Monday, July 16, 2018

DEVOTION TO DRAWING: Eugene Delacroix: Review By Polly Guerin

Remembering Eugene Delacroix with admiration as one of the leading artists of the 19th Century's French Romantic period may have been your first encounter with the celebrated painter. Yet it will surprise you to know that Delacroix was equally a dedicated and innovative draftsman.
"To imagine a composition," according to Delacroix, "is to combine elements of objects that one knows, that one has seen, with others held inside, in the soul of the artists." The drawings he made in direct preparation for works in other media exhibit precisely this blend of components: the observed, the remembered and the imagined. 
DEVOTION TO DRAWING: The Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugene Delacroix opens at
The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday, July 17-November 12, 2018. The exhibit explores the central role of drawing in the artist's practice through more than one hundred works--from finished watercolors to sketchbooks, from copies of old master prints to preparatory drawings for important projects. This is the first North American exhibition devoted to Delacroix's drawings in more than 50 years and as such introduces a new generation to the artist's Cratfsmanship.
Horse Frightened by Lightning 
STUDIES OF HORSES 
Early in his career Delacroix expressed his desire to master the subject of horses. He noted in 1823, "I really mjust settle down seriously to drawing horses. I shall go to some stable or other every morning." His depiction of horses racing at speed combines observation with memory and imagination.
The artist undoubtedly studied the animals in motion, but then inevitably based his drawing to some degree on memory. The third section in the exhibition reveals how Delacroix the possibilities offered by graphic media, including ink, wash and watercolor.
REFINING IDEAS FOR PAINTINGS ON CANVAS Looks at how Delacroix used drawing to invent, research and refine his ideas for painting on canvas, decorative and religious murals. A catalogue published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art is distributed through Yale University Press and is available for purchase in the Met store.
Liberty Leading the People

This exhibition Devotion to Drawing overlaps with a major retrospective in North America devoted to the artist---on view at The Met from September 17, 2018- January 6, 2019. 
     Titled DELACROIX, it will illustrate the artist's resless imagination through more than 150 works, the majority of them paintings. 
Ta Ta Darlings!!! It is interesting to see how Delacroix's blend of components: the observed, the remembered, and the imagined form the base of his creative oeuvre. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left hand column on the Blog that resonates with your interest.
      

Monday, July 9, 2018

BERNSTEIN;S Peter Pan at Bard's 2018 SummerScape: Review By Polly Guerin

The dreamlike abandoned Amusement Park Set
Bard SummerScape, the celebrated art festival at Annandale-on-Hudson lures sophisticates out of the Big Apple to attend the season's most innovative (and at times most unusual) cultural experiences. Such is the case with Bard's innovative production of Peter Pan with a new agenda and re-imagined cast. All photos herewith by Maria Baranova.
      To honor the Leonard Bernstein's centennial, 2018 Bard SummerScape is celebrating with a provocative production of Bernstein;s score for Peter Pan and a production set in a dreamlike abandoned amusement park including a working 1950's carnival ride on stage. Obviously, this isn't the 1954 Broadway Musical I am talking about, but an adaption of J.M. Barrie's play that debuted in the 1950s and ran for 321 performances and has rarely been revived since. Bernstein wrote the lyrics of the nine songs, as well as the music.
Comedian/actor Peter Smith as Peter Pan
CHRISTOPHER ALLEN  
Bernstein specialist Christopher Allen's adaptation presents an intimate contemporary production for modern audiences. Taking his cue from Peter Pan's desire for eternal childhood, Alden situates the story in a dreamy environment reminiscent of an abandoned fair ground. His treatment features a young, diverse cast, a dreamlike concept, and a humorous off-kilter energy that combine to propel the period classic into the 21st century. Kudos go to Bard for bringing this new production to the stage. It is the only one of Bernstein's theatrical works staged in the New York area during the centennial year. Allen's psychological gripping treatment reveals an "on trend" take of the story. The result is an innocent children's tale turned into something darker with up-to-date action and vivid characters.
     It all makes sense. Peter Smith as Peter and Erin Markey as Wendy represent a growing community of young trans and nonbinary performers who are gaining increased visibility in the mainstream.   
SUMMERSCAPE PRODUCTION
The Summerstage production features new choreography by Jack Ferver who also portrays Tinker Bell whilst holding a disco ball throughout. By turns whimsical and sinister, it is transfigured with Leonard Bernstein's shimmering score. The production's cast is led by "America's Baritone" (Broadway World) William Michals as Captain Hook who sonorous voice is breathtaking. Then, too, the energetic Peter Smith "cabaret powerhouse comedian/entertainer" takes center stage as Peter scaling the heights aboard the carousel and interacting with mesmerizing Erin Markey, another trans star of the New York performance scene,. 
Accolades go to Marsha Ginsberg's vivid sets, striking lighting and costume and lighting design by Terese Wadden and Jax Messenger.
           For Bard's take on Peter Pan Garth Edwin Sunderland re-scored Bernstein's music for a band of musicians. Fully integrated with the action kudos go to the excellent playing by a young instrumental sextet on stage.
      The new production premieres with 25 performances in the LUMA Theater of the Frank Gehry designed Richard B. Fisher Center of the Performing Arts on Bard's Judson Valley campus until July 22.
JUST THE FACTS 
Originally an Edwardian play by Scottish dramatist J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up owes is an enduring children's classic and owes its long status to two popular American adaptations, both of which date from the 1950s. Three of the songs"Who I Am?", "Build My House", and "Dream With Me" have been incorporated into the American songbook.
For tickets contact Fisher Center Box Office at 845-758-7900 or visit: 
www.fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape. 
    Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Get out of town and day trip up to BARD for an unforgettable journey with Bernstein's Peter Pan.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Bllogs
on www.pollytalk.coim.
       

