GLENN LONEY'S ARTS RAMBLES
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
Peter Brook's THE SUIT *
Martin Moran's ALL THE RAGE *
DRAWING SURREALISM: The Art of Drawing as Manifest in the Creation of Surrealist Ikons *
ALBRECHT DÜRER VERY BIG AT CHRISTIE'S: World Record for His Rhinoceros Woodcut! *
Americana Week at Christie's Totals $15 Million: Edward Hicks' Wm. Penn Fetches $2.5 Million! *
RENAISSANCE: Old Masters Week at Christie's, with the Walls Crowded with Masterpieces! *
CHRISTIE'S OLD MASTERS WEEK EARNS TOTAL OF $88.4 MILLION *
William Inge's PICNIC *
Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari, & Gigliola Fantoni's WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY *
Aaron Posner's Adaptation of Chaim Potok's MY NAME IS ASHER LEV *
FORTUNY Y MADRAZO: An Artistic Legacy *
Own a Piece of Tatzu Nishi? Discovering Columbus Amethyst Velvet *
Couch & LED TV For Sale! *
THIS WAS THE MONTH THAT WAS…
December & January tend to be rather Slack Months in terms of new Broadway & Off Broadway Productions.
It is, however, True that all the Fuss & Feathers that accompany Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwaanza, & other Religio Ethnic Saturnalia Salutes do impede the launchings of New Attractions.
Also, the Holiday Specials are never destined for Long Runs: Who really wants to see A Christmas Carol or Elf on Saint Patrick's Day?
That being The Case, escaping from Winterized Manhattan to a Warmer Clime seemed a Good Idea for part of the Month of the Roman God Janus…
South of the Equator it is Summer!
In fact, deciding to visit Quito--in Ecuador--put Your Roving Arts Reporter & Web Editor Scott Bennett exactly On the Equator, at Latitude Zero: With One Foot in the Northern Hemisphere & the other in the Southern…
If you make an Excursion to Spanish Colonial Quito--high in the Andes, at the foot of Pinchincha Volcano--making a point of visiting the Equatorial Monument, you will get a Certificate that you have been to the Exact Middle of the World!
But the Real Reason for deserting the wind swept streets of Gotham was my Life Long Desire to fly off to Easter Island & photograph those Giant Heads--called Moais--that loom out of barren Volcanic Lands or Stand Guard on long Stone Platforms, honoring Tribal Ancestors.
A previous Winter Escape was the Pilgrimage to Peru's remote Inca City, Machu Pichu.
All that now remains for me to see in South America--I saw many Fabled Cities in The Americas back in the 1960s, when AID was in its prime--are Brazil & Argentina, with perhaps side trips to Uruguay & Paraguay…
The Luck of the "Loney Bennett Party" was to have Excellent Guides wherever we went.
Scott Bennett is a Good Listener, whereas I'm always off on the run to make more Photo Images for INFOTOGRAPHY™, so I will leave it to Scott to provide Details, but we will post Our Best Photos on this site for all to see…
On Easter Island, our Rapa Nui Guide, Manu, told us much about the History of his People & their Long Standing Traditions, not only of carving those Immense Heads--with Lava Stone Hats to match--but also of these Primitive People developing a Written Language, centuries & centuries ago, recorded on Sacred Boards.
We saw No Theatre, but in Bolivia's La Paz, one of the Patiño Tin Mine Heirs had just appeared in a production of Jasmin Reza's Art…
Chile's Capital of Santiago is soon to have the Tallest Building in South America. Whether they will find
Tenants for the many floors of Offices remains to be seen.
Although we already been to Lima on our Machu Pichu Expedition, I wanted to return to explore the Vast Expanses of the San Francisco Monastery Church: They have almost more Bones & Skulls down in the Catacombs than in Rome.
One of Peru's Richest Men--also most conscious of the Great Indian & Inca Heritage--has created a marvelous Museum with more Ancient Ceramic Turtles, Ducks, Pigs, & other Assorted Livestock than one would have thought possible.
All of these are in the form of Pots with Sipper Handles, so that ages ago Cocoa Leaf Tea could be easily enjoyed.
