• New York City’s Elga Wimmer PCC with Group Show: ‘Material Culture’

    Mary Hrbacek

    Aida Izadpanah, Alignment series, Handmade, fired, painted porcelain on wooden board, 12 x 12,” 2019

    Elga Wimmer PCC presents “Material Culture,” an exhibition of five Iranian artists, curated by Roya Khadjavi that includes staged photographs, installation photography, porcelain sculptural reliefs, minimalist abstract art and abstract porcelain landscape paintings. The term “material culture” implies that the artists do not visualize their outcomes in advance, but rather their art emerges through the working process, by means of intuitive experimentation in which clues for resolution ensue from the materials. The show includes works by Massy Nasser-Ghandi, Aida Izadpanah, Maryam Khosrovani, Dana Nehdaran and Maryam Palizgir. (more…)

  • Broadway’s Imperial Theater- ‘Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations’

    Edward Rubin

    Ephraim Sykes, Jeremy Pope, Jawan M. Jackson, James Harkness, and Derrick Baskin in AIN’T TOO PROUD (all photos by Matthew Murphy)

    There are few examples of jukebox musicals – a denigrating term if ever – that have blown me away. In fact, without over taxing my brain, Jersey Boys, which dramatizes the formation, success and eventual break-up of the 1960s rock ‘n’roll group The Four Seasons is the only jukebox musical of import that immediately comes to mind.

    Directed by Des McAnuff, and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, Jersey Boys opened on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre to rave reviews in November 2005. Winning four Tony Awards, one for Best Musical, after 4642 performances it closed in January 2017. (more…)

  • A Creative Camelot: The Bauhaus and Harvard University

    Mark Favermann

    Founded shortly after World War I in Germany, the Bauhaus was the most famous and influential avant-garde art and design school in the 20th Century. Its artists, architects, designers  craftpersons and students generated a creative, all-encompassing conversation about the nature of architecture, art and design in the modern era. Over the course of its relatively short, 14-year history, Bauhaus was at first located at Weimar, then Dessau, and finally Berlin (closed by order of Nazi Party, 1932).

    Above, left: The Gropius House, c. 1937-8. Photo: Mark Favermann

    (more…)

  • Washington, D.C.’s Folger Shakespeare Theater’s “Nell Gwynn”: Vibrant

    Amy Henderson

    Alison Luff as “Nell Gwynn,” in an Olivier Award-winning comedy at the Folger Theatre. All photos: Brittany Diliberto

    This winter, Washington, D.C.’s Folger Shakespeare Theater is giving audiences a glorious celebration of why theater matters.  Nell Gwynn is a boisterous, riotous romp that conveys theater’s sheer delight.

    The play is recent—written by Jessica Swale in 2015—but focuses on the Restoration actor-ess (as we learn) who transformed theater into an arena where women began to be cast to play women’s roles, rather than the tradition of men-playing-women. (more…)

  • New York’s Petzel Gallery with Dana Schutz: “Imagine Me and You”

    Mary Hrbacek

    Dana Scutz, Beat Out the Sun, oil on canvas, 94 x 87.5,” 2018

    Petzel Gallery presents “Dana Schutz, “Imagine Me and You,” an exhibition of twelve new large-scale oil paintings and five bronze sculptures that makes visual commentary in multilayered social, personal and political tableaux.  Schutz confidently confront the viewer directly, with breathtakingly fierce, even brutal images. They are not “pretty”; the artist is not overly preoccupied with aesthetics, or with traditional “good taste.”  Her assertive art is instead utterly honest, prepped to seize the awareness of a media-saturated public for whom art, film and television supply an overload of daily visual sustenance. (more…)

  • A Theatrical Double-header on Washington, D.C.’s Stages

    Amy Henderson
    ‘Anything Goes’ at Washington’s Arena Stage

    One of the pure joys of America’s classic musical theater was to create worlds filled with singing, dancing, and topicality.  No one did this better than Cole Porter, and his iconic 1934 Anything Goes fits the bill in Trumpian America as well as it did in the Great Depression.

