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So this is a super cool book. It’s part MoMA history, part this funky young visionary’s story. Look at her camera perched by her side! Her confident gaze directly into the reader’s eye! A nearly animated cover where the bittiest blocks of color almost blink!
One of the things that I always look for in books for kids are stories that honor their realness. Their hopes and dreams and fears and feelings that sometimes grownups have forgotten all about. Charlotte always carries that slim smile, even when the nun tells her none of that. I’d imagine this isn’t the only place she’s heard that she might be a bit unusual.
That’s because Charlotte prefers black and white to color, and when kids have a preference, it’s usually a pretty strong one. Kids don’t generally go around only sort of caring about something.
And here’s a beautiful example of that. Charlotte’s safe world is black and white, a stark contrast to that of her parents. To the left of the gutter, a home, and to the right, something unfamiliar and loud.
But her parents know this and they understand.
On Friday nights they take her to see black and white movies. And Charlotte is happy.
And on Sundays, they go to the Museum of Modern Art. And Charlotte is happy.
That’s where Charlotte meets Scarlett, an aficionado of black and white too, and how it clears away the clutter. And that’s where Charlotte’s smile returns.
Here’s a kid, wholly in love with something that might seem unconventional. But she has parents who get it, a trip to an art museum that seals it, and a cat who is always willing to play a part.
So that’s what Charlotte does: makes a film in black and white. Scarlet calls it dazzling and genius, but the colorful people?
Only that was their reaction at the beginning, before Young Charlotte, Filmmaker had finished telling her story.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York continues to be one of the most animation friendly museums in the US. This week they announced an exhibition and accompanying film retrospective celebrating the work of the 64-year-old identical twin animators Stephen and Timothy Quay, better known as the Brothers Quay. The show, “Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets,” opens on August 8, 2012. The show is being organized by Ron Magliozzi, who has also co-curated MoMA’s hit exhibitions on Tim Burton and Pixar. More from MoMA’s website:
Internationally renowned moving image artists and designers, the Quay Brothers were born outside Philadelphia and have worked from their London studio, Atelier Koninck, since the late 1970s. For over 30 years, they have been in the avant-garde of stop-motion puppet animation and live-action movie-making in the Eastern European tradition of filmmakers like Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Svankmajer and the Russian Yuri Norstein, and have championed a design aesthetic influenced by the graphic surrealism of Polish poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s.
Beginning with their student films in 1971, the Quay Brothers have produced over 45 moving image works, including two features, music videos, dance films, documentaries, and signature personal works, including The Street of Crocodiles (1986), the Stille Nacht series (1988–2008), Institute Benjamenta (1995), and In Absentia (2000). They have also designed sets and projections for opera, drama, and concert performances such as Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa (1991), Ionesco’s The Chairs (Tony-nominated design, 1997), Richard Ayre’s The Cricket Recovers (2005), and recent site-specific pieces based on the work of Bartók and Kafka.
In addition to their better known films, this exhibition will include never-before-seen moving image works and graphic design, drawings, and calligraphy, presenting animated and live-action films alongside installations, objects, and works on paper.
We over here at ABRAMS KIDS have started a campaign on Instagram and Twitter called A for ABRAMS ( #aforabrams ) We are collecting A's that are artful, well designed, or just plain cool from any where that you might find them. The idea is when ever you happen to see one of these artful A's out and about you can join us by hash tagging your A#aforabrams as well as including our Instagram or twitter handle @abramskids or @abramsbooks. Have some fun and we hope you all get to see the world around you a little better.
Here area few examples of different A's I have found.
South African artist William Kentridge (b. 1955) is best known for his stark charcoal drawings and works of animation, collage, and sculpture. In "William Kentridge: Five Themes," now on view at the Museum of Modern Art and available as a beautifully designed catalogue and DVD from Yale University Press, the curators explore the five main themes that have dominated Kentridge's creations since the 1980s, including the long shadows of apartheid, colonialism, and totalitarianism.
The exhibit also includes materials related to the artist’s staging and design of Dmitri Shostakovich’s The
Nose, which premiered earlier this month
at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. For a better sense of the exhibit's style and scope, be sure to visit MoMA's excellent dedicated website, and check out Kentridge at work in the video below.
Note: Tuesday Studio will be a new regular feature of the Yale Press Log showcasing multimedia takes on the latest YUP publications in art and architecture. Check back next week for more.
This has been such a fun week with the launch of our new blog design that it is hard to believe Friday is already here. Nevertheless, with the weekend just around the corner I am ready to do some serious relaxing and hopefully finish the book I’m reading. Below are some links to get you just a little bit closer to the weekend. Enjoy!
Praise to Brian (above sitting with Marina after getting in line at 1am) for texting me about going to MOMA today with his member discount! Today was the last day for Marina Abramovic's exhibition and I had an itch to sketch.
I started sketching the reproduced past performance where two nude performers stand as two pillars for you to walk between (above). Two bystanders started chatting it up: an older woman completely flabbergasted by the whole situation and an even older man in a chair sketching. I overheard their entire conversation and learned that he was in fact 82 years old! Amazing! He drew so well! So I started chatting with him, and learned that he used to be a sculpturer and had shows at the guggenheim & whitney at the age of 23. He liked to punctuate his sentences with: "How 'bout that!? Interesting!" He also lost a lot of money in the stock market. He gave me his address and number to keep in touch, along with oodles of advice about love and energy and life.
Oh, and he drew a picture of a dog, a star and a bird standing on a heart in my sketchbook. He also drew a picture of me, but unfortunately no photography allowed in the gallery :( It was really good. Honest.
