Frederick Wiseman has made a career out of exploring specific institutions in depth in each of his films. For his latest, City Hall, he followed the workings of the city government of Boston, Massachusetts from late 2018 through early 2019. Wiseman’s cameras captured Mayor Marty Walsh and members of his administration as they dealt with everything from town hall meetings to donor soirees to building inspections. Through depictions of both striking and seemingly banal incidences, Wiseman loves to build holistic portraits of how a place or organization actually works. The man has been at this game for over 50 years now, and he is very good at it.
Wiseman finds an almost hypnotic rhythm in how he edits his films, acting as a serene observer of everything that transpires. (The epic four-and-half-hour runtime can also lull the viewer.) Yet there’s nothing complacent about his camera; a lengthy sequence during a community discussion over a proposed cannabis shop in a lower-class neighborhood captures a wide array of divergent opinions and concerns from the multiracial residents. The film is neither a condemnation nor a celebration of city government, but a clear-eyed view of how people try to work together.
City Hall is now available to stream via Film Forum.
What feels like the right way to write about Roman Catholicism, or Christian iconography, to most art critics is heavily influenced by museum discourse, which is far from neutral.
A group exhibition at the Americas Society investigates ideas of paradise, approaching the Caribbean region as a product of the visitor economy regime.
The unique MFASA at the Institute of American Indian Arts offers mentorships with world-renowned Indigenous artists, flexible schedules, and access to one of the US’s cultural capitals.
Visual artists who incorporate psychedelics into their practices maintain a foundational understanding that there is more to reality than meets the eye.
Many in the local Ukrainian community want the museum’s name to be changed to reflect the many artworks in its collection by artists from former Soviet states.
Lisa Ericson renders her real-world subjects beautifully, but the situations in which we find them are uncanny, menacing, and unexpected.
Contemporary society in the United States normalizes the idea of the exhausted mother, so why wouldn’t mother nature be equally exhausted?
Field of Vision’s latest free streaming offering focuses on a vulnerable population put at risk, told through the stories of those inside.
Tsai’s style is the opposite of boring; in demanding the viewer’s attention, he allows for incredible moments of human connection and discovery.
Over 4,000 artists have signed on to the event, with a nifty online directory listing paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and much more.