He has also amassed a Vast Collection of Erotic Ceramics made centuries ago by Native Peoples.
Who would have guessed that, long before the Incas, Peruvians knew how to French Kiss?
But that's not all they knew: Cock Sucking & Butt Fucking! Shocking!
Fortunately, everywhere one goes, there are many, many Spanish Colonial Churches & Cathedrals, to keep one's Thoughts on a Higher Plane.
Quito has almost an Over Supply, but what appears to be almost a Basilica--erected by the Society of Jesus--is completely covered inside with Gold Leaf!
Were the Jesuits trying to dazzle God? Or just Blind their Naïve Converts…
PASSING GLANCES AT SCENES SEEN:
Audience Participation in an Apartheid South African Musical Marital Tragedy! [****]
Nonhlanhla Kheswa made her "Hometown Debut" at BAM--the Brooklyn Academy of Music--in a Peter Brook Production of a dramatization of a Black South African Apartheid Era Novel, The Suit, first staged at Brook's Paris Theatre Base, the Bouffes du Nord!
Kheswa has been a Fort Greene Resident for ten long years!
Although the Narrative Fable deals with the Infidelity of a Wife to her Loving Husband--who punishes her by making the Abandoned Suit of her Escaped Lover the Center of their Home & Later Life--the show itself is colorful & musical, with Audience Participation invited!
Those Brave Souls who descended from their Secure Seats in BAM's Harvey Theatre were even brought back for the Joyous Curtain Call!
Considering the Long, Long Artistic Road that Peter Brook has traveled--perhaps the most Avant of all the Avant Garde Theatre Makers of the Post 1960's Novel Performance Frenzies--it's interesting that, in The Suit, he seems to have reverted to the 1960's…
It is also interesting that Brook--now at Age 87--has at long last returned to the Harvey, which was, in fact, created for him by BAM's Saviour, the Late Harvey Lichtenstein.
Harvey was so fascinated by Brook's Royal Shakespeare Company production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, that he brought it to BAM's Opera House.
Brook's famed Marat/Sade staging had already dazzled Broadway Audiences.
When Brook--who had been working on new productions in the former Tapestry Factory of the Gobelins--finally found a decrepit, disused Revue Theatre in a Ghetto like Banlieu of Paris, the Bouffes du Nord--Harvey decided to convert Brooklyn's decrepit, disused Majestic Theatre into a Paris like Brooklyn home for Brook's annual Bouffes Stagings.
Brook in Brooklyn, you might have imagined…
The Epic Length Mahabharata Hindu Epic was the Inaugural Brook Bouffe, but Brook, in fact, somewhat resented Harvey's Vision that he'd return annually to Brooklyn.
Brook had Other Fish To Fry: he was always Moving Onward…
In fact, Brook's La Tragedie du Carmen--originally scheduled for the New Amsterdam Roof Theatre, long unused, since World War II--was finally presented in Lincoln Center, far off from Fulton Street.
Brook's Carmen Revision was the occasion of my First Opera News Cover Story: Carmen's Press Agent even gave Peter & me a really Expensive Luncheon, so he could prevent me from asking Embarrassing Questions.
This was really unnecessary, for I had known Peter for some time, having interviewed him before & having followed his Career--already in the 1950's, when I was teaching in Europe--on the London Stage, where he dazzled with Drama & delighted with Musicals: Irma la Douce was a Winner!
When Peter became a Founder of the RSC--the Royal Shakespeare Company--I became a Dedicated Follower, even editing the Official Royal Shakespeare Company Production Book of Peter Brook's Production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
[Still available from the Dramatic Publishing Company, for whom I also prepared the Official Production Book for the Young Vic's Scapino, starring Jim Dale.]
When it became known that Brook's Epic Mahabharata would be coming to the Harvey, I was asked to conduct a CUNY Graduate Seminar--in our PhD in Theatre Program--on both the Original Hindu Epic & Brook's Interpretation of it.
