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Patricia Zohn
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Patricia Zohn, Culture Columnist of the Huffington Post, is now in her tenth year of reporting from the CultureZohn.

Entries by Patricia Zohn

CultureZohn: Mid-Century Mozart

(2) Comments | Posted August 26, 2015 | 8:44 AM

With all the hand wringing about aging audiences and the effort to bring young hipsters e.g. Huffington Post-style readers to opera and classical music the way they are now flocking to contemporary art, a certain overly complicated mindset has ensued.

There are really just two ways to do it:...

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CultureZohn: #Joanontheten

(10) Comments | Posted August 14, 2015 | 11:30 AM

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For certain women, Joan Didion's books are a kind of Bible. They sit on my shelf in the section devoted to authors who have been my--and thousands of other womens'-beacons. Not just because I am a writer, in fact quite the contrary. The books...

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10 Reasons to Go to France

(7) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 9:00 AM

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L'Arlesienne by Van Gogh, Musee d'Orsay, Paris
I was lucky enough to be invited by a series of friends to southern France this summer and took advantage of it to catch up after many decades of absence. Yes it was hot. But...
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CultureZohn: Grete Stern's Emancipated, Subversive, Alluring Photographs at MoMA

(12) Comments | Posted July 10, 2015 | 8:10 AM

It has often been the case that women artists who began by working with their lovers and mentors are seen by history as mere muses or helpmeets -- or worse. It has taken the span of decades and resourceful curators (often female) to ferret out the often groundbreaking creative work...

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CultureZohn: 8 Ways to Be Creative By Drifting in Daylight With Creative Time

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 10:00 AM

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Central Park 2015 Courtesy of Sara Cedar Miller-Central Park Conservancy

People! There is something going on in the north end of Central Park that is every bit as amazing as the Museum Mile that was held this week which drew thousands of people...

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CultureZohn: Dance in Los Angeles Adds Luster With Colburn School Dance Academy

(2) Comments | Posted May 7, 2015 | 8:54 AM

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Photograph of Colburn School Academy Dancers in rehearsal by James Fayette

Los Angeles, generally decried as the most impoverished of ballet (and dance) cities, has in the recent years become truly rich with famous, mostly ex-New York City Ballet dancers. For a long...

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CultureZohn: An Electric, Kandy-Kolored Witch's House

(2) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 7:50 AM

We are still technically both in the periods of Easter and Passover so though I am a bit late due to the distractions of grander constructions, Seders, and the Easter Parade, I feel entirely justified in recommending scooping up this last egg in the basket or hidden Afikomen...

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CultureZohn: Off the C(H)uff With Tatiana Bilbao at the Dynamic Latin American Architecture Show at MoMA

(1) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 9:25 AM

The splendid, evocative Latin American architecture show arrives at MoMA just in time to take the sting out of the bad press for their Bjork show. Although it's been in formation for six years, it hits the wave of resurgence for all things '60s and '70s...

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CultureZohn: Women, Where Are We Going? I Thought We Were All in This Together!

(4) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 12:39 PM

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Elisabeth Moss as Heidi in The Heidi Chronicles Photo by Joan Marcus

In 1988 I took a friend with me to see Wendy Wasserstein's play The Heidi Chronicles at Playwrights Horizons on 42nd Street. Wendy and I had worked together on...

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CultureZohn: Down Havana Way: Why Artists Are the Hope for Normalization

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 8:14 AM

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Old Havana Courtyard

To be in Havana this past week was exciting. Media crews from all over covering the Normalization and Trade talks made Havana seem like the center of the world. And in a way it now is: the re-emergence of...

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10 of My Favorite Things From 2014

(1) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 5:41 PM

2014 was a year of great personal sadness for me. Herewith a short list of things that pierced the veil.

1. The Olivetti Showroom in Venice at the Piazza San Marco.

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Photos by ©ORCH_chemollo

During the Venice Biennale, I stole away to see some things that were not part of that madcap pot pourri. At the top of the list: the Olivetti Showroom that Carlo Scarpa designed for Olivetti in 1957 and was refurbished in 2011. This is a jewel of a space, and for those of you who are crazy about mid-century Italian design as I am, you will find much to please you here: an elegant stairway, custom coverings for heat/light, marvelous tile floors. Like all great architects and designers, Scarpa left nothing to chance.

