Sunday, July 17, 2016

An Arts Weekend

Thursday July 14, 2016
Tonight I attended the opening night gala for Celebrating UA in the Concourse Gallery at the Upper Arlington Municipal Center. I typically only attend one of these per year, but am always glad I went (even though it takes forever to get there in rush hour traffic). This time I was treated to not only some spectacular art, but I got to hear some lovely poems recited as well (though sadly I don’t know the identity of the poet or I would give him a shout out here). I don’t know if it was the rain or the quality of the art, but I would say there was a pretty good turnout as there were at least a couple dozen people milling around the gallery.

I definitely couldn’t pick one single favorite, but the one that stood out the most to me was what looked like a page torn out of a high school yearbook carved out in wood. It appears the artist transferred the black and white photos onto wood and then delicately carved out the negative space between faces. That mixed media piece called “Portsmouth High School” was created by Barbara Vogel.

If I had to choose one or two I wouldn’t mind hanging in my own house, I would pick either Suzanne Cruickshank’s quilt called “Sunbrellas” or her “Precious Pink” textile piece, or Ned Moore’s “Painting Class on the Rocks,” a painting of people doing En pleine air painting.

Friday July 15, 2016
Tonight we attended the annual showing of a silent film at the Ohio Theatre as part of CAPA’s summer film series. We typically only attend this one film every summer, though we have gone to see “Wizard of Oz” on its 70th anniversary showing, and “Pretty Woman” on a girl’s night out evening with my sister.

This year’s film was called “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans,” and starred George O’Brien as the husband and Janet Gaynor as his wife, and Margaret Livingston as “the woman” (a lady of the evening).
Spoiler alert: The plot revolves around the sad sack of a husband who has taken to visiting a lady of the evening who tries to talk George into killing his wife and moving to the city with her. Not sure what plans they had for their toddler, but apparently that wasn’t crucial to the plot. The husband talks his wife into taking a boat ride with him, during which he plans to push her out of the boat and drown her making it look like an accident. As he leans forward to strangle her, he loses his nerve and rows to shore (on the city side) after which his wife runs as fast as she can to get away from him. They catch up to each other and he pleads with her not to be afraid of him and to please forgive him. It takes some doing (food, flowers, a nice dinner club and games on the boardwalk), but she eventually does forgive him, and they even have their portrait taken to remember the evening.

However, while they’re sailing home (in a rowboat), a storm suddenly hits and their boat is capsized separating the pair. We later see the husband washed up on shore. Then the scramble begins as the town folk are dispatched to help locate his wife. We occasionally see her floating unconscious, and it doesn’t look good for her, but apparently someone was quick with the CPR and was able to save her. All I know is her nurse maid was crying happy tears, and the wife was resting in bed at the end of the movie. They lived happily ever after.

We were warned it was a bit dark at first, but then things turn around. The bit with the drunken pig at the fair/inside the kitchen at the restaurant was definitely the moment of comic relief in the movie (that and the husband replacing the broken head of a statue with a small rubber ball).

Saturday July 16, 2016
Today we visited the Dublin Arts Council’s gallery inside the lovely century building on Riverside Drive. The exhibit, by artist Eileen Woods, was called “Last Words.” According to the DAC description, “Eileen Woods: Last Words is a text-driven exhibition that focuses on the spoken or written last words of the dying in their native languages. Woods uses mixed media and text in two and three dimensions to explore the subjects of mortality and memory. Sources for the text range from the last recorded words of the historically famous, the infamous and the anonymous.
“Most last words are lost through time,” said Woods. “Perhaps they were not recorded, or those that heard the words are not alive to repeat them.  This exhibition illuminates the last words that were preserved, allowing me to give them another incarnation.”

It was definitely an edgy exhibit with melancholic overtones, but I like the artist’s creativity. There were one or two I wouldn’t mind having in my house as they were each interesting pieces on their own. My favorite few last words were: “I told you I was ill.” – Spike Milligan’s last words engraved on his tombstone; “I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been,” Virginia Woolf; “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the grim reaper,” Robert Alton Harris (executed by gas 1992).

