Photography & Art

Documenting a Changing Vietnam Through Photographs

Andrew Lam

Though the country remained under a one-party rule, Vietnam has since the late 1980s eased its once-iron grip on the economy and cultural life, moving from a socialist to a free market economy. Gone are the days when citizens were required to discuss Marxist-Leninist doctrines at weekly neighborhood sessions. Gone too are the permits needed to buy rice from state-run stores, or to move from one city to another. The drab, impoverished and immobile nation that Catherine saw when she first visited in 1990 quickly shifted under her lens. And fascinated, she kept coming back. 

Intriguing Exhibit of Self-Portraits Featured at the National Academy Museum

Sandra Bertrand

But the primary focus of the show is a far-reaching exploration of how such personal portraiture has been transformed over the decades.  It comprises not only choice works from Academy members, but entries from places as far-flung as Palestine, Lebanon, Iran and China.  Perhaps the biggest and most welcome surprise is the extent of entries from women—62 such artists represented from 30 different countries in all.  

Marc Riboud Captures the Mysteries of Asia in Photo Series

Sabeena Khosla

While it sounds typical – Western male artist enters “exotic” land to bring stories back home – one must remember that at the time of Riboud’s creations, the metropolitan West, in the fallout of the World Wars, was just starting to gain a real appreciation for what Asia had to offer. Yet Riboud deters from juxtaposing the differences in cultures as a way to highlight both sides’ strengths. 

New Exhibit Features Life of Helena Rubinstein – Every Woman’s Empress of Beauty

Sandra Bertrand

From her small town beginnings in the Jewish Poland of 1872, Helena Rubinstein grew a cosmetics empire that spanned four continents.  By her death in 1965 at 92, this self-made magnate of beauty had not only amassed a world-class collection of Western, African and Oceanic art, but transformed how millions of women thought about themselves.  The Jewish Museum’s gorgeously-mounted exhibit, Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power, is aptly titled.  

Inside the World of Animation Artist Chuck Jones

Sabeena Khosla

These are all characters embedded in American childhood and how we remember them is due to the careful process Jones employed as an animator for WB Inc. He saw his characters as actors themselves, taking anthropomorphism to a new level in the cartoon sphere. The exhibit begins with layout drawings and detailed notes Jones wrote next to the sketchy preliminary drawings of Bugs. Next to the figure he would write how to form the movement: “In a walk: humans, rabbits, or ducks, the shoulders are always an opposite angle to the hips,” and when Bugs is tired “think of a dollar sign” for his shape. 

New Exhibit Celebrates the World of the Abstract Artists

Various Artists

The Anita Shapolsky Gallery currently presents “Abstract Approaches,” a comprehensive collection of many works from the The New York School of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as works as early as 1935 and as recent as 2009. Abstract art means many things. It is not as simple as a room full of gestural paintings, almost indistinguishable from one another. It varies beyond the use of linear shapes and pure geometry. Abstract artists are more complex than one style, or one viable term. 

El Greco in New York: The Met’s 400th Anniversary Celebration

Sandra Bertrand

The Met’s own collection of El Greco’s religious paintings, portraits, and the incomparable rare landscape of the artist’s, The View of Toledo, is the finest outside of the Prado’s in Madrid.  Added to this, the generous loans of six other works from the Hispanic Society of America make this a special treat for the viewer. (Concurrently, three El Greco pictures which cannot be removed, are on view at The Frick Collection.) The comprehensive display can be seen in one room and if at first, it may not seem expansive enough for the jaded gallery-hopper, it is truly an embarrassment of riches.  

‘The Hard Line’ Exhibit Highlights Artists’ Use of Color

Anita Shapolsky

The approach of Seymour Boardman (1921-2005) to visual structure evolved from his earlier works which evidenced a concern with expressive painted surfaces. After losing the use of his left hand during World War II, Boardman resumed his art studies in France from 1946-1949. “Visual structure” played a major role in his approach. Boardman moved from the use of gestural paint strokes to formally composed canvases that are specific in the use of color, shape placement, and line. 

Brooklyn Museum’s ‘Connecting Cultures’ Exhibit Highlights Artists From Around the World

Sabeena Khosla

Brooklyn Museum’s long-term installation Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn brings objects from the museum’s extensive collection and unites them thematically. Rather than visit different galleries representing specific time periods and/or cultures, this singular space set on the main floor provides an intimate archive of works from across the globe that range from antiquity to the contemporary. 

The Paris of Toulouse Lautrec

Sandra Bertrand

The Paris of Toulouse Lautrec: Prints and Posters, the first Museum of Modern Art exhibition in 30 years dedicated solely to Lautrec, features over 100 examples of work created during the apex of his career.  It is a giddy but never glum celebration of the most colorful and notorious characters that inhabited his world and his genius at depicting them.  It’s primarily the dancers and aristocratic doyens, the prostitutes, publishers and pleasure-seekers of the night that captured his heart, and subsequently, his brush.  

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