January 19, 2013 |
As the nation watches President Obama take the oath of office Monday for his second term, Americans may notice a more mature (and grayer) version of the hopeful candidate depicted in Shepard Fairey's ubiquitous 2008 campaign poster. Since then, Obama's likeness has been cartooned, lampooned and masterfully crafted by artists of varying inclinations. Although the official presidential portrait will not be revealed until the end of his second term, some interesting interpretations are already on view.
January 11, 2013 |
Kate Middleton's official portrait has been unveiled. Prince William's wife's likeness can now be seen in Britain's National Portrait Gallery - but not everyone is in love with what they see. The painting, by Scottish artist Paul Emsley, who also painted South Africa's Nelson Mandela in his photographic style, was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in London, where William and Kate saw the portrait for the first time on Friday before...
December 22, 2012 |
What is it, exactly, about Van Gogh? For those of us with a vested interest in contemporary art, who spend much of our time immersed in the work of artists most Americans have never heard of, it is an important question to ponder from time to time - one that the Norton Simon Museum's temporary installation of an 1889 self-portrait on loan from the National Gallery of Art calls again to the fore. There is no more familiar face in all of modern art history: the piercing blue eyes; the gaunt, sallow features; the imagined spectacle of a severed ear (turned discretely away from the viewer in this, as in most, variations)
December 20, 2012 |
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie A novel Ayana Mathis Knopf: 256 pp., $24.95 In "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," first-time author Ayana Mathis walks upon some of the richest thematic terrain our country's history can offer a novelist. Her protagonist, Hattie Shepherd, arrives in Philadelphia from Georgia in the mid-1920s, one of a legion of travelers in the great migration, that movement of African Americans from the Jim Crow South to the promise and relative freedom of the North.
December 9, 2012 |
It's clear to anyone who tries to get from Santa Monica to downtown at rush hour that our cities are crowded with people. Take the 10 Freeway, or try Sunset, cut down to Beverly, then Olympic, then Pico - every route is jam-packed. This is a relatively new phenomenon - not traffic but urbanization. Two hundred years ago, just 3% of us lived in cities. Now, more than half the world's population does; that's expected to rise to 75% by 2050. In "City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age" (Bloomsbury: 400 pp., $40)
December 7, 2012 |
This post has been corrected. See note below for details. It was a particularly lively reception Thursday evening at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. More than 600 people -- local curators and artists, media and museum members, many nibbling on bread sticks and sipping wine -- gathered to welcome a most distinguished guest: an iconic van Gogh painting on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. "This is the biggest crowd I've ever seen here," said Andrea Leone, 28, who comes almost weekly to the museum.
November 23, 2012 |
For all his fame and cinematic brilliance, Alfred Hitchcock remained an enigmatic figure - prolific on the screen, private off it. The new biopic "Hitchcock," starring Anthony Hopkins as the eponymous director and Helen Mirren as wife Alma Reville, attempts to shed some light on the master of suspense by dramatizing the making of his fabled 1960 chiller "Psycho. " According to many film critics, however, "Hitchcock" offers more speculation than illumination and fails to bring its subject to life.
November 21, 2012 |
Few directors put up as convincing a mask as Alfred Hitchcock or were as adept at using that public face to sell their work to the wider world. But what was the master of suspense really like in his private moments? Do we even want to know? With Anthony Hopkins as the great helmsman and Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, his wife of more than 50 years, "Hitchcock" puts major league star power at the service of its peek-behind-closed-doors premise. But whatever that relationship was like in real life, this is one cinematic portrait of a marriage we could have lived without.
November 18, 2012 |
Call it the democratization of the right to look fabulous. It used to be that only models and celebrities had the wherewithal, through the wizardry of professional airbrushing or digital alteration, to look younger, thinner, fitter and more beautiful in their photos than in real life. But new advances in relatively cheap photo retouching apps and computer software are making it astonishingly simple for anyone to look hot at the push of a button. Computer photo-retouching software options include Portrait Professional (www.portraitprofessional.com, $29.95)
November 15, 2012 |
In the spring of 2011, Steven Spielberg received a hand-addressed package at his office on the Universal Studios lot, marked ominously with a skull and crossbones. The director, who was months from starting production on his next movie, "Lincoln," closed his door, opened the package and removed an old pocket cassette recorder. "I literally for 10 minutes was afraid to turn it on, because I expected that whatever I heard on that tape was going to be my film, my entire film," Spielberg said.