Oct 9, 2014

Henri Matisse's "Garden" Recreated at MoMA

These are two panels from the newly restored cut-out, "The Swimming Pool," by Henri Matisse, which is part of a new exhibit at MoMA. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.)
The Museum of Modern Art’s new exhibition “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs,” includes a newly restored work the museum purchased in 1973, “The Swimming Pool” (1952), among other spectacular examples of what the artist himself described as a “cutting out operation.” These works, which Matisse (1869-1954) began in the last decade or so of his life, were created with a pair of scissors and brightly colored gouache applied to white paper. The resulting shapes, which recur through several works, are sometimes imbricated, but often more simply arrayed across paper or burlap.

“The Swimming Pool,” pinned to burlap and on view in a room of its own, was the inspiration for the entire show. As Mr. Karl Buchberg, Senior Conservator at MoMA, explained at a press conference on Tuesday, he noticed the burlap was deteriorating and discoloring the paper. He proposed that it be replaced; the resulting restoration is what led to the idea of staging the exhibition. In a video which screens at the exhibit, Mr. Buchberg is seen removing some of that burlap thread by thread. He and Ms. Jodi Hauptman, Senior Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints, along with Ms. Samantha Friedman, Assistant Curator in that department, organized the exhibit, working in collaboration with London’s Tate Modern, which recently held a similar show. 
"Zulma" 1950, one of the cut-outs on display at MoMA's new exhibition. (Photo courtesy of MoMA.)

Oct 6, 2014

Tales of the Grim Sleeper Screens at The New York Film Festival Tonight

Fourth in a Series on The 52nd New York Film Festival. A fifth, on the restored Hiroshima Mon Amour, can be found here: http://screenerblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/alain-resnais-hiroshima-mon-amour-at.html

Pam, Nick Broomfield's (background) guide to the neighborhood in South LA where Tales of the Grim Sleeper was shot. (Photo courtesy of the New York Film Festival.)
Some documentaries are important, and Nick Broomfield’s Tales of the Grim Sleeper, screening at The New York Film Festival tonight, is one of them. But that does not mean the film is always comfortable to watch, as it sometimes skirts the boundaries of exploitation. In portraying the case of Lonnie Franklin, Jr., a Los Angeles serial murderer, the filmmaker worked with a small crew to produce a “high concept” documentary; it features America’s favorite evildoer police department, the LAPD, in one corner, and disenfranchised Blacks in the other. Broomfield maps a community devastated by crack cocaine, unemployment and poverty, and then skillfully employs a former drug addict, Pam, to garner the trust of people who could tell the story of these brutal crimes.