Posts Tagged ‘Roland Barthes’
March 22, 2013 | by The Paris Review
For three years—ever since it came out—people have been recommending this unusual family history, by a potter named Edmund de Waal, all about the fate of a collection of Japanese miniatures whose owners migrated from Odessa to Paris to Vienna. And for three years I took their word for it. Because really, a book about somebody’s heirlooms? Then one night last week, all keyed up from three hours of House of Cards, I pulled down The Hare with Amber Eyes (a gift copy), hoping it would put me to sleep. Fat chance. I’d expected charm, but here was astringent wit, quiet erudition, just the necessary amount of first person, and an unromantic, sharply observed, very poignant account of a Jewish family’s rise and fall between the Belle Epoque and World War II. From House to Hare: from the frying pan into the fire. —Lorin Stein
I debated recommending the Romanian film Beyond the Hills, not because it isn’t terrific—a fact that will come as no surprise to anyone who saw director Cristian Mungiu’s first feature, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days—but rather because so many critics have done it more justice than I ever could, and because I found watching it so harrowing an experience. Loosely based on a real-life 2005 case of an exorcism in a Moldavian monastery, the film is a horror movie, a romance, a character study, and, most of all, the kind of true tragedy we normally don’t see, or feel. It’s long and slow paced, but utterly riveting; I came out of the theater completely shell-shocked. I don’t think I could sit through it again, but you’ll be making a mistake if you don’t see it while you can. —Sadie Stein
Chimurenga is a difficult magazine to define: a collection of African art, comics, journalism, and photography, every edition looks entirely different (to give you an idea of its inscrutability, the October 2011 edition was set in May 2008). The founder is also a DJ who runs a jazz bar, and sometimes hosts twenty-four-hour secret jam sessions. There are no invites and no posters; the Chimurenga motto is “who no know go know.” Their latest venture is Chimurenga Chronic, a “pan-African quarterly print gazette” that deals in everything from art and faith to dirty deals and cricket stars. (To get a sense of its sweep, try “The Last Words of Fela Anikulapo Kuti” and the interactive comic strip.) Print availability is another matter: Chronic was due out on the streets “now-now,” which in South Africa translates roughly to “it’ll be out when it’s out, which will probably be soon, we can’t say exactly when, but we know you want to keep your eyes peeled for it. And it might already be out, so look sharp.” —Olivia Walton Read More »
November 16, 2011 | by Jenny Hendrix
Kermit Westergaard, an interior designer, had come to SoHo from his home in the neighborhood where Greenpoint, Brooklyn, nudges up against Ridgewood, Queens, to attend a 110th anniversary retrospective of works by Erté, the “father of Art Deco,” at the Martin Lawrence Gallery. Westergaard, an affable, lightly balding man, seemed somewhat underdressed in comparison to the other gallery attendees, but clothes were in fact the purpose of his visit: from his mother, the theatrical producer Louise Westergaard, he had inherited twenty costumes designed by Erté. The garments are in a storage locker, and Westergaard hoped to find someone at the gallery who could put them to use. “I would rather have the drawings of the costumes than the costumes themselves,” he said, somewhat sadly. “I mean, what do you do with them?” He held a catalog of the costumes under his arm, and took it out to show me. They were exquisite, diva-worthy confections: stars and pearls and spiderwebbed dresses, halolike headpieces, cascading nets of rhinestones, and silver lamé. They brought to mind the sparse garb of the exotic dancer and spy Mata Hari, for whom, in fact, Erté had also designed, in 1913.
Stardust, the 1987 Broadway musical from which Westgaard’s collection comes—for which Matel also produced a special series of porcelain Barbies, all wearing Erté’s designs—was one of the artist’s final efforts before his death in 1990, at the age of ninety-seven. He was born Roman Petrovich Tyrtov (the name is usually Frenchified as Romain de Tirtoff) in Saint Petersburg in 1892. Read More »