When Max de Radiguès began making comics, he had never taken drawing lessons. “I loved to draw but wasn’t especially good at it,” he explains. “I quickly stopped trying to draw in a realistic way and went for an efficient one.” He wanted the reader to understand instantly what he was trying to convey, and as he pursued this goal, his drawings became simpler and simpler. Now, after more than a decade, and with a rapidly growing list of published works, he has begun, he says, “putting in more details and more backgrounds”—though nothing too elaborate; he still wants readers to be caught up in the stories rather than in intricately rendered, virtuosic panels. Here one begins to see the vital connection between his personal and formal modesty: the absence of ego that, in freeing an artist from the impulse to show off, can lead to subtler choices. In a Radiguès work, an economy of line carries, but never competes with, an abundance of empathy. His stories center on adolescents (often boys, often in balanced or opposing pairs) with a warmth, humor, and humane sensibility that occasionally sets the reader up for an unexpected jolt when harsher aspects of reality creep in. Read More
- A 1932 original Tintin in America cover sells for a record-breaking 1.3 million euros at auction.
- American Pastoral, coming to a multiplex near you. (Okay, maybe an art house.)
- Definitely coming to the multiplex, Guy Richie’s Treasure Island.
- The name really says it all: Haruki Murakami Bingo.
- Dr. Seuss’s politically charged World War II cartoons.
- An honorable patron returns a book to an Irish library … eighty years past its due date.
Over the holidays, I go to the movies. This year I saw two of the critically praised releases of the fall, The Artist and Puss in Boots. Both of these films have relatively simple narratives. In The Artist a successful silent-film actor falls out of favor with the advent of the talkies, and a young actress with a crush on him passes him by on her way up the ladder of success. Puss in Boots is a revisionist collage that steals recognizable characters from a variety of literary sources, principally the eponymous seventeenth-century fairy tale by Charles Perrault, and fuses them together. Both of these films cull elements from earlier films and familiar narratives—and both succeed, in part, because of the joy of recognition we get when we see motifs from our collective imagination tweaked in new ways. But the most prominent aspects of each of these films are the technical approaches to their subjects. One is an old-school silent film, and the other uses cutting-edge computer animation, but technology is the star of both, albeit a star that is worked into the fabric of each movie so as not to overpower the performers. Read More
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
- Whiting winners have been announced.
- A Shakespeare organization defends the Bard’s honor against the slander of Anonymous.
- After all, “With its portrayal of William Shakespeare as a drunken buffoon who could hardly read, let alone write some of the finest poetry in the English language, Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous was unlikely to be popular with the Stratford set.”
- Ditto Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.
- We imagine Melville fans will be wary of Moby-Dick in space, too.
- Speaking of Moby-Dick …
- Here’s one for purists: Tolkien’s original Hobbit illustrations.
- A Harold Pinter sketch has been rediscovered.
- Ditto a forgotten O’Neill one-act.
- Protest for tots.
- Archimedes’s brain.
- Tintin’s long shadow.
- Authors’ heavy beards.
- “From the moment Ron Shaoul took it upon himself to investigate the practice of reading on the toilet, scouring medical literature and turning up nothing of note as to its public health consequences, the situation became clear that here, on his hands, was a big job.”
- Writers for the 99 percent.
- Booksellers, spies … two sides of the same coin!
A cultural news roundup.
- After a particularly contentious run-up, Julian Barnes (finally) wins the Booker.
- The ceremony was … eventful.
- On the other side of the pond, the National Book Award apologizes for its error.
- Lauren Myracle withdraws.
- Roz Chast: “I think that children’s books should be censored not for references to sex but for references to diseases. I mean, who didn’t think after reading Madeline that they were going to get appendicitis?”
- Amazon hoards its superheroes.
- Stan Lee creates new ones.
- Tintin, the movie.
- The Seagull, the movie.
- Spot the fake title.
- Bram Stoker’s notebooks!
- Spalding Gray’s journals!
- C. S. Forester’s lost novel!
- Emily Post 4.0: “Just because someone’s IM service shows them as being ‘available,’ doesn’t necessarily mean they are … Respect ‘do not disturb’ status. Remember, each time you IM you are interrupting someone.”