Posts Tagged ‘peter schjeldahl’

Photo diary: Friday morning at MOMA

December 1, 2013

(click pictures to enlarge)

I stopped by the Museum of Modern Art on Friday to take advantage of their Black Friday special — six months extra when you buy a year’s membership. Such a deal! While I was there, since it was members’ early hour (9:30-10:30) and the place was surprisingly unthronged, I took the occasion to stroll through the current blockbuster show, “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-38.” I love Magritte’s work for its wit and its ability to peel strangeness out of everyday tableaux. It’s fascinating to notice how many of his images have become embedded in our cultural consciousness. It’s not that they look any less strange or striking — I would say that Magritte has contributed to how we accept surrealism as part of our landscape, literally and figuratively. There are many pictures in the show I’ve never seen before, and some favorites are not here, which reminded me that I must have seen a giant retrospective of his work before, possibly in London, because that show turned me on to what I think is my favorite of his paintings, “Homesickness.”

magritte homesickness
No photography is permitted in the Magritte galleries, but also on the sixth floor is the Isa Genzken retrospective, where pictures are encouraged. Before this week, I’d never heard of her, but I read Peter Schjeldahl’s glowing review in this week’s New Yorker, along with Nick Paumgarten’s profile of high-powered art dealer David Zwirner (who represents her) and Judith Thurman’s blog post about her aborted profile of the artist. So I felt sufficiently prepped to tour her array of sculptures, videos, collages, assemblages, paintings, photographs, and notebooks.
11-29 isa 411-29 isa 211-29 isa genzken 1
I was intrigued to read about and then to see evidence of her curious and strong identification with the gay male culture she encountered both in Berlin and in New York City.

11-29 isa and the gays
This piece, for instance, is called “Gay Babies” — a handful of suspended assemblages of net metal pans, chains, and other debris:

11-29 gay babies
She likes to use cruddy everyday objects for whimsical constructions, like this one, part of a piece called “Fuck the Bauhaus”:

11-29 fuck the bauhaus detail11-29 fuck the bauhaus
And there are a bunch of dioramas depicting vaguely sci-fi scenarios collectively called “Empire/Vampire,” an indirect response to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center (which apparently she witnessed firsthand):

11-29 empire vampire 1

In this week’s New Yorker

December 2, 2012

america bitch cartoonThe annual Food Issue isn’t one I look forward to with particular relish, but I gorged myself on this year’s, starting with a uniformly excellent Talk of the Town section, especially the pieces on dragonflies and Aimee Mann. Calvin Trillin’s piece on Mexican food includes this hilarious description of mole as “a thick sauce made from as many as thirty ingredients, in a process so laborious that it puts most complicated Continental dishes into the category of Pop-Tart preparation by comparison.” Among the food pieces, I found myself engrossed by Mimi Sheraton’s piece on sausages and Lauren Collins’s profile of Apollonia Poilane, who took charge of her family’s famous bakery in Paris after her parents died in a helicopter crash when she was 18 years old. And I kept being strangely moved to tears by Jane Kramer’s loooooong, intimate profile of Yotam Ottolenghi (below) and Sami Tamimi, two gay Israelis (ex-lovers now with other partners) who have apparently revolutionized the way food-conscious Londoners eat. At the very end of the article, she describes an enviable evening she spent cooking, eating, and drinking wine with the two of them, their partners, and Ottolenghi’s ex Noam Bar and his partner.
ottolenghiAlso delicious: Peter Schjeldahl’s review of Deidre Bair’s biography of Saul Steinberg, whose love life was remarkable, to say the least. I haven’t read Antonya Nelson’s short story “Literally,” but I’m about to chill out and listen to her read it aloud on the magazine’s iPad app.

In this week’s New Yorker

March 9, 2012


Top stories this week:

– Dexter Filkins’ informative piece on Turkey, its prime minister, and the concept of “the deep state (great first line I’d like to hear read aloud: “Not long ago, at a resort in the Turkish town of Kizilcahaman, Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan stood before a gathering of leaders of the Justice and Development Party to celebrate both his country and himself”);

– Daniel Zalewiski’s meticulous article about Christian Marclay’s meticulous creation of his work, especially his 24-hour film mash-up, “The Clock”;

– Peter Schjeldahl’s entertaining and infectious rave review of the Whitney Biennial;

and last and possibly best: Dahlia Lithwick’s review of Dale Carpenter’s book “Flagrant Conduct,” in which she encapsulates Carpenter’s revelations about the true story of Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark Supreme Court decision ruling sodomy laws unconstitutional, a major victory for the gay rights movement. History has handed down the case as one in which Texas police broke into a private home and discovered two guys in bed having sex and busted them for it. Lithwick writes:

“Two of the four officers who entered the apartment reported seeing two men having sex. Yet one officer reported seeing anal sex and the other remembered seeing oral sex. The other two saw no sex at all. At least three saw [a] homoerotic drawing [of James Dean with oversized genitals].