In the event, I turned this into a Survey of Peter's Entire Career--including Screenings of the Films he had made--& culminating with a Session with Peter Brook himself, in which he proposed that I interview him, as I had done many times before, assuming that I'd know best what our Students & Guests would want to know about his Vision & Work.
So many turned out for this Face to Face that we had to change two times to Larger Auditoria at the Grad Center.
The Peter Brook Seminar is effectively captured in my book, Peter Brook: From Oxford to Orghast [Harmon/Routledge].
Orghast, by the way, is an Invented Language, concocted by the Late Poet, Ted Hughes, one time husband of Sylvia Plath.
Subsidized by the Imperial Sister of the Late Shah of Iran, Mohamad Reza Pahlevi, Brook mounted his Orghast Production in Persian Shiraz, at the site of the Mountainside Tombs of Xerxes & Darius the Great.
Unfortunately, as a Performance Language, Orghast wasn't going anywhere.
Nor, after the Ascension of Radical Muslim Clerics, were many Theatre Folk going off to Shiraz…
One Man's Answer to Anger Management: Have a Laugh, If You Can Manage It! [*****]
Martin Moran is a charming, even elfin, Performance Artist & Playwright.
But his Childhood was blighted by Sexual Abuses from a Man who should have had his Best Interests at heart…
Moran's Tale of Anger & Rage suppressed & the Damage it can do is, in fact, riveting.
It should prove Popular on the Touring Circuit, as there are a lot of Decent People out there who are choking on Rage Remembered.
But, not content to rely on the Remembrances of Things Past & Moran's Infectious Sharing, Director Seth Barish & an array of Designers have outfitted this One Man Show with a variety of Visual Aids.
We have, in effect, Chalk Talks, Projections, Voice Overs, Spamalot's Cocoanut Shell Horse Hoof beats, Red Dot Magnets on a Map of Manhattan, & even a huge Poster for a Violent Movie, featuring Al Pacino…
Very Clever & Ingenious, but not easy for Touring…
How many Fledgling Artists of the Surreal owed their Inspiration to Salvador Dalí?
The Image Crowded Exhibition now at the Morgan Library & Museum suggests that more than a few were not exactly Original in their Deliberately Warped Visions.
Joan Miró is, of course, was a Law Unto Himself…
Even more so, Réne Magritte!
But Magritte, Miró, & Dalí are best known for their Paintings & Sculptures.
Their Surrealist Drawings or Sketches have previously been little exposed to the Museum Public.
Actually, Surrealism began as a Literary Movement, in 1924, with André Breton's First Manifesto of Surrealism.
What developed among Avant Garde Artists, however, was also inspired by Freud's ideas about the Unconscious, as well as by Symbolism & Mysticism.
Among the aspects of Surrealist Drawing on view at the Morgan are Automatic Drawing, Dream Imagery, Frottage, Decalcomania, & Collage.
The Idea in Automatic Drawing was to let your pen or pencil skitter across the paper without any Conscious Thought or Manual Direction. What emerged could later be used in a more Finished Vision.
Frottage--which sounds vaguely like some kind of Sexual Foreplay--involved rubbing Graphite on a paper imposed on a Textured Surface. Max Ernst liked this, but it yielded designs of Limited Visual Interest.
Decalcomania yielded images rather like Rorschach Blots…
Collage saved Artists a lot of drawing, for they could cut out Print Images made by other Artists or even from Advertising & then glue them to paper or canvas to construct Wild Fantasies or Hilarious Parodies.
Even more fascinating were what were called Exquisite Corpses.
Each Participating Artist would draw something on his or her section of a Folded Paper: when it was finally unfolded, a strange Visual Composite would emerge…
Of the recent Auction at Christie's of Woodcut Prints by Albrecht Dürer, only 47 Lots were sold, out of a total of 62 Lots.
Nonetheless, the 47 Prints accounted for a total of $6 Million+, which isn't bad for what are merely Prints on Paper from a Woodblock cut from an Original Design by the Nuremberg Master.
Now, if you could have bought one of the Original Woodblocks--if any are ever available on the Open Market--you could invest in some Handmade Ink & Handmade Paper & grind out some Dürers of your own!
