13
Jun

Venus in Fur

Written on June 13, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Film

Venus_in_Fur_posterThe last film to screen in competition at Cannes this year is a slight, spry comedy of sex and power; a doodle in the festival’s margins, perhaps, but it has certainly been sketched with a flourish.

Roman Polanski has adapted the David Ives play Venus in Fur, which is itself based on a novella by the Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. It is from Leo’s predilections that the word ‘masochism’ derives: his story concerns a man who gleans sexual pleasure by posing as the servant of Vanda, the woman he idolises.

Polanski’s film takes place entirely inside a theatre where auditions for a stage version of Sacher-Masoch’s tale are being held. The playwright, Thomas (Mathieu Amalric), has decided to direct his own script, and as the film begins, he is lamenting the lack of suitable actresses for the Vanda role. “I need a sexy young woman with classical training and a scrap of brain in her skull,” he fumes.

At that moment, an actress blows in through the door, although she is not the erudite gamine of Thomas’s casting-call fantasies. She is in her mid-40s; a blur of blonde hair, boobs and blue eyeshadow; and she seems to have only the vaguest idea as to what the text is about. Her name, oddly enough, is Vanda, and she is played by Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski’s wife. Vanda stands there, hand planted on fleshy hip, and cuts Thomas’s artistic ambitions down to size. “It’s S&M porn,” she shrugs. “I know my sadomasochism. I work in the theatre.”

Thomas reluctantly allows her to audition, and as the pair read through the script, the power balance between them flips and skews along with the unfolding on-stage drama. Amalric is, quite obviously, made up to look like a young Polanski of The Tenant vintage or thereabouts; Seigner’s character might represent almost any actress whom he has ever turned down for a part.

At first, Polanski openly goads us into thinking Seigner is too old for her role, as well as her role-within-a-role – but her character soon takes control of the theatre’s lighting desk, and when she dims the spots and throws seductive shadows across the makeshift set, she becomes progressively more gorgeous and goddess-like.

Continue reading in The Telegraph

12
Jun

IMG_3460El pasado 11 de junio tuvo lugar la presentación del libro del profesor Juan José Prat La Historia del Cuento Tradicional” en la que participaron, además del autor de la obra, el editor Pep Bruno, catedrático Joaquín Díaz y la Decana Arantza de Areilza.

Arantza de Areilza, Decana de Humanidades del IE, tomó la palabra en primer lugar. Dedicó los primeros minutos a describir el lugar de la charla, el pabellón de papel diseñado por el arquitecto japonés Shigeru Ban, Premio Pritzker 2014. Prosiguió introduciendo a los ponentes que participaron en la presentación.

A continuación intervino Joaquín Díaz, Catedrático de Estudios de la Tradición en la Universidad de Valladolid y académico de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de la Purísima Concepción. Rememoró como conoció al profesor Prat, cuando como director de la Revista de Folklore recibió un artículo que firmaba un doctorando de la Universidad de UCLA. En su ponencia destacó la vigencia de los relatos y la importancia del libro como recopilación de los diferentes tratados que hablan del cuento.

Pep Bruno, editor de la obra y director de la editorial Palabras del Candil, habló en tercer lugar. Primero explicó la naturaleza de la editorial que dirige y el objetivo de la misma: difundir publicaciones de libros y cuentos de narradores orales profesionales. Posteriormente resaltó las virtudes de la obra, mencionando que lo que le interesó de la obra del profesor Prat fue su interés por esa figura desconocida que suelen ser los narradores, describiéndola como “un mapa que nos guía a lo largo de la historia del cuento”.

Finalmente Juan José Prat, Doctor of Philosophy por la Universidad de California y profesor del Language Lab de IE University, habló de su obra. De una forma muy metódica dijo que su obra, que intermedia entre el estudio filológico y el folclorístico, se estructuraba en tres partes. La primera parte trata sobre la tradición que desemboca en el cuento. La segunda parte es un recorrido por la historia del cuento, comenzando por los papiros del Antiguo Egipto hasta los hermanos Grimm, pasando por Mesopotamia, la Biblia, la tradición grecorromana, India, la tradición musulmana medieval, China, el renacimiento italiano, el barroco francés y el orientalismo.  Durante su explicación, el ponente compartió con el público ejemplos de cada momento histórico. La tercera y última parte del libro es un repaso, por países, de las principales colecciones de cuentos folclóricos que se ha hecho desde el siglo XIX hasta hoy día. Concluyó  su ponencia diciendo “me ha faltado incluir el cuento pintado, la miniaturas, los retablos y los imaginarios” esperando poder acometerlo en un próximo volumen.

Tras las ponencias se cedió la palabra al público generándose un entretenido debate. Se preguntó a los ponentes sobre la época dorada del cuento, las razones por las cuales surgen mismas temáticas en dos lugares distintos y la tradición americana precolombina.

11
Jun

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

Written on June 11, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Literature

Tartt_TheGoldfinchDonna Tartt’s three novels can all be described as psychological thrillers, but they are experienced as a sequence of highs and crashes, binges and hangovers. Characters are infatuated, confused, guilty, anxious; they suffer hallucinations and nightmares and nearly lose all control. In Tartt’s bestselling debut, The Secret History (1992), a clan of chic Classics students attending an elite Vermont college murder a local farmer while in the throes of a drug-induced bacchanal; throughout, characters distract themselves with Greek poetry and dinner parties, self-medicating with alcohol and sleeping pills. Tartt’s second novel, The Little Friend (2002), set in 1970s Mississippi, also begins with a brutal death – a child hanged in the back garden – which leaves its large cast of characters either dazed with depression or manic with mistaken theories.

