The Whitney To Present Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, to be presented at The Whitney Museum of American Art from July 14 through October 1, 2017, is the first retrospective to survey the groundbreaking Brazilian artist’s entire career, including the formative years he spent in New York in the 1970s. One of the most influential Latin American artists of the post–World War II period, Oiticica (1937–80) was a tireless innovator, from his start with the Neo-Concrete movement to his groundbreaking environmental installations. Co-organized by the Whitney together with the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition presents a wide array of his paintings, interactive sculptures, films, audiovisual works, writings, and environments.

Hélio Oiticica (b. 1937), PN1 Penetrable (PN1 Penetrável), 1960. César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro. © César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro

Hélio Oiticica (b. 1937), PN1 Penetrable (PN1 Penetrável), 1960. César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro. © César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro

Oiticica was one of the most daring artists to appear anywhere in the years following World War II,” said Elisabeth Sussman, co-curator of the exhibition. “In conceiving this show, it was particularly important to us to focus attention on Oiticica’s presence in New York City in the 1970s, a time when many international artists came to live and work here. The expansion of his ideas into film, photography, and writing has been fully explored, as never before, in the research for this exhibition, and the works, some displayed for the first time, identify Oiticica as a paradigmatic presence in the global expansion of art practice in that decade.

Co-curator Donna De Salvo commented: “Oiticica’s departure from traditional notions of the static art object and his transformation of the viewer into an active participant were part of a larger, international desire to integrate art and life. Though his reputation is due primarily to his earlier work in Brazil, Oiticica was drawn to the scene of artistic experimentation in New York, and the eight years he spent working in the United States had a huge impact on his thought and continued to shape his art after his return to Brazil. By calling attention to the distinct differences that he absorbed in each locale, we hope to further the notion of art history as one comprised of multiple stories, and emphasize the Whitney’s expansive definition of who belongs in a museum of American art. This openness to patterns of artistic migration and cross-cultural thinking has a long history at the Whitney, which we are delighted to extend with this important exhibition.”

During his brief but remarkable career, Oiticica seamlessly melded formal and social concerns in his art, seeking to be internationally relevant and, at the same time, specifically Brazilian. The exhibition begins with elegant, geometric works on paper (1955–58): formal investigations in painting and drawing. These dynamic compositions gave way to more radical works as Oiticica became increasingly interested in surpassing the limits of traditional painting. By 1959, his painterly-sculptural Spatial Reliefs and Nuclei broke free of the wall and morphed into three-dimensional investigations of color and form. The Nuclei, composed of panels suspended from the ceiling, created areas through which the viewer could walk.

Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Oiticica moved further toward the destabilization of the art form, making art that is intended for the viewer to manipulate, wear, and inhabit, including his Parangolés, wearable paintings inspired in part by samba schools in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and Penetrables, colorful structures for viewers to navigate. In addition to viewing works on display, visitors will be invited to engage interactively with some of the artist’s works.

As Oiticica became further interested in bringing his art into the everyday, he began to create total environments suffused with color, texture, and tactile materials which were increasingly immersive in nature and transformed the viewer from a spectator to an active participant. The exhibition will include a number of these large-scale installations, including Tropicália and Eden. “Tropicália,” a name subsequently borrowed by the musician Caetano Veloso for his anthem against Brazil’s dictatorship, became an important and powerful movement in all the arts. Continue reading

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Immigrant Contributions To American Society Recognized With 2017 Vilcek Prizes

Visual Artist Nari Ward And Biophysicists Lily And Yuh-Nung Jan Receive $100,000 Vilcek Prizes

Winners Of Vilcek Prizes For Creative Promise Each Receive $50,000 Awards

The Vilcek Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the annual Vilcek Prizes, recognizing outstanding immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences. The Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science will be awarded jointly to Chinese-born Lily and Yuh-Nung Jan, a collaborative research duo and professors of molecular physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. The Vilcek Prize in the Arts recognizes Jamaican-born Nari Ward, a New York-based visual artist known for found-object assemblage art. Each prize includes a $100,000 cash award. The prizewinners were selected by panels of experts in each field; they will be honored at an awards gala in New York City in April 2017.1083773.jpg