After dinner we decided to head over to our favorite local cinema with the comfy reclining loungers, and saw “The Secret Life of Pets.” I rarely laugh out loud in movies, but I definitely did in this one. Anyone who has ever had a pet can relate to their universal antics (like a cat doing a not-so-graceful landing and acting like it was intentional). We could both see influences from other films like “Flushed Away,” “Shaun the Sheep,” or even “Finding Dory.” Besides all the animal stuff, I also enjoyed the rose colored glasses view of Manhattan as drawn by the film artists. I wouldn’t have minded living in Katie’s apartment with its lovely little balcony with a view over Central Park.

Sunday July 17, 2016
Today my husband and I met an artist friend, Ayn and her husband at the Columbus Museum of Art to see the new Picasso exhibit titled, “The Great War, Experimentation and Change.” According to the museum’s summary, “Columbus Museum of Art, in partnership with the Barnes Foundation, presents an exhibition featuring one of the greatest artists of all time – Pablo Picasso. Inspired by CMA’s Picasso Still Life with Compote and Glass, 1914–15, the show features some 50 works drawn from major museums and private collections from around the world. The exhibition explores how Pablo Picasso’s work was impacted by the tumultuous years of the First World War, when the artist began experimenting with both cubist and classical modes in his art. Important canvases by Picasso’s contemporaries—including Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Diego Rivera—will also be presented.

The exhibition also features four costumes that Picasso designed for the avant-garde ballet, Parade, which premiered in Paris in 1917. Parade was the first cross-disciplinary collaboration of its kind. The ballet, which tells the story of an itinerant theater group performing a sideshow, or a parade, was viewed as a revolutionary approach to theater. Picasso was the first avant-garde artist involved in such a production. With Picasso’s strange, geometric costumes, Parade might be seen as the ultimate fusion of classical and cubist forms.”

All four of us thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. My artist friend commented it was nice to see a Picasso exhibit with so many actual Picasso pieces, since sometimes you get less by the actual artist and more works in the same style by other artists (like at the Wexner exhibit last year that was a tribute to Picasso).

My favorites are the cubist and collage pieces, but I was also impressed by the costumes he did for the ballet, “Parade.” Ayn and I discussed how difficult it is to interpret his cubist works. I liked her suggestion of making dozens of copies of it on a copy machine, and then cut out the various pieces and try to arrange them like a puzzle to see if they make more sense that way.

In fact, at the rear of the exhibit you could do exactly that and create your own Picasso, which my husband did. Here’s a photo of his piece:

To kill time, (we still had about an hour or so until the library opened) I took Ayn’s suggestion and decided to don a costume and have my picture taken in front of a giant mock-up of a Picasso painting. It took a little while as we had to wait our turn in line since this was quite a popular activity. I think we have smart phones to thank for that, since everyone can now get their 15 minutes of fame on Instagram. Here’s a couple of my poses:

Afterwards we toured the rest of the exhibit. I didn’t realize Picasso had also taken up sculpting rather late in life. Why not? Why should he limit his talent to only paper and canvas? That’s not to say that I think all his pieces were resounding successes (like the plate with a smiley face that looks like it could have been drawn by a child, but that was intentional). I did, however, like his owl pitcher and a few other pieces I wouldn’t mind having in my kitchen (or wherever).

We did eventually make it over to the newly remodeled (and opened about 3 weeks ago) main library. I am sorry to say that neither of us was impressed. “Sterile” was the word that came to both of our minds. I told him it reminded me a bit of an airport lounge (minus airplanes and constant interruptions over the PA system) without the excitement of going anywhere. Although the books are neatly organized and there’s plenty of staff and computers to assist you, there’s just gobs and gobs and gobs of empty space that seems so, I dunno, wasteful? Perhaps we’re spoiled having visited other great institutions like the NYC public library, the Chicago Public Library and definitely the Seattle Public Library (which we took a guided tour of back in 2009). When you go upstairs and look down over the atrium, it reminded me a bit of the newly remodeled (as of a few years ago anyway) Cleveland Museum of Art, which is also spacious (but they host public events in their atrium).

[Perhaps next time we’re up in Cleveland we’ll have to (re)visit the library up there and make a comparison. I haven’t been there in at least 20 years since I last visited with some friends on a girl’s day out. My friend Valerie later sent me a photo she had taken of the library that I had matted and still have to this day.]

Still, I got what I wanted, which was an armload of free books and enough leisure time to browse since Andrew found himself a book and was sat reading it when I was done selecting my books.

All in all, a pretty full weekend. Not sure what we’ll do for an encore. I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned.

Have a good week everyone!

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