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The French are not known as a culture which has difficulty with visible sexuality in art, but this ceased to be the case when it came to exhibiting American photographer and filmmaker (Kids, Ken Park) Larry Clark’s 200-plus piece retrospective photography exhibition Kiss the Past Hello at la Musée d’Art Modern de las Ville Paris this October, 2010. For what is believed the first time, entrance to an art exhibition was restricted to those 18 or older.
Ironically, Clark’s photographs document teen aged lives, and more specifically teen age lust (also the title of Clark’s second book), a lust for sex, drinking, drugs, guns etc., often quite explicitly. They also reflect a disturbingly problematic affinity for his subjects which suggests an inability to grow up beyond this post adolescent excess.
Thus 17-year olds (and younger) were prevented from viewing the recorded lives of other 17-year olds (and younger) in another place and time and learning from the way those other lives were lived. “You can’t show images that are disturbing to minors,” explained the exhibit’s curator, Sébastien Gokalp, “so we banned them from attending.”
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë weighed in to defend the Museum’s actions, claiming some of the most objectionable work had never been exhibited before and violated French law which may prohibits showing pornographic or violent imagery to minors.
"The 2007 Maison Européenne de la Photographie Larry Clark exhibition did present some images from Teenage Lust, but none of the ones that have been classified as too violent or shocking." In fact, Delanoë adds, the New York museums which own Teenage Lust have never shown all of the images that constitute the controversial work. Additionally, the editing of the exhibition’s catalogue as a book was moved from France after six of the images made the Museum’s publishing house, Paris Musées, uncomfortable; it now will be published by Luhring Augustine and Simon Lee, Clark’s London and New York galleries.Clark reacted to the restrictions calling them “ridiculous,” “censorship” and “an attack by adults against teenagers” preventeing them from recognizing themselves, and suggested the ban be reversed, allowing teen agers to see the exhibit and preventing adults.
Other charges of censorship were raised by the Green Party (calling the banning “an excess of prudence” and “a dangerous precedent”), human rights groups and the International Art Critics Association (AICA); while the leftist daily newspaper Liberation went so far as to place one the the offending images designated by the City of Paris on its front page and all on its websites. Following the controversy at MAM in Paris, the director of the Centre Paul Klee de Berne, Switzerland decided to remove two Clark photographs from its exhibition about the Seven Deadly Sins, stating that the removal of the Clark photographs was done in light of the controversy at the Paris exhibition.Barely 100 meters down the hill from the Clark exhibition at the MAM is a venue previously unknown to me in the Fondation Bergé Yves Saint Laurent, exhibiting new work by British artist David Hockney, entitled Fleurs fraîches (Fresh Flowers).
It’s no mere coincidence the the three images illustrating the exhibition on the brochure, posters and illuminated billboards around Paris represent flowers on window ledges; many of the pieces in the exhibition are images of the fresh flowers Hockney’s companion began putting in his bedroom window each morning.
But more importantly the work about light, how light defines a subject, even light itself as subject, as it is work in which luminosity is created by the work, as the work itself contains its own light source. These are “drawings” made, and exhibited, on iPhones and iPads.
The play between light often depicted within the images and light projected by the images propels the work and compels enhanced appreciation of Hockney’s artistic awareness and aptitude, as well as his skill as a draughtsman.It’s tempting to term these works finger paintings, although no paint is involved, as they draw on the skillful application and manipulation of the artist’s fingers and nails and draw on the technology of painting programs available as applications). Especially on the iPhone, Hockney often drew with his thumb. “I could hold it in my right hand and my thumb could reach every corner of the screen... I could then have a cigarette in my left hand to help me concentrate.”
It sounds rather casual but the results are impressive, sometimes seeming flat and decorative as wallpaper, other times not only representing three dimensional space convincingly but effectively evoking the sense of light permeating the space.