The world’s biggest cities often spawn disaster scenarios—those end-of-the-world, escape-from-New-York exaggerations of urban dystopia. Once limited to printed texts and paintings, visions of urban apocalypse have become ever more accessible in newspaper photographs, movies and video games. They form a collective urban imaginary, shaping the dark side of local identity and civic pride.
New York is especially attractive as a site of imagined disaster. Maybe it’s payback for the city’s hubris and chutzpah, or perhaps there’s something in the American character that yearns for and fears creative destruction. If there is a general hunger for destruction stories, it is fed by the knowledge that the cities we build are vulnerable. The terrorists’ attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001 brought this point home to Americans, renewing dormant anxiety about nuclear war and environmental disaster.
But what if the city’s built environment suffers from slow erosion rather than a single cataclysm like Hurricane Katrina? Can we visualize the slow creep of problems as well as we imagine the sudden onset of disaster and summon the will to change course?
“Rising Currents,” a recent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, pitted five teams of architects, engineers and urban designers against a gradual but dramatic rise in sea level resulting from global climate change. The challenge: to retrofit the city’s waterfront to survive and prosper after a new Flood.
Cities have a troubled history with water. From building walls around wells in ancient deserts to colonizing rivers for the expansion of trade, human settlements have worn down maritime nature with a steady ooze of cement. Building dams in the West of the United States, India and China, crowding cities near the Danube River in Eastern Europe, throwing landfill into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor as well as into New York Bay: all of these have reduced water resources to serve human needs.
Global cities, those capitals of capital, are the biggest offenders. As one of the architectural teams engaged in the MoMA exhibition points out, two piers built for oil depots on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River are each two miles long—as long as the Twin Towers of the old World Trade Center were high.
What’s most impressive about a rising water level is the sense that nature is taking back from the human world. And what’s most impressive about the architectural projects in “Rising Currents” is the sensibility that human survival depends on adaptation rather than pacification.
There are good ideas here. The keywords are conservation, production and conversion: creating a transportation network of ferry boats rather than cars and buses, developing oyster beds off the Brooklyn shore, reshaping fuel depots to use less land. But how can a city government—one whose modest plans for renovating parkland are constantly plagued by cost overruns and delays—undertake these projects?
Privatization is not the answer. Only a state can coordinate long-term efforts to rebuild for urban survival. The recent rescue of the Chilean miners from their underground prison suggests to some people that a non-governmental mobilization of global resources can be successful against great odds. In that case, though, individuals, industries and governments united around one clear goal. To rebuild the waterfront, many conflicts of interest would h
This is a video of little boys with incredible dance skills [YouTube]
Last Friday, I challenged all of our readers to write a sestina. I expect many of you discovered just how difficult this form can be. I’d like to highlight the poem I received from Paul Gallear of Wolverhampton, UK. Paul is one of the voices behind the Artsy Does It blog and you can follow him @paulgallear.
I’m a dirty-shirted mess.
My eyes are heavy and thick
With fatigue; I’ve not slept for days
And I’ve never been so tired.
All I need to do is sleep,
Long and deep and numb.
My thoughts are thoughtless, numb;
My skin, greasy; my hair, a mess.
Things change without sleep:
I’ve become listless, thick
And stupid – I’m idiot tired,
Living in a stunned daze.
Time moves from hours to days
And perspective becomes numb.
My mind begins to mess
Around. There’s a kind of thick
Which only comes from lack of sleep.
I daydream of sleep.
Waiting – the hours the days
Crawl as though caught in thick
Honey, drowsy, lethargic and numb.
While they are mired in that mess,
I grow more weary, more tired.
One day, I won’t be tired.
The time will come for sleep.
When I am enough of a mess,
And my dignity went days
Ago, I won’t care. I’ll be numb
And sleep will be long and thick.
I hope the night is black and thick
And that even the moon and the stars are tired.
They can make their lights numb
And pale to help me sleep.
The sun will shorten the days
To help me out of this mess
If the night is thick, I’ll sleep.
I’m so tired, it’ll be for days.
Until then, I’m one numb mess.
“Growth of Overt homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern”
-New York Times (headline in 1963)
The world recoiled when the gay community started receiving credit for its influence in fashion and culture, but at least, according to Christopher Reed, they were being acknowledged. In his new book Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas, Reed argues that for some time the professional art world plain ignored the gay presence.
We had the chance to speak with Reed recently at his Williams Club talk, where he laid out the tumultuous relationship between art and activism. Below we present a few of the controversial things we learned.
1.) Art that didn’t get a chance…
During the most formative years of the gay rights movement in the 70s and on through the late 80s, arts publications and professionals, and even museums like the Museum of Modern Art, ignored imagery associated with gay and lesbian identity. Imagery like the graffiti pictured below which emerged in urban areas during the 70s:
Grafitti on “The Rocks,” Lincoln Park, Chicago, mid-1990s.
According to Reed, “These sites of visual history were destroyed with no organized documentation when rising property values prompted local governments to reclaim these areas.”
Is right for people to ban art today? Even if it’s in the imaginary town of Pawnee, Indiana? Reed surprised us with his answer, making us consider that there’s actually a worse kind of censorship. Listen below to hear what he said.
Censorship is an interesting question because there are overt examples of censorship like what just happened with the Hide/Seek show and the David Wojnarowicz piece, where particular politicians make a statement to their constituency by removing something that’s on exhibition. And then the kind of thing that you’re talking about where institutions simply don’t show things or don’t buy things – in the case of libraries – or don’t do things or don’t let particular people in, which often doesn’t read as censorship because people never realize what they could be seeing or could be reading, or could be going on, because the institution has already created a kind of logic in which that kind of thing doesn’t exist.
And so in a lot of ways I actually think that’s the most dangerous kind of censorship because people aren’t aware of it and they can’t make a