Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ...
Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits
This page features links to reviews of movies, documentaries and exhibits with a historical theme. Listings are in reverse chronological order. Descriptions are taken directly from the linked publication. If you have articles you think should be listed on the Pop Culture page, please send them to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: Reuters (9-30-09)
Under the leadership of president and general manager Nancy Dubuc, History recently launched its 10 highest-rated series to date. She plans to continue the network's strategy of developing informative reality shows and headline-drawing event specials...
... Another series on deck is "Sliced," on which objects are cut in half to reveal their inner workings; and "9/12: The Day After" (working title). The special follows up the channel's Emmy-winning "102 Minutes That Changed America" documentary about 9/11 with a look at the day after the attacks...
...In the coming months, however, the network will re-embrace its roots with a trio of prestigious historical titles: the miniseries "World War II in HD"; the celebrity-...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-30-09)
SOURCE: Britannica Blog (9-29-09)
Christopher Robin and Heidi are long in the grave. The Little Prince is in retirement on some distant planet. Frodo has hidden himself away far from Middle Earth, somewhere outside Piscataway. Holden Caulfield wears dentures, and the Hardy Boys haven’t had the oomph to climb a spiral staircase for decades.
Codgers all. But Milo—no last name given, none needed—has just turned a spry 48, a comparative babe in arms. And thanks to his creator, a wise architect named Norton Juster, Milo turned out to be better equipped than most children’s-book figures to survive in the real world, a place that, as Milo well knows, is full of trivia, tedium, sound,...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-29-09)
The painting is titled “The Procuress” and is housed at the Courtauld Institute in London, which accepted it in 1960 as a donation from Professor Geoffrey Webb, a specialist in historic architecture.
Webb, who worked in Germany after World War II, had received it as a gift for his help in the returning of works of art to rightful owners.
He believed that it was a forgery made by Van Meegeren (1889-1947) which Dutch authorities had recovered after the War in a chalet that Van Meegeren had in Nice, Cote d'Azur (South of France).
The painting was loaned to three forgery exhibitions as an example of an excellent artistic forgery...
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal (9-29-09)
The decision overturned key provisions of the 1922 trust indenture establishing the foundation, which was created primarily as an educational institution rather than a museum. In the indenture, Albert C. Barnes stipulated that no changes could be made to his collection or the unique—some say idiosyncratic—installation, which mixes nonchronological arrangements of paintings with furniture and decorative-arts objects to illustrate Barnes's theories of art.
The judgment also marked the culmination of a complex battle pitting current and former students and art-world supporters against Philadelphia's philanthropic and political establishment, each side with its own...
SOURCE: NYT (9-29-09)
Her death, after a history of lupus, was announced Monday by St. Thomas’s Hospital in London, where she had been treated for more than five years, and by her husband, Ross Vodden.
Ms. Vodden’s connection to the Beatles dates back to when she was Lucy O’Donnell, a schoolmate and friend of Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s son. Julian, then 4, came home from school with a drawing one day, showed it to his father, and said it was “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.”
At the time John Lennon was gathering material for his contributions to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the landmark album released in 1967. He seized on the image and developed it into what is widely regarded as a psychedelic masterpiece, with haunting images of “newspaper taxis” and a “girl with kaleidoscope eyes.”
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal (9-29-09)
In the ninth century, this Dharmapala guarded a Buddhist temple complex with a fierceness so great he was known to defeat death itself. Today, set against the deep purple walls of the gallery, he vanquishes the assumption that Vietnamese artists did nothing more than absorb Chinese and Indian models.
Indeed, the overturning of such preconceptions is the principal take-away from this show, which independent scholar Nancy Tingley first conceived 20 years ago. Having had to shelve the research until U.S.-Vietnamese relations thawed, she has now assembled 130 pieces from nine Vietnamese museums and used them to highlight key civilizations that successively...
SOURCE: The Chronicle of Higher Education (9-28-09)
Fanny Brawne would never become Mrs. John Keats, nor would they ever consummate their love. They became engaged in 1819 but delayed marrying until Keats earned some money or realized his inheritance; he died of tuberculosis in Rome before he could do either. But for a time at least, they did share the same house. Separated from her only by a thin wall, Keats composed lyrics of love and desire and frustration. He tossed and turned feverishly in his bed each night, tortured by the sounds of Fanny in the other half of the house: a laugh, a moan, a tap on the wall or a rustle of falling silks. Much of his later illness, Keats explained to his friend Brown, was caused by her teasing presence.
"I should have had her when I...
SOURCE: MassLive.com (9-27-09)
Visitors will enter the museum, renovated over a four-year period at a cost of $8.6 million, through a lobby that leads to a 45-foot-high atrium addition where two Gee Bee planes - a 1937 Zeta racer built by the Granville Brothers Aircraft Company in Springfield, and a three-quarter size model - will hang this fall from the ceiling of the Great Hall to greet them.
Volunteers will be present to answer questions from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and events scheduled include a “ History on the Move“ car and motorcycle show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There will also be...
SOURCE: Smithsonian.com (Oct edition) (9-25-09)
We were looking at a reproduction of Jackson Pollock's breakthrough work, Mural, an 8-by 20-foot canvas bursting with physical energy that, in 1943, was unlike anything seen before.
The critic Clement Greenberg, Pollock's principal champion, said he took one look at the painting and realized that "Jackson was the greatest painter this country has produced." A Museum of Modern Art curator, the late Kirk Varnedoe, said Mural established Jackson Pollock as the world's premier modern painter.
