Saturday, September 12, 2015

Picasso Sculpture @ MoMA

When the “New” Whitney opened earlier this year in Lower Manhattan (NYC) it became the most talked about museum among the many celebrated museums in the city. It was dimming the luster in particular of one of the New York greats; MoMA. I had wondered what the folks at MoMA would do to return the talk and the buzz as the leader in Modern and Contemporary Art. “Picasso Sculpture” featuring 100 pieces opens there Monday. It seems to be their response to the Whitney and promises to be a Block Buster.

The exhibition will feature many of the 20th Century master’s best efforts. Picasso is noted as quite possibly the most innovative and prolific genius of all time. His sculpture attests extravagantly to his fame and ability. Picasso’s choices of materials range from bronze to plaster to cardboard. Found objects and assemblage rate highly among his sculptural works. The hand and mind of Picasso, always exciting, always exuberant on full display here should charm and delight every eye to behold each brilliant object.  The man is as strong a sculptural presence as any of his sculptor contemporaries, including Moore, Brancusi, Calder and Duchamp.

We are edging further into the 21st century and there are no shortages of new artists on the contemporary scene. At every level Picasso continues to rank highly. There is a definitive, ageless quality to his works. I am including an extensive portfolio of the Picasso Sculptures and yes; I hope to visit them and MoMA soon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

La Planète Sauvage

The opening minutes of the film La Planète Sauvage are among the most startling and engaging scenes of any film of any genre. A young mother runs in terror from some unknown threat. This; as she attempts to shield her infant child from their potential attacker or attackers.  She is eventually taunted, herded and humiliated into submission by something of extreme. The exhausted mother falters and falls; dead from her brutally abusive physical and psychological torture. The child will survive to become the film’s protagonist.

Fantastic Planet (as it was titled in America) appeared in theaters forty plus years ago. This creation from the minds of director René Laloux and designer Roland Topor has amazed and informed for two generations now and is still thrilling in concept, storytelling and visually. The hand drawing; technically good, with a definitive roughness of line and grain is vastly appealing. It marries the surreal and the fantastic with modernity. Elements of Fantasy and Science Fiction combined with the strange and haunting score by composer Alain Goraguer is complete in execution; touching the emotional as well as the intellectual.

Nothing short of exceptional; Fantastic Planet was ground-breaking Cinema. The creation of this film was years before the development of computer generated imagery. Pixar and DreamWorks rule and inform the world of today’s animation. The dialogue of animation has changed so much in the digital era. But the hand still ruled in the times that Fantastic Planet appeared. It is prevalent throughout this marvel. On most levels it holds up into this era as an entertainment and as history. 

I was living in Washington DC when I first saw La Planète Sauvage. My friends and I had taken a bus across the city from South East to George Town in North West DC. We had been witness to the most radical film offered at the time. Had we also been the witness to the brave new future of cinematic artistry?  Standing outside the theater waiting for our return bus I studied a poster for an upcoming feature. The art work was interesting but most of the names of the contributors (other than Ron Howard) were unfamiliar. The name of this feature was American Graffiti; directed by some guy…George Lucas.