February 11, 1986
David Bianculli's review of Neil Postman's book Amusing Ourselves to Death is a fine example of the impoverishment of our public discourse. Briefly put, Mr. Postman believes that the predominance of television as our medium of communication is rendering us unfit to remember. Unable to remember, we will be unable to hold anyone accountable. Being unable to hold anyone accountable, we jeopardize individual liberty in the United States. Yet, where does Mr. Bianculli even mention Mr. Postman's concerns, let alone address them?
April 1, 2001 |
If solo shows could be given dedications, artist Christine Lafuente might choose to dedicate her show to Seymour Remenick, her former teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Most of Lafuente's works on view at the Somerville Manning Gallery here are floral still lifes, but she has included several cityscapes of Manayunk, a frequent subject of hers. Lafuente, who lives in Philadelphia and is an artist-in-residence at the Fleisher Art Memorial, shows a Manayunk of narrow, red-brick homes, silvery windows and spots of color seen in street signs.
September 30, 2005 |
All library-card-carrying, multiplex rats know these things. That a movie cannot be wholly faithful to the novel that inspired it because books and films are different forms. That some of the best literary adaptations are reimaginings (as Clueless updated Jane Austen's Emma and Naked Lunch reconceived William Burroughs' Junkie and Naked Lunch). And that the best book-based movies imaginatively distill the imagery and themes in cinematic language faithful to the novel's spirit. Everything Is Illuminated, Liev Schreiber's self-conscious adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's best-seller, whimsically conjures the magic-realist imagery of the novel while pruning the book of its narrative undergrowth.
September 17, 1989 |
The word processor has lessened the importance of good penmanship, but commercial demand for fine lettering remains high, according to area calligraphers. Fine lettering is used in such things as children's books, testimonials, resolutions, awards and memorials, and for inscriptions in front of buildings. It also exists as an art form, to be admired the way "you'd admire a beautiful painting, a good poem, a good book," said Paula Teller, owner of the Ink Spot art gallery in the Sproul Shopping Center in Springfield.
September 23, 2001 |
A newcomer to the small but vibrant Debottis Gallery, Brian Petro exhibits his latest series of still-lifes and paintings created by a photographic polymer transfer process. The technique creates texture and lends a surrealist color scheme to Petro's imagery, which includes fruit still-lifes and Roman antiquities. Petro, who recently moved to Washington, D.C., from Philadelphia, has a multimedia approach to photographs. He brings a background in sculpture and graphic and commercial design to create altered photos without the usual computer manipulation.
June 25, 1995 |
It would probably be too much to claim that the heart of the average suburbanite is being wooed and won to the cause of contemporary art by regular exposure to it at neighborhood art centers. But the Abington Art Center makes another valuable contribution to this cause by showcasing art by regional talent with its current display, "Animalia. " This four-person show is a love-letter to animals, mostly domestic and farm varieties. Subject matter really counts for each of these artists, and a couple of them already have been given the establishment nod. Their current show has to be the apogee of local animal kingdom displays in recent memory.
March 21, 1989 |
Thus far, everything we've seen about this year's Madonna - the Pepsi ad, the video "controversy," the poster-sized ads in trade publications - is proof of this woman's shrewd eye for business. Genuine talent is apparent, at least in the creation of the video and song "Like a Prayer," which was a guaranteed hit before it ever reached record stores (score one for the miracle of sponsorship!). But it is her knack for media manipulation that is now winning Madonna the most respect: With the gusto of any marketing ace launching a new product, Madonna has reappeared with bells and whistles after a two-year recording hiatus, carefully spinning the publicity wheel to maximize interest in today's release of her fourth album, Like a Prayer (Sire)
January 20, 1989 |
The exhibition "Imagery in Clay" by Minnesota artists Curtis Hoard and James Tanner at Clay Studio spotlights an art of reverie and innocence, expanded to a nearly monumental scale. Hoard's work combines whimsy and mystery. His human figures interrelate in a personal way; he paints them on large odd-shaped handmade earthenware vessels while the clay is still wet. Neither the figures nor the container shapes are "fashionable" in any academic or Playboy sense. Instead, they are done in a sturdy, somewhat primitive and archaic manner that's often awkward and squarish.
January 10, 2003 |
With its mix of Nazi and country-western imagery, there is a mocking tone to the title Emmy Goering Stands by Her Man, which Theater Catalyst is presenting at Second Stage at the Adrienne. It seems to suggest that any woman standing by such a monster, who as Hitler's second-in-command authorized the "final solution" of the Jews, should have stood aside. If that is what German writer Oliver Reese wants an audience to conclude, he hasn't accomplished it. By having Emmy Goering narrate the piece and tell about herself, her husband and their relationship from her point of view, he makes it difficult to see how she could have acted other than she did. This Emmy Goering asserts that she knew nothing of her husband's activities - and Reese offers no reason to doubt her. We can say that she should have made herself aware, but the Emmy Goering in this play is clearly not the kind of person who would do that; she takes little interest in anything outside of herself.
February 6, 1998 |
Participants in the Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge exhibitions aren't chosen for compatibility, so when three artists coincidentally complement each other, the result is an unusually strong and harmonious display. This season's final Challenge show brings together sculptor Cynthia Porter, painter Anna Kuo and photographer Susan Hockaday. All work with nature-based imagery or create metaphors that evoke nature, as a way of initiating psychological discovery. Each body of work is rich in appropriately suggestive imagery.