2. Greer Lankton at Participant Inc

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Photos courtesy of Participant Inc Gallery

I was late to seeing this scary, stunning, splendid exhibition as I am not in NY full time. Now, alas, it's down. The gallery owner told me it will be traveling in some form, she's just not sure yet about where. Greer Langton was born Greg and had gender reassignment surgery in the 80s. She grew up making dolls in Flint, Michigan, where it must have been brutal to be her. But it is not just her dolls which are so piercing and dynamic. Like Nan Goldin or even Warhol, she often was the subject of her own art. It may seem weird to make a comparison, but Lankton curated her environment as much as Carlo Scarpa did his. She was a junkie, and anorexic. There was probably little hope that she would live to a ripe old age. But her star flamed brightly in the East Village of the 70s-80s and going down to Participant Inc Gallery felt like a throwback to the time when the East Village was not the locus of every trendy restaurant in New York. This link will help you to know more about Lankton.

3. Curious Incident of the Dog in Night Time

I was fully prepared to be disappointed by this National Theater play now on Broadway. Urged on by some friends whose taste I very much trust I took myself to a matinee just before leaving New York. I am so happy I did. The Wednesday and Sunday matinees have cast a different actor in the role --Taylor Trensch instead of Alex Sharp. I don't think it could have been any better with Sharp. As an autistic child confronted with a secret past he seizes hold of his family and neighborhood and in the process is forced out into the world as much as the world is forced into him. The production is marvelous and reminds us why the Brits seem to have a lock on a certain kind of intellectual but innovative and crowd pleasing theater that is very much home grown and nurtured by a strong state and private system of development.

4 The Neopolitan Triology by Elena Ferrante

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Another bandwagon I am jumping on. My friend, novelist Marisa Silver, was an early adaptor of Elena Ferrante's triology of Neopolitan female friendship and recommended it wholeheartedly. I read all three in Paris, not Italy, but I was close enough to the setting to feel a connection since I was writing about a similar time period in France. In a year when friends were scarce and dying, this made me cry and laugh, and hit me right in my heart. It is a magnificent saga, like a female Godfather and more. If you have ever had a long friendship that has been loving, competitive, bumpy, deep, intimate, revealing, you will want to read this book that tells of the torments of two women who do love each other but can't manage to sustain an even keel. It is intertwined with post-war Italian history that makes the seventies and eighties in western Europe vivid. Ferrante is publicity-shy and so far has not come forward to claim her fame. How refreshing and also clever. A perfect thing to dig into over the holiday break.

5. Marlene Dumas at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

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photo by Patricia Zohn

This show is not traveling to the U.S. Dumas was apparently very disappointed in the critical reaction to her work last time in NY (not me). I love her work. She has many imitators, but none achieve the bold and clear-eyed view of the world she has been dissecting for most of her adult life. The work is both beautiful and frightening. Marianne Faithful sang at the opening, and if ever there were two audacious blondes it is these two, a perfect pairing of art and music. If you have the chance to go to Europe in the fall you can catch it at the Tate Modern London beginning February, and then in Paris. If you click on the link you will see an interview with Dumas and other background materials.

6. Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenco's Antigone.

This is another fearless effort by Barrio and her husband Martin Santangelo to bring flamenco into the 21st century. Rather than resting on Barrio and Cos supreme laurels as flamenco dancers, they have taken flamenco both backwards and forwards as there are hints of flamenco as Agnes de Mille agit ballet, and post modernism too. It is a work in progress and it continues to grow. Full disclosure: Soledad is one of my beloved teachers though I stand in the back row, a great privilege. Her soul, her dedication, her talent rivals the historic ballerinas and Soledad takes ballet and yoga lessons, she draws from many disciplines. She is at the Joyce and Joe's Pub every year and often gives performances elsewhere.

7. William Forsythe at the Festival d'Automne in Paris.

Many of choreographer William Forsythe's works have not been performed in the U.S. Though he was born here, his fame comes from the work he has done abroad. The Festival D'Automne mounted a number of works at Chatelet and at the Paris Opera Ballet (now under the direction of Benjamin Millepied). Along with Alexei Ratmansky, I think he's the finest ballet choreographer working today albeit in a more stylized avant garde vein. His choices are risky, his dancers technically brilliant(he works with a number of European troupes) yet they bring emotion to every step. Let's hope for more Forsythe here in the U.S. (As an aside, the Grand Defile of the Paris Opera Ballet that opens every season with every single dancer from young students to the great primeurs parade onto the lushly re-kitted out Palais Garnier. All in white. It's a dream that only can be compared to Swan Lake. )

8. Netflix, Showtime Anytime and HBO Go.

Thanks to the Gods of Internet for saving my life this year. Many sleepless nights the demons were banished by the obvious (Homeland,Newsroom, ) and not-so-obvious (French films I've never heard of, Scandinavian series that have been ripped off here, British television). More, more, more though my reading pile sits sorely neglected.