Like all great artists and scientists, these immigrant prizewinners challenge our very perceptions of the world,” said Rick Kinsel, president of the Vilcek Foundation. “Their works are attempts to understand fundamental questions and concepts in American society, from the neurological underpinnings of the self to the institution of democracy.”vilcek_logo_black_xsmall

The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the foundation, to honor the contributions of immigrants to the United States and to foster an appreciation of the arts and sciences, was inspired by the couple’s respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their personal experiences and appreciation for the opportunities they received as newcomers to this country. The foundation awards annual prizes to prominent immigrant biomedical scientists and artists and manages the Vilcek Foundation Art Collections, a promised gift from its founders.

This year, the Vilcek Prize in the Arts is awarded in the fine arts, marking the completion of an 11-year cycle through various disciplines in the arts and humanities. The recipient, Nari Ward, was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12. He is known for found-object assemblage artworks that invite both a public conversation and an intimate dialogue with the viewer around topics of race, immigration, and the Caribbean diaspora identity. His usage of found objects aims to highlight the history of a place and the urgency of the moment; his installation Naturalization Drawing Table features a large desk—built out of Plexiglas bodega barriers—covered with dense linear drawings made over copies of Immigration and Naturalization Service applications. On select days during the exhibition, viewers are invited to “apply” for naturalization by lining up and filling out an application, giving them a taste of the bureaucratic process of applying for citizenship. Ward has won several prestigious art prizes, including the Joyce Award, the Rome Prize, a Bessie Award, and several other awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Lily and Yuh-Nung Jan were both born in China and raised in Taiwan. They came to the U.S. as graduate students of physics at the California Institute of Technology but switched their focus to biology, in part inspired by their mentor, the renowned biophysicist Max Delbrück. Over the course of a collaborative career spanning over four decades, the husband-and-wife team has made many significant discoveries in the field of neuroscience, with far-reaching clinical implications. They isolated the gene encoding a protein that shuttles potassium ions across cell membranes, enabling the characterization of a molecular player important to functions as vital as maintaining heart rate and controlling muscle movement. Today, this type of ion channel is implicated in diseases such as epilepsy, ataxia, and hypertension. Simultaneously, the Jans identified genes and principles underlying the processes by which neurons acquire distinct identities, burgeon into thickets, and establish precise circuits; their work in this area may help unravel human diseases such as autism and schizophrenia. Currently, professors of molecular physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, the Jans have been honored with membership in the United States National Academy of Sciences, as well as with Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator awards.

The Vilcek Foundation also awards the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise, given to younger immigrants who have shown substantial talent and ability early in their careers. Each prize includes a $50,000 cash award. The winners in the fine arts are the following:

Iman Issa, born in Egypt, a conceptual artist, creates objects and installations in an attempt to address complex philosophical questions. Her original area of study was phenomenology, a branch of philosophy that examines the structures of consciousness that organize subjective experience—or, put another way, how we take meaning from things we individually experience. Later, Issa realized that art allowed for nuanced exploration of those topics, and continued her philosophical questioning through art. She is particularly interested in monuments and memorials—aesthetic forms tasked with a function that holds a shifting relevance based on their location in time and relationship to history. Her work has been shown at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the 8th Berlin Biennial, and the New Museum, and she has received the DAAD 2017 Artist in Residence Award, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and the HNF-MACBA Award.

Meleko Mokgosi, born in Botswana, is a slow, considered painter; behind every painting he produces are hours of research, reading, and conversations with people. Mokgosi is interested in depictions of Africa and its people; he believes that the widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans has done a violence to the people of the continent, and through his art he attempts a representation that is fair and just. He is deeply concerned with politics and seeks to understand and illuminate the relations of power that shape people, families, villages, regions, and nations. Mokgosi has been named the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters Grant and the Jarl and Pamela Mohn Award, and he has shown his work at Art Basel, the Armory, the Hammer Museum, and the Whitney Museum. Continue reading

ArtsWestchester to Debut Spring Art Exhibit, SHE: Deconstructing Female Identity in March, Women’s History Month

Opening Reception to be Held on Sunday, March 13; Exhibit Runs Through Saturday, June 25

As Mattel reimagines the look of Barbie with the release of new dolls that have diverse physical appearances, ArtsWestchester, exploring what it means to be a woman today, has announced its 2016 spring exhibition, called SHE: Deconstructing Female Identity.

