Monday, June 26, 2006

what have I become?

this weekend I realized exctly how much of a cliche I've become. Observe:
  • read: assassination vacation
  • watched: wordplay
  • attended: "The Jewish Identity Project" and "Rwanda: After, Darfur: Now" at the Skirball, the Klimt exhibition at LACMA.
and I loved each and every one. Only halfway through Vowell's book, but her wry, self-depracating writing about the first three presidential assassinations in the US is fascinating. Wordplay is a warm, funny documentary about crossword puzzle freaks - if you saw Spellbound - this movie is basically what those kids grew up to be (and it made me miss that element of new york that is totally unencumbered by any desire to be "cool" and completely happy in their own nerdiness - not sure I've found that here yet).

the Jewish Identity project was suprisingly good - asking what exactly is a Jew in an age of multiculturalism and hyper-globalization. And how does that self-perception change from one generation to the next, particularly in families that went through the Holocaust (pretty much ripped from a page in my family's history). And Darfur, while timely and relevant, didn't really shed much light on anything I haven't already read in the press. Juxtaposing it with images of Rwanda's genocide brings the message home, and its hard not to feel something looking at the images of malnourished children, but I blame Sally Struthers for inundating us with similar images, then innoculating us to them. The photos just seemed to lack a real narrative, or emotional heft. or am I just cold?

which brings me to Klimt, which closes on the 30th. If you're in LA, Go. Before it closes. the lines were monstrous, they move slowly, the exhibition is packed. but its worth every annoying inconvenience. Reproductions just dont capture the colors, the layers, the vibrancy of his work. And going with john, he loved to point out how this painting could be read:

ok, prepare for art analysis 101: John pointed out that Adele Bloch-Bauer's figure can be read as both a phallus or a yoni. the dual drapes of her coat look like labia, or if read as a phallus, then her head looks like its "penetrating" the dark hole of her hat. but john doesn't like to stop there - he also likes to wax poetic on one of his favorite topics: the interplay of sex and death. Adele's pallor, her vacuous stare, lend the painting a funereal quality. we didn't even get around to trying to analyze the apparent orientalism going on in the background.

but after reading the history of the exhibition - the struggle to recover the klimt's back from the Austrian government after they were stolen by the Nazis - slaps us with the irony of finally being able to see these works just as our own country struggles with an imperialist war. yup, sweet, sweet irony.

oh, and I finally saw the dodgers actually win a game this weekend.

1 Comments:

At 4:55 AM, Anonymous hollywood said...

Not to mention the irony of LACMA's hoping to keep the Klimt's here while they are being whisked off to the Neue Galerie in NYC with the most well known one of Adele Bloch-Bauer being purchased by Mr. Lauder for $135 million!

 

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