9. Festival Albertine, Cultural Services of the French Embassy

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A conversation at the French Cultural Services between Matthew Weiner and Alexandra Clert, the creators and showrunners of Mad Men and Engrenage (Spiral, on Netflix, natch). Expecting a love fest between this man and this woman who have had two hugely successful shows in their respective countries, the tightly packed second floor crowd in the newly redone French Cultural Services building across from the Met at 972 Fifth, instead witnessed a diatribe by Weiner against formulaic women and stereotyping. Weiner turns out to be a total feminist, though you could see that by the interesting women he wrote in the midst of all those suits. His parents are academics and he quoted Simone de Beauvoir and others -- I was both surprised and delighted. Can't wait to see what he does next. The Festival was in honor of the new French bookstore in this building, where they also found the hidden Michelangelo. I worked there many years ago, walked by it hundreds of times and thought of it as a typical knock-off statuary. Hmm....

10. Hats

A few years ago at the Bard Graduate Center in NY there was a hat show that made me, a hat wearer, want to go back in time. Why can't we wear hats even if they don't keep us warm or keep us from sun damage? Every once in a while I find modern hats that make me feel chic and special. In London a few years ago I got two hats at Gabriela Ligenza in tiny Ellis Street off Sloan Street that are hippie and ladies-who-lunch.2014-12-23-IMG_0501.jpg I didn't buy one at Marie Mercie on the rue St. Sulpice in Paris this year as I wasn't feeling chipper but tell me what you think of this one that said Audrey to me.

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May the next year bring more joy, peace and happiness to us...

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CultureZohn: Picasso Threeway, Part III, Off the C(H)uff With Paloma Picasso

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 9:34 AM

There was a bit of serendipity on my visit to the uptown Pace Gallery. I was lucky enough to run into Paloma Picasso also viewing the show for the first time herself. "Most of the work in the show I actually remember very well," she wrote to me...

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CultureZohn: Picasso Threeway, Part II, Picasso and Jacqueline

(1) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 10:25 AM

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Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline avec une Écharpe Noire (Jacqueline with a Black Scarf), October 11, 1954, Private Collection Photograph by Claude Germain

At Pace Gallery, where Arne Glimcher has kept his eye on the Picasso prize too, (both the

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CultureZohn: Picasso Threeway, Part I, Picasso and the Camera

(1) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 9:13 AM

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Pablo Picasso, Nature morte au minotaure et à la palette, November 27, 1938,Private Collection © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Eric Baudouin. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

New York is newly awash in Picasso. Three concurrent exhibitions at...

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CultureZohn Off the C(H)uff With Frank Gehry: How Does He Do It?

(2) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 9:29 AM

It was a beautiful September Indian summer day that was fixed for my journey to visit Frank Gehry's new Fondation Louis Vuitton building in the Bois de Boulogne, the capacious park in Paris' northwest extremity. A few weeks earlier I had had a long lunch with Frank at his expansive...

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CultureZohn: Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild: Dancing as Fast as They Can

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 11:08 AM

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Sitting in a directors chair in (Studio 6) at Westside Ballet in Los Angeles it's hard to believe Tiler Peck:

--has just gotten married;

--returned from a honeymoon in Bora Bora where according...

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CultureZohn: The 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Parte Due

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 3:52 PM

Once you leave the main pavilion of the 2014 Architecture Biennale in Venice, all bets are off. Rem Koolhaas, the architect-curator, challenged the 66-plus countries that entered to respond to the prompt of absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, a giant mouthful of world wars and their spoils, and the hot potatoes of...

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CultureZohn: Fundamentals: The 2014 Biennale Strips Down

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 12:19 PM

I am staying in a Venetian hotel once the home of Alma Mahler, the woman who sent many talented hearts reeling and walking along the narrow often slightly off-fragrant Venetian streets that writer Mary McCarthy prowled when her love life was also a shambles so an invitation to write about...

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CultureZohn: Do All Women Really Behave That Way? Cosi Fan Tutte at the LA Philharmonic

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 11:58 AM

For the last three years, Gustavo Dudamel has been engaged in a project about architecture and opera that in any other city besides Los Angeles would cause a stampede at the box office. Even after years, many residents -- especially younger ones -- don't realize how hip things have gotten...

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CultureZohn: I Spent New Year's Eve With Richard Burton

(7) Comments | Posted January 10, 2013 | 9:32 AM

I spent New Year's Eve in bed with Richard Burton.

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It had taken all fall to try to set this up and I even had to take a back seat to Lindsay Lohan but it was worth the wait. Still, it was awfully crowded...

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