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 email@example.com.
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-7-09)
In this painting, Canaletto’s style is unmistakable. During his lifetime the artist celebrated his success in the European art scene having painted realistic views of city centers and landscape views of Vienna, Munich, Turin and Warsaw.
The complementary views are taken from each bank of the river Elbe to make the most of the city's superb site and to show its elegant Baroque...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-7-09)
On 19 September the collective recitation, from memory, of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at Beaconsfield, will be made exclusively by artists. New confirmations to co-recite are arriving daily from practising artists.
Artists will have chosen one (or more) articles of the Declaration significant to them and committed the words to memory in a preferred language. The collective recitation becomes a metaphor for the struggle for memory and consciousness of Human Rights. The emphasis of the work is on the attempt, and the difficulty, of being able to meet the Declaration's call to constantly "keep it in mind" and be able to voice or act on it...
SOURCE: City Journal (8-25-09)
TO: Adolf Hitler
FROM: Julius Streicher
Much excitement to report! The good news is piling up like copies of Der Stürmer in the good old days, when I published caricatures of the International Jew as predator and violator. Remember what we discovered in the 1930s? The secret of the Big Lie was to turn the truth on its head. Well, here we are in the New Millennium, and on the wide screen, the B.L. is more monstrous than ever! The film is entitled Inglourious Basterds (their spelling, not mine). And—are you ready for this?—it’s produced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein!
Earlier this month, before Basterds was screened for a private audience, Harvey W. told his invitees, “Please keep in mind that it’s a fable.” And what a fable it is—a revenge fantasy...
SOURCE: NYT (9-2-09)
It’s a catchy sound bite, the sort that comes in handy for people who often find themselves in the spotlight. And it has served Mr. Jones well over the last two years, as he has undertaken one of the most ambitious and challenging projects of an ambitious and challenging career: a commission by the Ravinia Festival in Illinois to create a dance-theater work celebrating the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth.
But stop to consider, given the context, the full import of that line, uttered by this 57-year-old black man. Born to migrant farmworkers in the South, he rose to become one of the most prominent and provocative American choreographers of his generation, a scarred veteran of the culture wars and a Tony Award winner for his work on “Spring Awakening.” “...
SOURCE: telegraph.co.uk (9-5-09)
A study by anthropologists has explored the origins of folk tales and traced the relationship between varients of the stories recounted by cultures around the world.
The researchers adopted techniques used by biologists to create the taxonomic tree of life, which shows how every species comes from a common ancestor.
Dr Jamie Tehrani, a cultural anthropologist at Durham University, studied 35 versions of Little Red Riding Hood from around the world.
Whilst the European version tells the story of a little girl who is tricked by a wolf masquerading as her grandmother, in the Chinese version a tiger replaces the wolf.
In Iran, where it would be considered odd for a young girl to roam alone, the story features a little boy.
Contrary to the view that the tale...
SOURCE: LA Times (9-6-09)
Now, a festering dispute over a little-known archive of ephemera attributed to Kahlo has erupted into open warfare. Despite the tantalizing possibility that some or maybe even all the material is authentic, a sharp line has been drawn in the art historical sand.
The story is marked by startling intimidation tactics that seem more a part of Tony Soprano's world than the genteel environs of scholarly argument. Aggressive bullying by Kahlo-establishment figures is so strange that it suggests something bigger: A fading ancient regime in Mexico might be coming to an end.
Consider these four episodes:
* Ruth Alvarado Rivera, now-deceased granddaughter of the great muralist Diego Rivera, Kahlo's husband,...
SOURCE: NYT (9-4-09)
Every gallery is packed with video monitors, touch screens and sound systems intended to bring static drawings, storyboards and ephemera to life. Many of the exhibits focus on technological advances made by Disney...
SOURCE: NYT (9-4-09)
Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, apologized to customers for the deletions in July. And late Thursday, the company tried to put the incident behind it, offering to deliver new copies of “1984” and “Animal Farm” at no charge to affected customers.
Amazon said in an e-mail message to those customers that if they chose to have their digital copies restored, they would be able to see any digital annotations they had made. Those who do not want the books are eligible for an Amazon gift certificate or a check for $30, the company said.
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-5-09)
“On the Origin of Species” is widely heralded as the foundation for evolutionary biology. After graduating from Cambridge University in 1831, Darwin signed up as an unpaid naturalist for a five-year scientific voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle. As he sailed around South America and the Galápagos Islands (1831-36), Darwin made notes and observations, collected animal fossils and plant specimens and studied the geology of islands and coral reefs. His work led him to think deeply about the distribution of animals and plants over place and time.
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-5-09)
This exhibition uses objects created as distinct body parts, as well as fragments of sculpture, to highlight the realistic portrayal of individual body parts in canonical Egyptian sculpture. The ancient Egyptians carefully depicted each part of the human body, respecting the significance of every element. When viewed individually these sculptures and fragments reveal the ancient notions of body and pose, as well as details of workmanship frequently unnoticed in more complete sculptures. To better explain each of these elements, the exhibition will make connections to specific objects in the Museum’s Egyptian collection and to Egyptian...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-4-09)
The Monuments Men details how art objects—either stolen from museums in conquered areas or from Jewish individuals sent to their...