Mari Ogihara, “Underthing”

Mari Ogihara, “Underthing”

The contemporary art exhibition will open in March, during Women’s History Month, and run through the end of June, providing an artistic exploration of issues related to gender and female identity.

Laurel Garcia Colvin, “Beyond a Room of Our Own,” detail

Laurel Garcia Colvin, “Beyond a Room of Our Own,” detail

Modern American women are struggling to redefine themselves in the face of shifting societal values, changing perceptions of femininity and the choices between domesticity and executive leadership. These issues will be explored in a new exhibition, SHE, in which 11 artists will weigh in on the role of gender in society today,” said ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam, adding that with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the exhibition presents ideas by a selection of both well-known and emerging New York artists.

Debbie Han, Season of Being I

Debbie Han, “Season of Being I”

Mari Ogihara, Strip and Dismantle

Mari Ogihara, Strip and Dismantle

For more than 50 years, ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest, private, not-for-profit arts council in New York State whose mission is to provide leadership, vision, and support, to ensure the availability, accessibility, and diversity of the arts. The arts organization provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County, which includes helping fund concerts, exhibitions and plays through grants; bringing artists into schools and community centers; advocating for the arts; and building audiences through diverse marketing initiatives.

Nancy Davidson, installation view with “Maebe” and “Netella,” Prague 1999

Nancy Davidson, installation view with “Maebe” and “Netella,” Prague 1999

22.Tricia Wright, “Vir Domesticus”

Tricia Wright, “Vir Domesticus”

Kathy Ruttenberg, “The Nature of the Beast”

Kathy Ruttenberg, “The Nature of the Beast”

The opening reception for SHE: Deconstructing Female Identity will take place on Sunday, March 13 from 3:00 pm to 5:00PM. at ArtsWestchester, located at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, N.Y. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, June 25.

The following artists will be featured in SHE includes Nicole Awai of Brooklyn, Laurel Garcia Colvin of Chappaqua, Nancy Davidson of New York City, Marcy B. Freedman of Croton-on-Hudson, Debbie Han of New York City, Rebecca Mushtare of Oswego, Valerie Piriano of Brooklyn, Mari Ogihara of White Plains, Kathy Ruttenberg of New York, Barbara Segal of Yonkers and Tricia Wright of Kingston Continue reading

The Asia Society New York Celebrates Japan in Special Season of Programs

This spring, The Asia Society presents Season of Japan, a celebration of Japanese culture held in conjunction with the exhibition Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan, on view at Asia Society Museum in New York from February 9 to May 8, 2016.Kamakura_775x132webbanner3b

With over thirty rare masterpieces from the Kamkura period (1185–1333) from private and museum collections in North America and Europe, “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan” is the first exhibition to look beyond the aesthetics and technical achievements of these remarkable sculptures, and specifically examine the relationship between realism and the sacred empowerment of these objects. The exhibition explores how sculptures are “brought to life” or “enlivened” by the spiritual connection between exterior form, interior contents, and devotional practice, reflecting the complexity and pluralism of the period. “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan” marks the first major loan show of Kamakura sculpture in the United States in more than thirty years.

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Head of a Guardian King. Kamakura period, 13th century. Polychromed Japanese cypress (hinoki) with lacquer on cloth, inlaid crystal eyes and filigree metal crown. H. 22 1/16 x W. 10 1/4 x D. 13 15/16 in. (56 x 26 x 35.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 86.21. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum.

The exhibition also coincides with the 60th anniversary year of Asia Society, which was founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd. The Museum is known for its Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of traditional Asian artworks, which was formed in earnest after the establishment of Asia Society in 1956. With the guidance of the noted scholar of Asian art Sherman Lee, John D. Rockefeller 3rd and Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller chose classical masterpieces of Asian art rather than building a historical survey. Although the collection comprises approximately 300 objects, it is nevertheless regarded as one of the most notable collections of Asian art in the United States. It includes objects from diverse nations such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam that date from the eleventh century BCE to the nineteenth century CE. It has particular strengths in Chinese ceramics of the Song and Ming periods, Chola-period Indian bronzes, and Southeast Asian sculptures.

