Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ...
Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits
This page features links to reviews of movies, documentaries and exhibits with a historical theme. Listings are in reverse chronological order. Descriptions are taken directly from the linked publication. If you have articles you think should be listed on the Pop Culture page, please send them to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: NYT (9-30-07)
Van Gogh wrote some 800 letters in his lifetime, including 22 to Bernard from December 1887 to November 1889. (Most of their correspondence unfolded after van Gogh moved to the south of France.) The Morgan Library & Museum is the curator of 19 of those letters, and for the first time in nearly 70 years they are being exhibited, in “Painted With Words: Vincent van Gogh’s Letters to Émile Bernard.” The show includes one additional letter and 22 related paintings, drawings and watercolors by both artists.
SOURCE: NYT (9-29-07)
At the heart of the debate is the digital re-creation of this vast 1563 painting, which Napoleon’s forces removed from the refectory in the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore 210 years ago and took back to France as war booty.
The facsimile, by the Madrid enterprise Factum Arte, is a stunningly accurate replica of the 732-square-foot canvas. Details are reproduced down to the most minute topography, including the raised seams rejoining the panels that Napoleon’s troops cut the painting into when they transported it to France in 1797. (The original hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris.)
The house has many attributes: important history, a picturesque site overlooking the Salem harbor, proximity to Hawthorne’s birthplace and an interior filled with 17th- , 18th- and 19th-century antiques.
In the book, an 1851 romance, Hawthorne begins, “Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns, stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables facing towards various points of the compass and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst.” He then proceeds to make the house, “a specimen of the best and stateliest architecture,” a character in the novel....
Taro’s story is the least known. Born Gerta Pohorylle in Stuttgart in 1910, she left Germany in 1933 after being held in custody for associating with anti-Nazi activists. In Paris she met Capa, born Endre Friedmann in Hungary but calling himself André after moving to Paris (by way of Berlin)....
SOURCE: Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (9-27-07)
However, it is hardly an auspicious debut. Thus far, DirecTV is the only satellite or cable provider in the country that has signed on to carry the Smithsonian Channel. And, since the channel is being broadcast solely in high-definition (HD), it is only available to DirecTV customers who pay an additional fee to receive HD programming and have HD equipment. Negotiations with additional cable and satellite companies are said to be ongoing. Despite the fact that the channel was...
It’s stunning how loudly the dead can speak, and with such eloquence. I couldn’t help comparing these images with those in one of my own photo albums of a large family of stern-looking Midwesterners dressed in what looks like their Sunday best. The rough, ill-fitting suits and somber dresses look similar to those in the documentary, and the simple clapboard house...
Four heirs of the dealer, Nathan Katz, who died in 1949, say that he was the rightful owner of more than 200 artworks recovered in Germany at the end of the war and handed over to the Dutch government. The claimants are Mr. Katz’s four children: Sybilla Goldstein-Katz, who lives in Florida; her brother, David; and her sisters Margaret and Eva, who all live in Europe.
The details of the restitution claim have not been made public, but Dutch museum directors say the works in question include paintings by 17th-century Dutch masters, among them Jan Steen, Gerard Dou and Nicolaas Maes. Some works are by Flemish and Italian artists. Many are centerpieces of major museums in the Netherlands, including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam,...
SOURCE: Times of India (9-25-07)
The film will be based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's ˜Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the movie may focus on the 16th US president's role in leading the North in the Civil War.
The newspaper also reported that Liam Neeson has been signed to play Lincoln in the movie.
Earlier, it was being speculated that Marcia Gay Harden could bag the character of Lincoln's wife.
SOURCE: NYT (9-25-07)
Forget it, was the message Jane Jacobs elegantly hammered home in that 1961 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” There is no utopia to be found. And every fantasy of such a paradise — the Modernist towers of Le Corbusier, the Garden Cities of Ebenezer Howard, the cleared slums and ribboned roadways of Robert Moses — has led to urban desolation and ruin. At the time she wrote her book, cities were beginning to totter like drunken derelicts seeking lampposts for support.
As an exhibition opening today at the Municipal Art Society reminds us, Jane Jacobs did not believe that planners could ever restore life to American cities. Instead she put...
SOURCE: WaPo (9-24-07)
Subscribers to DirecTV, one of two main satellite TV carriers, will have access to the 75 hours of programming from the Smithsonian Channel, produced in cooperation with Showtime Networks, the network will announce today.
