‘Revolution of the Eye’ On View at the Jewish Museum

revolution of the eye

Part of “Revolution of the Eye” at the Jewish Museum. Image: via Instagram.

The latest exhibit at the Jewish Museum, “Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television,” is the first museum exhibition to look at how avant-garde art influenced TV from the 1940s to the 1970s. Many of the thought leaders during this time were young and Jewish, and their aesthetic had a big impact on what TV looked like during that time, especially when it came to taking artistic risks and trying new things.

The Jewish Museum’s leadership, which includes board members David Topper, Audrey Wilf, and David L. Resnick, seeks to show how Jewish artists borrowed from and influenced each other in interior design, pop culture, and TV. Highlighted artists include Saul Bass, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.

“Revolution of the Eye” explores how much of mid-century TV was shaped by the artistic movements of the time, especially European avant-garde and pop art. By the 1960s, art and media were borrowing from each other on a regular basis, such as in 1968, when Andy Warhol filmed an ad for the restaurant chain Schrafft’s that led the company’s president to comment, “We haven’t got just a commercial. We’ve acquired a work of art.” And who could forget the ABC series Batman, which premiered in 1966 and brought comic book artist Roy Lichtenstein’s heavy lines, bold colors, and campy attitude to the tube?

Located on New York City’s Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum hosts a collection of 30,000 works of art, Judaica, antiques, folk art, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media that explore the Jewish experience. They host a wide variety of education programs, including lectures, performances, and hands-on art programs.

The “Revolution of the Eye” exhibit is curated by Dr. Maurice Berger, who serves as Research Professor and Chief Curator for the museum. Exhibit organization is provided by the Jewish Museum and the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland. It will run from May 1 to September 27.

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‘Fun Home’ Comes Alive on the Broadway Stage

Fun Home on Broadway

Members of the cast of Fun Home. Image: via Broadway.com.

Casual movie analysts will already know the name Alison Bechdel from the Bechdel test, her famous rubric. It’s a deliberately low bar by which to measure women’s involvement in films, with only three criteria. 1. The work must have two women in it. 2. They must speak to one another. 3. They must speak together about something that is not a man. That’s all there is to it. The lowness of these standards makes its own point; fewer than 20% of all movies to reach theaters pass.

Ironic, then, that the musical Fun Home, based on Bechdel’s graphic memoir of the same name, only just barely manages to ease over that bar, and only in a single scene.

fun homeTo be fair, Fun Home is as much about Bechdel’s father as it is about her. It is a story about her early life, and the balance of secrets and reveals in her own family. It is not a gentle story. To touch on the shapes of it, her father, a teacher and manic home-renovator, was a gay man who could not come to terms with himself. He and his family suffered for it, and his wife hid the secrets of his affairs. Then came a series of events, one not necessarily causing the next but inextricably linked. Bechdel came out as a lesbian to her parents, her mother asked for a divorce, and ultimately, her father committed suicide.

Bechdel’s memoir comic told all of this in a very layered way, sliding forward and back in time, in and out of thoughts, sometimes all in a single panel. It is full of kindness and humor, and above all full of the feelings of the author who lived through this story.

The Broadway adaptation, with music by Jeanine Tesori and script and lyrics by Lisa Kron, plays very closely to the graphic novel’s details and still manages to be its own story, a related but original craftwork. Early performances were sold out, to the credit of director Sam Gold, and it is nominated for Tony Awards in twelve categories including Best Musical.

For more information about the musical adaptation of Fun Home, visit www.broadway.com.

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Kolonihavehus is a Night-Light for a Giant’s Home


“Kolonihavehus” is a sculpture created by artist Tom Fruin.

Tom Fruin’s sculputre Kolonihavehus is a night-light for a giant’s home. Currently on show in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the shed-sized steel and plexiglass house is a feast of color, glowing brilliantly at night from lights both inside and out, nearly as gorgeous in the day with sunlight radiating though its quilt-patch patterns. It has a little of the feel of a church to look at it, painting everything nearby it with colored light.