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Kōshun (active 1315–1328). The Shinto Deity Hachiman in the Guise of a Buddhist Monk. Kamakura period, dated 1328. Polychromed Japanese cypress (hinoki) with inlaid crystal eyes. H. 32 x W. 36 3/4 x D. 24 in. (81.3 x 93.3 x 61 cm). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Maria Antoinette Evans Fund and Contributions, 36.413. Photograph © 2016 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The collection was a promised gift to the Society and served as a primary impetus for the building of the Society’s headquarters at 725 Park Avenue, which opened to the public in 1981. The artworks were given to Asia Society upon the death of Mr. Rockefeller in 1978, and the collection now encompasses the original gift plus a number of objects bequeathed from the estate of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller and subsequent acquisitions.

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Zaō Gongen. Kamakura period, 13th century. Iron. H. 12 1/2 x W. 6 1/2 x D. 3 3/4 in. (31.8 x 16.5 x 9.5 cm). John C. Weber Collection. Photo: John Bigelow Taylor

In the early 1990s, Asia Society Museum became one of the first American museums to establish a program of contemporary Asian art. A recognized leader in identifying and fostering contemporary Asian and Asian American artists, the Museum announced the establishment of a Contemporary Art Collection in 2007, launched with a gift of twenty-eight works of video and new media art. The collection aims to represent the rapidly evolving field of contemporary art across Asia. The first phase of the collecting program is focused on video, animation, and new media works of art. In addition, Asia Society Museum was the first U.S. museum to organize solo shows of the now widely recognized artists Montien Boonma, Cai Guo-Qiang, Dinh Q. Lê, Yuken Teruya, Lin Tianmiao, and Zhang Huan.

John D. Rockefeller 3rd’s first trip to Asia was to Japan, and he, like countless others, fell in love with the country. Later in life, he and his wife came to see Japan as a second home,” said Josette Sheeran, President and CEO of Asia Society. “It is fitting that in the year of our 60th anniversary, Asia Society is celebrating Japan and its dynamic culture.”

Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan is made possible by the generous support of The National Endowment for the Arts. Major support for this exhibition is also provided by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation, Etsuko O. Morris and John H. Morris Jr. Other generous underwriters includes The Kitano Hotel New York, the Japan Foundation, The Blakemore FoundationPeggy and Richard Danziger, Japanese Art Dealers Association, Helen Little, Toshiba International Foundation, John C. Weber, and the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation. Additional support is provided by Sebastian Izzard, Leighton R. Longhi, Joan B. Mirviss, and Erik Thomsen.

Following is a list of confirmed programs and events. All events, unless indicated, take place at Asia Society in New York, 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street). Find out more about upcoming programs, including information about registration and ticket purchase, at AsiaSociety.org/SeasonofJapan.

POLICY DISCUSSION
Japan’s New Security Posture: Implications for Asia and the World
Wednesday, February 3 • 8:00-10:00am

Discussion with Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama and Asia Society Policy Institute President Kevin Rudd about Japan’s role as a regional and global security provider.

LECTURE
Members-Only Exhibition Opening Lecture
Tuesday, February 9 • 6:30-7:30pm

Guest curator Ive Covaci gives members an inside look at Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan. Covaci is a lecturer in Art History at Fairfield University.

CELEBRATE THE SEASON OF JAPAN
Leo Bar Happy Hour
Friday, February 12 • 6:00-9:00pm

A night of fun and culture at a Japanese-themed happy hour. Free museum tours of Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan, music, specialty cocktails, shopping at AsiaStore, and origami demonstrations.

SYMPOSIUM
Keynote address and exhibition viewing at Asia Society
Friday, February 26 • 6:30-9:00pm

Interdisciplinary symposium (held at Columbia University)
Saturday, February 26-27 • All day

This interdisciplinary symposium will gather leading scholars of Kamakura period art, religion, and literature. On the eve of the symposium, Mimi Yiengpruksawan of Yale University will deliver a keynote address at Asia Society.