“Carpenter’s painstaking interviews establish that Garner and Lawrence not only weren’t having sex but were clothed (Lawrence was in his underwear, preparing for bed) and in separate rooms. This makes sense if you consider the timeline that night (Eubanks [Garner's drunken boyfriend, who's the one who called the cops, saying somebody was being threatened with a gun] was ostensibly just slipping out to buy a soda) and the fact that there was yet another man still in the apartment. But the defendants’ accounts were never disclosed to the media. Nor was the existence of Lawrence’s longtime boyfriend, Jose Garcia. Requests by lawyers that the privacy of the two plaintiffs be respected meant that little attention was ever paid to their personal lives. Lawrence and Garner, for their part, were given strict instructions by the lawyers to shun the press. (Carpenter is careful throughout to show that none of the civil-rights lawyers lied or misrepresented the facts.) The litigation strategy, as the case made its way up through the trial courts and appeals courts, was deliberately framed to highlight the need to decriminalize homosexual conduct as a means of recognizing and legitimatizing same-sex ‘relationships’ and ‘families.’ In short, the legal issue was not that free societies must let drunken gay Texans have sex; it was that gay families around the country, in the words of one of the lawyers in the case, ‘are essentially just like everybody else.’ ” Fascinating. Read the whole piece here.

And then there’s Bob Staake’s cover, which must have made New York Times columnist Gail Collins very happy. Have you noticed that every single one of her columns, without fail, mentions that Romney took his family on vacation once with the dog strapped to the top of the car? It’s a running joke that never fails to crack me up.

In this week’s New Yorker

March 26, 2011

For a fashion issue, this week’s New Yorker is remarkably substantial. Of course, the disaster in Japan looms over the issue and our minds. Evan Osnos writes a terrific “Letter from Japan” with on-the-ground reporting of the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, noting among other things the notable and very Japanese calm in the face of catastrophe (no looting) as well as the fantastic stories that have rushed into the vacuum of the government’s stingy information about the nuclear crisis. Osnos compares the current tragedy to past earthquake-related disasters in Japan and includes this bit of information new to me: “After the 1923 quake in Kanto, rumors swept Tokyo and Yokohama that Koreans were committing arson and poisoning wells. And so, amid the still smoking ruins of those cities, angry mobs, some including members of the police force and other officials, murdered thousands of Koreans—a massacre that remains a source of shame today.”

A bridge in Nishinomiya, Japan, fourteen miles from Kobe, after an earthquake struck on January 17, 1995

I’m not a huge fan of Karuki Murakami, so I didn’t read his short story “U.F.O. in Kushiro,” but it’s illustrated with amazing pictures taken of the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe (above).

Peter Schjeldahl’s review of the inadvertently timely art show at the Japan Society called “Bye Bye Kitty!!!” makes me definitely want to see the show.

Among the fashion stories, I was surprised to find myself riveted by Alexandra Jacobs’s story about Sara Blakely and the invention of Spanx (and its related industry of shape-slimming underwear) and also by Lauren Collins’s extremely well-written and intimate profile of shoe designer Christian Louboutin, he of the red soles. One thing I love about the exceptionally sophisticated coverage of fashion in both the New Yorker and the New York Times these days is the almost inevitable and matter-of-fact way that high-end designers’ homosexuality is acknowledged — something that was just not done even a generation ago.

Malcolm Gladwell contributes an astonishing encapsulation of what sounds like an unusually good book, Ruth Brandon’s “Ugly Beauty,” which is a double biography of two cosmetics magnates, Helena Rubenstein and Eugene Schueller (creator of L’Oreal). Gladwell’s piece, which includes a side visit to the history of Ikea, muses on the interplay of politics and business — it’s a dense good read.

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