THE TWILIGHT OF THE FESTIVAL
by Barry A. Sanders
The final notes of Gotterdammerung sounded on Saturday evening. Fittingly, the Wagner Society of Southern California presented the final Ring Festival LA symposium on Sunday at the Goethe Institute while Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica closed the Festival with collision/theory in a new multi-media performance of The Nibelungenlied. The Opera's performances were as beautiful and exciting as we had hoped during all the years of their preparation. People went repeatedly. Ticket sales, which had lagged before the performances began, burgeoned on the word of mouth from the audiences at the first of the three cycles. The Festival engaged the entire city and met our expectations by tearing down the walls that have separated the abundance of cultural and educational institutions in Los Angeles, and inviting everyone in the city to participate in experiencing the fascination of The Ring.
CHICAGO'S BIG SHOULDERS GET AN EYEBALL TO MATCH
by Victoria Lautman
Public art gets a bad rap, often with good reason. In parks, medians, and open spaces across the country, sculptures are plopped down seemingly overnight with neither "public" input nor consent. In some miraculous cases, they become beloved local icons or, better yet, tourist magnets. In the worst scenarios, they're resented, maligned, and even removed if the public carping becomes especially harsh. Still, most public art is sandwiched between these two extremes. It's the dismal visual equivalent of background noise, largely ignored, adding precisely zilch to our everyday experience other than cluttering up space.
But on July 7th, when Chicago-based artist Tony Tasset unveils his two public commissions on State Street for the Chicago Loop Alliance, viewers will be anything but neutral.
THE OBITUARY AS ART FORM
by Carine Fabius
When you make your living in the arts--whether that's on the creative front or the business end--especially if you are self-employed, it's safe to say that you are probably open to all kinds of veerings off the path to pay the bills, especially if that detour still allows you to work your craft. Case in point. I'm planning an impromptu dinner party and call my friend Mickey Cottrell to invite him. Mickey is a veteran publicist to mostly independent film directors. The man knows film like his own life story. If you asked him, I bet he could tell you who directed, produced, wrote and acted in just about any film, just like an encyclopedia would if it could talk.
JAKUB JULIAN ZIOLKOWSKI'S DARK AND AMUSING PAINTINGS OPENS AT HAUSER & WIRTH
by Marina Cashdan
Today Hauser & Wirth opens the first American solo exhibition of talented young Polish painter Jakub Julian Ziolkowski. The Krakow-based artist, who graduated from the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts only a few years after Wilhelm Sasnal, Marcin Maciejowski, and Rafal Bujnowski, creates both large and small-scale works, incredibly intricate geometrically abstract scenes, eccentric figurative work, literal battleground scenes with fantastical narratives (skeletons and rich, otherworldly colors).
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