The narrator of Tartt’s new novel is Theodore Decker, a young New Yorker similarly drawn to emotional extremes and hedonism. The Goldfinch begins in an Amsterdam hotel where he is in hiding, delirious with flu and reading about his crimes in the local newspaper (like The Secret History, this is a back-to-front kind of detective story). The real action, however, is set in motion by a suspenseful episode in which a bomb is detonated in New York’s Metropolitan Museum, where 13-year-old Theo and his mother have been viewing an exhibition of Dutch old masters. The bomb kills Theo’s mother and several others; the boy escapes but suffers a concussion which, in a sense, lasts for the rest of this 784-page novel, in which he veers between shock, grief, heartache, and a reliance on pharmaceuticals. The tone is permanently heightened; like a Dutch painting, every scene is described in glittering detail and framed with retrospective melancholy. “There was something festive and happy about the two of us,” Theo remembers of his mother, “hurrying up the steps beneath the flimsy candy-striped umbrella, quick quick quick, for all the world as if we were escaping something terrible instead of running right into it … ”

Continue reading in Financial Times

10
Jun

Frick Seeks to Expand Beyond Jewel-Box Spaces

Written on June 10, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Arts & Cultures & Societies

FRICK1-superJumboJoining a trend toward major expansions, the Frick Collection, known for its intimate, jewel-box galleries, will announce on Tuesday plans for a new six-story wing that will increase its exhibition space, open private upstairs rooms, and offer views of Central Park from a new roof garden on East 70th Street.

With its proposal, the Frick joins a roster of museums across the country that are enlarging, a sign perhaps of increased competition for the cultural spotlight, as well as a rebound in fund-raising since the dark days of the economic downturn.

In New York, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are planning new wings, and the Whitney Museum of American Art is nearing completion on an entirely new building.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is planning a new $500 million home on Wilshire Boulevard; the new $131 million Miami Art Museum (now called the Pérez Art Museum Miami) opened in December; the Cleveland Museum of Art just completed its eight-year, $350 million expansion and renovation; and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington has a $100 million expansion in the works.

Critics of other expansions — like MoMA’s — have called them unnecessary, too expensive or even hubristic. As the Frick rolls out its plans, it could face opposition for altering one of New York’s beloved historic buildings, a late Gilded Age mansion designed by Thomas Hastings for the industrialist Henry Clay Frick, where visitors can view a world-class assemblage of old master paintings, European sculpture and decorative arts.

“We and our public revere the authenticity, the intimacy of the space,” said Ian Wardropper, the museum’s director. “So this is a responsibility we take very seriously.”

The Frick’s plan has yet to be presented to its neighbors. Mr. Wardropper said the Frick “will be responsive to their concerns and transparent about the process.”

The project — which would increase space by nearly a third — will also require the approval of city landmark officials because it entails adding to the mansion, and is likely to draw scrutiny from some neighbors who live on the quiet residential blocks surrounding it.

The Whitney Museum of American Art, just five blocks away, fought for more than a year with Upper East Side residents and preservationists over building a nine-story tower behind a row of brownstones in a designated historic district and ultimately decided to move to another site altogether.

The Frick’s current spaces are too small to accommodate the crowds that have come for exhibitions, officials said, like last year’s paintings from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, which featured Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” and Fabritius’s “The Goldfinch.”

Continue reading in The New York Times

9
Jun

royThis summer, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is presenting Pop Art Myths , the first exhibition on this subject in Madrid since Pop Art at the Museo Reina Sofía in 1992. More than twenty years later, the exhibition’s curator Paloma Alarcó, Head of Modern Painting at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, will offer a reassessment of this artistic trend from a 21 st -century viewpoint. Featuring more than 100 works ranging from pioneering British Pop Art to the classic American version and its expansion into Europe, the exhibition aims to trace the shared sources of international Pop Art and to undertake a revision of the myths that have traditionally defined the movement. It will reveal how the legendary images created by artists of the stature of Warhol, Rauschenberg, Wesselmann, Lichtenstein, Hockney, Hamilton and Equipo Crónica, among many others, conceal an ironic and innovative code of perception of reality and one that still prevails in contemporary art today. The exhibition is sponsored by Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and will include works from more than fifty museums and private collections around the world, with important loans from the National Gallery of Washington, the Tate, London, the IVAM, Valencia, and the prestigious Mugrabi Collection in New York, to name but a few.

More than any other modern art movement, Pop immediately captured the popular imagination. Its emergence in the late 1950s and early 1960s represented one of the most liberating moments in art history. Furthermore, it was not only attractive to the general public, as the radical nature of its challenge and its connections with underground culture also appealed to numerous intellectual circles. In contrast to the widespread weariness at the time with the idealism of the modern movement, characterised by its introspective, utopian nature, Pop Art offered the new generations an exciting, secularised world in which there were no longer any boundaries between the artistic and the everyday. For Pop, every image was recyclable, every object could be transformed into art and its true aim, which time has demonstrated to have been achieved, was that of offering a new interpretation of the image of contemporary culture.

In contrast to other thematic exhibitions on this movement and the retrospectives on some of its leading artists that have taken place over the past few years and which have presented Pop as the forerunner of numerous artistic trends, the approach offered by the exhibition’s curator is to connect Pop with the past tradition of painting and to highlight these links, revealing them through the Museum’s own Permanent Collection, which concludes its survey of more than 700 years of the history of painting with works by some of the leading names of Pop.

The great paradox concealed within Pop Art lies in the combination of its desire for rupture and its respect for the art of the past. The structure of the exhibition aims to make that connection evident, with galleries organised according to the classic genres of portraiture, still life, history painting and landscape, displaying the work of leading figures of American and British Pop alongside that of Spanish, Italian, German and French artists who shared a similar attitude.

Continue reading in Art Daily

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