PERFORMANCE
Theater Japan / NOH and KYOGEN
Sunday, February 28 • 6:30-8:00pm

A rare opportunity to experience traditional Japanese theater in New York. Master performers of Noh and Kyogen will explain the form’s essentials: the stage, dance, music, costume, masks, and props. The evening includes a talk (in Japanese with English translation), a demonstration by the artists, and Q&A. Presented in conjunction with An Evening of Japanese Traditional Theatre, taking place on March 1 at Carnegie Hall.

FILM
Of Ghosts, Samurai and War: Classic Japanese Film
March 4-19

Japanese cinema has produced some of the most admired films that continue to enrich the world cinema discourse. The Asia Society and the Japan Foundation will screen rare 35mm prints of masterpieces by such greats as Akira KurosawaKenji Mizoguchi, and Kaneto Shindo from the Foundation’s Film Library.

Friday, March 4

Rashomon (1950) 88 min. B&W
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo and Masayuki Mori.

Saturday, March 5

The New Tale of the Taira Clan (1955) 108 min. Color
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, starring Raizo Ichikawa and Yoshiko Kuga.

Sunday, March 6

Kwaidan (1965) 183 min. Color
Directed by Masaki Kobayashi, music by Toru Takamitsu, starring Katsuo Nakamura, Keiko Kishi, Michiyo Aratama and Rentaro Mikuni.
Friday, March 11

Ugetsu (1953) 97 min. B&W
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, starring Machiko Kyo, Kinuyo Tanaka and Masayuki Mori.
Sunday, March 13

Miyamoto Musashi (1961) 110 min. Color
Directed by Tomu Uchida, starring Kinnosuke Nakamura and Michiyo Kogure.
Friday, March 18

Brave Records of the Sanada Clan (1963) 90 min. Color
Directed by Tai Kato, starring Kinnosuke Yorozuya and Misako Watanabe.
Saturday, March 19

Onibaba (1964) 103 min. B&W
Directed by Kaneto Shindo, starring Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko Yoshimura.

Continue reading

Nashville’s Frist Center For the Visual Arts Presents “The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography and Film”

Citywide Film Series in Conjunction with Exhibition Features “Battleship Potemkin” on 35 mm, “Man with a Movie Camera,” and More

The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography and Film, will be on view at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts from March 11 through July 4, 2016, and examines the relationship between art and politics and illustrates how photography, film and poster art were used as powerful propaganda tools in the early years of the Soviet Union. Organized by the Jewish Museum, New York, The Power of Pictures will make its second and final U.S. stop in Nashville before traveling to Europe.

The exhibition was organized by Susan Tumarkin Goodman, Senior Curator Emerita, and Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, both at The Jewish Museum, New York.

Located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., the Frist Center offers the finest visual art from local, regional, national, and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions that inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways.New logo white

In keeping with the First Center’s goal of encouraging our audience to view the world in new ways through art, this exhibition may inspire visitors to assess the images that we are constantly inundated by today with a more critical and informed eye,” says Frist Center Curator Katie Delmez who is overseeing the Frist Center’s presentation. “The interplay of political messaging and art continues in the ever-evolving media outlets of the twenty-first century.

Shaikhet_Express_F11_PowerOfPictures

Arkady Shaikhet. Express, 1939. Gelatin silver print. Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York. Artwork © Estate of Arkady Shaikhet, courtesy of Nailya Alexander Gallery

From the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution through the 1930s early modernist artists acted as engines of social change and radical political engagement. Through approximately 150 objects, including photographs, 12 feature-length films, periodicals and cameras, The Power of Pictures documents not only how lens-based art was used to disseminate Communist ideology, but also how the compelling, message-laced work from this period energized and expanded the potential of photography and film.

The Power of Pictures highlights major constructivist photographers Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, and Boris Ignatovich, whose work was presented in landmark exhibitions of the time. Such photographers influenced a new generation of photojournalists, including Arkady Shaikhet, Max Penson, Eleazar Langman and Georgy Zelma. The exhibition also includes films by major directors of the era, such as Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein and Man with a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov.