    Left: Soara-Joye Ross (Reno Sweeney) and Corbin Bleu (Billy Crocker) in Anything Goes. All photos this story: Maria Baranova.

    Washington’s Arena Stage puts on one major American musical each year, and this year’s selection of Anything Goes had audiences on their feet with joyful celebration. The show was presented on Arena’s in-the-round stage, and the boisterous tapping flowed seamlessly to every vantage point. (more…)

  • New York’s Pershing Square Signature Center: ‘Clueless, The Musical’

    Edward Rubin

    L-R: Dove Cameron, Zurin Villanueva in “Clueless, The Musical,” a world premiere Off-Broadway production, from The New Group, at The Pershing Square Signature Center. All Photo credits: Monique Carboni.

    For those that loved Clueless, the 1995 cult movie starring Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd, watched the TV series (1996-99) based on the film, and perhaps read all twenty-one of the Cher young adult books, well, Clueless is back, this time as a two and a half hour, acrobatically dance-heavy, in-your-face, over the top, teenage hormonal-exploding, fun-filled, six-piece band-backed musical. And that’s saying a mouthful!

    Produced by the ever-adventurous The New Group (Sweet Charity, The Jerry Springer Show), and adapted for the stage by Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982) from her original film script, and directed by Kristine Hanggi, Clueless, The Musical is currently running Off Broadway at Pershing Square Signature Center’s smallest theater, through January 12, 2018. (more…)

  • Touring the Galleries of Knoxville: Diversity, Energy and Creativity

    D. Dominick Lombardi

    Artist Joseph Delaney stands with his painting ‘VJ Day’ (all images Courtesy of the Ewing Gallery unless otherwise noted)

    As someone who has kept a sharp eye on the New York City art scene since the early 1970s, I must admit that some of my most memorable experiences have occurred in Tennessee. In 2012, it was the Tennessee State Museum where I saw and reviewed an exhibition of the politically charged, multi-media works of John Mellencamp. Later that same year it was the powerful and moving retrospective of the photography and videos of Carrie Mae Weems at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, both in Nashville. (more…)

  • The Cove Pop-Up Exhibition, Providence, R.I.

    D. Dominick Lombardi

    Untitled, Raymond J., color pencil on paper

    Once in a while I stumble upon an exhibition that really opens my eyes and reorients my thinking and understanding of the creative process. The Cove Pop Up exhibition here in Providence, RI, which includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and utilitarian objects, offers a great number of art works by talented individuals who are dealing with varying degrees of debilitating issues. The exhibition theme is one that should enlighten many, revealing how creative and honest one can be as an individual when unencumbered by thoughts of High Art or fashionable trends. These free-thinking and enlightening individuals are working with the very successful programs offered through The Cove, RHD-RI, Flying Shuttle Studios and edge+end where “adults with developmental disabilities reach their goals” with the creation of some pretty amazing and illuminating works of art. (more…)

  • Brecht’s ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,’ at NYC’s Classic Stage Company

    Edward Rubin

    Raúl Esparza (Arturo Ui) , Elizabeth A. Davis (Girl) in Classic Stage production of ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’. All photos: Joan Marcus.

    “Every day I read the play, I think, I hear the words these words on CNN as I read them on the page. The play will be falling right around the midterm elections, and it is fitting that it reminds us of the choices that are available to us in relation to the way the world can go. That really is the foundation of what classical theater says. Classic plays have politics at their heart-you take a play like Richard III or the Scottish Play—they’re warnings. And there’s a warning in Arturo Ui. This is a time for theater to say something; if we’re not screaming and shouting now, when are we ever going to do it?”

    — John Doyle, Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company

    For those who love the work being done at the Classic Stage Company and Bertolt Brecht, both of which I do, you had better run to see The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, as its curtain goes down on Saturday, December 22, 2018. Written in 1941, when Brecht was living in exile in Helsinki, Finland, just before he decamped to Hollywood, the play chronicles the rise of Arturo Ui a fictional 1930s Capone-like Chicago mobster and his ruthless attempts to control the cauliflower market by forcefully selling protection to business owners, ironically from his own men. (more…)