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January 31, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
Dave Grohl was on his way to rehearsals for a TV special marking the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' U.S. live television debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show" when the panic set in. "Suddenly it hit me: Maybe I ought to listen to the record again before we rehearse it," the founding member of Nirvana and Foo Fighters said of his impending run-through of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with guitarists Joe Walsh and Gary Clark Jr. for "The Night That...
January 31, 2014 | By Charles Solomon
Legendary Japanese animator Katsuhiro Otomo is known around the world for his work, particularly his groundbreaking cyberpunk action feature "Akira. " But Otomo doesn't spend time watching his own films. "The truth is, I don't read or watch my own creations," Otomo says. "When I'm creating something, I'm 100% immersed in that universe, so when I'm finished, I'm ready to journey to a different world. Once a work is completed, it belongs to the readers and viewers. " One of the most influential artists working in animation today, Otomo will receive the Winsor McCay Award for career achievement at the Annie Awards on Saturday.
January 31, 2014 | By Christopher Knight, Times art critic
If a sculptor is going to make paintings, then ceramics seem to be the way to go. That, at least, is the loopy lesson from Liz Larner's eccentrically engaging exhibition of recent work at Regen Projects. The show also includes more traditional freestanding sculptures, including a large, highly polished “X” of cast stainless steel that seems poised to leap into the air like a giant, agitated water bug. Nearby, a billowy black form looks like the tail of a leaping whale paired with its mirror reflection in water.
January 29, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey
If you missed the very fine, fine-art documentary "Tim's Vermeer" during its brief stop last month, it is back in town for its official run. Director Teller (better known as the droller half of the ironic comedy/magic team Penn & Teller) follows inventor Tim Jenison's journey to understand how the 17th-century painter Johannes Vermeer tripped the light so fantastically. A tale of art and obsession unfolds as Jenison experiments with various optical techniques Vermeer might have used to achieve his luminous interplay of light and shadow.
January 29, 2014 | By Steve Chawkins
When Morrie Turner was just a cartoon-doodling kid in Oakland, he wrote a fan letter to the creator of the popular comic strip "Terry and the Pirates. " In return, Milton Caniff, who later created "Steve Canyon," sent young Turner a typed, six-page personal reply with pointers on story lines and drawing. "It changed my whole life," Turner told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005. "The fact that he took the time to share all that with a kid, a stranger, didn't impress me all that much at the time.
January 28, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
In the current issue of Granta, Bernard Cooper publishes an excerpt from his memoir “My Avant-Garde Education,” which is due out next year. Cooper , of course, is a memoirist and fiction writer ( “Guess Again,” “The Bill From My Father” ) of uncommon subtlety and nuance, who uncovers in the quietness of personal experience the tumult of being alive. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he's a quintessential local voice, working from out of what D.J. Waldie calls our “sacred ordinariness,” portraying the city not as mythic landscape but as a place where people live.
January 28, 2014 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
Alfredo Ramos Martínez was a few weeks shy of 58 when he packed up his studio and, with his wife and daughter, moved from Mexico City to Los Angeles in 1929. He arrived just in time for the epic collapse of the economy. Not surprisingly, the Great Depression is either subtext or frame of reference for much of the art he produced in L.A. before his death almost 17 years later. At the Pasadena Museum of California Art, "Picturing Mexico: Alfredo Ramos Martínez in California" attempts to come to terms with the work he produced here.
January 26, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the Seattle hip-hop duo, was named best new artist at the 56th Grammy Awards on Sunday, punctuating a whirlwind year in which two of the group's singles went to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100. The new artist nomination was one of three received by the rapper and producer in the Grammys' major categories. "The Heist" was nominated for album of the year, while "Same Love," inspired by the struggle for marriage equality, earned a nod as song of the year. In the duo's first chart-topper, "Thrift Shop," Macklemore brags about buying his clothes at Goodwill rather than spending "50 dollars for a T-shirt.
January 11, 2014 | By Scarlet Cheng
NEW YORK - It's hard to break from the past. Even under the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which sought to smash the "Four Olds" of customs, culture, habits and ideas, the tradition of calligraphy was held in reverence, as it had been for centuries. Chairman Mao's own calligraphy served as nameplate for the powerful newspaper the People's Daily. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through April 6, ambitiously seeks to tie past with present through the work of 35 artists.
January 4, 2014 | By Leah Ollman
NEW YORK - "I used to want to shock, but now it bores me," wrote the painter Balthus in 1955. He was referring to the work presented in his first gallery show in 1934, in Paris - a highly charged street scene in which a man appears to be assaulting a young girl and the portrayal of a strangely cruel, sexualized music lesson fashioned compositionally after a Pietà. Nothing sold from that show and critics called Balthus morbid, a fiend and worse. For a time, he turned away from painting but eventually took portrait commissions to earn a living, a compromise that he resented, deriding the pictures as "monsters.
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