Saturday, April 28, 2018

Peter Hujar. Speed Of Life & Tennessee Williams. No Refuge But Writing. The Morgan Library & Museum

My lover John the poet and art critic hated Peter Hujar. I found this out in the early 70’s when we were at some art opening, and like the song goes “across a crowded room” I noticed a handsome tall stranger cruising me. “Who he?” I asked John, and he told me that it was Peter Hujar a photographer and that he hated him. He didn’t tell me why he hated him but he said I should never ever have anything to do with him, to avoid him at all costs. Well of course I heeded his warning after all he was my lover.
Hujar was on a short list of men that I was not allowed to have anything to do with, and along with him was Andy Warhol and his entire factory, in fact I was barred from ever going to the factory, Allen Ginsberg and Tennessee Williams. Quite a group and I’m sure there were others that I’ve forgotten. One of our biggest fights came when John was invited to a birthday party for Tennessee Williams given by Charles Henri Ford at his apartment at the Dakota and John said that we were not going. I couldn’t go alone although it did cross my mind to do so, but it was John’s name on the guest list not mine, so we stayed at home that night with me fuming.
All of this brings me to the irony of seeing exhibitions recently by two of the men on “the list” “Speed Of Life” is an exhibition of the photographs of Peter Hujar and “No Refuge but Writing” is a memorabilia laden show on the life of Tennessee Williams, both exhibitions by the way are wonderful.
The photographs by Peter Hujar are both hard and soft, so there are pleasing pictures of young children and pleasing photos of young men pleasing themselves. As is common now with many contemporary photographers there are plenty of “celebrities” in the show, but not the usual “A” listers, like the Annie Leibovitz Rolling Stone kind. Hujar focused on the off the cuff celeb, the lower eastside out on a limb and on the cutting edge kind sometimes raw and dirty, so we get the drag superstar Candy Darling on her death bed instead of Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise looking cute. There are haunting portraits of the poet and dance critic Edwin Denby, and of great off off Broadway actors Ethyl Eichelberger who was sort of a muse for Hujar and Charles Ludlam who was sort of a muse for the rest of us. Death hangs over the show, many of the portraits are of his friends gone from AIDS including Hujar himself. The mix while vast and appealing is somewhat unsettling but always stunning.
The Tennessee Williams show which is beautifully designed and installed features many of his manuscripts both handwritten and typed, there is even one of his typewritters included. There are early drafts of some of his great plays including “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Rose Tattoo”. Also included are snapshots of Williams and his friends and lovers, copies of his published works, including those cheap paperback editions that you can still pick up on line dirt cheap, and many posters and playbills. I’m not one for standing and leaning over vitrines to read handwritten manuscripts but I sure would have loved to browse Marlon Brando’s small address book that he kept while doing Streetcar on Broadway which is included in the exhibit. Together the exhibitions form a nice loose look at two gay artists who lived very different life styles one more open than the other in terms of using their sexuality and sex in their art, but both made vivid and provocative works one with images and the other with words.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The greatest showman 2017

If this film was made in the 40’s, 50’s or even the early 60’s it no doubt would have been either the Christmas or Easter attraction at Radio City Music Hall with a spectacular stage show and all for a $2.00 admittance fee. Instead it was given to us in 2017 and I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It has lots of garish costumes; bright colors, frantic dance numbers and catchy tunes written by the duo who gave us the music for La La Land and the Broadway hit Dear Evan Hanson. The film is very loosely based on the life and times of P.T. Barnum and no Hugh Jackman does not look anything like “The Mighty Barnum” which was the title of a 1934 film version of his life that starred Wallace Berry who was a lot closer to him in looks than Jackman. But Jackman is a big movie star or at least what passes these days for one, and he is handsome and can dance and sing and he whirls and twirls all over the play with practically every cast member including a very miscast and almost invisible Michelle Williams who plays his put upon wife. He also does a somewhat homoerotic dance number with Zach Efron who has ambition, push and tight pants if not much talent. The movie follows very quickly Barnum’s early childhood and his journey to fame to become the Mike Todd of the 19th Century. The film looks sounds and feels like it came out of the Baz Luhrmann school of movie musicals but without the zaniness and outrageous sights and sounds of his films. This one kinda just lingers there which is not necessary a bad thing to do. The cast is up and down for me, I hardly knew what to make of Rebecca Ferguson who I never heard of who plays Jenny Lind with one foot in the 19th century and the other more firmly planted in 2017. Her looks and singing style have nothing to do with the period and is not her fault as no doubt the makers wanted to appeal to their audience of pre teens and tweens. Opera what’s opera. There is also someone named Zendaya who I also never heard of and is a pretty young thing who plays a tightrope performer and has pink hair and is romantic for Zach which is pretty far fetched if you ask me and not very convincing. The concoction was directed by Michael Gracey, his first film, but not doubt he will be doing more of this sort of thing for years to come

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ray Donovan season 5.