Dürer's Saint Eustache Woodcut was purchased for $662,500, with his famous image of Adam & Eve under the Auction Gavel for $530,500.
Top of the Sale was The Rhinoceros, complete with its Letterpress Text from 1515!
Most of Dürer's most famed Paintings & even his remarkable Drawings are in Major Museums. It would be an Astonishment if an Original Dürer were to come onto the Auction Market!
After World War II--when I was teaching in Europe--I was able to examine Dürer's wonderful Rabbit drawing in my own hands in Vienna's Albertina.
Of course, I had Cotton Gloves on my hands, as I went through an Acid Free Archival Box of similar Treasures.
In Post War West Germany, when Bomb Ruins were still standing & Food was scarce, it was possible to find some Renaissance Woodcuts & Prints from the Original Etched Copper Plates for very little cash.
I had both a PX Card & US Army Commissary Privileges: A Carton of Lucky Strikes cost One Dollar & I did not smoke…
I do have some Renaissance Woodcuts, but none of them is by Albrecht Dürer, alas.
Unlike most American Settlers in the New World--who helped themselves to Native American Indian Tribal Lands--that Honest Quaker William Penn made a fair & binding Treaty with the Indians, so that Penn's Woods [or Pennsylvania] was not Stolen.
Edward Hicks--now perhaps the most famous of our Early American Folk Artists--recorded this Treaty in a painting that was just bought at Christie's for $2,546,500.
You may already know Hicks' work from his Peaceable Kingdom, a charming Primitive, in which the Lion lays down with the Lamb.
In fact, Hicks found this Image was so popular that he painted it more than once…
But Americana Week at Christie's was not just about Folk Art: how about $230,500 for a 1782 Silver
Teapot by Paul Revere?
It was, however, eclipsed by the nearly One Million Dollars bid for a Block & Shell Bureau
Table by John Townsend of Newport. The Met Museum recently devoted an Exhibition to his wonderful
Also on offer was the Earliest Porcelain made in Colonial America!
In the 19th Century, Major Museums used to crowd their walls, from Wainscot to Ceiling, with Ornately Framed Old Masters.
In our own time, however, Curators prefer to provide some Blank Wall Space around the Masterworks. So that Dürer doesn't have to Visually Compete with Da Vinci or Rembrandt…
At Christie's, however, the 19th Century returned for a brief week as its own Gallery Walls were almost floor to ceiling hung with Authentic Old Masters!
Astounding! Paintings by Sandro Botticelli, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Fra Bartolemeo, & Bronzino up for Auction!
Almost all of the works on view were Museum Quality, which made Your Roving Arts Reporter wonder if some Major Museums were selling off some Masterworks they had in Basement Storage, in order to build New Wings, dedicated to the Photographs of Cindy Sherman or the Polaroids of Andy Warhol?
This Auction is expected to realize more than $40 Million…
With Christie's Old Masters Drawings Sale Winning $16.5 Million!
Despite the Old Masters Sales at Christie's exceeding the Forecast by $48.4 Million, the admirable & excellently informed Staffers are not expecting to see this reflected in their Paychecks. Oh, well…
On balance, it's much more interesting to work surrounded by Works of Art & Dead Rich People's Old Furniture, Knick Knacks, & Drapes, than to toil in Starbucks.
The celebrated French Painter, Claude Lorrain--although long dead--set a new World Record for his works: $6.1 Million was bid for his Wooded Landscape.
In Lorrain's Own Time, that money would have bought him lot of Wooded Lots. Possibly even in Fontainbleu…
A mere Pastel--not even a Proper Painting--by Gainsborough fetched $2.4 Million: This was his Portrait of Caroline, 4th Duchess of Marlborough.
Let's Hear It for the Boroughs!
New Auction Records were also set for works by Jean Baptiste Dominique Ingres, Giovanni Battista Tielolo, Adrien van de Velde, & Thomas Couture.
Paintings did well, but Three Drawings were sold for more than One Million Dollars, including Raphael's Saint Benedict Receiving Maurus & Placidus.