Petrusov_New Building from Above_F062_PowerOfPictures

Georgy Petrusov. New Building from Above, 1930. Gelatin silver print. Collection of Alex Lachmann. Artwork © Georgy Petrusov, courtesy of Alex Lachmann Collection

In a country where 70% of the population was illiterate, heavily illustrated periodicals and film were considered more effective tools than the written word for the propaganda needs of the Bolsheviks in the 1920s. Recognizing the power of images, Vladimir Lenin himself declared that the camera, as much as the gun, was an important weapon in class struggle and put the arts at the service of the Revolution.

Although the Communist government initially encouraged the unconventional techniques of the avant-garde, such as dramatic camera angles and darkroom manipulation, the period of innovation was brief. By 1932, as Joseph Stalin consolidated power, independent styles were no longer tolerated. Artistic organizations were dissolved and replaced by state-run unions. Art was subject to strict state control, and required to promote an approved, idealized socialist agenda.

Khalip_On Guard_F076_PowerOfPictures

Yakov Khalip. On Guard, 1938. Gelatin silver print. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund, The Manfred Heiting Collection. Artwork used with permission by Nicolay Khalip. Image provided by Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Organized thematically with sections such as “New Perspectives,” “Constructing Socialism,” and “Staging Happiness,” the exhibition demonstrates how alongside avant-garde art, early Soviet photography and film encompassed a much wider range of artistic styles and thematic content than previously recognized. In addition, The Power of Pictures will feature a rich array of vintage film posters, magazines and books. Their striking graphic style, extreme color and dynamic geometric designs, combined with an innovative use of collage and photomontage, convey a sensibility that is fresh and appealing nearly a century later. Continue reading

Television: New Staging of Verdi’s Masterpiece Otello Debuts On Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. on PBS

Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Directed by Bartlett Sher, Aleksandrs Antonenko, One Of The World’s Leading Interpreters of Otello, Sings His First Met Performances Of The Role, Opposite Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona and Željko Lučić as the Villainous Iago

Verdi’s late masterpiece based on Shakespeare’s tragic drama of jealousy and deceit, Otello, airs on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.)

Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher‘s acclaimed new production is led by dynamic conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin with Aleksandrs Antonenko in his first Met performance as the tormented Moor of Venice, with Sonya Yoncheva in her role debut as his innocent wife, Desdemona. Bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts the broadcast.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role Željko Lučić as Iago in Verdi’s “Otello”. Photographed by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Also featuring Željko Lučić as Otello’s sinister rival, IagoDimitri Pittas as Cassio, and Günther Groissböck as Lodovico, this staging also marks the Met debut of set designer Es Devlin, whose previous designs include the 2014 revival of Machinal on Broadway and numerous opera productions for Covent Garden, La Scala, and other leading companies.

Otello was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 17, 2015 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 18 million viewers since its inception in 2006.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona and Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role of Verdi’s “Otello”. Photographed by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Often cited as Italian opera’s greatest tragedy, Otello is a miraculous union of music and drama, a masterpiece as profound philosophically as it is thrilling theatrically. Shakespeare’s tale of an outsider, a great hero who can’t control his jealousy, was carefully molded by the librettist Arrigo Boito into a taut and powerful opera text. Otello almost wasn’t written: following the success of Aida and his setting of the Requiem mass in the early 1870s, Verdi considered himself retired, and it took Boito and publisher Giulio Ricordi several years to persuade him to take on a major new work.

WNET NEW YORK PUBLIC MEDIA GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET LOGO

ACT I

Cyprus, late 19th century. During a violent storm, the people of Cyprus await the return of their governor and general of the Venetian fleet, the Moor Otello. He has been fighting the Muslim Turks and guides his victorious navy to safe harbor. In his absence, the young Venetian Roderigo has arrived in Cyprus and fallen in love with Otello’s new wife, Desdemona. Otello’s ensign Iago, who secretly hates the governor for promoting the officer Cassio over him, promises Roderigo to help win her. While the citizens celebrate their governor’s return, Iago launches his plan to ruin Otello. Knowing that Cassio gets drunk easily, Iago proposes a toast. Cassio declines to drink, but abandons his scruples when Iago salutes Desdemona, who is a favorite of the people. Iago then goads Roderigo into provoking a fight with Cassio, who is now fully drunk. Montano, the former governor, tries to separate the two, and Cassio attacks him as well. Otello appears to restore order, furious about his soldiers’ behavior. When he realizes that Desdemona has also been disturbed by the commotion, he takes away Cassio’s recent promotion and dismisses everyone. Otello and Desdemona reaffirm their love.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Günther Groissböck as Lodovico in Verdi’s Otello. Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