 This is one of my favorite shows, tense, complex and sexy but You can imagine my shock when watching disc one susie the meddler sarandon appeared, unexpected by me. I had no idea she was in it, and this threw me in a moral mess. Should I continue to watch or should I boycott it as I had stated I would any of her films. I've invested a lot of time with this show, and my thoughts were fuck her I love the show, and besides she has a tiny role and why should I let this evil bitch derail my viewing pleasure. True it's a tiny role, she plays a nasty evil bitch type casting and I wonder if this was the producers way of getting back at her. They are also liberal in their casting giving a great part to the right wing moron Jon Voight who is I have to say great in the show. They also cast that nasty piece of right wing crap James Woods a few years back in a role perfect for him, a criminal without any moral guidelines. So after I wiped my spilled cranberry juice off my shirt due to the shock of seeing this creep I decided that I would continue with the hope that she comes to a really nasty end. A word about her looks, I have to say she looked much younger than her 71 years, her face was so smooth and hard, you could ice skate on it, but she didn't look botoxed, the other physical thing I noticed were her hands which were also smooth and wrinkle free, which led me to believe that she was cgi or photoshop, which gave me a chuckle. So susie I will put up with your bright red dyed hair and your smooth as silk skin and hands because I love this show and will not allow you to ruin something else for me.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Marcia Hafif 1929-2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Oddball new

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Some more nice pieces from my Chinese Senior art class

Monday, April 16, 2018

Vittorio Taviani 1929-2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mixed on paper April 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Raw Nerve Leon Golub at the Met Breuer

Saw this riveting and searing retro like show of Leon Golub at the Met Breuer and please get up there or down there before it closes sometime in May. I was friends and acquaintances of both Leon and his equally talented and political wife Nancy Spero so I'm pleased that Leon is getting his due even though this strong couple are no longer with us. They were very gentle folks and yet their art were a bodies of strong political angry work. They were figurative when it was not fashionable or welcomed to be this kind of an artist, and what one should take note of here is not only his political and liberal feelings (I could only imagine what they would think of this monster sitting in the oval office) but Leon's marvelous skills as a painter and this is what took me in this time. He was also a sensual painter and a great colorist and his works hung loose without the constraints of stretched and framed canvases. He was also a wonderful draftsman and printmaker with some of his prints also on view here. The show should have been bigger, he could have easily filled up another floor, instead of them giving up two large galleries to the body show, which quite frankly got me nauseated so much so that I could only take in one floor. Maybe I was not feeling so great, the sudden heat, the subway, my leg which by the way is much better thanks to PT, the bright lights, and my arguing with the guard at the door over my having some cranberry juice (he acted like I had a gallon of the stuff with me, instead of one half filled bottle) with me that he did not want me to bring in. Finally after I told him I was going to check it, I needed it because of getting dizzy from my heart condition (I really poured it on) he relented and let me check it. So don't bring juice,but see this show.

Friday, April 13, 2018

New work from my two senior art classes

Thursday, April 12, 2018

J.D. McClatchy 1945-2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Gottlieb

I am thrilled to announce that I have been awarded a 2018 Adolph and Esther Gottlieb grant. This is my second one I have received the first one being in 2004. It is a nice bit of change as they say.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Dorothy Cantor Pearlstein 1928-2018

Sorry to learn of the death of Dorothy who I knew and have fond memories of her and Philip. She was a witty and intelligent person with a wicked sense of humor and was usually the center and life of any party. She was also a painter and along with Philip was a class mate of Andy Warhol at Carnegie Tech. Warhol later was a roommate of Philip's in NYC I send my deepest condolences to her family and to Julia her daughter. Once at a dinner at her house Dorothy brought this huge fish with the head still on and the eye starring at me, I turned white and Dorothy put the fish on the table went back into the kitchen and brought out some ham for me. At another dinner we were talking about Judy Chicago and Dorothy said yes she changed her name from Chicagowitz, and when hearing I was going to Cologne for a show she said "ira joel you'll love it, its just like Minneapolis. R.I.P. Dorothy.
Site Meter