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Whistle Down the Wind. 1961. Great Britain. Directed by Bryan Forbes These notes accompany screenings of Bryan Forbes’s Whistle Down the Wind on October 9, 10, and 11 in Theater 3. The 1960s were an important period in the history ...
Whistle Down the Wind. 1961. Great Britain. Directed by Bryan Forbes These notes accompany screenings of Bryan Forbes’s Whistle Down the Wind on October 9, 10, and 11 in Theater 3. The 1960s were an important period in the history of English cinema, but one that would be hard to label or define. The classical directors were either gone or struggling to stay afloat: the Korda brothers (Alex and Zoltan) were dead; Michael Powell remained relatively active but less interesting; David Lean managed three colossal international co-productions, but the impetus and money came mostly from Hollywood. Laurence Olivier was busy acting. Much of the quality output came from American émigrés like Joseph Losey, Stanley Kubrick, Richard Lester, and Cy Enfield. The British social realists (Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson, Lindsay Anderson) flourished briefly, but they then drifted off into less personal and more lucrative pursuits. Then we also have talented but somewhat amorphous directors like Clive Donner, John Schlesinger, and Bryan Forbes, whose credentials as authentic auteurs might be called into question. Hayley Mills and Alan Bates in Whistle Down the Wind. 1961. Great Britain. Directed by Bryan ForbesFor Forbes (1926–2013), Whistle Down the Wind was his first film as a director, although he had been acting since World War II. He directed another dozen films before retreating mostly to television in his three final decades. He had caused a brief stir with Whistle, The L-Shaped Room (Leslie Caron), Séance on a Wet Afternoon (Kim Stanley, Richard Attenborough), and a few other films later in the decade. His American outing The Stepford Wives (1975) became a minor classic, with several sequels and a cult following. There is a certain literary quality to the best and earliest of Forbes’s films, which he generally wrote himself. (He was a frequently published author of novels, memoirs, etc.) He had a certain flair for directing actors, but as one critic suggests of The Whisperers (1966), the direction is “too restrained to be really absorbing.” This gets at the heart of Andrew Sarris’s rather harsh dismissal of Forbes: “Always nibbling at nuances, always straining for subtlety…perpetually pursues the anti-cliché only to arrive at anticlimax.” Hayley Mills, daughter of John Mills (who would star in Forbes’s madcap The Wrong Box opposite Ralph Richardson and Peter Sellers), was already a child star thanks to Walt Disney. Although she has continued working, her career didn’t blossom much after such 1960s highlights as Ronald Neame’s The Chalk Garden, Ida Lupino’s The Trouble with Angels, and The Moon-Spinners, a film which brought together the unlikely pairing of Eli Wallach and Pola Negri. Whistle Down the Wind is also based on a novel by Haley’s mother, Mary Haley Bell. Alan Bates, on the other hand, remained a prominent figure for decades after Whistle Down the Wind provided his first important role. He would appear in films directed by Joseph Losey, Clive Donner, Michael Cacoyannis, Franco Zeffirelli, Ken Russell, Paul Mazursky, Lindsay Anderson, John Schlesinger, Philippe de Broca, Richard Lester, Robert Altman, and even Harold Pinter. The history of British film in the 1960s and 1970s is unimaginable without Bates. Forbes’s film is such a delicate allegory that only Bates’s superb performance holds it together. Forbes and Mills were nominated for BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Oscars), but Bates was not. Like Burt Lancaster and Paul Newman in America, he remained mostly underrated, perhaps as punishment for his good looks.
about 16 hours ago
Although the annual Artists' Balls may have started and flourished in Belle Epoque Montmartre in Paris, I eventually came across Sydney’s Artists’ Balls... via a circuitous route. Dulcie Deamer was a published author in Sydney in the 192...
