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Posts Tagged ‘apples’

Them Apples

November 18, 2014 | by


An illustration by Philip Dadd for P. G. Wodehouse’s William Tell Told Again, 1904.

According to legend, it was on November 18, 1307, that the Swiss patriot William Tell shot an apple off his son’s head. After refusing to pay homage to a Hapsburg liege, Tell was forced to submit to the test of marksmanship. Later, Tell killed the tyrant and went on to many a daring exploit in the service of the Old Swiss Confederacy.

Although the William Tell legend is mentioned in books dating back to the late fifteenth century—and one can find similar marksmanship myths throughout the world—it was Schiller’s highly politicized play that canonized the apple-centric version, and, buoyed by Switzerland’s post-Napoleonic patriotism, made the archer iconic. Schiller had never visited Switzerland; he got the idea from his friend Goethe, who returned from a trip bearing tales of local lore. In 1804, the play premiered at Weimar under Goethe’s direction. (The popular Rossini opera—and the resulting Lone Ranger theme—was based on the play.)

Although a part of the German dramatic canon (and initially a Nazi favorite), the play came into disfavor with Hitler. After a 1941 assassination attempt by a Swiss-born activist, the Führer banned William Tell, reportedly lamenting, “Of all people Schiller had to glorify this Swiss sniper.” Read More »

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Eternal City

March 6, 2014 | by

whitney apple

Photo: Sadie Stein

The Whitney Biennial has generated any number of reviews—the more comprehensive ones will tell you about the distinguished curators, the three “biennials within a biennial,” the ambient sound installations.

So far, I have not read anything about the Apple.

On a chilly evening earlier this week, I attended a preview with a friend. It was, as others have recounted, crowded. “I thought you were the artist,” said a woman as I studied one of the pieces, a voluptuous ceramic by Alma Allen. “Because of the way you’re dressed, I mean.”

“Thank you,” I said. Alma Allen is a man.

By the door, a young woman was handing out canvas bags. “Just the ladies,” she said as we exited.

I waited until I was home to open my gift bag. Inside was a black box. “BCBGMAXAZRIA + WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART,” said one side of the box. Another side said “Celebrating 25 Years of Style.” A third said, “25th Anniversary Chrome Apple.” And the fourth featured text:

This chrome apple epitomizes the eternal relationship between fashion and art. We present this gift to you in celebration of BCBGMAXAZRIA’s 25th anniversary and the 2014 Whitney Biennial Sponsored by BCBGMAXAZRIA.

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