Kiss The Past Hello Exhibitla Musée d’Art Modern de las Ville ParisOctober 8, 2010 - January 2, 201111 avenue du President Wilson75116 ParisTel: 01 53 67 40 00
Various ArtistsA Christmas Gift For You(Legacy Records)Legendary record producer Phil Spector was found guilty in Spring of 2009 of killing actress Lana Clarkson at his LA home in February 2003. At his trial, the flamboyant Spector wore garish suits and his toupee looked as if 10,000 volts of electricity has just gone through it. So it is hard to shake the most recent images of Phil Spector -- once the pop music world's greatest pioneer creators. This pop music fan would rather much remember Spector as the creative mastermind behind some of the 20th century’s best pop singles than as this unhinged loon rotting in prison. As the holiday season kicks off, it brings to mind one of his greatest albums, A Christmas Gift For You, which was eerily released on November 22, 1963. The 1963 holiday season couldn't have been very cheery in light of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and that's probably why this album didn't sell as well out of the box as was expected back then. Like fine wine however, A Christmas Gift For You gets better with age.
Spector’s album was one of the first rock & roll holiday LPs and it opened the door for others such as the Beach Boys to release a Christmas album the following year.
Legacy Records has had Spector’s monaural recording digitally remastered so that old seasonal friends such as the Ronettes’ versions of “Sleigh Ride,” “Frosty The Snowman,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” or the Crystals’ “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” sound as if they were recorded last month instead of 46 years ago.
The best cut remains the one song that made its debut on “A Gift For You” --Darlene Love’s riveting tale of romantic heartbreak, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” This tune remained rather obscure until Irish rockers U2 recorded its version in 1987 giving the Spector-penned tune a new and rather large audience. David Letterman books Darlene Love on The Late Show every December for the sole purpose of having the pleasure of hearing her sing this classic.
If for no other reason, this album is a wonder to hear every Christmas season so that Spector is remembered by on-going generations for something other a music-industry wacko.
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) held its fourth annual Fashion Forward fundraiser on November 8th, 2010, at the Manhattan's Metropolitan Pavilion (123 West 18th St # 804 New York, NY 10011-4133 212-463-0200). Once again the sold-out event was hosted by the affable and always elegant Tim Gunn, host of Lifetime TV's Project Runway.Presented by Bank of America, the event is one of the largest New York fashion shows between the two Fashion Weeks. It kicked off at 7 pm with the always popular two-hour reception, which featured delicacies from some of the city's finest restaurants and a variety of yummy libations.At approximately 9 pm (do runway shows ever start on time?) Dr. Marjorie J. Hill, chief executive officer of GMHC, introduced Tim Gunn. Following a brief auction of Delta travel packages, including an "Enchanted Italian Hideaway," the runway show (finally) got underway.
The show featured looks from the collections of superstar designers Diane von Fursetnberg, Anna Sui, Yigel Azrouel, Richard Chai, Simon Spurr and Narciso Rodriguez.
The runway show was cast by Andrew Wier and styled by Jason Farrer and featured top models Jenny Shimizu and Omayra Mota.
Celebrity guests in attendance included television personality Wendy Williams, stylist Patricia Fields, designers David and Philippe Blond, designer Robert Tagliapietra, singer Deborah Cox and AIDS activist Jack MacKenroth.
The fundraising total for the evening was estimated to be upwards of $250,000 including the amount raised from the silent and live auctions.
GMHC launched Fashion Forward in 2007 to salute the fashion industry's longstanding commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS. Said CEO Dr. Marjorie Hill, "From the earliest days of the epidemic, the fashion community has been on the front lines, using its creativity, visibility and compassion to raise public awareness and galvanize fundraising efforts to support GMHC's lifesaving services."
Monies raised by Fashion Forward will help GMHC continue to provide its services to more than 15,000 men, women and families in the New York City area living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, and to advocate for public health solutions for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
Sponsors for the event included CFDA, Diane von Furstenberg, Insignia, Jeffrey Fashion Cares and Delta.