Although the annual Artists' Balls may have started and flourished in Belle Epoque Montmartre in Paris, I eventually came across Sydney’s Artists’ Balls... via a circuitous route. Dulcie Deamer was a published author in Sydney in the 1920s and 1930s. This Queen of Bohemia participated in a very modern world of literature and art, including playing a role in every Artists' Ball in Sydney for 30 years! The skimpy leopard skin costume that she wore to the 1923 Artists' Ball in Sydney was immortalised in the photo below.souvenirArtists Ball, 1924SydneyThe Sydney Artists' Balls, which started in 1898, were always glamorous, slightly disreputable events, alarming both the church and the police with the participants’ behaviour. Everyone attended in fancy dress costume and the rooms were well decorated with the artists’ works. Deborah Beck (Inside History July-Aug 2013) located the venues for many of the Artists’ Balls: Paddington Town Hall from 1898 until the war; Sydney Town Hall throughout the 1920s; and later the Palais Royale, David Jones Auditorium, Blaxland Galleries and particularly the Trocadero. In every case, the Artists’ Balls were held to raise money for charities and to give the art students, artists, their models and assorted other party-goers an extravagant evening of merriment.Once World War One was over, behaviour at the balls was thought by the authorities to be even more problematic. Young men were thrilled to be demob­ilised from the army and young women were becoming ever more independent, socially and financially. Their clothing became skimpier, the music more jazzy and the alcohol more easily available. Not surprisingly, the newspapers could not publish the messy details quickly enough, thus reinforcing Sydney’s view of itself as Australia’s capital of the post-war Jazz Age. Even the City Council got involved - apparently there was a very serious discussion amongst those august councillors regarding the unseemliness of some of the costumes worn and the disorderly conduct noted!Recently I was thrilled to find a mention of the 1920s Artists’ Balls in modern Australian literature. In Death Before Wicket by Kerry Greenwood, amateur sleuth Phryne Fisher had pl­ans for her Sydney sojourn; a few days at the Test cricket, some sight­seeing and the Artist's Ball with an up-and-coming young modern­ist!! **Strange Flowers said that the Chelsea Arts Club in London was founded in 1891 with an explicit mandate to be “Bohemian in character”, a marked contrast to the stuffy private clubs of the era. Among its early members were Whistler, Sargent and Augustus John. In 1910 the first Chelsea Arts Ball was held in the Royal Albert Hall where the prefabricated Great Floor provided the largest dancing space in the world. London society rose to the occasion: four thousand young people danced the night away. And from then on, until the 1950s, the club threw legendary fancy-dress balls at the Royal Albert Hall every year, to raise funds for artists' charities.Dulcie Deamer, Sydney1924I can also find plenty of references to Artists’ Balls in early 20th century USA. The Kokoon Arts Club, for example, was founded in 1911 by a group of young Cleve­l­and artists. The organisation's inspiration was based largely on the bohemian spirit of the Kit Kat Klub in New York, giving members the opportunity to exercise their individual artiness. Members held classes with live models, exhibited their work and the work of others in the club's gallery spaces and went on summer sketching trips.Cleveland's fledgling Kokoon Arts Club held its first Bal Masque in 1913 in hopes raising money. It would be the first of many. The annual costume ball became a popular, if notorious event that kept the Kokoon Arts Club in the spotlight well into the 1930s. The Bals were publicised using handbills and lavish, often daring, poster art.The Boston Art Students Association/now the Copley Society of Art was formed to supplement the academic training of the Museum
about 23 hours ago
This is a shameless plug for a course I’m teaching in the Midlands area, A Short History of Drawing, at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry, starting 19th October. The course will be tied in to some of the artists in the Herbert’s upcomi...
This is a shameless plug for a course I’m teaching in the Midlands area, A Short History of Drawing, at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry, starting 19th October. The course will be tied in to some of the artists in the Herbert’s upcoming Exposed: The Body in Art, from Durer to Freud exhibition. This is a joint venture between Birmingham Art Gallery and the Herbert who will be pooling their resources for this show. Artists on my course and in the exhibition will include Durer, Burne-Jones, Rossetti, , Rodin, Lucien Freud Francis Bacon, Helen Chadwick and more. As an enticement, admission to the course includes free entry to the Exposed show ( 22 November 2013 to Monday 21 April 2014). If you are in the Midlands area, then pass the news around, but hurry as enrolment ends this Thursday! Sorry about the late announcement but I’ve only just heard from the gallery about  free admission tied into the course.
1 day ago
Installation view of the Arkheia exhibition Visita al Archivo Olivier Debroise: entre la ficción y el documento, 2011. Courtesy of Centro de Documentación Arkheia, MUAC, UNAM. Furniture design by Giacomo Castagnola Working with the fasci...