One hopes that the Buyer knows who Maurus & Placidus really were…
One Painting did very well indeed: Madonna & Child, by Fra Bartolomeo, was sold for almost $13 Million!
But even Sandro Botticelli's so called Rockefeller Madonna brought $10.4 Million…
What was it F. Scott Fitzgerald said? Something on the order of: The Rich, they are not like us…
Little Sheba Isn't Coming Back Anytime Soon, So Let's Settle for Inge's Second Best [****]
Did you know that the Hunky Young Paul Newman was the Understudy for Ralph Meeker, the first of the Sexy Drifters in William Inge's Picnic?
But that was way back in 1953…
I didn't get to see Ralph Meeker--or Paul Newman--for I was in the US Army at Ford Ord back in 1953.
Nonetheless, we had all heard about Picnic, with especial attention to the way in which a Young Man from Nowhere, with his Shirt Off, could excite the interest & the fantasies of both Love lorn Women of various ages & even some Men.
In the current & excellent Roundabout Theatre Revival--in the American Airlines Theatre: No Kosher Meals for the Aisle Seats!--Sebastian Stan is indeed Sexy & Provocative as a Tanned & Oiled Hal Carter.
He's the kind of Arkansas Traveler who--at that time--would finally be most apt to turn up on 42nd Street, San Francisco's Polk Street, or Hollywood & Vine as a Hustler.
But then--like Tennessee Williams--William Inge was a somewhat Closeted Homosexual, who had to disguise his Passions.
In Picnic, however, he also shows himself to be an Acute Observer of Small Town Life.
The Current Revival--powerfully staged by Sam Gold--offers wonderful Acting Opportunities for such Admired Players as Ellen Burstyn, Reed Birney, Mare Winningham, & Elizabeth Marvel.
Maggie Grace is also admirable as Madge Owens--throwing away the chance to marry into her Small Town's Upper Class, for a Fling with one of the Fugitive Kind.
You just know this won't turn out well…
The Intricate Detail of Andrew Lieberman's Two House Setting is complemented by the Dress Making Details on the Women's Costumes, by David Zinn.
Indeed, some of them look as though they'd just been bought down at JC Penney's.
At some moments--especially with the School Teachers getting together--some of the performances verge on Caricature.
Were Small Town Folks, way back in 1953, really like that?
I grew up in a Small Town, from 1933 to 1943, & No One was a Caricature.
But then, we did not have Television to show us how to Be & Act…
Adolf Hitler Has Come To Rome To Meet Benito Mussolini: But That's Outside The Chalk Window.
The Set Furnishings--a Table & Two Chairs--are stacked at the back of a Black Room.
Ana Graham & Antonio Vega--who also co directed--unstack them & begin to add to the Set Details by drawing them in Chalk on the Black Walls.
Through a Drawn as Open Chalk Window, we can even hear Der Führer ranting…
So, yes, it is a very Special Day!
But Gabriel--who's contemplating shooting himself in the Mouth, in a borrowed Studio Apartment--has a Big Problem.
Recently, he was a Broadcaster for the State Radio, but he has been discharged because he is a Homosexual.
In Fascist Italy, as in Aryan Germany, there is No Place for Homos!
Helping Antonietta --who seems to live below or above Gabriel: you hear them Treading Stairs offstage--recapture her Flown Away Birdie, they establish a kind of Friendship.
If one of them needs to Ring the Doorbell, he or she only has to draw it in Chalk on the Door frame.
To shut out the Sounds of the Festive Fascist Parade, Antonietta erases the open Chalk Window, closing it with more Chalk Strokes.
There are some Striking Moments of Real Feeling in the progress of this Odd Drama, but the Chalky Aspects of the Production become an Over Riding & Annoying Gimmick that undermine whatever Vision the Original Authors & the Adaptors may have wanted to communicate.
Hassids Do Not Paint Crucifixions: In Brooklyn, They Should Be Busy Studying Torah! [*****]
Not only is Aaron Posner's dramatization of Chaim Potok's novel riveting, but the performances of Mark Nelson, Jenny Bacon, & Ari Brand--as the Name Boy, Asher Lev--are Outstanding.
