visual arts

The Gates (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on October 8, 2011

73. The Gates (available to stream via Netflix)

Here is a sneak peek of The Gates.

[youtube asrkpr4Wnf4]

The Gates is a documentary covering the proposing, development and launch of The Gates, an art project launched in Central Park in New York in 2005.  The artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, had tried to bring The Gates to the park in the 70s, but were shot down by a number of people who thought that the project was silly and was like painting over another painting.  All while watching the footage of 70s New Yorkers who hated the idea, it seemed that they were just arguing to argue.

The Gates: Tree of Orange

The Gates: Tree of Orange by LarimdaME on Flickr.

Part of the completed project in Central Park.

Mayor Bloomberg approved the installation of The Gates and so the project was launched.  Huge teams of volunteers had to get involved to first install the bases and then the arches.  The flag-like fabric hanging from the arches was released with a tab, which allowed all of the gates to be opened within a few hours.

The documentary is a little bit long.  The installation process is sprinkled in with pissy New Yorkers who think it is ridiculous.  Once the project is launched, lots of happy New Yorkers are shown enjoying the park being filled with orange saffron fabric blowing in the breeze, in the middle of February.  I have to say, the timing was important, the impact would have been completely different had all of the trees been covered in leaves.

I don’t know why people were so bent out of shape about The Gates.  It was only there for 16 days.  It did no permanent damage to the park, but changed the vibe in the park for a little while.  I still think the documentary could have had 10 minutes less of footage of just the exhibit, but I still enjoyed it.

The Gates is available on DVD from Amazon for $21.99.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on September 15, 2011

64. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (available to stream via Netflix and Amazon Instant Video)

Here is the trailer for Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is a 2010 documentary by Tamra Davis.  Davis befriended Basquiat in the 80s and interviewed him a few years before he died.  She held onto the footage for years before deciding to use it as the basis for a documentary about the life and career of Basquiat.

In addition to the footage of Basquiat himself, there are interviews with his former girlfriend and many other artists that he knew during his rise and eventual time spent at the top of the art world.  He struggled for a long time with being accepted into the traditional art world, and eventually became a massive success.

Basquiat had become more and more reliant on drugs as his career progressed, and was eventually ended by his addiction, passing away from an overdose at the age of 27.

I really enjoyed this movie. I am a fan of Basquiat’s work and his story is fascinating.  To see him through the eyes of his contemporaries and people in his personal life illustrate that story beautifully.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is available on DVD from Amazon for $12.49.

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McQueen

Romantic Primitivism at the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exhibit, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Last week, Will (my husband) and I braved the intense heat and headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to view the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit.  After finding out that we would be facing a wait of 2 hours to get into the exhibit, we decided that the best course of action was to buy yearlong memberships to the museum so that we could 1)skip the line into the Alexander McQueen exhibit, and 2)come back to the museum anytime we want during the next year without paying to get in.  The membership cost is such that if we go to the museum 3 times in the year that we’ve more than covered the cost. It seemed like a no-brainer.

The Cabinet of Curiosities in the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you have a chance to be in New York between now and August 7th, make the effort to go to the museum and see the Savage Beauty exhibit.  While I have loved watching fashion shows on TV and looking at photos online, getting to be this close to some of the ridiculously detailed work happening on these creations was mind-blowing.  The work with feathers was particularly interesting to me, I could have stared at those pieces for hours.

Plato's Atlantis in the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you cannot make it to the Met between now and August 7th, you need to watch the video embedded below.  It gives a wonderful overview of the exhibit and the items contained therein.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

[youtube Pg0HwLAJyV0]

Here are some other links about the exhibit and the items within it:

Another way to get some of the experience of this exhibit is through the official book, which I find out now is available on Amazon.

Savage Beauty BookThe hardcover Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is available from Amazon for $29.61.

If you want to visit the exhibit in person, admission to the Met is $25/person, with the audio tour headphones costing an additional $7.

Did anyone have a chance to attend the exhibition? What was your favorite thing about it?

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