Installation view of the Arkheia exhibition Visita al Archivo Olivier Debroise: entre la ficción y el documento, 2011. Courtesy of Centro de Documentación Arkheia, MUAC, UNAM. Furniture design by Giacomo Castagnola Working with the fascinating collections in the MoMA Archives on a daily basis has led me to think about the ways in which archives share their unpublished material with the public. Outside of assisting researchers consulting documents in our reading room, the MoMA Archives staff also organizes show-and-tell events and exhibitions for visitors to the Museum. Through my work on some of these displays, I have become especially interested in the different methods that arts archives use to exhibit their material. This curiosity led me to use my fellowship travel grant to visit Mexico City this summer, in pursuit of a few smaller archives that explore different archival exhibition tactics. At Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), located within the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México campus, the archives occupy a space dubbed Arkheia. Director Pilar Garcia has curated a handful of dynamic exhibitions utilizing Arkheia’s growing holdings of contemporary Mexican arts archives. Garcia plans the shows around custom-built “exhibition furniture.” The equipment includes vitrines with nested drawers that open to reveal detailed material, reconfigurable cabinets that house photo albums or video viewing booths, and tables that display contemporary artwork directly alongside their documentation. Installation view of the Arkheia exhibition Posición Errante/Wandering Position, 2010. Courtesy of Centro de Documentación Arkheia, MUAC, UNAM. Furniture design by Giacomo Castagnola. Photograph by Laura Cohen These components link together to form a web of information, providing the visitor with an organic network of paths through the exhibition space, while still allowing room for serendipitous discovery. For example, Garcia hopes a visitor might walk by an alcove and overhear a snippet of conversation; when they peer inside, a set of headphones invites them to listen to an artist interview. Archives are widely pigeonholed as static objects, but at Arkheia they spring to life and inundate the senses. This bodily connection with the material provides multiple entry points to the exhibited works in MUAC’s galleries. “After all,” Garcia explained, “you really cannot understand contemporary art without its documentation.” Located in Chapultepec Park, on the other side of the city, the archives at the Museo Tamayo are still in their nascent stages. The documentation center staff are just beginning to process small collections of museum exhibition files and audiovisual material. Books, archival photographs, press clippings, and documents currently inhabit a hybrid space designed to complement and expand the museum’s exhibition program: the Modulario. Detail of Modulario, the reference room of Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo The Modulario consists of wooden exhibition vitrines and bookshelves, but rather than forming active paths of archival discovery, the organic sculptures shape spaces that encourage extended consultation and one-on-one contact with the material. Indeed, on my visit, a staff member invited me to select a binder of press clippings and make myself comfortable on one of the seats nestled in the wooden framework. The archives exhibited in the Modulario ultimately morph beyond visual, content-driven items into an interactive, physically engaging reference area for the museum visitor. By experimenting with a variety of exhibition displays, MUAC and the Museo Tamayo provide visitors with opportunities to experience, discover, and understand the context and history of their museum’s artwork through the archival documents.
1 day ago
Another post on American museums- the Gardner Museum in Boston.
Another post on American museums- the Gardner Museum in Boston.
2 days ago
Beauty awakens the soul to actDanteOur experience of art is invariably personal, and undoubtedly subjective. How we process a painting, sculpture or film is dependent on myriad factors from our own past and present, and includes elements...
Beauty awakens the soul to actDanteOur experience of art is invariably personal, and undoubtedly subjective. How we process a painting, sculpture or film is dependent on myriad factors from our own past and present, and includes elements of prior knowledge and experience of language, images and sound.I would like to use this post to explore my experience of the Paolo Sorrentino film La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), which I saw recently as part of an Italian Film Festival. I have no intention of providing an exhaustive synopsis, but will recommend the film to lovers of Italian art and culture, and to aesthetes in general. The film may also be of particular interest to writers, as the main character is a writer, who having had success with a single novel early in his career, has spent most of his life as a columnist and socialite living among Roman high society.Read more »
3 days ago
When I did my Gap Year in Israel in 1966, my rather elderly landlord had WW1 photos of triumphant Australian soldiers all across the walls of his dining room. Since the landlord had been a young child in 1917 and never spoke a single wor...
