Thursday, October 30, 2003

  This evening - notices of two coming audiovisual attractions.

Beginning on November 4, The Film Society of Lincoln Center will present "A Tribute to Lenfilm Studios". From the silents of the 1920s to the motley releases of the past decade, more than two dozen movies produced by and associated with the St. Petersburg film studio will be shown at Lincoln Center's cozy Walter Read Theater. The assortment of films to be screened is quite extraordinary. Each feature is a powerhouse of cinematic expression, making for a month-long overwhelmingly black-n-white film-feast. The film stills at filmlinc's tease page alone are just awesome.

from "Saint's Day", Sergei Selyanov, Nikolai Makarov, 1989. from "Mama Got Married", Vitaly Melnikov, 1969.

Toward the end of the series' run, watch out for the goofy and endearing "Window to Paris", a lighthearted but heart-pinching favorite of mine.

On another exciting note, the dizzyingly rhythmical and mellifluous Cesaria Evora will perform at the Beacon Theater on the upper West Side this Saturday evening. Hip-hip-hooray!

Sunday, October 26, 2003

  Here is a compilation of lovely things that have landed in my (e)mailboxes over the past couple of weeks, courtesy of the mailing list fairy.

"Izu Cactus Garden, Shizuoka Prefecture", from the 'Zoo' series, 1986. Takanobu Hayashi.

If you are in Portland, OR, you may wish to pay a visit to the esteemed S K Josefsberg Studio for the second installment of the gallery's exploration of Japanese photography. Mostly monochrome and mostly marvelous prints from the 1970s and the 1980s are said to be present. This exhibit, along with its predecessor, which covered two earlier decades of photography from Japan, can be sampled online. Images by some of the artists presented in the show can also be enjoyed elsewhere -- Miyako Ishiuchi and Masao Yamamoto at Sepia International and the Robert Klein Gallery, Michiko Kon at Aperture, Ryuji Miyamoto at Artnet, Kozo Miyoshi at "Internet Photo Magazine Japan", etc.

"A Box of Ku #550". Masao Yamamoto.

On the East Coast, particularly intriguing are offerings by the Zabriskie Gallery (beware of the virtually barren site, save for the generous preview of the current exhibition), and by the Von Lintel Gallery. Zabriskie presents photograms and other pieces by Theodore Roszak. Some of his other esoteric and elegant works can be browsed in different nooks of the web.

Photogram, c. 1937-39. Theodore Roszak. Photogram, c. 1937-41. Theodore Roszak.

On view at the Von Lintel Gallery is the masterful Joseph Stashkevetch's Quincunx. The tumbling arrangements of mute florals and parched aquatic creatures are rather arresting.

"Flightpattern #1", 2003. Joseph Stashkevetch. "The Tire Dump", 2003. Joseph Stashkevetch.

A very extensive archive of Stashkevetch's other work is located on his website. The artist works exclusively in conte crayon on rag paper. Yes, he does.

Those impressed by Stashkevetch's art are likely to find at least some of the artists represented by Von Lintel of interest as well. Consider, for instance, Mark Sheinkman, or for something different and more ethereal - Yvonne Estrada.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

"Queen Anne's Lace", 1999, Victor Schrager "Prickly Lemon", 2000, Victor Schrager

Online -- Victor Schrager's sparse website and a luxurious presentation of his Botany series at the Edwynn Houk Gallery.

The Palm And The Pine
From the German of Heine.
Sidney Lanier. 1864.

In the far North stands a Pine-tree, lone,
Upon a wintry height;
It sleeps: around it snows have thrown
A covering of white.

It dreams forever of a Palm
That, far i' the Morning-land,
Stands silent in a most sad calm
Midst of the burning sand.

"Susie", 2003, monotype, fern, wax. Valerie Hammond. "Kiki (Dogwood)", 2003, monotype, fern, flower, wax. Valerie Hammond.

The Lisa Sette Gallery in Arizona is currently showing an exhibition of Valerie Hammond's work. More images from the collection are housed here, and other pieces by Hammond -- there.

"Hillary Double", 2002, monotype w/ferns & wax. Valerie Hammond.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

  "In this age and in our society, the faculty of problem-solving is overrated." (Chuck Close, paraphrased, at a recent speaking engagement in NYC.)

"Autumn Tree in Movement", 1912, Egon Schiele

"At the time, I may have not known what I wanted to do but I knew for sure what I did not want to do." (Ibid)

"October Noon", 1891, George Inness

An exhibition of 40 Inness' paintings is on view at the National Academy of Design through the end of December.