SOURCE: Newsweek (9-4-09)
After the czar was murdered in 1918, Prokudin-Gorskii fled Russia with 22 crates of glass plates and eventually settled in France, where he died in 1944. The Library of Congress bought his plates shortly after his death, but it wasn’t until the advent of digital imaging that it
could restore them, a process finished in 2001 and exhibited online
SOURCE: The Washington Post (9-4-09)
Such is life at the moment for Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, who is working diligently to bring essential documents and artifacts of the black American story to the public. So far he has a Selmer trumpet once owned by jazz innovator Louis Armstrong, a Jim Crow railroad car from outside Chattanooga, Tenn., a sign from a Nashville bus that reads "This part of bus for colored race," an 1850 slave badge from Charleston, S.C., and a porcelain drinking fountain labeled "colored."
The museum also has a house built about 1874 in Poolesville by the Jones family, freed slaves who founded an all-black community in Montgomery County, as well as a letter signed by Toussaint L'Ouverture, the...
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal (9-4-09)
The 44-year-old actor will star as the great sleuth in the Guy Ritchie film "Sherlock Holmes," opening on Christmas Day. Scottish-born author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote four novels and 56 short stories about Holmes, and over the years there have been countless stage and screen portrayals of the detective, who first appeared in print in 1887.
The coming film, which was first inspired by a comic book that producer Lionel Wigram wrote to help build support for a Holmes movie, promises to give the Holmes franchise a provocative twist—by adding a dose of martial arts, something that most portrayals of the hero have ignored. Mr. Downey, who did many of the fight scenes himself, says that the film hews very closely to Doyle's original descriptions of the British investigator, which focused on his superb martial...
SOURCE: The Washington Times (9-3-09)
Given the very close relationship between Hollywood and World War's II Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the CIA and U.S. Special Operations Forces, whose ranks included director John Ford and actors Robert Montgomery and Sterling Hayden, it's troubling that Hollywood has distorted the history of the OSS in two recent major motion pictures, "The Good Shepherd" and "Inglourious Basterds."
These two movies present diametrically opposite but equally false assertions about the OSS, particularly about the important role played within the organization by Jews and other minorities...
... "Inglourious Basterds," the new movie by Quentin Tarantino, who evidently never saw "The Good Shepherd," has an OSS unit made up entirely of Jews whose mission it is to brutally kill Germans behind...
SOURCE: The Washington Post (8-21-09)
The fellow is clearly no earl -- he lacks the arrogant jaw -- but he's someone. Maybe too much of a someone to be a mere playwright. Then again, there's a touch of Shakespearean mischief in his face. He wears a barely checked smile and a blush. He's ardent, and Shakespeare was nothing if not a lover. He loved roses, mirrors, doomed lords and, of course, a good psychological mystery.
The story of the Cobbe portrait would delight him. It's got everything from denouements to sex, and at its heart is the questionable identity of Shakespeare himself...
SOURCE: BBC (9-3-09)
The US White House has released a photograph of President Barack Obama's daughter Sasha sneaking up on her father as he works in the Oval Office.
The image has drawn comparisons with the famous 1963 image of John F Kennedy Jnr playing underneath the Oval Office desk as his father reads documents.
That picture helped create the image of"Camelot" associated with the Kennedys.
Mr Obama has said being able to work and live at home is"one of the huge benefits of being president"...
... She and her older sister, Malia, are the youngest children to live in the White House since the 1960s, but Mr Obama and his wife Michelle have always said...
SOURCE: The Nation (9-1-09)
Seventy years ago today, the military might of Nazi Germany was thrown against the free state of Poland. Hitler's planes, troops and tanks swept across the northern, southern and western borders of the nation that had through treaties allied itself with Great Britain, France and other European states that had grown increasingly wary of fascism's territorial ambitions.
World War II had begun.
W.H. Auden, an Englishman who was of the left that had tried to raise the alarm about Hitler, Mussolini and their minions by speaking up for the Spanish loyalists in their fight against Franco, heard the news while sitting at the Dizzy Club in New York City.
Auden did what came naturally.
He began crafting a poem. And in it was perhaps...
SOURCE: CommentaryMagazine.com (9-1-09)
As the second anniversary of his passing approaches, it is worth asking: How is Norman Mailer, without question the most famous American writer of the second half of the 20th century, to be remembered? It is a measure of Mailer’s effect on the culture, for better or for worse, that answering the question is a pressing and valuable task. Are we to esteem him, in the words of Newsweek’sMalcolm Jones, as “a writer who [was]—and there truly is no point debating this now, is there—one of the very greatest authors of his time”? Or was Charles McGrath of the New York Times closer to the truth when he wrote that “he was the most transparently ambitious writer of his era, seeing himself in competition not just with his contemporaries but with the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. . . . And...
SOURCE: Artdaily.org (9-3-09)
In 1759 Josiah Wedgwood (1730–1795) established his first pottery studio in Burslem, Staffordshire. During the eighteenth century the factory’s success grew through Wedgwood’s development of numerous wares including his most famous innovation, jasper ware – matt coloured stoneware decorated with applied white ornamentation.
Dr Gerard Vaughan, NGV Director said: “We are proud to be celebrating this important milestone in the history of European taste.
“The NGV has an outstanding collection of Wedgwood – amongst the best anywhere - the depth of which is largely due to the generous benefaction of Keith...