I was researching a book about Pollock's lifelong relationship with his mentor, Thomas Hart Benton, the famed regionalist and muralist, when I sat puzzling over a reproduction of Mural after breakfast one morning with Marianne, herself an art historian. She suddenly said she could make out the letters S-O-N in blackish paint in the upper right area of the mural. Then she realized JACKSON ran...
SOURCE: Observer (UK) (9-27-09)
Then again, maybe not. The sender was, after all, Lord Byron. The superstar Romantic poet's reputation for witty excess is affirmed by the sexual revelations, jibes about the Portuguese ("few vices except lice and sodomy") and barbed comments about his rival Wordsworth ("Turdsworth").
Sotheby's is to auction the most important series of Byron letters to come to the market in more than 30 years, some of them unpublished. They were purchased by a former prime minister, the Earl of Rosebery, in 1885 and have remained with the family ever since.
The letters shed fascinating light on one of literature's most charismatic figures, a man accurately described by his lover Lady Caroline Lamb as "mad, bad and dangerous to...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-23-09)
What makes Turner unique is that his engagement with the old masters was so blatant, so public, and lasted throughout his career. Whether you see them as acts of homage or confrontation, every picture by him in this show is a variation on a theme provided by an old master.
Seeing Turner’s canvases side by side with those of Claude, Poussin, Titian or Teniers I began to think that he is like a virtuoso musician playing scores written by long dead composers. In each case he is faithful to the structure of the original but as he works, he interprets and improvises until the finished canvas could never be mistaken for anything other than a Turner.
And just like a musician’s, the success of each performance varied, depending on his...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-28-09)
Steps off the Beaten Path was first presented at the American Academy in New York and Rome between 2006 and 2008, and draws works from the Collection of W. Bruce and Delaney H. Lundberg. The project was curated by Lundberg and Pinto. Jay A. Clarke, the Clark's Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, worked with Lieberman, guest curator for the Clark presentation.
Lieberman is an art historian and a photographer of architecture and sculpture. He spent many years living and working in Venice, first on a Fulbright grant, and then...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-28-09)
On October 14, the Nile comes to Norfolk with the public debut of To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum. This blockbuster show, on view through January 3, 2010 in the Large Changing Gallery, promises to be one of the most extraordinary exhibitions that the Chrysler Museum ever has hosted.
As its title suggests, To Live Forever explores the age-old questions of immortality and life after death. For ancient Egyptians, death was an enemy that could be overcome through a bit of ingenuity and careful preparation. If their efforts were successful and the gods were appeased, the end of life on earth was merely a portal to a new beginning.
For its first-ever special exhibition of Egyptian antiquities, the Chrysler...
SOURCE: Examiner.com (9-27-09)
There is quite a lot of mystery surrounding this 95-year-old unpublished work that has been locked in a safe deposit box in Switzerland ever since Jung’s passing in 1961. The author/editor, Sonu Shamdasani, a preeminent Jung historian at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London, managed to find a few copies of this rare book and with them in hand finally persuaded Jung’s family to publish the work.
SOURCE: NYT (9-26-09)
THE fracas during curtain calls for the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Puccini’s “Tosca” last Monday is just the latest episode in a grand history of operatic booing. Frank expressions of displeasure pierced the applause at the conclusion of Act II and exploded when the production team took its bows at the end of the opera. Many in the audience took umbrage at the villain’s lewd advances toward a statue of the Madonna; at the failure by Tosca to make her customary sweeping exit after stabbing the villain to death; and at the substitution, after an awkward pause, ofa stunt double for her suicidal leap.
Opera-goers of long standing and fierce memory will recall many episodes of booing. End-of-act bows have always cued the public to express approbation, indifference or disapproval. And many on Monday voiced the last, a...
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal (9-26-09)
The match they played this past week to mark the 25th anniversary of their first world-title bout was the highlight of a chess conference in the city of Valencia. The two Russians played 12 games of speed chess over three days. And just as he did in the '80s, Garry Kasparov emerged victorious, winning 9-3.
Before the match he told the Spanish newspaper El País that the quality of the chess was unlikely to equal that of the five month, 48-game struggle of 25 years ago. "In this case," he said, "nostalgia will be a positive thing, and the duel will serve to put a spotlight on chess again."...
SOURCE: The Daily Beast (9-25-09)
SOURCE: LA Times (9-24-09)
The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has acquired objects from the musical's costume wardrobe designed by Julie Taymor. The gift from Disney Theatrical Productions includes items worn by the characters of Simba and the tribal shaman Rafiki.
Simba's lion mask and headdress plus Rafiki's costume, custom shoes and hat will join the museum’s permanent entertainment collections.
The gift from Disney was made on the occasion of the show's reaching the 50 million worldwide attendance mark. "The Lion King" has been produced so far in 13 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Holland, France, Mexico, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Africa and South Korea.
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal (9-25-09)
Dead of typhus in 1945 at the age of 15, Anne Frank is perhaps the most famous young girl of all time. Her diary has been a worldwide bestseller for decades, and it inspired a Broadway play and a movie. Now David Mamet is reportedly planning to make another movie about Anne Frank's life.
When Francine Prose, a novelist and critic, read Anne Frank's diary as a girl, it moved her deeply. Rereading it a few years ago, she was moved in a different way. Ms. Prose teaches writing at Bard College, and her 2006 book,"Reading Like a Writer," is an analysis of the craft of fine writing. In her later reading of Anne Frank, Ms. Prose realized that the diary was not a guileless outburst of adolescent sentiment but a" consciously crafted work of literature." In Ms. Prose's new book,"Anne Frank: The Book, the Life and the Afterlife," she reconsiders Anne as an artist, whose eye for...