Monday, July 2, 2018

OBSESSION: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele and Picasso at The Met Breuer: Review By Polly Guerin

The Met Breuer turns up the summer heat with a brilliant group of erotic and evocative watercolors, drawings, and prints by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Pablo Picasso whose subjects, except for a handful are nudes.  
OBSESSION: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele and Picasso from The Metropolitan Museum of
Art's Scofield Thayer Collection presents some fifty works in an exhibition opening Tuesday,
July 3 through October 7, 2018.  The exhibition is the first time these works are shown together and will provide a focused look at this important collection, it also marks the centenary of the deaths of Klimt who died at 55 of a struck and and Schiele who died at 28 during the Spanish flu epidemic. Image: Egon Schiele (Austrian, 1890-1918). Standing nude with orange drapery, 1914. Watercolor gouache, graphite on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of
Scofield Thayer, 1982.
 INTRODUCING AMERICA to MODERNISM   An aesthete and scion of a wealthy family, Scofield Thayer (1889-1982) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. His family fortune accumulated in the textile business Scofield afforded Scofield opportunity to enlarge his passion for modernism He was co-publisher and editor of the literary magazine the DIAL and from 1920 to 1929 was an influential outlet for modernist literature in English. 
       The avant-garde journal introduced Americans to the writing of Ezra Pound, D. H. Lawrence, Arthur Schnitzer, Thomas Mann, E. E. Cummings, and Marc Proust, among others. The first publication of T. S. Elliot's "The Waste Land," appeared in the Dial and the poetry prize that accompanied it had enormous influence at the time. The roster of contributors represented the who's who of the most celebrated poets and writers of the era. 
       Then too, let's not forget the poet, Marianne Moore's affiliation with the DIAL The prolific Greenwich Village poet served as editor of the DIAL along with other luminaries in the literary and art world.
       Scofield often accompanied these writer's contributions with reproductions of modern art never seen in America..  Throughout his life he was a passionate friend of Picasso.
      Thayer assembled his large collection of some 600 works---mostly works on paper in London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna Ebetween 1921 ad 1923. 
SCOFIELD THAYER While he was a patient of Sigmund Freud in Vienna, he acquired a large group of watercolors and drawings by Schiele and Klimt who at that time were unknown in America. When a selection from his collection was shown at the Montross Gallery in New York in 1924, five years before the Museum of Modern Art opened, it won acclaim.      

However, it found no favor in Thayer's native city, Worcester, Massachusetts, that same year when it was shown a the Worcester Art Museum.
     Incensed, Thayer drew up his will in 1925, leaving his collection to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With ongoing illness and  psychological difficulties his mental condition became worse.  He withdrew from life in the late 1920s ad lived as a recluse on Martha's Vineyard and Florida until his death in 1921.
EXHIBITION CATALOGUE The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by The Met.
An essay by James Dempsey, instructor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an authority on Scofield Thayer discusses the collector's professional and private life. Sabine Rewald discusses
in depth the works of the three artists and also examines Thayer's purchases between l921 and 1023, as documented in invoices.The exhibition is featured on the Museum's website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using hashtag #MetObsession.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! This is a steamy exhibition, most nudes. Visitors are advised that some images at this exhibitio contain explicit erotic content. Fan mail welcome, please contact
pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs on www.pollytalk.com and click on the Blog in the left column that resonates with your interest.