Fruin works in found materials. He scavenged the plexi for Kolonihavehus from shops all over Copenhagen, from dumpsters and basements and abandoned shops. Named for the little worker’s sheds common in Denmark’s allottment gardens, refuge from the cities’ crowds, it evokes peace.

Fruin works in Brooklyn, but this installation reached New York only last September, after touring half a dozen cities in Europe and Scandinavia since its completion in 2010. It is the first work in his Icon serious, which has won international recognition.

Kolonihavehus isn’t Fruin’s only stained-glass piece in New York City. Watertower, Watertower 2 and Watertower 3 all shine above the streets of the city, three similar cylinders of steel and tilted glass. They are part of the Icon series too, but Kolonihavehus is the one at street level, approachable, and human-scaled. Its door is always open. Panels can be swung open or shut. The work can be touched, changed, affected.

It was brought to New York as part of the DUMBO art project last autumn. It can be found between the Brooklyn Bridge and Jane’s Carousel, and its exhibition there currently has no end date. Pick a day to see it when the light will be bright and clear, and bring your camera.

Image: via Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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The Baryshnikov Arts Center Presents: Another Telepathic Thing

another telepathic thing

Don’t miss the screening of Jonathan Demme’s A Telepathic Thing at the BAC next month! Image: via bacnyc.org

Another Telepathic Thing, a film by Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme, will be shown on June 8 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Based on Mark Twain’s “The Mysterious Stranger,” Another Telepathic Thing was a dance-theater performance that Demme filmed in February 2000 at the Dance Theater Workshop in New York City. It stars Tymberly Cangle, Stacy Dawson, Molly Hickock, and others, with text supervision by Scott Renderer, music by Cynthia Hopkins, and choreography by Annie-B Parson.

Demme finished putting together the film this year, thanks to funding from the Dance Film Association’s Production Initiative. Further financial support for the film’s showing at BAC comes from supporters such as J. Christopher Flowers, Colleen Keegan, the New York Community Trust, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

According to the BAC’s description of the production, it “braids Twain’s sublime writing with ‘found’ text from years of auditions. It culminates in a subtle and startling exploration of the fragility of our human condition.” The story centers on a mysterious, charismatic stranger whose visit destroys the peace of a small, mythical village.

The showing will begin with a reception at 6:30 PM and will be followed by a discussion with Jonathan Demme and Annie-B Parson.

Demme is well-known for his other award-winning work, including the films The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and Rachel Getting Married.

The BAC was founded by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov in 2005 as an arts center for New York City that serves artists from all disciplines. Located in Manhattan, the building is 20,000 square feet and includes the 238-seat Jerome Robbins Theater, the 136-seat black box Howard Gilman Performance Space, four column-free studios, and office space. The BAC currently serves about 500 artists and more than 22,000 audience members annually with presentations and artist residencies.

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FLOW Returns Soon to Randall’s Island Park

FLOW 2015 NYCLater this month, FLOW will return to Randall’s Island Park to provide NYC’s communities with art and performances to experience throughout the summer. Dubbed FLOW.15, this is the fifth incarnation of the public arts event, and promises to be a truly enriching experience for attendees.

FLOW 2015 NYCThe summer-long event is made possible by a collaboration between various cultural organizations and green space alliances. According to its website, “The Randall’s Island Park Alliance, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and Made Event are pleased to present FLOW annual summer art exhibitions along the shoreline at Randall’s Island Park.” These three organizations have worked cooperatively over the last few years to create an event that stands out among the droves of other artistic programming in NYC, and is also unique to the beautiful 4.5-mile shoreline of Randall’s Island Park.

According to the event description, FLOW features site specific projects by participating artists, and is “aimed at fostering appreciation of the shoreline through artistic expression, while calling visitors to interact with and care for the Park’s island environment. Experiencing outdoor art in New York City is always such a treat, and FLOW is designed to allow visitors to interact with and contemplate not only with the art on display, but the environment in which it resides as well.