"Home Fields", circa 1885, John Singer Sargent "In the Orchard", circa 1886, John Singer Sargent

Saturday, October 11, 2003

  I have been meaning to share a sampling of Joel Meyerowitz's "Cape Light" and "A Summer's Day" photographs here since the debut of "pretty serendipities" in August. The series is brilliant. I never tire of it, seeking out the images in hope of quenching the frequent onsets of thirst for the Cape. Cradling the absolutely undiluted essence of the place, they do just the opposite and stir up dormant cravings for Cape Cod with a gentle fury.

The "Cape Light" volume is often readily available even in small neighborhood bookstores. "A Summer's Day" is out of print and is tougher to find. Inquire at a library and indulge.

"The Hammock, 1982", Joel Meyerowitz. (Print by Bob Korn)

"...This was the very day one would have chosen to sit upon a hill overlooking sea and land, and muse there. The mackerel fleet was rapidly taking its departure, one schooner after another, and standing round the Cape, like fowls leaving their roosts in the morning to disperse themselves in distant fields. The turtle-like sheds of the salt-works were crowded into every nook in the hills, immediately behind the town, and their now idle windmills lined the shore..." (from "Cape Cod" by Henry David Thoreau)

"Provincetown, 1977", Joel Meyerowitz Photograph by Joel Meyerowitz

"Hartwig House, Truro, 1976", Joel Meyerowitz "Doorway to the Sea, 1983", Joel Meyerowitz

"...One of the ministers of Truro, when I asked what the fishermen did in the winter, answered that they did nothing but go a-visiting, sit about and tell stories,—though they worked hard in summer. Yet it is not a long vacation they get. I am sorry that I have not been there in the winter to hear their yarns..." (*)

"Porch, Provincetown, 1977", Joel Meyerowitz "Bay/Sky, Provincetown, 1977", Joel Meyerowitz

"...Far below us was the beach, from half a dozen to a dozen rods in width, with a long line of breakers rushing to the strand. The sea was exceedingly dark and stormy, the sky completely overcast, the clouds still dropping rain, and the wind seemed to blow not so much as the exciting cause, as from sympathy with the already agitated ocean. The waves broke on the bars at some distance from the shore, and curving green or yellow as if over so many unseen dams, ten or twelve feet high, like a thousand waterfalls, rolled in foam to the sand. There was nothing but that savage ocean between us and Europe..." (*)

"The Blue Chair, 1977", Joel Meyerowitz

"...There I had got the Cape under me, as much as if I were riding it bare-backed. It was not as on the map, or seen from the stage-coach; but there I found it all out of doors, huge and real, Cape Cod! as it cannot be represented on a map, color it as you will; the thing itself, than which there is nothing more like it, no truer picture or account; which you cannot go farther and see..." (*)

Thursday, October 09, 2003

  My apologies for having disappeared without warning. My schedule has shifted rather dramatically, leaving little wiggle room for maintaining an online presence. But I have been longing to return and hope to linger in the blogosphere in the near future. So, do check back now and then for new goodies, which may become terser and more fragmentary. Thanks for dropping by.

For today - a medley of movies I've savored most during the past six or so months. The sensations they provoke and the impressions they leave are quiet, warm, humbling, and unusual.

Film still from "Divided We Fall"

"Divided We Fall" is about the experience of neighbors in a small Czechoslovakian town during WWII. Full of vulnerable, tender, and strong characters, quirky plot developments, and peppered with distinctly Czech bittersweet humor, this film is endlessly rewarding and refreshing. Very highly recommended.

Film still from "Baran"

Like Majid Majidi's earlier films, "The Children of Heaven" and "The Color of Paradise", the Iranian director's "Baran" is an endangered species in the cinematic kingdom. Thoroughly endearing and touching, it is pleasantly disarming, and not at all sappy. "Baran" is nothing short of an elixir of peace.

"Butterfly / La Lengua de las Mariposas" from Spain, is full of vivid, dazzling colors and light, and of opaque and unsightly emotions and misplaced loyalties.
Film still from "The Son's Room"

Nanni Moretti directs and stars in "The Son's Room", a thoughtful film about a rocky family dynamic. Moretti prefers winding detours to fixed shortcuts, and soft musings to fanfare.

Film still from "Under the Sand"

Much is unuttered in Francois Ozon's "Under the Sand", a movie built on the pillars of probing and prodding. It is slow and hushed but very powerful.

Film still from "The Straight Story"

David Lynch's "The Straight Story"ravels and unravels at an even drowsier pace. It is stubborn, unadorned, and uncannily beautiful.

Finally, for something different but kindred and just as smashing -- "Jiri Kylian's Black & White Ballets".

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