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Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

We all know and love Style Wars, the quintessential documentary of the New York street culture in the 80’s.  This was New York’s urban life in raw form before hip-hop, graffiti, breakdance and rap were recognized (and commercialized) in pop culture- no watered down, refined or user friendly version here.  The film is like a row call of the vanguards of the various urban subcultures featuring Iz the Wiz , Dondi White, Seen, Zephyr, Revolt, Futura, Daze and many more.

Twenty-eight years later, the influence of Style Wars is still far reaching.    The film will be honored (maybe) by being reimagined as a musical by Todd James (a.k.a. REAS) and Steve Powers (a.k.a ESPO).  Todd James posted on his blog that the musical version is to be seen at “Street” at LA Moca’s “Art in the Streets” April 2011”.

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Larry Clark‘s retrospective exhibition opens today at Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.  The artist is known for his talent in depicting both fictional and true stories of disturbed youth through a raw and glaringly graphic eye.  His photo documentations  (Tulsa, Teenage Lust) and his films (Bully, Kids, Ken Park, Wassup Rockers) have that certain “ewww” factor that makes you think you are smelling something disgusting, want to take 2 showers and think “I should watch  Little House on the Prairie right now”.  However, regardless of the  “ewww”, his work offers something more than just a superficial visual assault; his work heavily permeates the viewers’ thoughts, sensations and emotions not just when viewing but even at the mere thought of it.  That’s what I would call powerful work. However, “powerful” is not the word chosen by the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, I believe that word would be “censor”. The mayor is imposing the first ever age restriction on an art exhibition in Paris. Minors are prohibited from seeing his retrospective.   To read more >>

“Larry Clark: Kiss the Past Hello” runs from October 8, 2010 until January 2, 2011

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Shakespeare’s answer to the age old hypothetical question, “What would you do if you were stuck on a desert island?’” is his last play, The Tempest.  And thanks to Julie Taymor it is also in its third film reincarnation.  Stage director Taymor cut her teeth on film with another Shakespearian tale, Titus, which was lacking in certain aspects save Art Direction, which I believe to be Taymor’s forte.  This time around we are blessed with my favorite actor, Chris Cooper and rising screen genius, Ben Whishaw along with what looks like an extraordinary ensemble cast. If that isn’t enough good news for you, here is more–Prospero will be played by Helen Mirren as Prospera.  Let’s see how Shakespeare weathers the tempest of third wave feminist postmodernism.

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Harry Callahan, Atlanta,1984; dye transfer print

SFMOMA will present the U.S. debut of a major survey that examines photography’s role in invasive looking.   Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera Since 1870 is co-organized by SFMOMA and Tate Modern, and gathers more than 200 pictures that together form a timely inquiry into the ways in which artists and everyday people alike have probed the camera’s powerful voyeuristic capacity. How can the virtuous resist the 5 “forbidden themes” of this show? These theme are Voyeurism and Desire (Helmut Newton!, Blow Job!, Nan Goldin!), Celebrity and the Public Gaze (Ron Galella– the godfather of paparazzi), Witnessing Violence and Surveillance. The exhibition is on view from October 30, 2010, through April 17, 2011, make sure to have a peep at this show.

Georges Dudognon, Greta Garbo in the Club St. Germain ca. 1950

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Of course she did! The Golden Lion is the highest honor to be awarded in the Venice Film Festival and Sofia Coppola won this praise for her new film Somewhere. This film will offer the auteur’s pretty-powdery, bitter-sweet and dreamily-depressing images and tone that she is known for. Other amazing films that were highly acknowledged (and I MUST SEE) were Essential Killing (Jerzy Skolimowski), Black Swan (Darren Aronosfsky) and Miral (Julian Schnabel).

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I don’t know about you, but the term “art crime” makes me feel giddy inside.  I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get on the FBI’s Art Theft Task Force for about 6 years now, but my steady barrage of infiltration tactics does not work on those people.

My new favorite art criminal is one Thomas Doyle who is somewhat profiled in a Bloomberg article that I don’t fully understand as it is so filled with twists and turns of art grifter identity I am left wondering who the bad guy really is.

But what I really want to talk about in the art crime arena is the disappearance of John Lurie (right).

John Lurie was an avant garde musician in the late 70s.  He played the saxophone back when the saxophone was cool.  Then Jim Jarmusch (pictured left) decided to cast him in some of his films including Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law.  About two weeks ago The New Yorker came out with an article about John Lurie’s explosive fame and subsequent celebrity demise.  The article starts like this:  “From 1984 to 1989, everyone in downtown New York wanted to be John Lurie. Or sleep with him. Or punch him in the face.”  Lurie, an East Village triple threat, musician, actor, painter, went on to do some cool things in the 90s, but his story gets really good in the 2000s, with twenty years of distance from uber-stardom and a best friend who turned into a stalker.  The “frienemy” in question is artist John Perry who is also interviewed in the article.  The story of this friendship turned nightmare for both heterosexual men reaches so deep into their psyches that they appear deeply obsessed with each other.  “The protracted duet has become a kind of living performance piece, but neither man is able to see it as art: Perry because he views himself solely as a painter, and Lurie because he never before associated art with a fear of death.”   Besides the initial restraining orders that both artists filed against each other, there’s no evidence of foul play on anyone’s part.  In the meantime, you can find John Lurie hiding out in California, painting at Flea’s house in Big Sur, or sequestered in a rental home in Palm Springs.  So long as Perry remains in New York, Lurie will not go back.  Read the abstract or purchase the article here.

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Bay Area native, James Franco portrays San Francisco superstar, Allen Ginsberg in the new Hollywood biopic, Howl, named after his most controversial poem which was deemed explicit and pornographic by the dominant standard of the day.  Franco’s portrayal of the poet might have sparked some of his own creative output as I just found out that the actor, writer, and now visual artist has a show featuring installation, video, and sculpture at the Clocktower Gallery in NYC.  See images and read more here.

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