Sunday, October 30, 2016

Kai Althoff and then leave me to the common swifts. Moma.

            I went to the hell hole known as the Museum of Modern Art yesterday to check out this cheeky show by Kai Althoff who I never heard of but is the latest German darling to get a big show here.
I wasn't expecting much, the New York Times gave him a very tepid review, but I have to say that I found it to be somewhat amusing and fun, like visiting a tacky thrift shop or an eccentric aunt's crowded roomy apartment on the upper west side. It's an expensive looking installation, I mean the Moma built this elaborate set up of ramps, shelves, nice wooden floors, draped ceilings and bored looking guards all for this guy who I never heard of.
Anyway its jam packed and nicely arranged with stuff on shelves on the floor on platforms up and down, and in and out. It's pretty but crass to be sure, and some of it made me giggle like a teenage girl. However and its a big however I found the trash and stuff that is mixed in with his rather weak drawings and paintings more appealing than his work and here lies the danger and damage of this show.
I mean what is he going to do for the rest of his career, more thrift shop installations of Chachkies, do dads and muck mixed in with his so so drawings and paintings? He's like one of my wise ass art students with a big chip on their shoulders and like them this kind of work can be tiring after a while. It seems like its going run forever or at least until Jan 22 2017. No doubt the Moma wants to get their moola back on the big expense they no doubt spent on this show. Lets see 25.00 bucks admission fee x 200,000 visitors up to Jan. It could work out for you Moma.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Notebook drawing October 2016

"The Night Of" 2016


This 8 hour mini-series ran on HBO this summer, and since I don't have premium cable I had to wait until now to catch up with it, thanks to Netflix. For most of its running time this was a very compelling gripping crime justice slap in the face drama that was based on a British series and shows it roots and influences via the many crime dramas that fill the network's prime time.
I don't watch any of them, but after the first hour or so I knew where we were going. That said this has to be way above those shows because of the fine tough writing by Richard Price and the hard as nails direction by Steven Zaillian (he directed 7 of the 8 episodes) and the brilliant performances especially John Turturro as the disheveled down on his luck ambulance chasing bargain basement defense attorney (he has ads on the subway) and Riz Ahmed as the sad eyed Pakistani-American student who is accused of a terrible crime that Turturro takes on as his client.
The show is loaded with nice touches and details including Turturro’s terrible case of eczema on his feet and his touch and go with the victim’s cat. There are also terrific bouts of great supporting performances especially Jeannine Berlin as the prosecuting D.A. and Glenne Headley as a high powered big time lawyer who finagles her way into stealing Turturro’s client. Fans of The Wire will recognize several of the actors from that show playing roles similar to the ones they did on that series, and also good is the music the dark and moody cinematography that was actually filmed in New York City and not in Toronto or Cleveland that give the show a real New York state of mind feel and the realistic art direction that for once presents New York City apartments as they really are. Tangy and worth seeing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Notebook drawing October 2016

Moonlight 2016

         Seeing this film the other day made me realize why I love movies that tell a good story, and also why I make art, why I must tell my story and why artists all over the place have to tell theirs. This is a strong, lovely moving film set mainly in Florida in the 1980’s when living was hard, fast and drugged and sadly still is.
                  The film travels time to tell the story of a young African American boy Chiron who grows into a young man through the performances of  3 actors who are all wonderful, Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes. There are three pieces to this story of Chiron who is battling his inner and outer demons on a rocky road that in the final chapter gives us some hope for his solace and redemption.
          Chiron who realizes early on that he is probably gay is taunted and bullied through most of the film, and is damaged by his interior world of poverty and a drug addicted mother. In a stereotype busting plot device Chiron is saved by a sensitive loving drug dealer and his marvelous young girlfriend who give him a respite, a few good meals a place to rest his weary head and soul and a life affirming lesson on being who he is.
          In the second part when Chiron is now a teenager trying to find a space for himself he connects with a classmate and on a moon lit beach one night share a very strong intimate moment that doesn’t last and leads to a disturbing bit of violence and betrayal that is monumental in its repercussions.
             The final part presents us with a tough grown up Chiron bulked up, butch, distant and doing bad things when a phone call from someone from his past sends him on a journey to his healing. Beautifully written by Barry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney who based it on McCraney’s play and directed by Jenkins who is solidly in place to become the first African American to win a best director Oscar. Any more plot from me would take away from your pleasure of discovering this small gem for yourself, but I will say that anyone not moved by the diner scene near the end of the film with the great Barbara Lewis singing “Hello Stranger” does not deserve my friendship.

But Wait There’s more, or then there’s Maude and what is that big black elephant doing in my living room.