When I did my Gap Year in Israel in 1966, my rather elderly landlord had WW1 photos of triumphant Australian soldiers all across the walls of his dining room. Since the landlord had been a young child in 1917 and never spoke a single word of English in his life, I wondered why was he so emotional about Australian lads and their horses 50 years later.The Australian Light Horse and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade were mounted troops with characteristics of both cavalry and mounted infantry. They served in the Boer War and WWI. One of the regiments that took part in the charge at Beer­sheba was the 12th Light Horse Regiment of the Australian Imperial Force, drawn largely from farming lads from outback New South Wales. In fact on the 31st October 1917, the Australian Light Horse and New Zealand Mounted Rif­les were engaged in a battle that was the ANZACs' greatest charge ever.ANZACs before the charge Beersheba, 1917The Turks held a 60-Km line between Gaza on the coast and Beersheba to the east. Over the months, two attacks on Gaza had already comprehensively failed. So Gen Sir Edmund Allenby, an experienced and successful cavalry leader, took over.The Light Horse Brigade had circled into the desert to the East and arrived at a point north of Beersheba. For this operat­ion to succeed, Beersheba had to be taken in one day, otherwise this huge force would exhaust its water supply - the nearest adequate water supply for the Desert Mounted Corps was some 12 hours ride away. At dusk most of the positions had been taken, but Beersheba (and its water) was still controlled by the Turks.The German Officers in command of the Turks in Beersheba recognised the advancing formation of Mounted Horsemen as Mounted Infantry and ordered the Turkish defenders to wait until they had dismounted, then to open fire. The Turkish infantry set their rifle sights to 1,500 metres.In my opinion, the ANZAC soldiers must have been insane to battle machine guns with nothing but swords and loud yells.The Turkish artillery, who opened fire with shrapnel that exploded in front of the galloping horsemen, hit some. Then, after a brief zone of casualties, the lines galloped free. The Turkish soldiers were un­ner­ved by the mass of Light Horsemen thundering closer and they could not adjust their sights fast enough. Their bullets began to whistle harm­lessly over the heads of the charging troops. On reaching the tren­ches many horses were brought down and others were impaled on bayonets. They galloped straight for the enemy guns, capturing them intact, then rode on to Beersheba.It had taken just one glorious/tragic hour. It saved an army and set it on the way to Jerusalem (see last paragraph).Australia Post and Israel Post stamps2013By night Beersheba was in the hands of Allenby's Army. Great disord­er prevailed in the enemy camp; armed and unarmed Turks waited to be captured. The two ANZAC Regiments took 738 prisoners, captured 9 field guns, 3 machine guns and many transport vehicles. By 10 pm 58,000 light horsemen and 100,000 animals had swarmed into Beer­sheba. It took 1,800,000 litres of water to slake their battle thirst.The soldiers and their superb horses had carried out a suc­cessful charge, against what had seemed impossible odds. But the casualties were bad. Of the 800 lads who rode in the charge, 31 men were killed and 36 were so wounded they never fought again. Others were wounded, but were able to be treated in Jerusalem.The swift, thundering rush of successive waves of horsemen at dusk had confused the German and Turkish leaders, who afterwards confess­ed that the 800 Light Horsemen seemed to be at least a Division strong. German generals had long known of the fighting qualities of ANZAC sold­iers and stated, "They are not soldiers at all; they are mad­men". Jewish families across the Levant welcomed the lads into their homes, hearts and history.The Battle of Jerusalem was after, and separate from, the Beersheba Charge. In Jerusalem the fighting star
4 days ago
We are sinking in a swamp of misattributions! The week started with yet further attempts to revive a tired old claim about a “Titian” concert party. Then in the middle of the week I heard about the “discovery” of the original Velasquez...
We are sinking in a swamp of misattributions! The week started with yet further attempts to revive a tired old claim about a “Titian” concert party. Then in the middle of the week I heard about the “discovery” of the original Velasquez Las Meninas in Dorset. But it gets better- or worse, depending on your point of view. Now we’re closing off the week with yet another optimistic claim this time about Leonardo, the “find” of his Portrait of Isabella d’Este (above) known only through a drawing of her in the Louvre.. A crisis in connoisseurship and attributions? I prefer swamp of misattributions!  Lets raise our game next week chaps.Let’s  go for 4 rediscovered masterpieces. 
4 days ago
MoMA’s celebration of the landmark year 1913 continues with the 17th installment in our series of videos highlighting important works from 1913 in the Museum’s collection. Above, Anne Morra, associate curator in the Departme...
MoMA’s celebration of the landmark year 1913 continues with the 17th installment in our series of videos highlighting important works from 1913 in the Museum’s collection. Above, Anne Morra, associate curator in the Department of Film, speaks about D.W. Griffith’s film The Mothering Heart. Remember, these videos will be published throughout 2013 and are accessible on this blog and at MoMA.org/1913, so be sure check to back often for updates.
5 days ago
Time for another post on the Old Masters in the New World blog. This time we’re looking at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Time for another post on the Old Masters in the New World blog. This time we’re looking at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
5 days ago