Gay Men's Health CrisisThe Fashion Forward fundraiserNovember 8th, 2010Metropolitan Pavilion123 West 18th St # 804 New York, NY 10011-4133 212-463-020
Lombardi Written by Eric Simonson (Based on David Maraniss's book When Pride Mattered)Directed by Thomas Kail Starring Dan Lauria, Judith Light, Robert Christopher Riley, Bill Dawes, Chris Sullivan, Keith Nobbs
This past September, 2010, marked the 40th anniversary of the passing of Vince Lombardi -- the most famous head coach in NFL history. Another sign that my fellow baby boomers are getting older.
This milestone has not gone unnoticed. The NFL has been instrumental in getting Lombardi’s story on Broadway as a major financial backer of the new play, Lombardi, based on David Maraniss’s bio, When Pride Still Mattered (Simon & Schuster).
Lombardi cleverly examines a random autumn week in the coach’s life as his Green Bay Packers are preparing to take on the San Francisco 49ers. Look Magazine has dispatched a young sports reporter, Michael McCormick (Keith Nobbs), to spend the week with Vince (Dan Lauria) and his wife Marie (Judith Light) for a profile.
What McCormick does not know is that his editor and Lombardi are old friends and he's there to do a puff piece. Even worse, Look is willing to give the Packers coach the final edit over the piece. It turns out that the gruff Lombardi was sensitive to a harsh article about him that had been published a few weeks earlier in Esquire.
McCormick represents the public and does a great job of probing Lombardi, not only by interviewing him, but also by speaking with his better half, Marie, and a trio of Packers legends, Dave Robinson (Robert Christopher Riley), Paul Hornung (Bill Dawes) and Jim Taylor (Chris Sullivan). These supporting characters hold the interest as much as does the protagonist.
Mrs. Lombardi is no shrinking violet and can go toe-to-toe with her boisterous husband if necessary. Clearly, their love was deep and the play makes illustrates that she was his rock when he once considered dropping football for a banking career because he grew tired of only being an assistant coach with the Giants. He couldn’t understand why he had been overlooked by every major college and NFL team until the lowly Green Bay Packers came calling in 1959.
While she encouraged her husband to take the Green Bay job, life in the NFL’s smallest outpost did not suit her. She tells McCormick that she desperately misses Manhattan and wiles away too much of the time by hitting the liquor cabinet.
Lombardi does not shy away from key social and economic issues. The coach was never a big fan of individualism and preferred a marine corps-style thinking -- put the best interests of the group first. The positive side of that philosophy meant that the Packers were remarkably free of prejudice at a time when it was rife in football. Louisiana good ole boy Taylor did not think twice about socializing with black linebacker Robinson.
The negative side of his philosophy was that Vince, who was also the Packers general manager, had trouble dealing with his players when it came to their economic welfare. He goes ballistic when Taylor lets it be known that he has an agent who will negotiate his next contract for him (he soon gets traded to the expansion team, New Orleans Saints) while Robinson is team’s first union rep and relishes the idea of getting better benefits for the rank-and-file.
The play takes pains to talk about how the quote most associated with Lombardi -- "Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing!” -- has been misinterpreted over the years. Lombardi was only trying to cultivate a winning attitude and not suggest that a team member should commit harakiri if he was on the losing side.
Lauria, best known for his role as the dad on The Wonder Years, bears a strong physical resemblance to Lombardi and sounds like him as well. He is so credible in this role that it feel like an NFL team may want to hire him as their next head coach. Light, best remembered for the ABC sitcom Who’s the Boss?, makes Marie a sympathetic character. And as the young reporter, Nobbs recalls a young Tom Cruise.
Lombardi comes in at a sprite 95 minutes and doesn't have an intermission. While it helps to be a football fan, even those with little interest in the gridiron will enjoy this play. If you know little about Lombardi except that his name adorns the Super Bowl trophy and is a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, then you owe it to yourself to get to the Circle In The Square Theater ASAP.
HBO Sports and NFL Films will air a documentary on the cable network this December about The Coach.
LombardiCircle In The Square Theater1633 BroadwayNew York, NY 10019
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