Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Snapshot–Just Another Weekend of Binge Watching Art Documentaries

In Sunday Snapshot, I procrastinate on doing stuff of actual import. Yay!

Thor's going in the corner to be with his books now.

What I'm reading this very moment:

Oblivion by Kelly Creagh: While writing about the upcoming releases I am super excited about this week, I ran across Oblivion on Edelweiss. Naturally I downloaded the ARC immediately.

The Monet Murders by Terry Mort: This is a historical mystery set in 1930s Hollywood. It's really good, but not grabbing me. I might just leave it and move on to something else.

Movies watched:

I went on a bit of an art docs binge this week.

the art of the steal
The Art of the Steal, directed by Don Argott

This documentary follows the move of The Barnes Foundation, the home of arguably the greatest private collection of modern art in the world, to downtown Philadelphia in direct violation of the Foundation's charter. Effectively, the Philadelphia Museum of Art "stole" the paintings in the Barnes. Whatever you think of why and how this happened, the movie is a fascinating glimpse into the power politics of cultural institutions and how they maintain the status quo. Recommended!

exit through the gift shop
Exit Through the Gift Shop, directed by Banksy

Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant living in Los Angeles, decides to make a movie about street artists after meeting up with his cousin, who just so happens to be Space Invader. Over the course of many years, Thierry travels the world hanging out with famous street artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy, filming their barely legal escapades. There's just one problem: Thierry has no idea how to make a movie. This film is very well-made, somewhat enigmatic and self-consciously ironic, with a strange twist at the end. Duchamp would have loved it.

the rape of europa
The Rape of Europa, directed by Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, and Nicole Newnham

Did you ever watch that movie with George Clooney, Monuments Men? Well I did, because art. That movie is really long and boring. The Rape of Europa is about the exact same subject, and also really long, but super interesting. Unlike Monuments Men, it shows why art–and material culture in general–matters to people beyond its dollar sign. The film seems a little overly simplified at times (all Nazis are "savage" and "inhuman"; no mention is ever made that Allied museums like the Louvre were likewise populated with art taken from other countries after military campaigns), but the subject itself is just fascinating and complex. Well worth the watch.

mary and max
Mary and Max, starring Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman (not an art documentary)

I heard about this movie from Anachronist at Portable Pieces of Thought. It's about a little girl in Australia with no friends, who picks a random name out of a NYC telephone book and starts writing to Max, an overweight middle-aged man with Asperger's who also has no friends. It's a good movie, but it absolutely gutted me. I cried so much my mom asked me if I was okay. Soooooo... if that's your idea of a good time, go for it.

Reviews in the queue:

I might write a review of Capture, the third installment in the Elements of Chemistry series by Penny Reid. It was much better than the previous two books. You could really just read that one and call it good.

Theme of the week:

It seemed like this week went by really fast! I had a ton of deadlines, which kept me busy. Busy means I don't have time to spiral.

I'm still waiting on summer. At least the sun came out for the first time today in forever, that was nice.

homemade clear ice

Annnnnd I made clear ice! If you've ever tried to do this, you know how difficult it is (and okay, the ice isn't 100% clear, there are some bubbles in it). It took four days, two tries, a cooler, and a rolling pin, but I did it! These are, like, the most badass ice cubes I've ever had in my life.


the true face of shakespeare

Is this the true face of Shakespeare? As you may know, up until now, Shakespeare was like Jesus: no portrait made during his lifetime was known to exist. Recently, however, historical botanist Mark Griffiths says he decoded an Elizabethan (or Tudor? Seem to be some confusion on this) cipher that revealed this engraving in 400-year-old botany book to be a portrait of The Bard.

I really don't care if this is true or not, it sounds like a great set-up for a novel. Jennifer Lee Carrell needs to get on this and put it in a book, stat.

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