Europa and the Bull by Gustave Moreau, watercolour, c. 1869.
“Gustave Moreau is one of the radical artists of the nineteenth century whose imagination seems to anticipate the cinematic. His art is one of spectacle and alive with fabulous stories. Unique in his own time, especially for painting the great mythological and exotic stories of the ancient world, erotic and often violent, Moreau’s painterly bravura is vivid, his colour dazzling and jewel-like. At times he applies paint and uses mixed media with a freedom verging on the abstract – so that he seems to possess a modern sensibility.” A small selection of the symbolist painter’s works are on view in Victoria. Gustave Moreau and the Eternal Femine is showing at the National Gallery of Victoria until April 10th, 2011. www.ngv.vic.gov.au
“Feldmann entered the art world in the late 1960s when he began to construct and exhibit editions of small booklets containing found images such as postcards, magazine clippings, and posters. These images constituted part of Feldmann’s massive “picture archive,” an assortment of images categorized according to the artist’s own system. In the event that a part of the archive was incomplete (an image was missing), Feldmann would capture this image via his own photography. Using image reproduction, photography or otherwise, as a means to illuminate the mysteries of daily life, he consistently gives credence to under-recognized art forms such as the photo album, never underestimating the power of the most “common” aesthetic strategies…..Hans-Peter Feldmann lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.” A major collection of his works is on display at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. www.museoreinasofia.es
Are you a neoplasticist at heart? De Stijl, Dutch for “The Style”, also known as neoplasticism, was a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917. The theories and founding philosophies were propagated culturally by the artistic journals of Dutch painter, designer, writer, and critic Theo van Doesburg; it could even be said that Doesberg was the founder of de stijl or neoplasticism. “De Stijl sought to express a new utopian ideal of spiritual harmony and order. They advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour; they simplified visual compositions to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colors along with black and white.” It all started in 1915: during a two year stint in the army Doesburg meets Piet Mondrian, who was eight years older and had already gained some attention for his strange geometric paintings. Doesburg is fascinated by Mondrian. De Stijl was influenced by Cubist painting as well as by the mysticism and the ideas about “ideal” geometric forms (such as the “perfect straight line”) in the neoplatonic philosophy of mathematician M.H.J. Schoenmaekers. The works of De Stijl would influence the Bauhaus style and the international style of architecture as well as clothing and interior design. Visit the Tate Modern for an exhibition entitled ‘Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde – Contructing a New World.’ “Including over 350 works (many unseen in the UK before) by key artists as Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, László Moholy-Nagy, Piet Mondrian, Francis Picabia, Gerrit Rietveld, Kurt Schwitters and Sophie Taeuber.” www.tatemodern.org.uk
In Carol Jerrems’ short sweet life she photographed everything she could; even herself dying of a terrible, rare blood disease. Jerrems became prominent in the 1970s in Australia as apart of a new wave of young photographers and is just now over the last five years finding a reemergence in world culture; akin to posthumous rise of Francesca Woodman, an American photographer, whose life was also claimed by tragedy at a young age. Jerrems photographed Australian outcasts and subcultures…anybody who stood out…anybody whose soul she could fit in the diary of her photographic oeuvre. Her photograph ‘Vale Street’ is practically iconic in Australia. Even at the age of 31, as she lingered around in her last days in the hospital, she took meticulous journalistic notes and photographs of her own decline. Last October saw the close of a show of her work in a group exhibit at at the Heide museum in Victoria, Australia, but you can still find a nice catalog of images in their store here. You can also view an amazing clip of a documentary about Carol Jerrems here.
Original Japanese Trailer for “Woman of the Dunes”
“Eija Okada plays an amateur entomologist who has left Tokyo to study an unclassified species of beetle that resides in a remote, vast desert; when he misses his bus back to civilization, he is persuaded to spend the night in the home of a young widow (Kiyoko Kishida) who lives in a hut at the bottom of a sand dune. What results is one of cinema’s most bristling, unnerving, and palpably erotic battles of the sexes, as well as a nightmarish depiction of everyday Sisyphean struggle….” You can find this film on Criterion here.
Circa 1955: A diving horse mid-dive with the rider clinging to its neck. (photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)
Circa 1955: Dinah, a diving horse stands with her rider after a dive. (photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)
William Frank “Doc” Carver or “Evil Spirit,” as he was sometimes known, was a talented, freewheelin sharp shooter and former dentist in the late 19th century. One day in 1881, whilst chasing bandits in Nebraska on horse back, a bridge he crosses collapses and he and his horse dive 60 feet into the the river below. It is this event that inspires Carver to develop the diving horse act. Carver trained various animals and went on tour. His son, Al Carver constructed the ramp and tower and his daughter Lorena Carver was the first rider. Sonora Webster Carver, William “Doc” Carver’s daughter-in-law, joined the show in 1924. The show became a permanent fixture at Atlantic City’s very popular venue, Steel Pier. This popular American past time disappeared shortly after the 1950s.
“I Am Secretly An Important Man is a feature length documentary film portrait of Steven J. Bernstein (aka Jesse Bernstein), one of Seattle’s most celebrated voices. His angry, surprisingly fresh, lyrical writings are about sensitive souls, drifters and drug addicts; people alienated by a society that refuses to understand them. He peeled back the ugliness and the darkness of life on the fringe to expose tender and not so tender human feeling. His unique rhythms, filled with humor and pain, were especially exciting when read in his own gravely voice. People packed into theaters, bars and cafes to hear him read and sing.” www.iamsecretlyanimportantman.com
George Stubbs, born in England in 1724 and died in England in 1806, was extremely fond of painting horses. His painting Brood Mares and Foals, just sold for close to sixteen million dollars at a Sotheby’s auction.