Very early, when just a Tiny Tot, Asher Lev realizes that he Has To Draw.
This is not pleasing to his Hassidic Father, who travels often to spread the Teachings of their Brooklyn Rebbe.
The Rebbe is far wiser than the Father: he gives his Blessing to Young Asher to find his Path in Life.
That Path leads him far, far away from Brooklyn, to such Art Worlds as Florence & Paris.
It also--with the Rebbe's assistance--leads to Study with a great Modern Jewish Painter, who recognizes Asher's Genius.
Not to overlook the eager support of a Sexy Stylish Lady Gallerist, who promotes Asher to the Forefront of the New York Art Scene.
But Asher's two paintings of Crucifixion Scenes--Hassids are not keen on images favored by the Goyyim Christians--provoke a Scandal & deeply wound his Puzzled Parents…
Gordon Edelstein has deftly directed his Trio of Actors, but Mark Nelson proves especially remarkable in playing Asher's Father, the Rebbe, Asher's too son dead Uncle, & the Painter.
As Asher's Mother, Rivkeh Lev, Jenny Bacon is wonderfully Sympathetic.
But just image a Hassidic Woman & Wife studying Russian at Brooklyn College!
[As a Retired Brooklyn College Professor, I can, in fact, well remember such Dedicated Students…]
Bacon is astonishingly different as the Flamboyant Gallery Owner, as well as a Nude Model.
What's most amazing--but also a bit wearing--is the Constant Energy Level of Ari Brand as Asher.
He seems Fury Driven from the first & he Never Lets Down…
When an Actor starts at the Top of His Powers, he has nowhere higher to go.
For Decades, the Secret of the fabulous Fortuny Pleats was closely guarded.
How had Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo been able to press such remarkably Thin Pleatings into Silk & Satin for his wonderful Dresses & Capes?
You may not find out this Secret over on Park Avenue--at the Reyna Sofia Institute: 684 Park--but you will be able to visually savor a wide variety of Fortuny Fashions.
This fascinating show--on view until 30 March 2013--was both conceived & curated by the also fabulous
Fashion Designer, Oscar de la Renta.
Although Fortuny ultimately had his own Palazzo in Venice, he's here at the Spanish Institute because he was born in Granada of a long line of Spanish Artists, steeped in History & Tradition.
No Photography is permitted, so Your Roving Arts Reporter is sorry not to be able to show you samples, not only of Fortuny's Pleatings, but also of his wide range of Textile & Fabric Designs, as well as his Splendid Outfits for Milady.
They were not Cheap. Nor were the Famous Women who wore them…
As for Fortuny's Venice Palazzo, who knows what will become of it?
This year's Annual Paul Mellon Lecture at the Morgan Library is titled: Can Venice Be Saved?
Next year, we may well be asking: Can Manhattan's Shore Line Be Saved from Another Hurricane Sandy?
Actually, Tatzu Nishi is the Japanese Artist who had the Conceptual Art Idea to build a Scaffold around the Pillared Statue of Chris Columbus on Columbus Circle, enclosing Chris with a House so that New Yorkers could get a really Up Close Look at this famous but weathered Representation of the Genovese Jew who is said to have Discovered America for Queen Isabella of Spain.
She was the Christian Monarch who drove the Moors & the Jews out of Spain, so we don't have any Statues of her on Pillars. Or even on Neo Classical Columns…
Some 100,000 Visitors climbed the Scaffold Stairs to stare at Chris at home, with his 55" LED TV Screen & choice of Modern Reading Materials.
Not to overlook the Hundreds of Instagram™ Photos taken by Gawkers.
Now the Furnishings & Props--most of them from Bloomingdales, an East Side Department Store of some note--are for Sale!
Proceeds will help pay for future Public Art Fund Projects, many of which seem to be devised by Foreigners, rather than by New York State Artists.
Go On Line to make your Selection: <email@example.com>
Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.
Copyright © Glenn Loney 20013. No re-publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney Arts Rambles." Reproduction rights please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.