Arts writer/curatorial assistant. Swarthmore/Fulbright Austria alumna. I love museums/galleries/curating/pop culture/fan studies/tv/movies/transmedia/writing. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the beauty of the imagery, The Song of Sway Lake is a film that conflates that artsy, impressionistic cinematography with profoundly deep and emotional storytelling, as if one can turn the correlation into a kind of causation. Based on how The Song of Sway Lake is paced, how oddly and draggingly it unfurls, it seems like it would have worked better as a short film.
In a meta way, you could argue that the neatness and propulsion of Paper Year’s narrative mirrors the strength and dissolution of their marriage. Perhaps that’s a formal choice by writer-director Rebecca Adelman, but maybe I’m trying to find a justification for why the film, much like Dan and Franny’s careening marriage, ends up treading water uneasily until the end.
A more conventional biopic would try to tell the whole story of the life of the writer born Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, rushing through her exciting and scandalous life until we get Knightley slathered in old-age makeup, Going For That Oscar. (It’s still a movie where French people all have British accents, after all.) But thankfully, director Wash Westmoreland, who co-wrote the script, isn’t trying to be conventional. Instead, he focuses on a narrow window in Colette’s life—her decade-plus marriage to Willy—and shows us how and why she reinvented herself simply as Colette.
Despite the confoundingly warm reception and exaggerated Oscar buzz for Close's performance as an archetype that many women can undoubtedly relate to, The Wife fails on nearly every level as a movie. Bogged down by numerous overly broad performances, a plot so formulaic it might as well as been calcified, a maudlin score, and a total lack of visual sensibility or style, "The Wife" is not the story that the collective (American) female frustration and fury of 2018 deserves in the least.
A prostrate human figure about two-thirds life size is built from cracked and jagged layers of ceramics stitched together with wire. Walking around the sculpture, one notices that the figure's skull has been cracked open and the top of its head is missing entirely; the emptiness inside has been left a burned-out gray-black color. The pose of the figure recalls prayer, but judging by the utter disrepair of the body -- skin sloughing off, the lower body connected to the torso with mean-looking loops of black wire -- prayer has proven not to be enough.
The Incendiaries is less a story than a collection of these impressions and imprinted moments, feeling at times like an exercise in teasing out the most abstracted and poetical way of writing about something, often letting any potential sense of narrative propulsion fall to the wayside. It can be roughly sketched out as boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl joins cult, boy loses girl, its crystallized story beats coming almost like a screenplay. But actually reading it means often stepping back from that twisted, lush prose to remember than the story itself is fairly simple.
Marcel Duchamp With Shaving Lather on His Head and Other Photographic Portraits of Artists Exhibited at Philadelphia Museum of Art
There are individually-installed works that shine wonderfully as discrete objects. Jill Krementz’s portrait of Eudora Welty, placed in a corner of the gallery space, is beautiful and haunting. The writer is presented in profile at her desk, almost in silhouette, in front of blindingly bright open windows. While the lack of detail given to Eudora herself might make this image seem remote, a peek at the lower foreground of the photo reveals what appears to be a bed frame and rumpled, pale sheets, as if Krementz is sitting on Welty’s bed with her camera.
Mourning and Awe in Ursula von Rydingsvard’s “The Contour of Feeling” at the Fabric Workshop and Museum
The sheer variety of forms and textures on display in The Contour of Feeling is a testament to the artist’s endless creativity. Though wall text explains that von Rydingsvard assembles her sculptures from four-by-four inch cedar planks, it’s a bit of a game to study each work and try to figure out how such simple building blocks combine to such elaborate effect.
Lara Jean is a dyed-in-the-wool romantic addicted to Harlequin romances, but wholly practical about this whole fake dating Peter thing. When Lara Jean sits down with Peter to establish the rules for how their “relationship” will be portrayed and presented, it’s a clever nod to how high-profile relationships are conducted in today’s age of 24-hour news, tabloids, and social media—except it’s explicit instead of implicit (I imagine).
“Welcome to Camp America” is Debi Cornwall’s masterful photo series of former detainees, all depicted from behind, alongside images of the camp itself. As if in a rebuke to the kind of thinking that turned Ahmed Rabbani into the number 1461, as he writes for the Los Angeles Times, Cornwall tells us the first names of the detainees in her pictures.
James Smythe's I Still Dream includes plenty of hallmarks of the futuristic sci-tech genre, including too-powerful technology and its devastating consequences, the dangers of human-less algorithmic development, recognizably human hubris and greed, and cataclysmic social consequences on an epic geopolitical scale. Yet at its core, I Still Dream is ultimately and notably not technophobic, and only mildly alarmist.
Both an artist opportunity and a canny homage to the original 1863 Salon de Refusés, “Best of the Worst” is a much more sly challenge to its neighboring galleries than it purports to be. Like the 1863 Salon, Practice is suggesting that the works on its walls — over 40 pieces — are perhaps better, and more avant-garde, than what’s on the walls at the juried shows; with a wink and a nudge, Practice stakes its claim for posterity through association.
No mere romantic world-traveling venture, #FollowMeTo visually embodies many characteristics of colonialist art-historical movements and styles, such as 19th-century Orientalist painting and contemporary fashion photography. Likewise, #FollowMeTo has developed from a simple travel diary into a morally complicated touristic enterprise.
On October 5th, Latvian artist Elina Ruka’s solo show “Immersion” opens at Philadelphia’s Gravy Studio and Gallery, marking her first solo show in the city. The recipient of an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, Ruka uses numerous media, including photography, installation, video, and sound, to create tranquil and curious works of art.
The three artists on display in Fusco Gallery—Danny Lyon, Burton Silverman, and Harvey Dinnerstein—are all known for their visual documentation of the civil rights movement: Danny Lyon through photographs of Freedom Summer, and Silverman and Dinnerstein through sketches of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. They also have something else in common. All three of these artists are Jewish.