Friday, June 24, 2011

The friday edition of The Times traditionally has the bulk of the the week's art reviews. It's not clear online but in the print edition the friday fine arts section shares space with style pages under the heading "Weekend Arts: Fine Arts/Leisure" Today it came to 10 pages. On the first page, above the fold was a review of Ryan Tricartin's exhibition at PS1.
“Am I overexisting or am I overexisting? That is my inner joke.” These words — evoking a doubt-free Hamlet unfazed about whether or not to be — bounce forth from the tumult of video, furniture, music, extreme makeup and insistent jabberwocky that form “Any Ever,” Ryan Trecartin’s game-changing exhibition...

His PS1 spectacular is his first major museum show in New York; it reveals an immense but not fully developed talent that seems bound for greatness.
Below the fold (but listed online under Travel) is "Where Lone Stars Don’t Feel So Alone"
“TEXANS make the best New Yorkers,” Robert Leleux says loudly. “It’s because we’re bred for size. New Yorkers appreciate that — our extravagance. We wouldn’t play so well in Indiana.”

...He guides me over the wooden floors to the shoe department (“The holiest of holies!”), where he pronounces Christian Louboutin’s red-soled architectural marvels to be the most Texan of footwear. “Animal hides! High heels!” he says. “They’re just like cowboy boots! Texas is the only place in the world where men’s footwear costs as much as women’s.”
Beginning above the fold, on the left in a single column is a review of Art in Cameroon: Sculptural Dialogues, at the Neuberger.
To fit African art into Western art history, we had to contain it, tame it. One way was by sorting the art into so-called tribal styles, in much the way we split up the continent into countries. Sure, the divisions were fake, but they gave us a feeling of control.
All the articles are continued inside the section.

Weekend Arts: Movies/Performances is 24 pages. Page one begins with a review of The NY Philharmonic's production of Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen
Yet “Vixen” is a more elusive and complex work than its story might suggest: a fable about an impish vixen who is captured young by a forester, laments her fate as a pet, makes an escape, mates with a fox, raises a brood of offspring and is killed by a poultry dealer. The human characters are troubled souls, especially a drunken priest who has never lived down the false accusation that he seduced a woman in his youth, and a mopey schoolmaster who loves a villager from afar.

What’s more, the glowing, urgent performance that Mr. Gilbert drew from the Philharmonic brought out all of the music’s modernist touches, with whole-tone scales that recall late Debussy; modal melodic writing that evokes Moravian folk music; and the extensive use of repetitive figures that lend the score a ritualistic strangeness.
Below it is an article is on the response to The Normal Heart of gays and lesbians too young too have lived through the period the play describes.
Daryl Roth, the lead producer, said she decided to try to bring “The Normal Heart” to Broadway during a conversation last fall with the actor David Hyde Pierce, who had attended a staged reading of the play. “David brought two young friends,” she said, “and he told me afterward that the two knew nothing of the history, the legacy of AIDS, the struggles that people had just 30 years ago.
At the bottom of the page, on the left hand side, is a review of TV shows made by self-described urban sophisticates describing, and indulging the eccentricities of "the sorts of people and places most would overlook."
“Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings” is based on the pair’s “I Love Local Commercials” Web series, in which they make medium-concept, no-budget ads for small businesses with a taste for risk, and also kitsch (though that last one might be involuntary).

...These ads are presented as acts of charity, more or less, but they come with consequences. Rather than being elevated to something beyond their means, the subjects are instead trapped in the amber of their own quirks, or the ones Rhett and Link would like them to have.

Rhett and Link don’t do this with malice, per se, but rather with a narrow set of ideas about presentation; they want to direct the commercial of their own dreams, not the client’s.
As I've said, questions in what are now defined as the philosophically engaged fine arts are fading into questions of style. The review of works by Lee Ufan, on the 9th page of the same section asked that question directly. [see below] The assumed authority of "art" means that those considered to be trained in it as "artists" are given the benefit of the doubt to a degree no critic of "entertainment" would allow. Entertainment critics responding less on reflex engage what's put before them not objectively, since that's not possible, but much more honestly.

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