              A few months ago all the talk of awards and fame were going to a movie that was pretty much sight unseen “The Birth Of A Nation”. That was until all that nasty talk came to light about it’s creators Nate Parker and his former roommate and co-writer on the film Jean Celestin and their collage disgrace of being accused and acquitted of sexual assault while students at Pennsylvania State University. The complainant committed suicide in 2012. This baby still born was definitely being tossed out with the bath water. What was going on?
              This was the movie that was going to put the diversity charges against the Oscars to rest and would usher in a new major African American talent. But this as we now know has not happened. The movie has caused big discussions but not in a good way, and boycotts of the film have appeared all over the place.
             By this time I would have certainly seen the film, but I am so conflicted over these terrible accusations that I can’t bring myself to see it. It didn’t help the film or me that the reviews were mixed (that’s putting it mildly) and it is a box office flop. It also didn’t help that Parker offered weak excuses and bad TV and press interviews.  Not good.  Rape and sexual aggression has of course been front and center in this horrible national election cycle and also it seems to me does nothing to help the film’s chances with audiences and awards alike. |
           It also doesn’t help the film that Variety in it’s Oscar predictions places it in the deplorable category of “Also In Play” while “Moonlight” is sitting pretty in the paper’s top 10 choices of getting a best picture nod.  Which brings me back to the Oscars which has a chance to finally show its diversity and make history by giving awards to a African American director and a film that is a mature and impressive look at the challenges facing men of color whose love is for other men.
                This would indeed be a major breakthrough for them, taking away some of the bad taste left over from the homophobic denial of giving the best picture Oscar to Brokeback Mountain a few years ago.  It will also be a nice going away present for the Obama’s and a final slap in the face to the orange monster. So Jada darling start picking out your gown and shoes because girlfriend we are going to the Oscars this year.   

Monday, October 24, 2016

Max Beckmann in New York. The Met

I actually went to the Met yesterday which was a Sunday in New York and most knowing natives know never to step foot in this great place on a Sunday, but I did. Ok sure it was crazy crowded and the cozy packed show of these great paintings by Max was a little cramped and lazy with stalled ladies who lunch stopping for a rest in front of the paintings blocking my view. It was ok, it was a friendly chatting crowd with much eye contact and silly remarks about this and that, "Is that a spider in the painting" one older gent asked his equally old spouse." "No dear its a plant that is dried up and decayed, he was making a point about Germany I guess." Sweet. Anyway this is a stunning and great show of about 39 paintings that Max did in New York, but many of them were done in other places, Germany, Paris, Amsterdam, but the Met got around it because they are now owned by collectors and collections in the city. It seems a bit forced to me, but hey we get a chance, a rare chance to see many of his wonderful paintings in one place, so I'm not complaining. If you don't know Max now is your chance to hurry on up to this palace and move your eyes slowly across his bright and garish scenes of nightclubs and other places where the artists and writers both in Europe and New York hug out. They verge on the abstract sometimes, but Max was a realist through and through but one can relish his lavish use of color and outlines, shapes and figures of flash and glory in these very bold and beautiful works. He's known for his portraits including many of himself and these don't disappoint, the same holds true for his rare group of landscapes that end the show. I grew up seeing his work at the Moma and for me this is a great treat of a show. Max poor Max died of a heart attack on the street as he made his way to this very place to see one of his paintings in a group show, he never made it, but all of us can make it for him. One of the best exhibitions of the year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Oddball Magazine

Oddball Magazine Poem by Thomas M McDade artwork by me. Check it out at this link

Thom Jones 1945-2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Some Recent Photographs

Monday, October 17, 2016

notebook drawing October 2016

klaus Kertess 1940-2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Louis Stettner 1922-2016 a great photographer

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Notebook drawing October 2016

strange day

Strange day. I found myself at Coney Island today. I woke up and said I have to go to Coney Island. So there I was like walking in a waking dream. The Coney of my youth is of course long gone but for some reason I felt like going there today. It was a beautiful day, pleasantly warm, cool breezes, not too many people, and I took lots of photos that I will be posting down the road. When I got back I looked through my favorite book on Coney by Charles Denson who grew up there and took 100's of photos of the place as a kid, and I turned to what he had to say about Steeplechase my beloved Victorian treasure chest of my childhood.

I knew that Fred Trump had deviously bought the park and then destroyed it, and that his son the evil donald has gone on to his own destructive ways and here's a bit of what Charles said.

"When that idea failed (he's talking about Trump's failed plan to get the city to change the zoning) he sought revenge. trump known as a ruthless businessman, realized that there was a chance Steeplechase might be landmarked so he decided to demolish the park. With the park gone the city would be more receptive to a zoning change.

Trump mailed out engraved invitations to a party on September 21, 1966 celebrating the demolition of Steeplechase . He offered bricks to guests to throw through the funny face painted on the windows and many of the guests obliged. most guests remember the event as a disgusting display."

A disgusting display is what we have been seeing from his son for a long time, but I have great faith that this display will soon be over, and this evil vile sub human will soon be gone from our lives. The rotten acorn has not fallen far from the rotten tree. (Me in front of Steeplechase park.
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