creative abilities to discover new ways of understanding the way we think and feel.

    Richard Friswell: I see your work on display in galleries and installation settings in the greater New York area. It is a pleasure to finally explore it with you, in depth. First, tell me about the overarching message of your recent series of paintings?

    China Blue: This work explores how we connect and hold on to our life experiences. Memory is transient. Our recollections occur in fragments that arrive as flashes detached from time. “Memory Networks” is a project that investigates linking and preserving them in beautiful abstract figurative forms to hold them together. Made with aluminum based paint the shiny globules and lines make for stunning examples of how we can hold on to our thoughts and experiences. xxxxx (more…)

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    ‘Ruthless’ at New York’s St. Luke’s Theatre: The Little Musical That Could

    Edward Rubin

    Tori Murray as Tina Denmark in RUTHLESS! All photos: Carol Rosegg

    To say I loved the musical Ruthless, currently playing at St. Luke’s Theatre in New York City, through June 18th (after several extensions by popular demand), is a gross understatement. More accurately, I loved, loved, loved Ruthless. In fact, after seeing the play two times, thoughts of marrying the musical as well as its delightful cast of seven came to mind. I was sure that such a union would supply me with a lifetime of high octane fun. xxxxx (more…)

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    Film Review: Survival in Extremis, ‘The Revenant’ and ‘Son Of Saul’

    Nancy Kempf

    One survives through an obsession with vengeance, the other through an obsession with atonement. Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.


    You don’t ask people with knives in their stomachs what would make them happy; happiness is no longer the point. It’s all about survival; it’s all about whether you pull the knife out and bleed to death or keep it in…

    ~Nick Hornby, “How to Be Good”


    Leonardo DiCaprio as one-time frontiersman,Hugh Glass, in ‘Revenant’

    Two of the most highly acclaimed films of this awards season have been Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “The Revenant” and László Nemes’s “Son of Saul.” Oscars went to Iñárritu for Directing, Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor and Emmanuel Lubezki for Cinematography. Nemes’s “Son of Saul” won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Both films center on a protagonist in unimaginable torment. One survives through an obsession with vengeance, the other through an obsession with atonement. xxxxx (more…)

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    Phillips Collection’s ‘Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection’

    Amy Henderson

    Jan Brueghel the Younger, ‘The Five Senses: Sight,’ (detail) c. 1625. Oil on panel, 27 5/8 x 44 5/8 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection.

    This spring, the Phillips Collection, a private museum in Washington, D.C. calling itself “America’s first museum of Modern art,” presents 39 masterworks of European and American landscape painting from the collection of philanthropist and entrepreneur, Paul G. Allen. Seeing Nature is a traveling national exhibition that is co-organized by the Portland Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. xxxxxxxxxx (more…)

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  • National Portrait Gallery, Real and Fiction: a “Presidential” Portrait

    Amy Henderson

    Jonathan Yeo, Kevin Spacey as ‘President’ Frank Underwood (2016). National Portrait Gallery

    The 2016 presidential campaign has evaporated the blurry distinction between “real” and “virtual” that Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Daniel J. Boorstin railed against in his classic 1962 book, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. At the time, Boorstin was furious about how Madison Avenue advertisers—the Mad Men who were engulfing the media with consumerism–and a television system then-dominated by a three-network monopoly, had created a culture based on “illusions that we mistake…for reality.” (Boorstin, 5-6). xxxxx (more…)

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    Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal: David Altmejd’s Universe

    Emese Krunak-Hajagos

    David Altmejd, The Flux and The Puddle, 2014, detail, with heads. Photos, unless otherwise noted: Poul Buchard Brondum and Co. Courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

    I was excited when I heard that the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal was planning a retrospective of David Altmejd’s work in the summer of 2015. I couldn’t wait to see it. Altmejd is an international artist whose work has been included in important Biennials (Istanbul, 2003; Whitney, 2004; Venice, 2007 where he represented Canada) and large exhibitions in New York, Paris, Montreal, and in Humlebæk (Denmark, 2016)) among others. He was born in Montreal in 1974 and, like many other successful artists, he moved to New York, where now he lives and works. xxxxx (more…)

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    New York’s Richard Rodger’s Theater, ‘Hamilton’: Transformative

    Charles Giuliano

    Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson. All production images: Joan Marcus

    With the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda yet again the vernacular music of the streets, hip-hop and rap, have evolved to high art in the sensational, smash hit Broadway opera Hamilton, based on the extensive biography by Ron Chernow.

    For just under three hours in two acts, with elaborate exposition, the music and choreography pulses relentlessly forward with a rainbow cast telling the galvanic story of the most brilliant of the founding fathers. xxxxx (more…)

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  • Yale Rep’s ‘Happy Days’: Stuck

    Geary Danihy

    There’s the actress, and then there’s the play. The actress is superb. The play? Well, I guess that’s a matter of taste…or fortitude, or an inherent ability to find delight in the absurdly static, or a deep desire to wallow in the existential meaning (or meaninglessness) of life. In any case, Happy Days, by Samuel »more

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