Several groups objected to the contract because the Smithsonian signed over to Showtime semi-exclusive rights to produce films built around the national institution's resources.
Since the deal was made public 20 months ago, Smithsonian officials have defended it as a way to make the museums accessible to more people and as a new source of needed money for the museums.
Members of Congress, who control the 70 percent of the budget the Smithsonian receives from the federal government and who also oversee its operations, expressed doubt about the arrangement from...
SOURCE: AP (9-25-07)
"Pleasing to the Eye: The Decorative Arts of North Carolina" contains items ranging in age from a childhood portrait painted in 1639 of King Charles II of England to a cup and saucer created in 1994 by a sixth-generation North Carolina potter.
"The collection started not so much as objects saved for decorative and ornamental value but for historical value," said Patricia Marshall, curator of furnishings and decorative arts at the museum. "It represents what people in North Carolina used."
SOURCE: Gary Kamiya in Salon (9-25-07)
Every way of trying to tell a story this vast carries with it blind spots, reveals its own assumptions and biases. Ken Burns'"The War" is no exception. But this magnificent 15-hour series will stand as one of the most extraordinary accounts of war ever made. Panoramic in its sweep, unflinching in its openness to all the faces of war, crafted with rare intelligence and sensitivity,"The War" is an epic achievement.
Burns' subject has always been America. From"The Civil War" to"Baseball," from"Jazz" to"The West" (for which he was executive producer), to"Thomas Jefferson" to"Mark Twain," Burns has sought out subjects that are deep in the...
SOURCE: BBC (9-25-07)
The artwork has been largely hidden from public view since being bought by the Stormont Government in 1933 for £209 and four shillings.
The plea for a wider platform came after it was found hanging in the Speaker's office last month.
The SDLP's John Dallat said a prominent place in Stormont should be found.
He said it would "intrigue visitors and certainly put another slant on our previous beleaguered history".
SOURCE: Independent (9-23-07)
Professor Peter Read, head of the French department in the University of Kent at Canterbury, has gained access to a collection of letters proving that Picasso actively and courageously supported the Resistance activist Robert Desnos, who was arrested by the Gestapo on 22 February 1944 and sent to Auschwitz. He died in Terezin concenration camp, days after the camp's liberation, still speaking about the help he'd received from the founder of Cubism.
One of the most widely recognised figures of 20th-century art, Picasso was denounced as a "degenerate" artist by Hitler. According to Professor Read, Picasso sometimes helped his friends and fellow artists by...
SOURCE: Henry Cabot Beck at the website of American Heritage (9-21-07)
Robert Ford and his brother Charley (Sam Rockwell) were introduced to Jesse in 1879 or ’80, according to biographies. Charley, the elder brother, became the closer friend, and friends were in short supply for James as his paranoia wound tighter and his purpose dimmed in the last year or two of his life....
SOURCE: NYT (9-23-07)
“Appomattox,” based on the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant at the end of the Civil War, will have its premiere at the San Francisco Opera on Oct. 5. And in April the Metropolitan Opera will mount a new production of “Satyagraha,” a 1980 work inspired by Mohandas K. Gandhi’s early years as a lawyer and equal-rights advocate in South Africa.
Despite the nearly 30 years that separate the creation of these pieces, their connections run deeper than the coincidence that the roles of Lee in “Appomattox” and Gandhi in “Satyagraha” are being sung by brothers: the baritone Dwayne Croft and the tenor Richard Croft. The historical settings are not so far apart. Most of “...
SOURCE: CBS (9-24-07)
Chita Rivera, as the original Anita, would help change the American musical, reports CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason.
"When you take me back, its still so thrilling and so moving," said Rivera.
The movie would later take it to the rest of America. West Side Story was young, edgy and ethnic. And in 1957 Broadway had never seen anything like it.
SOURCE: NYT (9-22-07)
Mr. Capa went on to become one of the world’s greatest war photographers. But Ms. Taro, seen by many as the first woman known to photograph a battle from the front lines and to die covering a war, survived in the public eye mostly for her romance with Mr. Capa.
Now, 70 years after Ms. Taro’s death at age 26, the first major exhibition of her work begins Wednesday at the International Center of Photography in...