This summer, you can expect to see a whole range of art from Sharon Ma, Rica Takashima, Rob Swainston, Nicholas Fraser, and David J. Wilson. Each of the artists has a unique vision and artistic background, but were all invited to participate in FLOW.15 because of their involvement in the Bronx Museum’s Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) program for emerging artists. Visit the FLOW website to learn more about each of the artists that is participating in this year’s incredible arts event.

FLOW opens on Saturday, May 30 at 1:00pm.

Images: via www.flowartnyc.org.

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Royal Ballet Adds Lincoln Center to American Tour

Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet will perform at NYC’s Lincoln Center this June. Image: via Instagram.

Here’s some exciting news for ballet fans in New York City: the Royal Ballet will be visiting NYC’s Lincoln Center as part of its upcoming American Tour. The ballet company will visit NYC in late June after a tour in Chicago.

The Joyce Theater will be hosting the Royal Ballet this season. Additionally, choreographer Christopher Wheeldon will be honored at the opening-night gala located at the David H. Koch Theater, featuring Frederick Ashton’s “The Dream” starring the principals Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae.

The Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova will also appear in subsequent performances of “The Dream”, which will be paired with Kenneth MacMillan’s “The Song of the Earth”.

Lincoln CenterA core of highly successful professionals from a variety of backgrounds and industries help fund and guide the Lincoln Center, allowing them draw in big-name talent like the Royal Ballet. The Lincoln Center is guided by many influential names, including board of directors members Robert A. Iger of The Walt Disney Company, Richard S. Bradock Sr. of MidOcean Partners, William Ford of General Atlantic, and James Dinan of York Capital Management among many others.

The Royal Ballet will be at the Lincoln Center from June 23–28, following stops at the Kennedy Theater in Chicago from June 9–14 and at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago from June 18–21. This will be the Royal Ballet’s first appearance in New York since 2004.

It is expected that most of the company’s principal dancers will perform, including Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, Marianela Nunez, Lauren Cuthbertson, Steven McRae, Edward Watson, Thiago Soares, and Vadim Muntagirov.

The Royal Ballet is based out of the Royal Opera House in London’s Convent Garden. They are London’s largest ballet company and are directed by Kevin O’Hare, with Associate Director Jeanetta Laurence OBE and Music Director Barry Wordsworth.

What do you think of the Royal Ballet’s announcement to come to NYC? Are you excited to see them perform at the Lincoln Center?

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What’s Coming Up on the High Line

High Line gardens

Image: via The High Line.

Oh how I love the High Line. This sprawling stretch of elevated gardens, walking paths, and art displays is a true escape for me in a city that is always moving and changing at a rapid pace. Here are some of the upcoming and ongoing events and performances that I am most looking forward to:

Tour: High Line Art

During this tour of the art currently being displayed on the High Line, you’ll be led by Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art Cecilia Alemani, and Curatorial Fellow Melanie Kress. Alemani and Kress will share the details behind the wide array of artwork on the High Line, including site-specific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video, and the High Line’s series of billboard interventions. This is a great opportunity to stroll along the High Line will gaining insights into the incredible art that adorns it.

Mondays throughout the summer starting on June 29 at 6pm ~ location to be announced.

Garden Tour: Spring Bulbs and Blooms

One of the things that I love most about the High Line is the fact that it is not only dotted with inspiring art, but that it is literally one of the prettiest parks to visit in the city. Cultivating urban green spaces in a concrete jungle like NYC is so important, and the High Line does this very well. This spring garden tour will feature perennial natives, and invites visitors to “discover how our perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees change as the seasons pass, what plants are native, which are edible and medicinal, and how [the High Line] takes care of the 456 plant species living in the park.”

Thursday, June 11 at 9am ~ location to be announced.

“There Will Be Pie!” Storytelling and Comedy

Hosted by comic Maeve Higgins and nonfiction writer Jon Ronson, this event will feature “stories, stand-up, and super fresh interviews” with the evening’s hosts. I’m looking forward to cooling off after a hot June day and enjoying the atmosphere and entertainment during this night of storytelling and comedy. And yes, there will be pie.

Thursday, June 18 at 8pm on the High Line at West 14th Street.

For even more upcoming events to get excited about, be sure to visit Friends of the High Line.

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