ACT II

Iago advises Cassio to present his case to Desdemona, arguing that her influence on Otello will secure his rehabilitation. Alone, Iago reveals his bleak, nihilistic view of humankind. He makes dismissive remarks about Desdemona’s fidelity to Otello, whose jealousy is easily aroused. Otello’s suspicious are raised when Desdemona appears and appeals to him on Cassio’s behalf. Otello evasively complains of a headache, and Desdemona offers him a handkerchief, which he tosses to the ground. Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s maidservant, retrieves it, and Iago seizes the handkerchief from her. Left alone with Otello, Iago fans the flames of the governor’s suspicions by inventing a story of how Cassio had spoken of Desdemona in his sleep, and how he saw her handkerchief in Cassio’s hand. Seething with jealousy, Otello is now convinced that his wife is unfaithful. The two men join in an oath to punish Cassio and Desdemona. Continue reading

THIRTEEN’s ‘American Masters’ Presents the World Premiere of the New Documentary ‘Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl’ March 4 on PBS

Bio-Doc Features Never-Before-Seen Performances And New Interviews With Lynn, Jack White, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert, Sissy Spacek and Others

You either have to be first, best or different. Loretta LynnAM_LORETTA_end-frame_FINAL

Inducted into more music Halls of Fame than any female recording artist to date, Loretta Lynn (b. April 14, 1932) has earned four Grammy Awards, Kennedy Center Honors and a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and sold more than 45 million records worldwide. Still going strong after more than 50 years, “The Queen of Country Music” is now the subject of the new documentary American Masters – Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl, premiering Friday, March 4 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) during Women’s History Month as part of the 30th anniversary season of THIRTEEN‘s American Masters series. The world premiere broadcast is the same day as the release of Lynn’s first new studio album in over 10 years, Full Circle (Legacy Recordings).

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You couldn’t make up a better example of the American Dream than Loretta Lynn’s astonishing rags-to-riches story. Her 48-year marriage to Doo and their rare partnership is also one of the great love stories of our times,” said executive producer Elliott Halpern of Yap Films Inc.

With unprecedented access to Lynn, her family and archives, Still a Mountain Girl features never-before-seen home movies, performances and photos, as well as insightful interviews with her friends and fellow musicians, including Jack White (producer of Lynn’s Grammy-winning album Van Lear Rose), Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert and Bill Anderson. The documentary also features never-before-seen footage of Lynn in the studio with producer John Carter Cash, as she records Full Circle and other new songs at the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tenn. Filming with Lynn, her family and business team also took place at her ranch and other locations in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., the community she formed as a re-creation of her Appalachia birthplace, Butcher Hollow, Ky., where she was raised in poverty. Other interviews include Sissy Spacek, who starred as Lynn in the Oscar-winning biographical film of her life, Coal Miner’s Daughter (based on Lynn’s 1976 autobiography), and its director Michael Apted.

Legacy Recordings will release FULL CIRCLE, the first new studio album in over ten years from American music icon Loretta Lynn, on March 4, 2016. (PRNewsFoto/Legacy Recordings)

Legacy Recordings will release FULL CIRCLE, the first new studio album in over ten years from American music icon Loretta Lynn, on March 4, 2016. (PRNewsFoto/Legacy Recordings)

She’s written anti-war anthems, songs about birth control, pregnancy and divorce, all with a sincerity and honesty that transcends music genres, politics and gender,” said executive producer Elizabeth Trojian of Yap Films Inc.

American Masters – Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl explores Lynn’s hard-fought road to stardom, her struggles to balance her marriage to Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn and six children with her music career, her friendships and collaborations with Spacek, Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and music producer Owen Bradley, along with her life on the road, her Nashville and Hurricane Mills communities, her songwriting inspirations and her music’s lasting impact on her peers and fans.

“You don’t have to know country music to love Loretta Lynn,” said Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters. “Somehow the Lynn family makes you feel like there is a little country in all of us. Continue reading