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ART TALK 10_Vanitas, or Models (An Homage to Goya's 'Majas on a Balcony'), 2006First interested in the arts at 16 and still painting nearly every day at 93 years old, Anne Lyman Powers has had a prolific artistic career – to put it mildly. Born in Boston and educated at institutions such as Vassar, Columbia and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Powers devoted any free time she had growing up to studying, painting and sculpture.   An early influence on her work was politics, reinforced by her experience traveling in pre-WWII Europe. In 1937, at 15 years old, Powers got a firsthand glimpse of Nazi Germany and its propaganda campaign against contemporary art, branding the work of modernists and expressionists as “Degenerate.”   Powers herself would explore expressionist work in her painting, and back home in Boston, aligned herself with the Boston Expressionists. Later, changes in her personal life also meant changes in her art. Once married, Powers turned to her everyday life to mine it for subject matter – capturing vacation spots, social gatherings, and her family.   However, her eye for political satire didn’t remain dormant for long, and she continues to explore political themes in her work to this day.

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It’s a brand new year. And if one of your resolutions is to be a truly well rounded culture vulture, you’re in luck. We looked ahead to the first quarter of 2015, assembling a flock of diverse art outings that range from glossy, big-budget Broadway tours to edgier fringe theater, photographic exhibitions from pioneering artists to curious installations from under-the-radar names. This year, spread your wings — and open your mind — to encompass a greater swath of all that Boston’s impressive arts scene has to offer.

BREAD & PUPPET THEATER

BreadPuppet Mark Dannenhauer

Born within the 60s counter-culture movement, this Vermont-based theater troupe is known for its avant-garde use of progressive politicking puppetry: think oversized effigies of animals, Wall Street fat cats, and Uncle Sam used alongside song and dance to create curious — okay, often strange — spectacles that comment on everything from international wars to nuclear power. Bread & Puppet Theater’s run at the Cyclorama will feature two live shows: “Captain Boycott” and “The Nothing is Not Ready Circus,” both of which tackle themes of populist uprising. No matter where you fall on the left-right spectrum, you have to love such wonderfully wacky yet interminably heartfelt art.

Bread and Puppet Nothing is not Ready Circus
BreadPuppet3-Photo-Mark Dannenhauer

WHERE: Cyclorama at Boston Center for the Arts

WHEN: January 24 — February 1

 

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL

Motown the Musical

Not all jukebox musicals are created equal. And “Motown” has met with mixed reviews since its Broadway premiere in 2013, with some critics irked by its overstuffed songbook of 60+ recognizable hits — many reduced to only partial versions. But the story of Berry Gordy’s Detroit-based Motown record label, famous for churning out era-defining records by black artists like Diana Ross, The Four Tops, and the Jackson 5, feels especially relevant in 2015, when the popular music industry is finally beginning to have important conversations about cultural appropriation. (It’s been a bad year for Iggy Azalea.) Don’t want to think that hard? Kick back and enjoy the tunes. There’s a lot.

WHERE: Boston Opera House

WHEN: January 27 — February 15

 

GORDON PARKS: BACK TO FORT SCOTT

Born in 1912 in the small Midwest city of Fort Scott, Kansas, Gordon Parks had a childhood of hardships: from the death of his mother, who left behind 15 struggling children, to the pervasive racial discrimination that accompanied life for an African-American man. But in 1948, he became the first African-American photographer to be hired full-time by “LIFE” magazine, and soon after returned home to capture a visual essay that reconnects the shutterbug artist to his hometown — full of pleasant memories, and many painful ones too.

WHERE: Museum of Fine Arts

WHEN: January 17 — September 13

Sex-drenched nudes. Cheeky A-list party scenes. Sultry model-motifs. Elegant royal family portraits?

Is it possible to be one of the greatest provocateurs in fashion photography AND be the favorite family photog among British Royalty for over a decade?

It is and Mario Testino has been that photographer for 30 years– and refuses to stop anytime soon. styleboston takes a look at the man behind the camera.

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Woodkid – Iron from WOODKID on Vimeo.

In no uncertain terms, this is one of the most exquisitely beautiful music videos I have seen in ages. I forced anyone who would listen to watch it with me this weekend, and all but spammed it on more of my facebook friends’ walls than I think would be prudent to admit. I liked it that much.

It’s Monday, yet again, and despite this perfectly awful weather, there’s much to look forward to this week: from the new Chihuly exhibit at the MFA, to the opening of the Boston Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to market reviews, and, last but not least, interviews with a few of my fashion folk — hopefully enough to keep you entertained as you’re steadfastly avoiding work, while at work.

And don’t forget Max Brenner‘s fresh take on chocolate has come to Boston. Intrigued? You should be.

Much love –

JGC

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